It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it…..

It’s been quite a while since I added to this blog. To be honest, it’s been hard to even know what to say or where to begin.

To say this year has been overwhelmingly challenging, difficult, painful….. Oh my gosh, I could go on and on. I honestly don’t remember a time where I’ve experienced such a myriad of emotions….all at the same time and for so very long.

So this is going to be a ‘bit’ of an update….

We lost my second father 3 days before Christmas last year. He had been in hospital for most of the year, being discharged a couple of times but having to be readmitted because his ambulation and mobility was decreasing and my mom just wasn’t able to take care of him the way he needed. Even though she is amazing for being 94 years old, it was just too much and put her health and well-being in jeopardy.

Around March of last year, after he was discharged the first time from a hospital stay of a month or so, it was clear that some significant changes needed to be made. Living in a two-story home – even with a chair lift for the stairs – just wasn’t going to work long-term. So our oldest son took on the monumental task of designing and building a granny suite in what was the garage of our home. All the kids pitched in to do whatever, whenever they could. But with Covid, setbacks, and all the pre-existing structural problems that we were unaware of, it took much longer than we anticipated. Sadly, Paul passed away before it was ready for them to move in. That was devastating for us, but as I have pondered this reality, thankfulness replaced the disappointment and sadness. I know Paul couldn’t have stayed. His care needs were just too great and even with the maximum homecare he qualified for, it would not have been enough. He needed round-the-clock care….and that just wasn’t feasible here, which would have meant nursing home care and he never wanted that….ever. As much as it hurt that he didn’t make it here, it would have been beyond heartbreaking to have to tell him he couldn’t stay. And, as I said to the kids, at least he died in hope looking forward to something, not in despair.

So this “part one” of the update is dedicated to him…. The man who came into our lives when I was 18 or 19 after losing my father and became the most amazing father and grandfather to our crew. He teased and laughed and taught and built anything we needed built. He’d drop everything if we needed him, no questions asked. The nurses who cared for him have told me repeatedly that all he talked about was his family…..all of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…..we were all the joy of his life.

He loved the internet but could mess up a computer in ways that I couldn’t even begin to, no matter how hard I tried, even if I tried to do it on purpose!!! I remember the day we visited and he informed us that he needed a new mouse because his computer was slow!! Of course, it had NOTHING to do with the popups that he ‘didn’t’ click every time they appeared!! LOL

He had his quirks, his idiosyncrasies, and his funny notions, and he had a heart of gold, took the teasing as well as he gave it, and created a legacy of unconditional love and acceptance.

You are missed, Paul….more than we could ever say. But there’s never a day that goes by that you’re not remembered, honoured, and loved…. You will live on forever in our hearts, our thoughts, in the choices we make and the lives we live.

Thirty-five years and feel like we’re just getting started…. The best is yet to come!!!!

This has probably been our most celebrated anniversary to date!

It al began September 2 with a backyard gathering with all nine of our children, some of their spouses/partners, and my mom…..and a special family friend that dropped by for a few minutes.

The kids did the whole thing! They all helped clean up the property from the abundance of construction debris, worked hard on decorations, had special music playlists at the ready, and organized the whole “ceremony”. It was absolutely everything that I could have wished for….. It’s not often we manage to get everyone home at the same time, and there isn’t anything that makes as happy as having us all together.

Now we are off on our own trip for four days at Couple’s Resort, just outside of Algonquin Park in Whitney Ontario. We definitely splurged, but 35 years, through all the ups and downs, highs and lows, happiness and heartache…..well, we decided it was worth it.

Five course dinner each night and breakfast every morning are included. I’m going to have to stop eating for a week when I get home to undo all the “damage”!!! The food has been so good!!! The staff have been amazing, and there are real, wood-burning fireplaces in every room.

Glenn’s favourite breakfast…….cheesecake!!! We were too full to eat it at supper. White chocolate blueberry…..

