She was there.

I feel so happy.

I’ve just had a three-day visit with Shannon, one of my very best friends.  She flew from Calgary, just for the weekend; a quick little getaway to use up some airline points and get in some girl time.  She left her husband and two young boys at home, and when she left my place yesterday afternoon, she said to my kids,

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me.”

Such an interesting comment, and so applicable to this stage in our lives.  You see, the last time she visited Burlington was in the Spring of 2009, when I was a brand new, first-time mother.  On that visit, she had her husband and 18-month-old son with her, and they came specifically to meet my newborn.  I was still trying to figure out the new version of me, and the balancing act that comes with parenthood.  My memories of that visit are scarce, muddled amongst sleepless nights, non-stop nursing, and piles of laundry.  But she was there.

Her visit before that, in Spring 2006, is also foggy for me, but for a different reason: my bachelorette party.  Shannon and my friend Sarah flew in to surprise me in Toronto, only a few months before my wedding.  And as a control freak and a planner, let me tell you that I cannot be easily surprised.  But they pulled it off, and whisked me through the TO club scene with a crown on my head and a bachelorette sash around my neck.  She was there again.

Shannon and I have been friends for nearly 20 years now.  We met in l997, at the University of Calgary, when we lived on the same floor in student residence.  We were both raised in small-town, rural Alberta, and had a shared love of sports and boys, with some Type A stubbornness and ambition thrown into the mix.  When we went back to our respective hometowns for our first mid-University Summer, we cried like we were going off to war, and when we returned back to school in the Fall, we celebrated like the Uni students we were.  We’ve been through breakups and heartaches, cross-country moves and graduate school, weddings and babies, mistakes and accomplishments.  We’ve travelled to Milk River and Sundre, Red Deer and Edmonton, New York City and Toronto, Vancouver and Vegas.

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me,” she said, and my heart was full.  Because she gets it.  She gets that my primary role around here, and to those little people, is mom.  She also gets that my other roles are wife and chiropractor and friend.  She knows the back-story that wrote my story and the blocks that built my life.  She’s a part of my foundation, my memories, my past, my future.  When the big stuff happens, she’s there.  And when the little stuff happens, the stuff she doesn’t see because we live so far apart, she books a trip East to see for herself.  “What do you want to do while you’re here?” I asked her when she booked her flight.  “I want to see your life,” she said.  So I showed her: she saw bedtimes and school drop-offs and CrossFit and downtown walks and hot tubs.

She was there.  Just like she’s always been.

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My Cup Runneth Over

“So, what did you do this weekend?” I often ask my patients on a Monday.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love to hear about what people are up to and what makes them tick; the “people part” is the most enjoyable part of my job.

When patients returned the question back to me, I found myself saying that I had a “low-key weekend.”  “It was quiet,” I’d say, “we didn’t get up to much,” or “there was lots of downtime.”  And yet, when I replay my weekend it was anything but quiet:

  • I ran 18km with one of my best friends at 6:00am on Saturday morning.
  • I worked until 1:00pm on Saturday afternoon.
  • I snuggled with my kids and watched a movie on the couch.
  • We went to our dear friend’s for dinner on Saturday night.
  • We went to church on Sunday morning.
  • We went apple and pumpkin picking on Sunday afternoon.
  • I sorted and purged both kid’s closets, dressers, and bookshelves.
  • We did some Fall planting and yard cleanup.
  • We watched all three Jays games on the edge of our seats.

Throw in some laundry, some food prep, and some housecleaning, and it was a full, busy weekend.  So how is it that I feel so refreshed and rejuvenated?  I think it’s because I love to do all of these things (minus the housecleaning).  Find what you love to do.  Do it.  That’s the trick.  A happy life is built upon time well spent.

My daughter’s Kindergarten class has been talking lately about the concept of “bucket filling” and “bucket dumping.”  Bucket fillers are people (and things) that make you feel good and content, while bucket dumpers are people (and things) that make you feel bad.  She excitedly tells us about the bucket filling tickets she earns at school by cleaning up, helping a friend, and sharing.  She’s proud of those tickets, and she’s learning to be a bucket filler herself and hang around with others who fill her bucket.

My bucket was filled up this weekend.  “My cup runneth over,” I texted my friend after our early Saturday run, and it’s true.  I’m full of gratitude for the life I have, contentment for the life I’ve built, and happiness for the life I live.  I’ve had this image saved on my phone for weeks, and I finally get to use it today:

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I hope you get to fill your bucket this Thanksgiving weekend.

***And I hope that Marcus Stroman is a bucket filler for Jays fans when he pitches tonight.


A List of Happiness

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from my “A Happy Life” post last week (if you missed it, you can read it here).  I love when my blog strikes a chord with people, and I love it even more when they take the time to let me know their thoughts.

One person in particular really touched my heart.  Remember my Auntie Carol?  I’ve written about her before, and about the special role she plays in my life.  Well, she lives on a farm in rural Eastern Alberta, just outside of the teensy town where I was born.  I spent much of my childhood time on her farm, and it’s the setting of some of my fondest memories.

Following my post, she sent me a list of the things that make her happy.  This list was something she’d been working on for a few weeks she said, scribbled on a notepad by the computer.  Just jotting down happiness thoughts, not for a blog or for Facebook, or for an article….. just for herself.  She shared her list with me, and has given me permission to share it with you.  You see, our lives are thousands of miles apart and our day-to-day activities could not be more different, but what struck me about her list was the simplicity of it. b7081851e49a47b24ce844f4ed3cfa84

“Yes,” I thought, as I read it.  I nodded along to every point.  I think it’s the simple things in life that bring joy to all of us.

Here’s her list.  I hope it inspires you to make one of your own:

  • The awesome song of meadowlarks
  • ‘Explores’ in the coulee with the grandchildren
  • The tickle in my finger from a newborn calf’s suckle
  • Eating fresh peas from the vine
  • Tobogganing in the coulee
  • Watching the kids jumping bales with the dog
  • Friends stopping in for coffee
  • The taste of raspberries off the bush
  • Canada Geese flying low over the house
  • Baby calves running around in the corrall in the evenings
  • Watching the kids slipping and sliding down the slope of the lawn
  • Enjoying the spring bouquet of crocuses that my husband picks for me
  • Playing ‘hide and seek’ on 4-wheelers with the grandkids
  • Kids helping me make homemade pizza
  • Fresh corn on the cob
  • Coffee and cold drinks on the deck with my daughter-in-laws
  • Hauling bales on a beautiful October afternoon
  • Decorating cookies in ‘Grandma’s kitchen’
  • The peace and tranquility of my 6am gardening
  • Trips to the pasture at Sounding Lake
  • The wonder of fresh rows popping up in the garden
  • I feel so Lucky and Blessed to be living in my beautiful ‘little corner of the world’!!

Me too, Auntie Carol, me too.

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