Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gnarly November

What a tangled web of emotions you weave. Democracy and hope was restored and our country sighed in collective relief. A portrait of my beautiful country was captured in a Cabinet rich in diversity and representation. Pride restored.

I celebrated the births of my first and second born; babies morphed into strong warrior women in their thirties. Wonderment and disbelief and the greatest love I've known.

And in between, we remembered lest we forget. And just as we pulled the poppies from our collars, Paris exploded. Terror reigned and horror flashed relentlessly across our televisions. The crisis in Syria fell of the radar. Racism rose to high tide as fear fueled mistrust of immigrants and refugees. 

Are we like CNN - capable of only singular focus? Can our hearts and minds not expand to meet the great humanitarian need? I hear people say that our Prime Minister's first duty is to Canadians. I disagree. We are citizens of the world; one people. When our brothers and sisters suffer; so do we all suffer. Let's not talk of closing doors on people trying to escape the horrors of war, seeking refuge. Let's keep welcoming, open hearts. Islam didn't commit these crimes; extremist criminals did. 

And in and around all of this, my dear brother-in-law buried his brother and my aunt fought the good fight to transition to a new life. She is a survivor and reminds me not to take my health and family for granted.

My kids didn't like it, but I always reminded them to say good bye as though it was the last time they would do so; not to leave anything unsaid, because one day, it would be just that -- the last time.

Oh November, you've twisted my heart into more contortions than I thought possible... great joy, jubilation, celebration, shock, awe, and heartache.

But hope remains intact. 

Monday, October 19, 2015


Tonight I will sleep well knowing that democracy is alive and well in this great Canada, the country I so dearly love.

We voted in record numbers for change; to have our uniquely Canadian values restored; to recommit to our peace building ways and respect for our environment and to regain the trust of the world.

Democracy is a sacred right - one that people around the world fight for and even give their lives in the process. We in Canada enjoy this democratic right and often, we take it for granted. We even get complacent.

But not tonight. We exercised our rights and voted. And we united in a strong decision.

I will sleep well tonight.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Few Good Reasons

The early morning is my favourite time. My work day starts with a drive into the glorious canvas of the sunrise. Barns and homesteads are silhouettes on the hill against the backdrop of sweeping strokes of grey, blue and orange. I resist the urge to snap a million pictures while I drive and opt to take mental captures of the beauty. There is something sacred or mystical about dawn, and witnessing the world coming slowly to life.

And now the first place I head in the morning is out to our sunroom to gaze at our pond, which is now pretty much completed. I slide open the door to listen to the sound of the waterfall and the birds that are acquainting themselves with the new addition to the property. The chipmunks have made a game of running under the waterfall and Fritz has decided that drinking from the pond is tastier than his water bowl.

Funny - the pond is completed just in time to put it to sleep for the winter. And next spring we'll have the wonderment and joy of witnessing the new plantings take root and bloom. So much to look forward to. So much to be grateful for. We really have created our own little piece of natural paradise; a place of peace.

This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving and our village's fall fair. The maples are already a blaze of fiery orange, yellow and red and as I sit here, the leaves lazily flutter to the ground -- living up to the name of season - fall. It's going to be jam packed weekend with two famjams and the fair. I picked apples from our tree yesterday for my apple crisp and the butternut squash sits ready to be converted to delicious soup.

Despite my best efforts to stay healthy I got the flu! It flattened me for two days and today I am finally up and about, feeling exhausted and coughing up a lung. But I am optimistic that the coughing will help clear me, and the family will be good medicine. We're all going to be together and soon our new house will be christened into a home once the laughter and chatter of our loved ones fill these walls and new memories are made.

I really don't have to look far for reasons to be grateful.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Day four of our pond escapades and it's starting to get real. When it was first dug Hubby seemed disappointed citing that it seemed smaller than he'd imagined. I got him to drop down into the hole and picture himself swimming in it. Low and behold, it seemed larger than he'd expected. Funny what a change of perspective can do.

Meandering home after work on country roads lined with corn fields, haystacks and grazing farm animals to my place of peace is a dream turned reality. The ride home is decompressing time; reflecting time; singing time (tapping rhythmically on the steering wheel and maybe a little head bobbing). And these days my prize at the end of the day is seeing the progress made on the pond, and each day, the progress is astounding.