Day 1 – we went for a paddle. MY first time in a ‘real’ kayak. It was more tippy than I am used to, and the entrance and exit were not pretty….and that is not an exaggeration in the least!!!! Like I said in a Facebook post, I know no-one here and never have to see them again…, whatever!!!!! It was one thing checked off my bucket list…and I really don’t care what anyone thought. They don’t know that 65lb were lost so that I would at least be willing to attempt this, or that I fight vertigo almost every day to one degree or another, so for me, this was a BIG deal!!! And I don’t ever have to do it again…. LOL.

The second morning, I went out early on my own. The fog was thick and it was a balmy 6 degrees.. Brrrrr…. I took the kayak that I felt most comfortable and secure in, and truly enjoyed the quiet, the scenery, and even the fog.

This was the extent of the wildlife I saw…..

A cormorant….
Geese coming in for a landing…….

Then we had breakfast, showered and changed and hopped in the car. We spent the day with some of our kids (even the furry ones 🙂 )in Huntsville….then they came back to our room to hang out in the hot tub.

Today it rained all morning, but the sun is now coming out. I think we’ll hit the hot tub. :). I have all the best intentions, but five minutes…..ten if we’re lucky, and I have had enough. We’ll go back in tonight when it is nice and chilly outside.

I can’t overstate how nice it has been to get away and just be alone, hidden from the outside world. But, as wonderful as it has been, it doesn’t compare with our special day spent with our children and their companions, and my mom.

Again, as wonderful as it has been….and it really has been wonderful, I really missed cooking for us. Cooking is my passion and my love language!! LOL. My favourite thing when we go away is to find a place to stay that has a really nice kitchen, and cook things we wouldn’t necessarily make at home. But I am going to focus on the rest of our time together here and appreciate all that these moments have to offer.

We feel a real shift coming in our roles. We rarely, if ever, parent our kids anymore…..which is harder to let go of than you may imagine. Instead, we are their biggest fans, their most loyal allies, and we have seen them embrace the values and vision that we have carried for many years. Ironically, they weren’t things we taught systematically, or even intentionally…..they just were the ‘why’ that kept us moving forward when it would have been easier to quit. Apparently, it didn’t go unnoticed.

Going forward, I feel that our roles are more behind-the-scenes. I am looking forward to sitting back and watching each member of our family take their unique role, bring their thoughts and feelings, strengths and weaknesses, passions and skills, to the family table and work together as a multi-faceted organism to set up a generational legacy that won’t just be for us, or for the future generations in our family, but a catalyst for many……the weary, the broken, the abused, and the lonely….for there is no shortage of any of these things. And to whom much has been given, there is a responsibility to pay it forward.

We have talked a lot about the last 35 years… What would we change? What would we have done differently. While there are few major decisions and life changes that we would do differently, I would have lightened up a lot and enjoyed the kids more. I am always keenly aware of my parenting short-comings, and wish I was more warm and fuzzy as a wife. But some of those same qualities and attributes that I often lament and despise, were also the same ones that made me get out of bed and face the day on those mornings that I woke up feeling totally overwhelmed by life circumstances and the uncertainty of the future.

So….for better or worse, for richer for poorer…..til death do us part. I used to always tease Glenn that he would never leave me because he couldn’t afford the child support. Now I play this song for him……. “Whose gonna love you if I don’t…” LOL

Thirty-five years, and it’s come to this…… 🙂

Happy anniversary, Babe….. <3

Tomorrow it’s back to reality, but these memories I will cherish forever….

My seven day work stretch couldn’t end quick enough. I worked until 11 p.m. Wednesday night and by 10 a.m. I was on the road, heading to see some of our children and grandchildren!!!

We had a nine or ten hour stretch ahead of us and it was a beauty of a day for driving!!! Sunshine, A/C, and great company for the trip….

We hadn’t gone 45 minutes yet!!!! LOL

Everything went well until we hit construction just north of North Bay….the one drawback of summer travel!!!

Anyway, I’m just going to flood the rest of this post with pics and captions, except to say that I had the most amazing week… I will cherish forever!!!

Fun in the sun….

Waiting for “Chippy…”

And he came…..right up on the deck with all of us sitting right there.

The adults just enjoying the day….

Then a two night (was only supposed to be one) stop over in Huntsville to see some of our other kids….

