"Good morning!!!!! Thank you for calling Stella's Bridal. Christine speaking, How can I help you?"
I took some pics of Stella's today for my mom...she wants me to send her photos of the store ("my workplace") because she has never been inside to "see me in action". I quote.  (thank goodness).  Personally I think she wants proof that i'm actually on staff as a RECEPTIONIST...i.e. a person who spends most of their day on. the. phone.
I guess her lack of faith in my ability to operate a telephone has something to do with the fact that I really hate to answer my own phone....let alone be solely responsible for answering two lines for 7 straight hours. (when two lines simultaneously light up I imagine I'm working one of those huge switch boards from the 40's. plugging and unplugging lines.... and really wish I could answer with a thick New York/  Bronx accent.."could ya hold a moment? I got someone on the uh-thah line ".
For some reason I refrain.
Yes, its true I'm not a huge fan of the phone. But money makes us do crazy things sometimes.
don't it?



Winnipeg Winters.
Can't say there are too many endearing qualities about them...
the skies are clear and the days are bright
sunny skies are nice.
too bad you can only enjoy them
from INSIDE your furnace-cranked home or workplace.
i love winter.
Seeing this made me scoff chuckle...

tricky i say.....
The only way to "embrace" our frigid temperatures of -35 (with wind chill making it feel like -69)....
is to dress in layers (throwing away any hopes of looking "stellar" while waiting for the bus- dressed in large puffy parka, ski pants, your husbands large toque and mismatched mittens-oh wait that's just me), wear wool (m.c.c in winkler sells new "woolen mittens" for $2!!! I always stock up because by February we rarely have a matching pair).
*wool lasts forever.... and reminds me of England (where they may NOT have life threatening blizzards but do have their share of bitterly cold winds).
And of course we must keep a ready supply of afghans, quilts, covers, blankets and comforters.....

(ready to provide warmth)... draped over furniture, over our beds, in our closets, our car, desk at work, possibly our purse, our child's back pack for school recess... yes,
EMBRACE the day my friends. Be ready.
DRESS WARM and smile at the sun.


she speaks of him again.

Losing a parent is one of those "gifts" (or wake up calls) in life where you recognize (like a hit over the head), how truly valuable time is with your children and loved ones. Yes, its one of those life lessons meant to be learned the hard way. Grief painfully and yet beautifully, reveals what COUNTS in our days. {What is that poem I love from Dead Poets Society, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may..."? I'll look that up later.}

This newly acquired "knowledge" of mine, has created a softer mother in me. I'm really trying to give the children more hugs than words of correction (when realistic), I'm trying a little harder to make them feel special in the every day, and trying my best to ensure they are aware of how incredible they are to me. *Of course ask my kids if I am any different and they will tell you I'm the same sleepy, have-no-energy-to-cook, chart-making, drill sergeant I always was...but I know I'm trying harder.
And that counts for something.

What if I didn't have any warm-fuzzy, happy memories of my dad?
(I know too well that could be my experience.)
What if there weren't any special recollections, unique traditions, or even just endearing *dad moments* that  he gave me (without maybe realizing it) to remember him by?
Now that he is gone...I have stories to tell about his character, traditions to carry on or write down, happy memories to relive in my mind and feelings of affirmation from words once spoken, to bring comfort.

I pray my children in years to come, will smile and feel a warmth in their heart when they recall memories from home....even if there were/are difficult (ok dysfunctional) memories, I want and HAVE to make sure there are plenty of good retrievable ones as well. Don't we all want that?
A last minute scribbled sign with colorful snacks to welcome my tired students home. They LOVED this. 


Breaking (it) down

I slept most of today...which has been good. I am learning to accept that my body requires tremendous amounts of rest. I always need a day to recover after a busy stretch...otherwise I break down (hide in my bed-I love my bed). The downside to this requirement is the overwhelming feeling at the END of my slumber, when the reality of completing unfinished TaSKS...and the perpetual, never ending to-do list...we all must face, hits me.
*GAK* (thats the sound my brain makes trying to sort it all out...).

There is a 15 minute window upon rising, where my mind decides whether it will crumple and become paralyzed (i.e. head back until I pick up the kids from school), OR become functional, and MOVE...by simply doing something small (putting in my contacts, pulling on jeans, making coffee). Even if my mind is not ready for the day, my body is helping it get there.

Today during the foggy 15 min. window, I shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed my pretty post it paper (dollar store beauty). With just enough determination and energy I jotted down some goals to complete in the rest of the day. Hopefully. Maybe.
Ok. I may not get them all done but I know I'm moving in the right direction.
And its only 2pm! 

To thine own self...

"This above all: to thine own self be true,  And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell my blessing season this in thee."
-Shakespear ("Polonius" -Hamlet)


a brief reconciliation

Mornings and I are not friends.

I rarely speak to mornings... and mornings rarely speak to me.
We have a nice system called the silent treatment.
Maybe you and your mornings have a similar relationship?

