This Past Year…………

I have had such trouble writing this particular post- as words cannot describe the feeling of such a loss, or sum up the emotions we have endured throughout this year.. words cannot display the test on our faith, our marriage, our lives.

During this year, we witnessed my husband’s dearest mom suffer to more than I have ever seen someone suffer, and lose to a very aggressive cancer battle- in which she fought with EVERY inch of her body, mind, and spirit.   Aside from the obvious heartache that we all shared this Christmas season- I never realized all of the other emotions that entailed with losing someone so close.

All year, I had watched my husband go through all the stages of grief– anger, sadness, more anger….I tried to helplessly support and comfort him during those times, and remind him of our faith through all the moments of frustration, confusion, and hurt.

It wasn’t until the last two days of my mother in law’s life, that I was filled with such anger!  It hit me like a brick wall.    The reality sunk in, and that deep feeling of losing someone forever was horrifying to the point that it made me feel sick.

My dearest friend reminded me, right as I was going down a horrible path in my mind, that it’s all in God’s will.   It’s up to God for when it is time for us to go.   She reminded me to keep my faith.   I definitely needed that spiritual boost to get through those last couple of days, and the weeks to follow.

Two weeks after she passed, it was the Christmas season.   Definitely one of the toughest Christmases to go through– but it’s amazing what family can do to help each other during this time.

While visiting my family out of town, we attended Christmas Mass.   My 8 year old niece pointed out significant details in the church to our daughter- and what really stuck to Norah, was that Jesus was there.   She was so fascinated with Him!   When we all stood up at the start of Mass, Norah spoke loudly, “Is Jesus coming out??!!  Is He coming??” with great excitement– as excited as the kids were with the thought of Santa coming the night before.

Afterwards, I was explaining to Norah that we may not be able to actually SEE Jesus, but that He is in our hearts always, and I realized that that simple message sums up my lesson of this year:

Keep your faith strong-whatever it be-that is where our inner strength is found.

Keep close to your family and friends-those who are important to you- they will not be on earth forever..But they will always be in your heart.. like Jesus!

Until next time.. T. xx

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Be Forgiving…. to Yourself!

Well, for some reason I always come to my blog when I just cannot handle life for one more minute!  I really should go back to writing in my journal.

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Anyway, there’s an actual reason to this blog entry!  I went to the bank recently which gave me a self revelation;  I realized the one thing that I really struggle with is forgiving myself.

I am very quick to forgive others:  I try to empathize what they could be going through to help soften the hurt that is towards me.   Yet for some reason, I struggle with telling my own self that it’s ok.  To forgive myself for the stresses I’m going through.   That my mistakes were learning experiences.

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Right now our marriage is under a lot of stress.  My husband’s mother is terminally ill in a hospice right now, and with that comes a lot of emotions to process for all of the family during this time.

On top of that, our finances were ignored this entire year- the focus to pay off debt.   Mat leave was not good for us financially, Josh’s mom was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer directly afterwards, and then our car died last week…..it is safe to say that money and illness  are definitely in the top 3 stressors in a marriage.

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My mother in law is very well taken care of in the hospice and is surrounded by loved ones daily,  but  I have no idea how to comfort her, or my husband, or any of the family.  I feel completely helpless and constantly sad.

I’ve shifted my focus a bit on our finances to distract myself.   Even being a cost accountant by occupation, I realized that I needed help– a financial advisor.

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So I booked an appointment at the bank!   While sitting there combing through last month’s expenditures,  I found myself extremely defensive.  I think because I am mad at how we let things become.  We had lost focus on paying off our debt.  The worse it got, the more mad I became at myself.

After a talk with my financial advisor, I realized that my family has really been through a lot in the past two years and that I need to forgive myself and move forward!

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I am so glad I went to see her- as she had many tips and helped set us up with a 5 year plan.  Those advisors are so beneficial as they know all the ins and outs!

So, aside from the moral of this random rant (FORGIVE YOURSELF), the other lessons are- see a financial advisor at least twice a year, and for me- time to get back into journaling!!