I found this little guy stowed away in my clothes when I searched my basket… I guess Macy didn’t want grandma to be lonely…. <3

Summer is finally here!!!!!

Anyone else find this winter seemed like it would NEVER end???????

Maybe the whole Covid19 thing made it seem even longer. Life definitely took an unexpected turn and thrust us all into something we didn’t understand, or want – on many levels and for many reasons.

Certainly, having to work in healthcare throughout this crisis has taken a toll, on every one of us. I was so thankful to still have a job, yet it was the last place I wanted to be. There were many fearful, tearful moments and the pressure, risk, demands of the job, absolutely drained me…..and I’m not even a nurse! I can’t imagine doing what they do any day, let alone under these incredibly difficult and emotional circumstances. Nevertheless, it still left me numb and what feelings I did have, I still have been unable to define.

So these hot, sunny, longer days, have been just what the doctor should have ordered……about 3 months earlier!

You’ll notice I didn’t blog much… fact, hardly at all. What do you say? It’s hard to write about something you still haven’t truly processed…….especially because it’s not over. So many conflicting feelings, mixed emotions, and no time, or real knowledge, on how to even begin to unpack it all. It’s messed.

But if it’s taught me anything, it’s taught me to LIVE, and to value and invest in the things and people that make my life rich.

The circle is small……but that’s okay, it’s a great circle. It’s shown who is in my life and my acquaintance circle who can respect opposing opinions and gave me the opportunity to practice respect for the concerns of others, even if I don’t share them. Not gonna lie, my circle may have shrunk. And also not gonna lie, it’s frigging hard to be at opposite poles on issues when it’s someone you truly love and care about.

That may have been the hardest thing of all.

Politics, this virus and the measures implemented, BLM and riots in the streets, issues of faith and how they apply….

Even lifelong friendships have been challenged and tested. But they remain intact because we CHOSE to listen, to respect the fact that we are not the same and we see things differently, and while not ignoring those differences, we CHOSE to focus on the things we have in common, the values we share, and the love that runs deep.

At our staff meeting yesterday, you could see that people are running on empty. There are no reserves right now and my heart goes out to the amazing nurses that serve from depleted emotional and physical resources to keep everything as safe and ‘normal’ as possible for those they care for.

During the staff meeting yesterday, our manager told us that we have all suffered trauma and that it is real. I am so thankful for a manager that actually cares and truly ‘gets it’!!! It is amazing how uplifting it is, and how much renewed “give a *(#%” you feel when you know someone has your back and truly supports and cares about you.

Anyway, back to summer….

Pelican made a few bucks off me this summer. I bought a kayak for my husband and my granddaughter. We got the “sit on” kind…partly because I am terrified of getting in and out of a real one, or getting stuck in it. But most of all, for the stability. My balance sucks because of weakness in my core and my ongoing battle with vertigo. And, as most of you know, Glenn has a trach, so it would be disastrous for him to end up in the water. We wear life jackets…..every single time, but still, the extra stability is a comfort and safety measure.

Anyway, may we all find healing and renewed hope in the sunny days ahead. Just sitting out on the deck is renewing for me, but I plan on spending many hours paddling through the waters, by myself and with others.

Stay well friends….and I don’t just mean Covid. In many ways, the virus itself, was not my biggest threat. Depression, withdrawal, despair, hopelessness, fatigue (both physical and emotional…..mostly emotional), threatened my well-being more than the dreaded virus ever could.

Drink deep from all this season has to offer.

Garden is in and doing well….

Let the paddling begin….

Just hanging out at home…with the people I love!! <3

Missing Pieces…..How Will It All Come Together?

Glenn and I lay in bed the other night talking about everything that is going on right now in the world, what it means for us, what our response should be, what should we be preparing for – especially spiritually..

Since before we even met, Glenn and I have held a shared vision. Something buried in our hearts that we felt we were called to. When we met and married, it only deepened and grew. I’m not going to say what it is…..but it’s there.

Of course, we had a picture in our mind of what it was going to look like, and we thought we knew how it would all unfold. Ever heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans?”