Today, however was one of those rare, brief, glimpses of a kinship between us...
where upon I considered my non-friendly/enemy (the early, school day mornings) to be
quite kind...and worthy of my attention.
*Packing up thermos' s of hot dogs, raisins and other non creative items in lunch kits, I took a sip of an extremely good cup of coffee!!
you know that first sip of coffee from a dry, parched (MORNING) mouth...when it tastes so good you have to say "ahhhhh"? 
yes. that was today.
{It never ceases to amaze me how the same number of scoops, of the same kind of coffee,
can make so many different tasting cups. This morning we got it right!}

*There were more smiles from the children than tears.

*A certain sweet soul agreed to wear socks AND a toque out the door...without disputing the relevance of such tight-fitting articles of clothing. victory!

*The rays of morning sunshine were blinding and bright -promising me a sunny day.
*I tacked up a crumpled drawing that had been discarded... it made me smile.

*I heard the sweet sound of birds chirping through my living room window (right before they froze to death)

Yes Mornings and I made peace.

For today.


moving on

We only have 3 (or 4) more months left before we move out of the house we've been renting and into a permanent HOME.
I like the sound of that.
Permanent. Home.

This fall we ended up selling the house that we were having built-the one that we were supposed to move into this past September. I will admit it was a bit sad for me initially, knowing that all the exciting decisions we I made for the new house (finishes, additions, size of baseboards etc. FUN!!!), and all the modifications we (yes "we") dreamed and planned, would actually never be ours to enjoy. Indeed...the kitchen had beautiful white shaker cabinets, a white subway tile back splash and vintage looking -"school house" light fixtures. How fabulous is that!
Yes it would have been lovely to enjoy.
So there was disappointment. 
But a new house (even with subway tile back splash) wasn't worth living in for me, if financial stress and more heavy burdens threatened to come along side and consume us.
I think we made a wise decision. We definitely don't regret it.

And so that chapter of uncertainty is drawing to a close.
We start actively looking for homes/ pounding the pavement with our realtor this week.
Should be fun...
I'm praying it won't take us too long to find the one just for us.

This is actually one that I have my eye on!
ain't she a beaut!

I complain

I like to complain-
to myself.
I tend not to complain at work
or with friends when we visit...rarely anyway. For that would make me seem-
And that would be unthinkable.
Oh but I make up for it in my heart.
Yes I do.
A lot.

Why this...God?
Why that....God?
Why now...God?
Why not...God?
I rage and I spit out my disgust.

I try to be thankful,
I honestly do...
but I hardly skim the surface of gratitude.
I neglect to acknowledge the abundance and goodness that my life overflows.
I neglect to show love and concern,
where so many in my life are in need.
By complaining, I become blind.
My sight is lost.

There is work to be done to improve my outlook and vision.
Work and study that has long been left and ignored.
I don't like to change or work at my attitude.
A heart of dissatisfaction is easier.

Yet I sorrow for my blindness...for not seeing the hurt in my dear friends and family. For not being present.
I sorrow for the friend I should and COULD be.
Instead of complain I want to proclaim
HIS goodness and faithfulness.
And see less of myself and more of others.
I pray.


The dream is gone

I ended up deleting the "perfect dream" post tonight after initially going back to add a few things, and edit it a bit.  I kept repeating myself and sounding confused and much more desperate then I intended.  DELETE!!
That's the beauty of a delete button. Starting over from scratch is always an option. Or just leaving the thoughts and perceptions be.


checking out the local market

yup, like the book/movie.
Its one of our favourites (heart-warming story with a great message), so of course taking a picture was the proper thing to do!

All sensationalism aside Winn Dixie was simply where we went today for groceries.
They have gluten free products.
Need I say more.

The family is in Florida for a few days of sun... and (hopfully) relaxation!
Good to leave winter, work and school behind for a brief respite.
Why do we live in Manitoba again???
Seems rather vague when one walks around palm trees in January.


Be happy

"Happy are those who are pure, for they shall See God".
See God.
What does that exactly mean?
To See beyond my circumstances?
My shortcomings.
My moods.
My lengthy list of aggravating "first world problems".
Its so easy to get down when facing the uncontrollable giants in life.
Yet its so clear in the bible where our hope lies.
Striving for purity as a remedy for  hopelessness and helplessness.
Maybe there is something to that?
Gee I wonder! ...(I say to my almost 39 self, moping around in wrinkly saggy skin...)
Maybe I should stop my self-pity for a change and tap into those promises!?


happy new year!

I started the year offf right with a plateful (2 already devoured when pic below was taken), of New Years cookies. Deep-fried doughy goodness with the sweetness of raisins. Delicious with a cup of strong coffee!

How did you bring in the new year?
With sweet and savoury culinary delights? With an attitude of optimism?
With a list of things to change? With a heart of gratitude?

A blessing for another year...

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