My year at school

Tomorrow is the last day this school year with my kindergarten children. I feel sad but I know that each one of them is ready for Grade 1. This year has been a different year for me not one I expected. I never know what each year brings. This year I worked with a boy with autism. I’ve worked with young children for over 35 years and in all those years I’ve never worked with a boy with autism. In the Early childhood education world of a child has autism or is hired out to the most qualified person. That was never me. Even though I have been challenged this past 10 months, I have loved this opportunity to work with this boy. He’s an amazing child who I’ve learned a lot from. Even when I didn’t know what to do my teacher I worked with this year she’s amazing and I learned a lot from her.

Each child in our class also taught me many things. I find it amazing that children can create cats, rabbits, back packs, purses with paper. We have some amazing creators. I love their creativity and how each of them will help each other. I love the creative things made from magnetic blocks, Lego, and the endless car tracks with jumps and other creative ways to make the cars go faster. I love all the coloring there was lots and endless making of food in the kitchen.

These children loved books and often could be found sitting in a chair reading to friends or adults reading. I loved the games of go fish, candyland, snakes and ladders. There was always lots to do in our class and my teacher had resources. She’s an amazing caring lady who always puts her students and families first. Her heart is huge and what a privilege to work with her this year. I will miss her a lot but glad I can go visit and I appreciate all that you have taught me this year. We had fun, we laughed when that’s what all we could do. Humor is an Amazing tool and children love to laugh. I’m proud of each of them for sticking with things when they got really hard and never giving up. You guys rock. Have a good summer and I look forward to seeing each of you in September.

As the year closes I reflect on our school. So many people come and they want to stay and say how much we all work together as a team. Our school is strong in teamwork, communication, team spirit and that each person cares so much for their students. I love that we have a Labradoodle who comes in to our school and works with her owner who is the school counselor. Tilly is a huge part of our school. She is loved by everyone. We have amazing office staff and our principal is amazing with the children. The children love that he’s part of Tour la rock this year.

 

It’s a two-week, 1,200-kilometre bike ride for a team of first responders and people from the community who raise money for children and their families affected by pediatric cancer. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the biggest community event on Vancouver Island — unifying every community from Victoria to Port Alice as we rally together to support children who are battling cancer. Our school is a huge part of our community. I love that.

I’m honoured to part of it. Even when your challenged in something I Believe it makes you understand more and helps you teach children even better. ❤️

Fighting for what you Believe in….

Last night I watched the movie The persuit of Happiness with Will Smith and his son Jayden Smith. The movie is about a man who fights hard for his dreams but has many hardships in his life. One of them is that end up homeless and I love how he distracted his son and made this tough situation fun for his son. He protected him and the young boy just trusted his dad. Will took on an internship at a brokers firm and had no money coming in. Every day he would drop his son off at daycare and go to work. He worked hard all day getting clients and then would pick his son up and go to to the homeless shelter and while his son slept he studied. I’m the end he got a job at the broker firm and for money he sold his medical scanners. It was tough and when though so much was thrown at him he never ever gave up. It’s a very inspiring movie and one of my favorites.

I heard an amazing Sermon this morning from Life Church. It was about attacking anxiety. It was about fighting back and being a fighter and going after things that are important to us. Even through our exhaustion we can fight for what we believe in. It’s not our strength it’s God’s strength. Now is the time to fight. Like Will Smith he never gave up on his dreams no matter how hard it was. He was exhausted. God wants us to get into the battlefield. Get in the car or like Kim Meeder says “Get in the truck” that’s the first step. I have a rock in my car that I painted at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in June 2019. It says Get in the truck. It’s a reminder to me that I have to keep fighting for what I Believe in.

Ephesians 6:10 God encourages us to put on our Spiritual Armor so that everyday we are prepared for any fight that comes our way. When we do this we then feel PEACE, JOY, REST, CONFIDENCE, GUIDANCE, PROTECTION and GOD’S POWER. Shawn Johnson was the pastor who talked this morning in Life Church. His book is about attacking anxiety and how he encouraged us to 30 minutes a day to listen to worship music and pray about whatever God lays in your heart.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

I love God’s promises He will walk with us no matter what we are going through in our lives. I’ve had to fight hard my whole life to get to where I am today. I’ve done things that I was told I would never be able to do. Those were lies. I’ve fought hard to be successful and I’ve never given up ever even when it was hard. I have trusted God and amazing things have happened. ❤️