We also thought it was right around the corner. We were young, zealous, passionate about God and all that we thought He was going to do. We felt ready, prepared, poised for action.

We’ve been married almost 35 years, and guess what. We’re still waiting….

In fact, as the years have clicked along, those things we held deep in our heart began to take a backseat. Oh we made choices, moves, and thought we could see it starting a few times……but it never came to fruition and so, although it never really left us, our focus shifted to the more immediate challenges of finances, raising children, and just weathering the challenges, disappointments, and heartache of real life. Oh, don’t get me wrong….there were many fun times, happy times, lots of both tears and laughter, and times we sat and marvelled at all that was happening to us and through us.

Nevertheless, not gonna lie, the years have taken a toll. A toll financially, physically (we’re not spring chickens anymore, you know) and spiritually. We’ve questioned and felt abandoned and wondered what the heck was God thinking or doing?

Kinda like right now…..

I’m no doom and gloom prophet, but I won’t be surprised if the days ahead are not going to be a lot of fun. No matter how this thing turns out, no matter how long it takes to get the upper hand with this virus, things are not going to be the same, and it’s going to be tough for many, or even most.

It’s made me question…. Actually, it’s made me question a lot of things, and I’m not always thrilled by the few answers. But most of all, it has made me question this ‘thing’ we’ve carried for almost 40 years.

Some would say 40 is a significant number. We will see….

Anyway, I said to a dear friend the other day, why could these things not have all happened when I was young, zealous, and passionate, ready to take on whatever came my way? Kind of like a plaque I read one time that said “Why couldn’t all of life’s problems have happened when I was 18 and knew everything????”

Not gonna lie……I’m probably at one of my lowest points ever, spiritually speaking. I have felt a numbness, a dullness spiritually, and a deep sense of discouragement and hopelessness.

Not a great admission from someone who has walked in relationship with Jesus for over 40 years.

I guess most of all, I have been disappointed in myself. I should have done better, I should have said this, taught that, I should be stronger, braver, more ready.

Anyway, I was doing some reading/studying the other day, and I read these verses in Exodus 3:10-12:

Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”  And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

God had a big job for Moses, and Moses wasn’t feeling it. “Who am I that I should go…..” God wanted Moses to go down to Egypt and deliver the Israelites out of captivity. In fact, Moses had tried that 40 (there’s that number again) years previously, and it hadn’t gone well at all. Moses himself had been in exile for 40 years because of it. He went on with life, married, had kids, raised animals…. I think he too shifted his focus to just trying to live life.

But, long story short, he went. God promised to be with him, and he accomplished what he was called to do, or rather God accomplished what He wanted to do, through Moses. There’s a difference….

Note the promise at the end…

“Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

(Note that the sign would come AFTER the mission was accomplished)

Fast forward…. God performed miracles. He gave warnings to Pharaoh, sent numerous plagues, each one more serious and damaging than the last, until finally Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites go. Well, in reality, he was begging them to leave and giving them everything they could take, by the time it was all over.

But then Pharaoh had a change of heart after they left, and set out in hot pursuit. Moses was moving a whole race of people in the desert and the Egyptians were gaining ground fast, until finally the Israelites ended up standing on the shores of the Red Sea with nowhere to go. Suddenly, before their very eyes, the sea began to part and the Bible says they walked through the sea on dry ground and then the sea swallowed up Pharaoh and his army. Pretty cool, eh. Like really……can you imagine????

They came up on the opposite shores of the Red Sea, and looked back to see the enemy who threatened to destroy then, drowned, utterly demolished, by the waters of the sea. They marvelled at all that God had done to gain their freedom from the years and years of slavery, and they worshipped!! They recounted the great and mighty deeds, they praised like never before and life was good!!!!

When they were done, they picked up their stuff, loaded the animals and moved on. I can imagine the excitement and awe. The unbridled joy and first real taste of freedom; the retelling over and over as they repeated all they had witnessed and all that they hoped for, it must have been thrilling……..until verse 22 of Exodus 15:

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.  So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”  Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

Three days. THREE days, guys!!! Three days and they were grumbling about water. In three days they had lost sight of the astounding feats that God had performed in order to gain their freedom and they thought water was going to be too big of a problem!