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Until next time..T. xx

 

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Through a Toddler’s Eyes..

Now that Norah is transforming into this tiny little human, I am really noticing what that ‘innocence of a child’ phrase truly means.

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Her thoughts and observances are so simple.  “Mommy, look- the sky is blue!”  She was SO excited to show me that this morning, and even more thrilled that a crow flew by while we were looking up.  “A bird mommy! a bird!!! it’s FFLY-ing!” (she emphasizes her pronunciation sometimes.. almost like she is teaching me the word… so adorable)   

Well to me- I was not thrilled to see the pesky bird that is constantly scattering our garbage all over the road on garbage day…

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But to Norah–this was exciting/amazing/beautiful!   A black bird flying in the blue sky;  a simplistic picture of her view from our front door.

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I wonder how less stressful our lives would be if we removed a lot of the complicated thoughts and emotions, and observed life like a toddler.

Obviously we cannot be ignorant to the world around us now that we are adults and are aware of issues such as global warming, pollution, forest fires, war.

However, on days I feel overwhelmed in my adult life, I find it very refreshing to look through my toddler’s eyes- to remind us of the simple beauty surrounding us;  to remind us of how exciting it is to discover new things/ideas; to remind us of what truely makes us happy;  to remind us to be silly and laugh often..

 

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P.S. Rock discovery never gets old….

Until next time..T. xx

 

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Live In The Moment

Generally, I have always found it very hard to live in the moment; on a day to day basis, just enjoying each minute of the day.  However I am really starting to realize how important it is to live in the moment.  Right now, our family is going through an extremely difficult time-we have a very close loved one who has been battling an illness for a long time, and if there is one thing this is teaching us- it is to not take today for granted.

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Another family member, who lost his wife a few years ago, gave me the best advice that is forever stuck in my mind:  “the little quarrels with your spouse are useless; don’t waste your time together fighting, ENJOY the time together.”

I know this is easier said than done.  We can all get caught up in the back and forth bickering, but for the most part, what are those little fights about?  Will it really matter who is right or wrong next year, or 5 years from now?

The bottom line is, our life on earth is SO SHORT, and unfortunately some shorter than others.  And the kicker is-we don’t know when we are going to die.   I could walk outside tomorrow and get hit by a bus, and there is no way anyone could foresee that.

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So why spend our days fighting with those we love.  We should spend each and every day loving, living, and appreciating our next breath.

So next time you find yourself getting caught up in an argument, try and picture that being your last conversation with that person and remember:

Life is about making mistakes, not regrets.

Life is about learning, not arguing. 

Life is about appreciating God’s gifts around us, not complaining about what we don’t have.

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Give all your loved ones a hug today and tell them you love them.  Because all we have is today.

 

Until next time..T. xx

 

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Farewell to Winter…

Well, here we are mid-March, and even though in my town it has been -30 degrees Celsius the past few days, I honestly feel spring in the air!  The days are getting longer, the sun even feels a bit brighter.  We still have a lot of snow, but I know the grass underneath is eager to grow and spring is ready to make its transformation!


Whenever a season ends, I find myself somewhat nostalgic.   I reflect on the past season, and dream up plans for the upcoming one.  I think back to last year during this time, and compare with this year.. It’s like I need to finalize that chapter before starting a new one.


This past winter was spent really appreciating our families-appreciating the time we have together as life is short.  I found myself having great discussions with my mom about her past and our heritage (I am half Ukrainian) and I am so grateful for that knowledge that I can now pass on to Norah.  I also have been learning a lot from Josh’s mom- Josh’s childhood, her childhood- stories that should be written down and permanently captured!


Our life has comparatively changed in one year.  Last winter we had a wonderful Christmas. Josh’s parents slept over and we all celebrated Norah’s first Christmas together, matching red and black plaid pajamas and all! Josh, Norah and I then spent our first time in a hotel together as we adventured to North Bay to celebrate Christmas there with my family.  So many wonderful memories.