Feeling loved

I have the best community of friends and support. Sometimes I forget but God reminds me. I have tons of resources for all the things I need in my life. One of my friends tells me often that I have a person for everything. She’s right I do. I know a lot of people and I use them for what I need in my life. Recently I learned about tapping. I’ve been feeling a lot of stress in my life and my stresses often wake me up in the night. Tapping is an amazing resource that we all could use. It calms me straight away. Here is an awesome article on it and how it lowers your cortisol levels.

https://www.the-well.com/editorial/what-is-eft-tapping

It’s amazing how relaxed I feel after tapping it’s easy when children could do it. I read they use it for people who have PTSD which I have. Since doing it I’ve had two awesome sleeps and not woke up stressing about things. I love it and started reading the Psalms and writing down how they apply to my life. I was getting bogged down with things that I can’t control. I realized that I can’t worry about those things. I need to focus on the things that I have control of and trust the other things will work out the way they are supposed to.

I have awesome friends who love and care for me so much. I love each of them. Those include my American and Irish friends. I have a great church community and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. I have a Life group of amazing woman. We meet on zoom every Tuesday night. I’ve met with some of them for 6 years now. We are a group of women doing Life together. I have amazing people I work with. Two of them are really Special in my life and we eat lunch together everyday. Even when school is done we will hang out together. I love when you connect with people the moment you meet them. There are other great people at school and they make school a better place.

I miss my American friends all the ones I made from the places Luke and I lived in and those that are at Crystal peaks youth ranch. I miss them a lot. I have lots of friends in Central Oregon I’ve not seen in 3 years. I can’t wait to see them again. I love that I got to see my childhood friend from Ireland about a month ago. That was awesome. I love Karen and her husband. I now am ready to go back to Ireland and visit them. God sure has blessed me so much in my life. Lately I’ve been holding my friends close. 🙂Thank you for being part of my life and helping me live this life. Love you all. ❤️

Homeless

I’ve been avoiding writing this part of my memoirs because it brings up lots of pain. Lately I’ve been struggling with my finances ever since I had to move twice in 8 months. I felt like I was finally ahead and had some savings. I never planned that after I moved the first time 6 months later I would be asked to move. God has provided me with an awesome place to live and I’ve been really blessed but financially it has put in in debt and its so hard to get out of it. I often feel stressed about it but know that God looks after me. One of my friends today gave me the verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). So God is in control of this situation just like he’s been there in all the situations I’ve been in.

After we moved out of the home we lived in for 10 months, Luke and I could not afford first and last months rent and we had no budgeted for rent because we got free rent for caretaking the ranch. The time came for us to move and it was in May and we found a Campground next door to where one of my friends lived. We set up our things and we had a storage space so we could get all we needed to live. We had heat and extention cords for light and we had a big tent with two rooms in it. My biggest fear in life was feeling unsafe. Luke worked all day so we had money for food and to pay for our stay. The lady who owned the campground let us stay right by the washrooms and they had the best showers. At first I felt like we were on holidays and it was fun but month after month we lived there. I lived in that campground for 3 months and it about broke me.

Thank goodness I had Liberty my golden retriever to help me when I fell into a deep depression. I could not get out of bed she often would crawl into bed with me and lick me and snuggle up close to me. That’s what made me get up and I would walk over to see my friend and her family. Thank goodness for them. That helped me forget I was homeless. From all the things I’ve been through in my life I never ever imagined I would have no home. I hated that I couldn’t lock my door and because I have PTSD. It got super heightened and I became so jumpy. The other crazy thing was I was pretty close to the Canadian border so now I realized I could have reached out to my family. I didn’t because of the frame of mind I was and that I felt such shame. I was angry at Luke for not protecting me. He told me he would and he let me down and my trust for him stopped. He told me this was all part of God’s plan. I still struggle with that. This was one of my fears in life and now it was a reality. I ate my feelings and slept lots and felt massive depression.