I find myself settling into our rural life. The house is starting to feel like a comfy worn slipper - familiar and cosy. And we are all adapting to the new rhythms and routines of our family. My one hour commute is time to connect with my dad and sisters (all up before 7 am). Thursdays are reserved for dinner at Dad and Mama T's and on weekends we try to connect with some faction of the fam. We are all looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving together as most of the kids can make it. We'll all be together and the chatter and clatter will ring throughout the house. Hubby's side of the family are also having Thanksgiving with us here. Doubly blessed. Houseful of love. So much to be grateful for. And I am.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Truth be Told

This is what I know to be true...

Optimism is like a burning ember that just won't die; and if fanned, can ignite into possibility.

Life is unfolding as it should; the detours and bumpy roads are necessary to teach us most what we need to learn.

At the end of the day; in my final days, it will be the connections I have made and the relationships I have nurtured that will matter; that will be my legacy.

Authentic friendships can cocoon you in unconditional love and unyielding support, without the need of an ask, when you need it most.

We teach people how to treat us.

The most important rule to live by is "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you".

That which I treasure most, and is a rare commodity, is time with my family, especially with my three precious treasures.

A house, regardless how beautiful or majestic, is simply wood and stone until it is welcoming, and love and laughter permeates the walls, and memories are made.

This I know to be true...

That this physical, earthly life I am living is my theatre to play out that which I must in order to experience, learn, be tested and evolve to my highest, best possible version of myself.

This I know to be true...

I have so much to learn.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Summer decided to hang around for a few extra weeks and the weather has been phenomenal. Crisp clean warm air and sunshine - all perfect for pond digging! Hubby has been enamored with the idea of a natural swimming pond ever since he learned about them. When we discussed selling the cottage to move to a country home, one of my requests was to have a water substitute. The natural swimming pond with its regeneration zone that cleans the water without chemicals hits all of our hot buttons. We scoured YouTube, watching every video on natural swimming ponds that we could find. They are a fairly new phenomenon here in Canada and we were lucky enough to find a local eco-landscaper experienced in building them.

After only one day, the outline of the swimming area was defined and a shallow hole was dug. Day two revealed much more progress and we could visualize the final product. Hubby worried that it all looked a little smaller than he expected, but when he ventured down into the hole, he brightened up. We will skate  before we ever swim on it... and we have to trust that our landscapers know what they are doing. I can't wait for the final product... beautiful plants surrounding a luscious swimming pond and me sitting on the end of the dock dangling my feet in the cool water.

The vision is ours to ponder - and ponder it we will; and along the way, we will be grateful for the blessings in our life.

Day 2

Day 2 landscape

Monday, September 14, 2015

Easing into Wonderful

Last summer fling
Three weeks into our life on an unpaved sideroad -- in a century-old schoolhouse - and it is finally feeling like home, and not like I'm waking up in a cosy bed and breakfast. There is still much to explore around the property and endless images to capture. Work on the natural swimming pond will be starting soon and with any luck - we'll be skating on it by Christmas.

But in the meantime we will have to dig out our tall rubber boots and be prepared to navigate the muddy mess that will be ours on the journey to our landscape wonder. No pain - no gain.

This weekend Hubby made some amazing progress on the painting, with the help of his bestie. The livingroom that was shrouded in early dungeonesque decor has been transported from dark and dingy to lightness and bright! There is still much to do, and in the coming months I will remind myself to cherish each and every moment. I am easing into wonderful, and for that - I couldn't be more grateful. 

Some reasons for my happy...

Secret canopy in wait of a hammock.

Snow apple anyone? The yard smells like a cider house.

Wetlands beauty

The edge of the property...into cornfield territory.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vacation's Over

After two weeks off to enjoy Lyndsay's wedding, and get moved and unpacked in our new home, the vacation ended and I returned to work. Not gonna lie... it wasn't easy to get up at the crack of dawn and leave the comfort and beauty of the country. But surprisingly, the one hour commute flew by with little effort as I eased myself into the vistas of grazing horses and sweeping cornfields.

It seemed like a lifetime that I'd been away from the office, and the signs were evident: a heartwarming welcome back poem on my office door - and the other not-so-nice reminder -- the aged banana left on my credenza. YUCK!

