28 August, 2016

Glenwood, Alberta Canada

Uncle Mel at home in Glenwood
with Ruby Catherine.
We love you!   
We love Canada.  
Thanks for your kindness.

19 August, 2016

Mindfulness is...

 Thank you Jon Kabat-Zinn, for your research, dedication and gifts in sharing Mindfulness.
I am grateful.
Watching the clouds,
Observing a flower,
Feeling the sun on your skin,
Making eye contact and connecting with another,
The joy in your heart when your dog is glad your home,
Mindfulness is living in the present moment.

Mindfulness is not…
Chatter in your mind,
The thoughts you have of your annoying neighbor,
The things you say in your mind about others,
Worry about things that may go wrong at work,
Fear about things that will NEVER happen to you.

Our whole life is made up of moments. 
How will you spend your moments? 
All we ever have is the current moment that we are in- 
It is a gift.  Are you at peace with your Present?

Lizzy's 1st Birthday

I began my journey in Mindfulness 6 years ago, as I read Geneen Roth's,  Women, Food and God.
As with most things if life, learning to be mindful is a process that takes effort over time.  I have put much effort into practicing mindfulness- living each moment.  It is not easy, I am human, I still have to kindly reminding my chattering mind to live rather than anticipate, or fear.  Kindly, non-judgmentally bringing myself back to the present is something I work on everyday.

And now after losing my daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzy) in 2014, I see even more clearly the value of mindfulness.   All of  my efforts to live each  moment are a blessing.  Before she died-  I strived to be present with her, to love her (verb), to enjoy her.  And now that she is gone, heart wrenching and difficult, I have used mindfulness to brave the darkness.  To be in the moment with my pain.  I have let myself grieve rather than bury it deep inside.  Is this difficult?  Absolutely.  I brave darkness everyday, I feel pain and hurt, and longing.    Yet somehow, I also feel peace.

What is the alternative?  Burying my pain.  Not allowing.  Pushing it away.  Pretending it doesn't exist.  This just creates underlying fear and  anxiety- the opposite of peace.  And no matter what the pain of losing my baby girl exists.  pretending, pushing it away, only creates fear. The opposite of peace.  I choose peace.   I choose to live in the moment.

16 August, 2016

You Are My Sunshine

Grandma Ardy and Elias 2006

Grandma Ardy died at her home today after suffering a second stroke.
She was a light in my life, her kindness will be remembered. Her mother sang her the song "You Are My Sunshine",  she then sang it to her children and grandchildren.  Years ago I rewrote the lyrics as a birthday gift to her.  And then updated them again for her funeral.

You are my Sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
And now you know dear, how much I love you.
We’ll be together again one day.

I love you so, Sweet Grandma Ardy.
Your kind heart stands supreme. You fill my cup. It runneth o’er.
You are remembered in my dreams.

We are all blessed to know and love you.
Your sweetness fills the heart.
We feel your spirit, and know you’re near us.
May your love from us never depart.

Your gentle kindness it overcomes me.
I am so grateful for your love.
You are a blessing sent straight from heaven.
For you, I thank God above.
Happy Anniversery to my best friend.  My life partner.  I love you.

02 August, 2016

Māori hangi - a real taste of culture

The Bean Family invited us to join them for a Hangi-  or Haangi
We love the Beans-  
Māori honor the earth and recognize that the earth is the giver of all life, from the soil came food and that same food was cooked beneath the earth.
Our food was burried with hot coals-  Here Eric lifts out the feast basket-  Pork, Chicken, Potatos, Sweet potatos,  Good people, good times.

01 August, 2016

One Month on the Road

We're in Idaho.  One month on the road went by quickly.  Lots of events.

-We said good bye to Grandpa Henry

-Grandpa Henry died

-Grandma Ardy had a stroke, we spent time with her at University hospital in SLC

-On our drive to get on our ship to AK, our truck broke down in Burley, Idaho.

-Grandpa Cory came to save us and brought us his Prius

-We stayed with our dear friends from old days in Kansas-  Mat and Karin Bean in Gig Harbor, Washington

-We made it to our port and set sail to Alaska

-Alaska, green. therapeutic.

-Canada-  Vancoover, BC Harker-Armstrong Family Fun

-Olympic Peninsula, Yurt Camping Cape Disapointment Harker-Armstrong family

-Astoria, Oregon

-Portlandia, OR- VooDoo Donughts

-Back to Idaho to get truck fixed

University Park Bear- Dead

"I killed a bear today Oh What a man am I! We the experts knew just what to do When the bear did not comply." "...