After 3 months I cried more than I ever wanted to. I felt hopeless and had no idea how to get out of this mess. We had a friend of ours give me money and I flew back to Black Mountain, NC. I stayed with good friends of ours at the time and while I was there for to stay with more of my friends on the weekends. That was good and I liked that but I was far from Luke for the rest of the summer. Liberty had to stay with our old neighbours up beside the ranch we looked after. I missed her so much and she missed me. I know that because after a month she’d wander off to find me. That three month tenting stint my family had no idea and at the end of the summer Luke drove back with Liberty and we found a home to rent. Our marriage was never the same again. Many of my friends told me that was not God’s plan for us at all. I have my thoughts on it. That whole move and everything that happened made people question Luke. Even though it was hard I made friends that I still cherish to this day.

As I was stressing today about money I felt God wanted me to write this blog to put my life into perspective. Yes funds seem less right now but I have a roof over my head, I have an awesome job, I have my family nearby and I have the best friends one can ask for. I have an amazing who I love with all of my heart. He’s the love of my life and I have a rabbit who I love very much as well. I’m blessed to have a lovely home and well I have many blessings. The other thing is there are so many people who have it worse off and I needed that reminder of where I have came from to now. Thank you God for that reminder. So even though this blog was hard to write I see so much light in it. Puts a whole spin in perspective.

Leaving NC to go to Washington State

I had lived in NC for four years it had become home to me. I had made many friends and had a church family. I had made it my home so leaving to go to a whole other place was hard. My friends were struggling with the decision for us to go. Luke felt that God wanted us to look after a ranch in Washington State. In fact it was close to the Canadian border. Osoyoos is the town that borders the American border. I love that area both in the American and Canadian side. The ranch was 3,000 feet up from sea level. We had a double wide log home to live in which sat at the edge of the property and it had the most amazing views. The property the guy owned was massive 2600 acres. He was a man who had lots of money and lived in Seattle. This was his holiday home. It was a huge 4,000 square foot home. Our job was to look after the property and when he came to clean it. We lived rent free but when he came he demanded a lot and Luke was at his beck and call. The other problem with that was he treated us horribly. We were the hired help and he had high standards.

His home was lovely and the property as well. We walked out daily and discovered cool things antiques on the property. It was so peaceful up there and Liberty our golden loved running in the fields. She loved that ranch. The sunsets were glorious and we became fast friends with Emily and Dave who lived next door to us. I loved them and their children. They had a farm so I got to see kittens, puppies, lambs been born, bottle feeding lambs. I’ve day Luke and I happen to go down and check in one of the sheep. Good thing we did she was having a tough labour and we helped her fine birth and Luke had to help deliver a Lamb that got stuck. We named that Lamb Grace. There were horses and cows. I hung down at Emily’s as much as I could. Luke built them a covered porch for their log home. Emily used to tease me that I was a city girl.

We found a cute little church in the town of Okanogan County. We made fast friends there as well and that church was amazing. I will make another post about it. It deserves its own post. I love the countryside around there. We made friends with Kathy and her family and we often went to visit them. Kathy and I became fast friends. Every week we’d go to the library and get coffee and hang out. She was an amazing cook. I loved her family so much. The winter time was great. We tobogganed down the driveway of the ranch. The snow was dry so it was easy to drive in. I loved the winter time. The ranch was about 45 minutes away from the main road so it was very isolating. I’m so glad I had Liberty. She was my saving grace. I missed my family so much. I chatted with them every week but my nephew was born while we were gone. I didn’t drive so I relied on Luke to drive me everywhere. I was lonely and I started eating as a comfort. Even though I had made friends. I wanted to go home and visit my family.

I started to feel depression sink in. I talked to Luke about it and he always said this is where God wants us to be. How can you argue with that. I always heard that. It made me cringe. I just went inward. We lived there 10 months and then we were asked to leave no notice he had found another person. We had done a really good job but he didn’t want us anymore. We had not budgeted for Rent. In the US they want first months and last months rent and we could not come up with that much money. We could not find a place and it April so it was still cool out at night. We had nowhere to live. That is such a horrible feeling. All those feelings just came rushing back to me….. Even though we always moved lots I always had a roof over my head. Now we were homeless all of a sudden.

The witness blanket

Yesterday was the first indigenous film festival. Wow it was very enlightening and tough to watch. It was about the people that were in the residential schools. Those who survived and those who lost their lives. A team of people who lived in the schools went back into them each one was from a different one and they went back through the rooms and remembered the horrific things that had happened to them. How they were treated and how they survived stealing food and how they got extra food. They each recalled the stories. It was so hard to hear. At one stage I was thinking why are these residential schools still standing they bring back so much pain. Then when the people went back into them. I could not imagine going back into that horrific place and remembering how they were treated.