Yup -- all signs point to -- the vacation's over!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I'll remember the summer of 2015 as the summer that never was; and the summer in which everything changed. We're moved. Sounds so simple and easy to write, but the truth be told, in the past three months I was tested to my limit, and survived by looking only at what was in front of me at any given moment, and not too far ahead. "Eye on the prize" was our mantra as we juggled the responsibilities of our life, keeping all the balls in the air. I've never felt so exhausted and depleted in my entire life.

But it was all worth it.

As I packed my life into tidy little boxes I resisted the urge to revisit memories of what was, avoiding the emotional upheaval that comes with leaving a home of almost twenty-eight years. The empty rooms echoed with the laughter and chatter of little girls and countless famjams, and shadows of heartbreak still remained. But I couldn't help but smile as I excavated precious treasures -- baby teeth left behind by a forgetful Tooth Fairy; Kidlet's will that she wrote when she was thirteen; notes and lists written in my mom's handwriting; and old journals. I was truly moved.

In the midst of preparing our cottage and home for sale, we were in wedding mode with my eldest daughter Lyndsay marrying her sweetheart Jenny. My family and I love any opportunity to celebrate and rejoice together and I didn't want the wedding overshadowed by any anxiety or fatigue I was experiencing. I needn't have worried. The ceremony was deeply moving  and the love that filled the space was palpable. The wedding was like being in the eye of a storm -- calm and serene and FUN.
The eye moved on and we moved to our new home two days later.

It took a village - but we made it and came out the other side. Our parents showed up offering support, food and drink and we christened our new home in fine form.

The very first night that Hubby and I took possession of the schoolhouse, we slept on a blow up mattress so we could wake up to the view of the cathedral of trees and greenery. We didn't get much sleep, but it did not disappoint.

And as I sit here amid stacks of partially opened, unpacked boxes, and a chorus of crickets chirping, I feel overwhelmed in the best possible way. I marvel at the goodness that life has delivered to me and I am grateful. Grateful and moved.

PS- I'm back!

Went to sleep amid the chaos of unpacking 

Woke up to this view

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Earn it to Deserve It

How ironic that the book I have been reading on my travels includes the story of Job - a man who was tested beyond belief. Tonight, at the midnight hour, I find myself relating...

Okay - I suppose we cannot compare having your tribe wiped out and being cursed with seeping sores with having the washer flood, the landscapers forget the curb appeal part of their contract, flooring that won't stick, wallpaper that won't unstick and icing on the cake -- having the  pitter-patter of little feet - paws - romping across the ceiling. Yup - we got company, and just in time for us to get our house ready to list. Hubby has been working around the clock to get our place ready to sell.

Don't get me wrong -- there's been progress - new carpeting, three freshly painted bedrooms, one partially upgraded bathroom, overgrown trees removed and the hedges trimmed. But we've miles to go before we sleep --literally.

And it doesn't help to be doing most of this after the work day when we are tired, although we have had the help of our families. As I was mopping up the laundry room floor with already musty towels to the tune of hubby cursing the tiles he was trying to match to the uneven wall, it occurred to me that we are really earning our new dream house. We have to earn it to deserve and by Job -- we deserve it.

And now - I will officially call this pity party to a close. And tonight as I lay to rest my weary bones, I will give thanks for all that is to come.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Once again, an outcome that seemed to profoundly disappointing, was just a stepping stone to one that was better than we could have imagined. For months hubby and I fixated on what we felt was the perfect country home for us. We decorated it, developed the property and spent countless hours discussing the possibilities of this "perfect" home. But it was not to be.

When it sold to someone - not us - my experience reminded me to trust that this outcome was the best one for us - that something better was in store. My heart was right.

Hubby and I will soon be the proud owners of a historic stone schoolhouse with four lush acres on a quiet country road, minutes to the quaint village we love. A magical property more than 100 thousand dollars less than we bid on the other house.

Sometimes the universe has something better in store than we allow ourselves to dream. So dream big. And be grateful. And tonight I was reminded - and filled with gratitude. I predict a very good night's sleep.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


It is more than 150 years old - steeped in history and limestone. This historical country school house is on my dream pursuit list. Hubby and I have been scoping it since it hit the market and when we toured it up close and personal, it did not disappoint. It is a special property - four acres of lush that includes century old trees, perennials, lilacs, fruit trees and even a babbling brook.

It will be an hour commute - time to practice my Swahili - which would be a challenge in winter. But I want to try. I don't want to NOT try it because of fear.