This winter has been different.  Josh’s mom became seriously ill in August, so these winter months have been very quiet.  We have been facing challenges and emotions that we have never had to deal with before- which has tested our Faith, the strength of our marriage, and for Josh especially- personal trials of hardship.


Thankfully, there still has been laughter and many fun-filled family gatherings  (which I tried to capture on film to create permanent memories).   Raclette dinners with my family, game/movie nights with my husband, spontaneous evenings with friends.. but one memory really stands out to me the most- Christmas Eve morning.  



What started off as a morning coffee visit at Josh’s Uncle’s house became an impromptu pyjama party, with many family members popping in to say hello throughout the day.  Josh’s mom was pretty under the weather that day, but there she was (she is such a trooper), with us all, laughing at Norah’s little charismatic attitude and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  I really feel everyone needed that boost that day.  I saw it in my husband’s eyes-a glimpse of happiness through the clouds of worry and stress.

So winter has had its challenges, but we managed to fill the gaps with laughter, love, memories, family, friends…and now it’s time to say goodbye to winter! 


As for spring- I think I will write about that once I see green grass, dry pavement, and unfrozen lakes!

Until next time..T. xx

 

 

Reflection: Be Still & Know

One bible verse that has always helped me through my anxiety is Psalms 46:10-

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For me, it is hard to be still.  To stop my every day motions and whirlwind thoughts, and to simply reflect and have faith that God has got this.  He has our backs.  We may not see why things happen or what the course of His actions are, but there are reasons and we just have to have faith.

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Rather than reflect on the ups and downs of this past week, I want to reflect on how this past Sunday, my family and I went to church and took one hour to be still (even Norah tried as much as she could for a toddler…. lol).  My mother in law, battling a grueling cancer right now, and suffering horribly painful side effects from her treatments, gathered strength to go be with God for that one hour the night before we went. When I had heard she had gone to church, I knew I had no excuse.

That one hour of reflection helped me refocus- to put everything in God’s hands, and I felt rejuvenated.  God’s got this!

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After church that Sunday morning, my family and I decided to enjoy this wonderful weekend- we spent time with my husband’s parents, aunts, and his dear grandmother, who enjoyed the surprise of us at her doorstep that sunny Sunday afternoon.  On Monday, we went for a walk with our dogs, and soaked up the spring-like weather that God blessed us with this weekend. (we have been getting so much snow, it was pretty exciting to see dry pavement!)

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I know that in time I will build myself up with doubts and worries all over again…but for now, I am going to Be Still and Know.

until next time…T. xx

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Reflection: Toddlerhood

As I compared pictures of Norah from last year to this year, I realized something- my little baby girl is not a little baby anymore!  Where did that time go?  It feels like yesterday I was carrying her everywhere with me, propping her up with pillows so she could practice sitting, spoon feeding her pureed foods, and (I miss this the most) swaddling her and rocking her to sleep.

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Honestly- where did that time go?

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In what seems like a blur of time, Norah now insists on doing everything on her own.  Her independence in one year astonishes me!!  Bedtime now consists of HER reading to US at least 3 stories (or the same story 3 times..). She only wants to use a fork at dinner (a spoon is so last year), even if it takes an hour to eat 15 peas.  She has to put her boots on with no help, brush her hair with no help (and all of ours-including the dogs),  and go up and down the stairs with no help!

Um hello…am I not needed anymore?  

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The good news is- she has replaced all of the joys that she brought to us as a baby with new, different joys!   She talks a mile a minute- and her little voice is so adorable!  She has gone from unpronounceable words to full sentences in the blink of an eye!   Always asking us questions and imitating our phrases.

She also is mimicking our parenting actions.   I saw her scold Josh with her little pointy finger one day (it is hard not to laugh at those moments) and she now does her complete bedtime routine for her little dolly each night (changing diaper, doing her hair, reading stories, putting on bedtime music)- so cute!