It was so hard to see and hear their stories and being taken from their families and even when they had siblings they never saw them. Families were ripped apart and destroyed. Each of the people said that what happened to them was not going to define who they were today. I love that because no matter what they endured they now can speak out so that people know what happened to them. They talked about forgiveness and healing.

I found this explanation about the witness blanket online ”

” Strewn in the wake of the Indian Residential Schools are an immeasurable number of broken or damaged pieces. These fragmented cultures, crumbling buildings, segments of language, and grains of diminished pride are often connected only by the common experience that created them. Imagine those pieces, symbolic and tangible, woven together in the form of a blanket. A blanket made from pieces of Residential Schools, Churches, Government buildings and Cultural structures. A blanket where the story of each pieces is as important to its construction as the wood and screws that hold it together. A blanket with the sole purpose to stand in eternal witness to the effects of the Indian Residential School era. A system created and run by Churches and the Canadian Government to take the “Indian out of the child.” Left alone these pieces will be forgotten, lost, buried or worse will be uncomfortable reminders that leave painful impressions on the minds and hearts of those who recognize what they represent. Individually they are paragraphs of a disappearing narrative. Together they are strong and formidable, collectively able to recount for future generations the true story of loss, strength, reconciliation and pride. “

The stories of the people were painful but through the blanket comes forgiveness and healing. After they collected the pieces I was so glad to see they knocked down the schools. I was amazed how many of them were right in on the side of the highway. The film was very well done. It triggered me especially hearing that they were told that they were stupid, ugly and going to hell. Those things hurt to the core of your sole and how they had to survive by stealing food whatever it took to get through their nighmare. I think every Canadian needs to see this film. It needs to part of our Canadian history. I’m so glad healing has begun for all of them. I could never imagine haying to give up any child.

Blessings and Love ❤️

My heart is really heavy lately. Seems like all those I love have major things going on with them. Love it hurts so much but without love in our lives we would have no relationships. I know the more we love the bigger our hearts become. Those who know me know God has given me the biggest heart. I care so much for those around me especially those I love. I care so much for the children in my school but I also know they care about me as well. In our class we have a high five thing going on each time they see me they come over for a high five. We started it during Covid and they have kept it up.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel so many emotions. Lately I’ve been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I realized I gave no control over what happens to those I love but I can be there for them no matter what. I can pray for them. Today I was reminded of my favorite verse ” but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar in wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. God uses eagles to let me know He’s in charge and He’s got this. Today I got to help my family and despite it being so windy today and it’s crazy out there. I got to pray and hang out with those I love.

Ever since I moved it’s been hard financially for me I never seem to be able to catch up. It feels super overwhelming and instead of keeping it all bottled up I asked people to pray about it. God always provides and money always comes so for that I’m truly blessed. I realized I can’t change cancer, Covid, dementia, or whatever other stresses I feel but I can reach out to God for His peace. I have amazing friends that often step up just when I need them. I’m blessed for so many things.

I realized that when you count your blessings you can only feel gratitude in your heart. ♥️ Love is powerful and yes it hurts but it’s so worth it. We need to love more and be kinder to each other. I love our school it is all about unity, respect and diversity. We all matter no matter who we are. We need to be loved just how we want to be loved. Thank you to all those who are in my life that make a difference in my life everyday.

Forgiveness

I heard a Sermon on Sunday about forgiveness. The part that struck me was the pastor of Life Church Craig Groeschel his sister had been sexually abused by a man that tore apart their family. It devestated them all and it took years of counselling to try and make sense of it. I’ve heard him tell this story before. Craig talked about wanting to hurt this man who did this to his sister. It left him really angry and years later after it happened out it was either this destroyed their family or they would turn it around. They decided as a family to forgive this man for what he had done. This man never said he was sorry to any of his victims. Craig’s family wrote him a letter explaining why they were forgiving him and his nurse read it to him on his death bed. All they know is the nurse and the man were very moved by the note. Only God knows what happened next. Healing then begin in Craig’s family and even though forgiveness was really hard it was the key to freedom.