This weekend my eldest daughter and her love moved to a new home three minutes away. I know they will soon start a family and she wants assurances that we will all remain close and engaged as a family.

Change is inevitable and can be unsettling but if we embrace it, we can make it be a catalyst for something even better. I have one eye on our next adventure with the other on ways we can preserve and even strengthen our relationships with our family.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Slow Time

If all goes according plan, our lazy weekends at the cottage are numbered. But for right now - it is still ours to enjoy. We drove the three hours Saturday morning; Friday night after a very l o n g   work week would have felt rushed.

On the drive up north, I glanced up from my book occasionally and snapped my mental shots for posterity of the very familiar landmarks and roadside sights. The rugged, raw beauty of the steep granite rocks that flank the highway seem ed to usher us along on our way to our little piece of paradise. I wondered how many times more I would take this drive.

Saturday was a chilly overcast day - dead quiet on the lake. Hubby and I slipped our hoods (that's why we call it a hoodie) over our heads to keep the black flies at bay and headed for the dock. With not a neighbour in sight, the illusion of being the only ones on the lake was complete. We leaned back in the Muskoka chairs, legs stretched out and quietly reminisced.  The lake had delivered every hope and dream that we'd had when we bought it. Now we must let it go to make room for another dream. The chill in the air meant a fire was in order and Hubby stoked the flames until we turned in.

We awoke to the sunshine flooding the room. The weather was nothing short of perfection - clear blue sky, brilliant sunshine and 25 C temps. A gift. Perfection. And a first -- the first dip of the season in the frigid lake.

It's funny - minutes tick by slower; colours are more vibrant; songbirds provide the soundtrack; life is good at the cottage. Nature is a balm for the soul and a day at the cottage is like a mini va-cay. It occurred to me that we have to find a way to recreate the tranquility of the lake when we are away from it. To slow it down a bit. There are the same 24 hours in a day - whether here or there; the trick is to be in the moment, to be mindful of my surroundings, to drink it all in with all of my senses, and to take pleasure in living fully in the present. Slow time. That will be my new speed. And for all the time I've had immersed in nature, I am truly grateful.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Breath of Fresh

I was burrowed away in my office, juggling my seemingly endless to-do list listening to the raindrops pelt my window. With a trusty alibi, I contemplated skipping the lunch hour walk that I am committed to with our current workplace healthy walking campaign in full force. It was raining - no excuses needed!

Then - as suddenly as it started - it stopped raining and the skies cleared. I made like Clark Kent and changed into my super hero walking costume. I plugged my peaceful tunes in my ears and walked boldly out the front doors, leaving my bruised banana and sour apple behind. I started humming along with John Denver, "Sunshine on My Shoulders" (my favourite) - and I may have been singing too, judging from the strange look the lady at the bus stop threw me. I could feel the tingling of happiness creeping in,,,starting with my toes and moving up my legs. I broke into a slow jog -- maybe more of skip -- and the heaviness of stress and angst lifted with every step.

Maybe it was spring fever. Colours seemed more vivid and the air, a little fresher than normal. My senses were on overload and the world seemed to be sending me little messages. I couldn't help but feel cheerful as I walked through the pink tunnel painted with school kid messages.

It was only thirty minutes but it was enough to energize and relax me for the rest of the day. As I changed back into my office appropriate attire, I had a few words with myself - and promised to make moving a priority - all cajoling aside!

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Five years ago Hubby and I went out on a limb; make a snap decision; and boldly bought a rustic cottage on a tranquil lake (that means alot to both of us) -- without even stepping foot inside. It was perfect for us, and we knew it instantly. After visiting the bank for suggestions on how to buy a cottage with no cash, and after three days of it being listed, we owned our dream pursuit.

Over the past five years we enjoyed every moment we spent in the cosy cottage, inhaling the kind of peace that only comes with being immersed in nature, swimming in the pristine lake and cherishing those quiet moments that inspire creativity.

But Hubby and I want something more; we want our tranquility to last past the weekend and we want to fall asleep and wake up to a chorus of birds chirping and crickets singing. We want to live in the country. So this weekend we listed our beloved Falconridge. And as if in support of our difficult decision, we were blessed with one of the most private and peaceful weekends we have had in two years. It was truly special and just want we needed. We worked hard to get the place in shape for showing. Hubby exhibited his Herculean strength in lifting the dock ramp and connecting it to the dock, and lugging the Muskoka chairs and canoes down to the lake. He admitted that he was grateful that this would be the last time he had to do it.