As she continues to change, so do Josh and I as parents.  Trying to evolve as she does.  We are definitely in uncharted territory right now.  Just as we became “baby experts”, Norah transitioned into an entire different realm:  Toddlerhood.

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This is an entire new world to us. For example, we now have to watch what we say at all times (you never realize how much you swear until a child repeats your every word)!  We also have started to hide eating certain snacks (ie chocolate, popcorn) because let’s face it- kids always want to eat what we are eating! (admit it parents- we aren’t the only ones hiding the junkfood!) 

and can we talk about temper tantrums for a moment?  WOW.   I love my daughter with all my heart, even when her little face turns red and her tiny lungs are screeching at me.  Most of these outbursts are due to the difficulty in communicating at that age.  She was an early talker so thankfully those tantrums will be short-lived.

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But then there is the power struggle tantrum.  Battle of the family- Parents vs kid.  Who will give in first!  These are the tough tantrums.  The ones where Josh and I have to help each other to not throw in the towel!  Survival of the fittest.   (I fear these will last a lifetime…..)

There are so many other elements of toddlerhood to expand on, but I think the most important highlight of this stage is the bond we have with Norah and how our love grows each day.

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Next up- potty training….  until next time, T. xx

 

 

Life as a Working Mom

cd907512eb0cc583b1e8a41f9aa44f0aWell, I haven’t written on here in ages.  My life has drastically changed as I went back to work and learnt a whole new adjustment of working full time in a high demanding job, and coming home to being housewife and mother.  This, along with other stresses such as loved ones becoming seriously ill, and financial stress (coming back from mat leave), it has taken 6 months for me to finally realize I need to reflect on this.

Having a child in my 30s has been a difficult transition.  I lived my life only worrying about myself, and then added pets and a husband- and now my little daughter is here, 18 months old and full of toddler energy.

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During the week we all have a routine in the house and it is a very busy time.  Before work we all rush around before leaving the house, and after work has completely changed.  I pick Norah up, we rush home and I make dinner within 30 minutes. (I will have to start posting 30 minute meals, I have really learnt a few good recipes on a very tight budget!)  After bath and bedtime routines, dishes, packing up the lunches for the following day, I struggle with sitting down and doing something for myself.

I look around, and the house isn’t in shambles, but my mind is whirling- there is vacuuming, dusting, laundry, all of the daily chores that are ignored throughout the week.  Why do I expect a spotless and tidy home when I have 2 shedding dogs and a toddler?   Why would I risk quality time with my husband and family just to clean something that will need cleaning again tomorrow?

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the only one who would pose under the tree

 

I have set expectations in my life that are completely irrelevant to LIFE itself.  I have loved ones battling serious illnesses- yet their focus is on the happiness in their lives.  It is truly inspiring.  It has taught me to accept my happy mess, and to enjoy the life I have and the loved ones around me!  Life is a gift, we should all appreciate it!

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enjoying cuddle time

 

 

 

 

Take a Moment: in Nature

Once in awhile, I will probably reflect through one of my blogs.  This particular topic has been coming to mind each time I have been on a walk and so I feel the need to share:

Life can become busy in an instant.  If we allow it, this fast-paced world can be so consuming, it can lead to exhaustion.

This does not mean to stop helping others, or to ignore our callings in life.  However,each day we need to take a moment to pause.  Our bodies, minds and souls all need moments, but it is hard to nurture all three each and every day.

I think nature is God’s way of helping us with that.  By taking a walk outside, in nature, I have found great solace.  My body is exercised, my mind is clear, and I am able to reflect in a beautiful setting- away from the highspeed life that surrounds me.  Angst and doubt are left behind, and I feel recharged. (Not to mention, our dogs have a blast as well, which warms my heart!)

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One of the most adored Saints, St. Francis of Assisi, considered all nature as the mirror of God.   What better place to go and refresh your body, mind and soul then outdoors, amid all of God’s beautiful creations.

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Job 28:10  ‘He splits channels in the rocks;His eyes behold all that is precious’