I had a lot of take aways from this story. One being Moses’ feelings of inadequacy. I’m sure he spent those 40 years on the backside of nowhere, feeling like a failure, wondering if he had missed his call, wondering if he ever really was called in the first place!! I mean surely, he must have heard wrong, or it must have been all in his head and not God at all. He had tried to defend the jewish slaves and ended up running to save his own life! Then forty years later, defeated and worn, NOW God wants to execute the plan?????

Second, the mountain. See I have the benefit of reading the whole story, and I know that one day they did worship at that mountain just like God had promised. And it was a sign, proof that God was with Moses and He did do exactly as He said!

And third, how very little time it took to lose sight and forget the wonders and ways that God had moved on their behalf.

You see, we’ve spent almost forty years with this dream, this vision of what we felt we were called to, and it gets old. You lose hope, you lose sight, and you settle for survival. Then forty years down the road, when you feel like you’re going under for the last time, God, partly through current cicumstances, starts stirring up the vision…..and my response: “Are you serious!! Who am I?” I have nothing! I am nothing! I got nothing!!”

And then I’m reminded…..reminded of the experiences, interventions, and precious moments in His presence, over the past 40+ years, and I realize that it’s not about me at all. It’s about Him. He says that in our weakness, HE shows up strong!

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Ephesians 3:20

Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9

Or, like He said to Moses,

“Certainly, I will be with you….”

From where I sit, there are still a lot of missing pieces, a lot of things that would have to come together, and honestly, in the natural, I just can’t see how He could pull it all off! Forty years ago, maybe……but today, not so much.

But I believe that one day we will worship at that ‘mountain’ and be blown away by how it all came about.

“I will be with you, I am for you, there is nothing too difficult for me…..”

I am not okay – but I will be.

A few weeks ago, I posted about Randall in This is Us and his emotional collapse as life began to pile up on him. It was, in fact, exactly one month ago today – February 24, 2020. Randall was not okay. You can read my other post here.

Today, I have realized, that I am not okay either.

This was the picture I used for the former post …. today it is picture at the top of this post.

That little kitten who saw himself as a warrior tiger; big, brave, and strong……..yeah, that’s not me. I’m the hot mess,

I rarely sleep past 4 a.m. these days, regardless of what time I go to bed. This morning it was 3 a.m. when I awoke and after 15 or 20 minutes just got up so I wouldn’t disturb Glenn.

Yesterday, my one day off after working the weekend, I did nothing. Well, not exactly true, I played Nintendo Switch most of the day with my children and my granddaughter. Outwardly, I am sure nothing seemed wrong, but inwardly I was crumbling.

My husband prepared veggies etc., before he left to go to work. Me, I forgot to put the roast in the oven. So we ate frozen pizza.

Today I tried to remember the name of the ministry that I donate to every month to support someone out there on the streets working with the homeless and downtrodden, and I couldn’t remember the name of the ministry. I’ve been giving to them for a few years.

I cry at the drop of a hat, with no warning and no apparent trigger. I feel so helpless.

These are scary days.

There is much unknown. Many possibilities and no real guarantees.

The biggest heartache for me right now is that I can’t be with all my kids. It’s been nothing short of agonizing. They are in their homes, some with their own little ones, and we can’t be together. In times like this, I just want us all to be together. I feel like everything would be okay if we could just be together. Under one roof. In one place. Together.

I can’t see my parents. My mom is 93 and my dad is only home a. week or two from a 3-4 week hospital stay where he suffered a heart attack, a septic knee, a bowel blockage, kidney stones, and received stents in his heart. Thank God he made it home before this madness hit.

Yesterday I fired their housekeeper…………over the phone.

My concern for their well-being can not be understated, or overestimated.. I was angry. Angry at her for being there when we are ALL being told to stay home. Angry at the situation and worried because I know they don’t grasp how serious this is. And angry because I haven’t seen them in almost two weeks because I won’t put them at risk, yet there she was. And when they all started arguing with me that everything would be fine and it wasn’t a problem, I told them clearlyl that this was neither a debate, nor was it at all negotiable and if she showed up there again, I would be waiting at the door and/or would send the police!