Then we exhaled. We reminisced about the wonderful, special times we'd shared at the cottage and then turned our focus to the future. It will be hard to let go of something so special, that had become a part of us, but we both agree - there is something exciting for us in the future. A new dream. And the pursuit of that dream will be thrilling and invigorating, just like all the rest. And that is what makes life so rich and wonderful. Life is good.

And for that, I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stop the Presses

Photo credit: Theresa Brown

He wrote every day, religiously recounting his Arctic adventures, doing his best to recall details; to paint the colour and details in the story. And then he asked me to edit it. That was months ago. I would pick it up, peel through twenty or thirty pages, smoothing out the kinks, preserving the voice, removing random spaces and punctuation - and then weeks would pass. I had a myriad of excuses when he would tentatively ask me "how is the book coming along?". I was busy; work was crazy; I was travelling; I was tired at the end of the day; "I was working on it". But the truth was  - I felt terrible. I could see the sense of urgency he had about getting his book completed, so he could share. And I was holding him up.

So I put this little project of ours at the top of the list, and got it done. It's not perfect. There are some random font changes and a few typos. But the story he put to paper is all his - imperfect and real. And over the past months (maybe even years) that we have spent discussing and collaborating on his project, we have spent precious tine and shared special moments together.

The excited email that I got from him telling me how happy he was with the books, and his note of heartfelt gratitude -- priceless. And for all of that and more, I am truly grateful.

My dad is a prolific blogger. Check out his blog to read more of his adventures and musings: Peering Through a Porthole

Monday, April 20, 2015

Top of the World

Inuit sculpture in front of a building
My work took me to the top of the world last week. Flying over the stark frozen tundra and then landing in Iqaluit to the frigid Arctic elements felt like a homecoming of sorts; oddly familiar.
I had my boss in tow who was eager to see and experience all the far North had to offer.

The exquisite beauty of this place is borne from the life, art and spirit that has emerged and endured what appears to be a harsh, inhospitable environment. We were met with the smiles and shy nods of the Inuit people who hosted an influx of 600 to their tiny city of 6,000. We befriended the security guard named Israel who served more as our willing concierge than anything. He motioned to his uncle Lazarus (the interpreter for the conference) to ask where we could find Moses, the elder who made ulus. Lazarus figured that he was probably still at the deli having coffee with the elders, but offered to take us to his shop on the break so we could check out his wares. He did not disappoint. In amongst the metal dust and well worn grinders and tools we found more than ulus - we found pride of workmanship and friendship. We had an easy banter with our new friends and they sent us on our way with a happy heart - the lighthearted happy that comes with connecting with another human being on the most positive terms.

It was -29 degrees Celsius for most of the trip but the community was warm. I happily snapped photos with my phone as we moved about the city. And just maybe I was singing "I'm at the top of the world..." (in my head, anyway.)

 And now I share a few of them with you for your viewing pleasure.

Iqaluit Airport

View from my hotel facing the harbour
Walking about the city
Contemporary art -- he's on a cell phone!

Same sculpture from a different angle

Government building - art is everywhere

Hand made ulus

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Got the Message

There are times in your life when you find yourself at crossroads or mired in strife or stress. It is tempting to slip into self pity or flirt with defeat. After all, it's not your fault that you've become the object of difficult times. It's easy to forget our power, who we are and surrender control.

And then there are times when the message you need most to hear (or read) lands right in your lap. My mom used to tell us that there are no accidents; and last week as I was running out the door to catch my flight to the Arctic, I grabbed a book from my "need to read" pile. It was Power, Freedom and Grace by Deepak Chopra. The first sentence of the first chapter read "There is a reason you were drawn to this book". And it was absolutely true.

I delved into the pages slurping up every concept and devouring the message that I was sure was meant just for me. It was good medicine and took me back to a period in my life in which -although more hectic and challenging - I seemed to float above the noise and lived more fully in the moment. I felt more connected to my source and attracted more goodness that I felt I deserved.

I was reminded that I need to provide space and stillness to hear that which comes from the deepest part of myself, to reclaim the power and control that is mine, to remember who I am and that I am capable of anything and everything. Everything I need is within me. I am creative. I am love. I am complete.