I could relate to this story in so many ways being hurt and abused so much as a child by so many different people. The hardest for me was what my dad and step mom did to me. I thought Parents protected their children not put them out to the wolves. There’s so much I just never understood but forgiveness was what changed my life. It’s not me forgiving them so they get a pass on what they have done. That now is between them and God. For me it was a decision I had to make because they held power in my life. I was caught in addiction and I hated them so much and every time something happened I would fall back into addiction. God showed me one day brushing my teeth that my heart was black.

Hate was killing me inch by inch. Through prayer with a friend I was able to forgive both my dad and stepmom for what they had done to me. Afterwards my life changed and I even prayed for them once in a while. That chain that weighed me down so much was cut off and this year I will have 5 years of sobriety. Addiction fell away and love filled my black heart. ♥️ They are right when they say that love Changes so many things. My life changed so much and now I live everyday in Freedom. It was the hardest decision to make but it turned out to be the best one. I live everyday in Freedom and redemption.

Childhood friend ❤️

On Thursday I got to spend the day with my best friend from childhood. We did everything together including getting into trouble at school. Friends were hard to come by at school so when Karen and I bonded it was awesome. We reminisced about her walking me home sometimes from school even though she lived further then I did. She wanted me to feel safe because I often walked down this dark path home. My step mom refused to give me a ride when she came to school to pick up her children. After some drunk guy chased me. Karen would walk me to my road it was an hour or so out of her way. She’s a friend I could count often.

She had no idea until years later what had happened to me as a child. Nobody knew but she was always there for me.

I picked up her husband and her from one of the cruise ships that had come into Victoria that day. After huge hugs I took them back to my home and we had coffee and water. They spoilt me with many gifts and I took them to my favorite restaurant. I realized as we drove there that this was Karen’s favorite as well as her parents. We phoned them after lunch to say hi. Lunch was fabulous and quiet. Food was awesome. Blue’s Bayou you did not disappoint. It’s a really small restaurant in Brentwood Bay right on the water and they serve food from Louisiana. It’s such a small fun plane to eat.

We laughed so hard and the Irish lingo was great. So good to see them both and catch up. I’ve not seen them in 11 years. After lunch we walked down the walkway to the dock and took photos. I then took them to the town to Sidney . We walked downtown and we went to the Sidney bakery and picked up goodies. On the way back to the car I was so blessed with a big bouquet of flowers yellow and white. They were beautiful 💐. We took our baked goods back to my house again and hung out more. Then we drove back downtown to where their cruise ship was parked and there were two ships in the port as well. We walked around down there and saw the other ships. We then went into a store that sold tourist things. Karen giftedness with a picture of a bald eagle sitting in a tree. I loved bald eagles they are very significant in my Spiritual life.

I knew the day would go fast but it was just what I needed to laugh so hard and be with two people I love very much. Her husband is really funny and he’s got bad puns. Such a great day. I was treated like a queen. I’m sad they are gone but looking forward to their photos of their cruise up to Alaska. I will go now and visit them in Ireland. I’ve not been back since 1988. I’m ready to go back now. Karen and her family are like family to me. I look forward to that day. Love you guys thanks for an awesome fun day. ❤️😎

Unconditional love ❤️

I just spent the last evening and this morning with my step dad. Many of you know he has dementia. I’ve not spent the night in a while and it’s amazing how much he changes in 3 months and huge changes in 6 months. I had to run an errand before I came to him yesterday and as I drove by I saw him and his respite worker standing in the corner looking at the new buildings that have been built beside them. At first I didn’t recognize him because he looked much older and then realized it was him. It’s different seeing him in his home. I forget he’s 83. He was shocked yesterday that he was that old he told me he thought he was 60.

I love this man with all of my heart. He’s been my dad since the first time I met him and he continues to be that father figure in my life. It’s hard to watch him struggle when he gets confused or is not sure where he is. Despite his memory loss he’s one of the greatest things I have in my life. I love this man so much. No matter what he can’t remember he remembers who his family is and this morning we looked at photographs and pointed out every photo of his wife his best friend, the special lady in his life. He admires her so much. I love that love he has for her. Unconditional love. ❤️

I love spending time with this man. He’s funny and says funny things. He’s often more serious but he’s wise. He loves picture books with photographs of the area around here and Vancouver Island. He’s been to so many of the places and reconizes them from the books. His heart is huge for so many things and his love of music never fails him. He knows what most of the tunes are. I realized a while ago that it doesn’t matter what he remembers or not he’s the best thing that ever happened to me and I treasure our times together. Until the next time dad. ❤️