I was crying and I was shaking, but I wasn’t begging or pleading, I was angry, or maybe it was just feeling desperate.

Or maybe I was just scared.

Needless to say, either way, the housekeeper is history.

I don’t know what to do. I can’t fix this, I can’t stop this, and I have no idea how we will all ultimately be affected by this. Already, I can’t sleep, I don’t care if I eat, I can’t think, and all I really want to do is to get the hell out of Dodge…….but I have nowhere to go.

I am thankful for my job, but it’s the last place I want to be.

My husband works at Walmart. There are a lot of people at Walmart, people who, as has been reported, have travelled outside of Canada, and returned to work or shop at the store. My husband has a trach, a direct opening to his airway, and is 68 years old. We desperately need the money, but at what cost? I don’t know….. It worries me……greatly.

Honestly, I’m not worried about getting the virus as much as I am about the society we live in if things turn really bad. It’s already nuts in many ways. The panic, the hoarding, the desperation….those that worry about their survival only. Shortages, closing, economic disaster…..there is a lot to be concerned about.

I want to be……………..together. With my family. With my kids. I just want us all to all be together.

And I can’t.

The turmoil is great, the anxiety is escalating, the “what-if’s” overwhelm me, and the solutions elude me.

I just wish we were together.

I have realized, I am not okay.

Today I woke up feeling overwhelmed. I haven’t felt that for a v-e-r-y long time.

And then I read this…

I actually closed the book and opened it again to make sure that the words I was seeing were the actual words on the page………it addressed all that had me tied up in knots and I knew this was exactly what I needed to hear.

Glenn, my kids, my parents…..I was carrying the weight of their wellbeing on my shoulders…….well, at least in my mind, and heavy in my heart. But I am limited, I have no control over what is taking place.

So I have to release them all to the only One who loves them as much as I do. I know, in reality, He loves them even more…..but, to be honest, I can’t even fathom that. Some things cannot be understood, they have to be revealed.

This too is not something I can make happen, nor am I expected to. Instead, the answer lies not in striving and struggling, but in rest. That place of rest, where the storm can rage all around me, but I am at peace.

Peace that doesn’t depend on the circumstances but rather exists in spite of the circumstances.

Peter walked on water, until he focused on the storm instead of the One that called him out to walk on raging waves.

There isn’t a “happily ever after” ending to this post. It’s not like TV where by the end of the show, all has been resolved and calm and order have been restored. This is a moment by moment pursuit. Some moments will hit the mark, some will fail dismally. But it’s okay…. It’s a journey. A pursuit of peace and rest.

I’ve never needed it more than I do right now.

The ties that bind….. This is us!

Every. Single. Week.

Who are the writers on this show? How do they know how to pull on my heartstrings in such a hit-home kind of way???

The bad week extended to this weeks episode and it didn’t get any easier. There was loss and grief, memories – both painful and happy, and the threat of a marriage break up.

At the end of it all, the siblings turned to each other. When times were hard, coping was hard, and the future looked scary, the first call they made was to each other.

There have been many times in our home where we had to pull together. We leaned on each other and shared our pain and our grief. When money vanished and the future looked bleak, we hugged, we cried, we talked, and we moved forward……united and together.

My daughter once posted something that epitomized the way we feel. It went something like:

“”I’ve faced challenges that were too big for me – but no problem has ever been bigger than my family”

Stephanie Cragg

This picture was taken at our daughter Katie’s wedding and it was the first time we were all together in one place after five, long, challenging years. Yet, in reality, we never were really apart. Forgiveness, compassion, loyalty, and much laughter carried us through, and does, still to this day.

Our troubles aren’t over. We have no way of knowing what lays ahead and we have no idea what other challenges we will face. But, whatever may come, we will face bravely……together.

To dispel any illusions, we are not perfect. We have fought and said and done things that we all regret, no one more than me.

Sometimes when you really love someone, you say the hard things. You challenge each other to dig deeper and you call out the bull$@it.

‘Perfect’ families, perfect marriages,, they do not exist.