I trust that my life is unfolding as it should, and that every challenge is a test of my faith and an opportunity to evolve to my highest self. I got the message. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thunder and Sun

Thunder is rumbling through the house. It's been raining for two days - the grey, misty, cold damp kind of rain. I shouldn't be surprised... April showers and all. But I am weary of it all.

It feels as though we've been living under a misty veil of stress lately - our lives consumed by work. It makes the days fly by; it makes life pass too quickly. And I don't want moments, days to be fleeting. I want to savour experiences; enjoy each moment and swaddle myself in the love and companionship of those souls I have conscripted into sharing my journey with me. 

I long for sunshine to chase the gray away. And I don't think it'll be long. The thunder has subsided. And the sun is always there - whether we see it or not. We just have to believe we'll see it shine again.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Perfect Order

from the outset doesn't
unfold in an orderly fashion or
take a direct route.
Rather -
It unravels -
distracting, disturbing and challenging us -
taking us on detours, places we need to go
to get the experiences we need
to learn and grow.
To evolve.

delivers pain and angst
pushing us to our breaking point
showing and reminding us
just how strong we are
filling us with joy and happiness
rich textures and dazzling colours.
What appears as utter chaos
is in fact perfect order
realized in hindsight or
With faith.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

To Life!

It's Easter Sunday. So much to celebrate! And I'm not just talking about the Cadbury bunny that is missing some essential body parts. The dust has died down after the Easter famjam; the leftover leftovers are nestled on the second shelf in the fridge, the folding chairs are folded and stored, far away family members are back home and my heart is as full as my belly. 
Me and the Sibs. Photo courtesy of LRC
It was a special weekend. Our family of twenty filled the house with raucous chatter, laughter and dancing.  Me and the sibs got down with Uptown Funk much to the horror of our kids. Or maybe it was the bunny ears... they really have to learn to loosen up.

We gathered for a family picture before dinner... kinda like herding cats. Just as hubby counted the shot down - a unison of "we're getting married" rang out. There was a clear second of silence before the ensuing chorus shrieks and screams. My eldest daughter is going to marry her soulmate. Another family first - a same sex wedding. The family swarmed the couple and cocooned them with good wishes and all the love they could muster. 

We live for these monumental moments! And it is not lost on our how special it is for us all to be able to share them together. I couldn't help thinking about how proud and pleased my mom would be for her namesake. 

We wrapped the weekend with an impromptu dinner with hubby's mom and dad. We missed them and got our fix. We drove home satisfied and contented with the world.

And so it was. Another life affirming, family centric weekend. And if I could raise my glass, I would toast - to life! It is indeed good.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Birthday Presence

Today I am fifty-five. Seems strange to write it; to see it in print. How is it possible?

I am the same age as my stepmother was when she moved here to be with my dad; as my mother-in-law (in heart) was when I first met her; and as my mother was when she got her lung transplant.

Birthdays cause me to reflect on my life, where my journey has taken me, and to marvel at the irony, excitement, and speed at which it passes.

Most importantly, it has me counting my blessings and the gifts in my life. I sat at the end of the table as hubby walked towards me with my favourite vanilla cake ablazing (adorned with NASCAR rings -- the only white cake they had) as a table-full of loving souls serenaded me.

I blew the dust off this neglected blog and gave myself a gift. I've missed my blogging, my search for the "take away" and gift in each day. My daily posting used to help me reset my compass, tell myself that which I needed most to know, and express myself.

At fifty-five I am disease-free - a little stiff and inflexible, but not on any medications stronger than the odd Advil. Added bonus - a pair of muffin toppers that defy camouflage and saggy bits on my face that don't defy gravity.   I have good friends and a huge loving tribe. I share myself with a kind, deeply caring man, have a job that is meaningful and fulfilling, and learn something new every day.

I am living the life of my choosing; of my own desire. It has provided adventure, taken me on detours, delivered surprises, and pushed my boundaries. It's been a physical stage for my spiritual development, providing me with the circumstances and challenges to teach me what I need to learn.

I appealed to my loved ones to donate to Good Hope as gifts and they all came through in spades, including my work family. I love that they so willingly support an organization that means so much to me, simply because it is so.

So today, on my birthday, my heart is full of gratitude for the privilege of growing old (a privilege not bestowed upon all) and I resolve to continue to squeeze every drop of living out of each day.

It's the very least I can do.