But the ties that bind are forever.

Facing Fear, Finding Freedom….

Helping our children find confidence and courage.

I watched an amazing transformation the other night – from fear to freedom!!

My son’s dog is a 2+ year old Boerboel – a South African Mastiff bred to protect African farm animals from lions. So you would think fear wouldn’t really be an issue around the house here.

Our garage has been turned into a hang-out spot and the dog used to love coming out and sittiing with everyone. But there was an electrical issue and he got shocked a couple of times walking past the pellet stove. The issue was rectified, but that dog now HATED coming to the garage…..and when he did come out, he headed right for the door to go outside and when he came back in, he bee-lined it for the door going into the house.

This went on for months, and it was very sad because Gotti really wanted to be out there with us, but he just couldn’t bring himself to take the chance of getting hurt again.

So, we were out there the other night and my son called the dog out. He came hesitantly, cowering, practically dragging himself on the floor. Jeremy kept calling him and Gotti, so well-trained and obedient, came to Jeremy even though he would have rather done anything else but.

Jeremy praised him, played with him, threw his ball over and over……a. little further away each time. And, by the end of the night, Gotti was quite comfortable and happy, and now can come out and enjoy being with everyone again, instead of being stuck in the house by himself.

There are so many thoughts that came to mind…..

  • the trust in his master (so many spiritual implications here for me…)
  • the importance of facing the fear in order to overcome it
  • how often I let fear limit me
  • the importance of not waiting for there to be an absence of fear to do something, but to go ahead and do it afraid

I thought of our society, and our children. I’ve long felt that we are crippling our children by bubble wrapping them and trying to protect them from any hurtful thing in life.

I mean, we can’t even play the games or have the playground equipment anymore that we used to have as kids because someone might get hurt!!!

We reward for things that weren’t earned because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or damage their self-esteem.

We give everyone a medal even if they didn’t win.

We pass children on grade after grade, yet they never master the skills and knowledge that are required and were meant to prepare them for their future!

Where are they going to learn about real courage?

How will they experience the thrill of accomplishing something that they had to work for, try for, maybe even fight for?

Mom, Dad……I hate to break it to you, but you’re not always going to be here. One day, these kids are going to be living life without you and HAVE to fend for themselves. Do you really want them trying to figure all that out as young adults with the foundation of indulgence, entitlement, and coddling to build on?

They may have never actually worked for ANYTHING a day in their life!!!!

Their employer isn’t going to care about their self-esteem!

We HAVE to stop crippling our children!! They HAVE to learn to cope, to achieve, to earn, to work, to try, to fail and try again!!!!


We are not doing them any favours by ‘protecting’ them from the challenges of life.

Gotti was afraid of the garage… he owns it!!!!

Our Anniversary Weekend Away – Part Two

It’s all about the food….. 🙂

One of the first things I look for when we go away for something special, is a place where I can cook!! It truly is something I really enjoy, and I love experimenting.

Now I’m no expert…..not by a long shot! One of my dream vacations would be to travel around the world and learn to cook all the dishes native to each place. So many different flavours and interesting ingredients to discover!!

However, this could be a little tricky for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I HATE to fly!!!

So, if I ever get rich, I am going to build a cooking school and offer classes where the cooks come HERE and teach me/us!!

Until then, I hack around in the kitchen and cross my fingers!! So far, there have been no human casualties, and everyone here seems to still like to eat!

On the menu tonight would be a shrimp and scallop dish – something we’ve never made before. We thought since it was just the two of us (when does that ever happen?) this would be perfect opportunity. When we paid the cashier at the grocery store check-out, I knew why we don’t do this often and certainly not for the whole household.

I like to cook with wine……..sometimes it goes in the food…..but usually not. I actually prefer drinking wine while I’m cooking over having it with my meal.

So, I cracked open a bottle of red, put out some cheese and olives to snack on, and turned on some music.

This is my element!

Glenn, still not feeling well, took a well-deserved rest while I began the prep.

I really had no recipe, just an idea….and I had NONE of my usual herbs and spices on hand. So this was going to be somewhat of a challenge. But after half a glass of wine, I was feeling brave!!

Vegetables all prepped and ready to go…..

Beans went into the pan first, then I added butter for sautéing as well as a bit of water to create some steam. Then the garlic…….always the garlic.

Once the colour began to change and the beans started to get tender, I added the peppers and green onion, then about half a cup of half and half cream.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to cook the shrimp and scallops and knew that overcooked wouldn’t be good. So I waited until the cream sauce had started to thicken and then add the seafood.

I plated the greens in anticipation of the finished dish…

Once the sauce began to coat the ingredients nicely, I added salt and pepper and a few red Chile flakes. Then, we filled our plates and enjoyed.

I will add the recipe below and modifications I would have made in my own kitchen with a greater selection of ingredients. But we really enjoyed it…and the leftovers next day were even better!!!

If you try the recipe, let me know how it turned out.

Seafood Alfredo with Vegetables

Jumbo shrimp and scallops cooked with fresh beans and peppers in cream sauce.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 234 kcal


  • 1/2 lb fresh jumbo scallops
  • 6 large fresh jumbo shrimp
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • !/2 large red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions sliced
  • 2 tbs butter melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or to taste


  • Melt butter in large non stick frying pan.
  • Add green beans and saute until turning bright but still crisp. I added 1/4 cup of water and steamed as well.
  • Add fresh garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add scallops, shrimp, peppers and cream. Continue to saute until sauce begiins to thicken.
  • Add and adjust seasonings.


We made this dish when we were away for the weekend for our 34th anniversary.  We stayed in an Airbnb and my selection of herbs and spices was quite limited.  I feel added chives, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes etc. would really enhance this recipe, as would some good mushrooms!


Calories: 234kcal
Keyword Keto, Low Carb, Seafood
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Our Anniversary Weekend Away

We took to the road and headed to the Prince Edward County area to stay in our first ever Airbnb and take our first tour of some wineries.

The place we stayed was wonderful!!! It was the bottom half of a chalet style home. It was clean, modern, and had a great kitchen!!!

The first night we just snacked on cheeses and crackers, olives, and wine… I think I was meant to live in Italy!!

The next morning I made omelets, and we debated what we were going to do for the day since it had rained the night before, and Glenn was actually sick before we left. He had a sore throat and a terrible cough that kept him up for a couple of nights.

But the sun came out and we picked two places that had been recommended to us. The drive was over an hour through some beautiful country. There were lots of farms, rolling hills, and……..tourists.

Our first stop was at Waupoos Estates Wineries. We strolled around the grounds and checked out the grapes. This winery is along the banks of Lake Ontario and though it was quite windy when we were there, the setting is beautiful as are the store and the restaurant. They host weddings and events, and it would be a beautiful spot for a celebration.

The main entrance
Tasting room and store
Party tent for events and the restaurant.
Rows and rows….
There’s my red wine hanging right there….. 🙂

We then went down the road a bit further and found an artisan cheese shop. Along with regular dairy cheeses, they also sold cheese made from goats milk and water buffalo. They don’t keep the animals there, but buy the milk from other producers/farms.

Lots of cheese samples as well as cured meats available
Even the cheese store grows grapes!
So……..a drinking fountain right beside the port-a-potty. Yeah, definitely not!

We then visited the second place on our list…..County Cider Company. Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed and Glenn didn’t feel up to braving the crowds for a tasting. So we just got to take a couple pics and leave.

The restaurant with a patio behind that overlooks rows of grapes and the lake… There are better pictures on their website

So that was the end of our excursion. We took a different route back to our Airbnb along Hwy 33 and we were surprised at how many other wineries we passed along the way, including Sandbanks which looked huge!

Should we do this again……and we will, I would pay the money for a guided winery tour. You are picked up and chauffeured to four or five different places and can enjoy tastings without worrying about having to drive. I’m sure the drivers would be quite informative and we would get a better overview of the area and all that there is to see.

We picked up some fresh veggies on the way back and I got to make a seafood dish for our dinner and we enjoyed the best white wine I’ve ever had….one we got at the Waupoos winery.

More pics and a recipe coming in the next post… 🙂