Halloween in Ireland

I’ve never been a Halloween person even dressing up. I find the whole holiday unsettling. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up. In Ireland for Halloween the Celts celebrated ” All hallow tide – the feast of the dead, when the dead visited the mortal world.” The celebration marked the end of the summer now into the winter. We celebrated some of the Irish traditions. One of my favorites was called Barnbrack Cake. It’s called fruit bread and each family member is given a slice. Inside the bread are items a rag, a coin and a ring. If you got the rag it meant that your financial future was doubtful. The coin meant you looked forward to a prosperous year and the ring was a sure sign of romance and happiness. For dinner the night of Halloween we ate a traditional dinner of boiled potatoes, curly kale and raw onions. Clean coins were wrapped in paper and placed in the potato for kids to find.

We had pumpkins like we do here but we would put them in our windows to keep our out the wandering black smith. It was a symbol of protection. We also dressed up in costumes but for me it was always a holiday hung over my head. My family used it as a punishment for me even if I had not done anything wrong. I would often dress up with my siblings and at the last minute I was not allowed to go. I still remember that feeling today in my heart. After trick a treating we would go to a friend’s home or we would do a big bon-fire at our home. It was always huge. The bigger the better with the fire.

Even though I’ve been in Canada for 31 yrs I still have a hard time with Halloween. We celebrated at school yesterday and the children love it lots of cute costumes and the teachers dressed up. It was fun to see them but Halloween often seems like a blur to me. So tonight I will enjoy the children dressed up and make the most of it. What kid doesn’t like candy and fun. HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE 🍬🦇🎃👻🍭

Young children are funny

The children at school crack me up often they are funny what comes out of their mouths. Last week we were standing in a line to go outside and one of the kids said his eye brows were tired. 🙂 The children are excited because Halloween is on Saturday and so we’ve started doing Halloween fun things. Today we did Halloween math with pumpkin erasers, ghost ones, bat’s and witches. They had to count them. Then they had to create stories with their erasers. One of the boys his story was cute. He said one day there was pumpkin and his friend the ghost came by and oh now there’s a witch. Other stories were it is Halloween👻🦇 out rolled the pumpkin🎃 and it sacred the ghost👻 and then the witch came to put a spell on him.

I love the innocence of young children they find things outside that we would just cast off as nothing and create things. Today the kids were out making soup with chestnuts, grass and plants. Lego can quickly be turned into pumpkin soup. I love the curiosity of the children and how when we read a story they ask what different words mean. I love to hear they laugh at funny things they do. One of the girls made a heart with her Lego pieces and said it was for her teacher and me.

I really love working with these children it’s such a great place to be. I love that I can help them learn and grow and just be there for them when they need me. They have big emotions for being so young. Coming up I get to take a communication course with two of the other kindergarten teachers to build the bridge between me and the teachers on how best to support our children. Young children are the best. Everyday I learn something from them and they keep me laughing. My job is the best. ❤️

Love and pain of leaving

Today was a day I did not look forward to but like so many things in our lives sometimes we must say goodbye. I love the above writing about love and the pain of leaving. I especially love the part about if we avoid the suffering of leaving we will never experience the joy of loving. Love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than dispair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking. If I did not trust this person then I would never have experienced the love, caring and compassion I got out of this relationship. Love does hurt so many times in my life. I believe when someone leaves from our lives that God opens other doors.

I’m now so much stronger then when I first came into counselling. My life was very unmanageable. Addiction was huge in my life and my life was a mess. I bearly could hold it together and totally in denial about needing to give up my addiction. I was bitter, angry and full of hatred. I blamed everyone around me. I was the victim. In six years I turned my life around I took responsibility for my actions, I found accountability which it was always hard to keep consistent in my life. I needed someone to challenge me when I tried to lie or step out in addiction. I fought tooth and nail to keep addiction in my life saying that it was fine and it effected no one. I could get around my accountability app and then continue my behaviour. I was challenged often in those times and my counselor still stood beside me and cheered me on after many times of falling. She helped me see how God sees me. When I stood in shame she encouraged me to love myself.

Whenever I really needed her she was there for me and would call me if I really struggled. So many emails and someone I could just reach out to. She stood by in my sobriety, encouraged me to write my memoirs and helped me in my marriage problems. My relationship with her was really special and she’s an amazing woman. I feel privileged to have been her client and now with three years of sobriety and a whole tool kit of resources and things to help me on this journey. I have friends who I can turn to when things get rough. Again I’m glad I opened my heart to this person even though the pain is hard, my life is changed for the better.

So if your struggling with things in your life I highly recommend finding a counselor that you trust. My life was changed for the best. It took a lot of hard work and sweat but I wanted so much to have freedom. Today I live in Freedom. ❤️

Reconizing trauma in others

I never thought I’d ever say this in my entire life, but I’m glad if I had to experience trauma in my life, that I could recognize it in others. I always knew I was very observant and in tune with people and children. I reconize the signs of stress and anxiety. This insight is helping me so much in my job. This week I learned that if a person has not experienced some sort of trauma in their life, how can they see it in others. It can be missed so easily and if it is then how can we help the people we work with.

My experiences help me pinpoint areas that I can give insight into. I’m glad that I can help others. Trauma effects so much of our lives that can impact one, for the rest of their lives. If it is missed then it’s a crucial part of someone’s life. I don’t usually tell people but I spoke up yesterday and said I have knowledge and experience with trauma. I’ve seen many children struggle with different things in places I’ve worked in my life.

I can tell many things about people and children I meet. I can tell from how they act / behave. Having PTSD I see the fight, flight or freeze methods of coping. I see the avoidance of tasks that seem overwhelming. I see the ones who fight because that’s all they know how to do. Fighting is a survival skill. I see hunger and how hard it is to concentrate on anything let alone sit still and listen. I feel sadness and despair in my heart. That’s why I am so compassionate and have so much empathy. I’m glad God has me just where I need to be. That’s why I’m really good at my job. I understand, where some just don’t. They have not been there all they have is worldly ways of looking at things. That’s why I’m so glad when working with people there is a team of people not just one person. Then something as important as reconizing trauma is not missed.

When things are hard

My favorite verse is Isaiah 40:31   But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

It’s a verse I go to when I feel stress or anxiety in my life. I’m having a tough time emotionally again. It seems like as soon as I settle down from one thing then another thing comes up that causes me anxiety. I know that’s life but it’s getting tiresome for me. Writing always helps me process things I’m feeling. Grieving is hard. It takes a lot of energy to grieve. I thought my grieving was over but I guess it’s normal to grieve something that will no longer be in your life. I’ve never had to grieve so much as I have lately. The old Sarah would have just used addiction as a crutch so I guess feeling is good.

I don’t like feeling painful feelings. It hurts. Lately I’m feeling but wanting to numb out those feelings as well. I’ve used food a bit but like it used to be. I’ve tried avoiding and ignoring but that only hurts me more. None of those options work, so tonight I’m listening to my favorite music and praying and reading my favorite verse. I’m also counting my blessing because there are many great and awesome things in my life. That’s what I need to remember when things get tough or things I can’t control. God’s for all of this in His hands. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is my comforter and my rock in times of trouble. Thank you God for this reminder.

So when things are tough for you reach out to the one who comforts us the most. This to shall pass and for me I will grieve more but it won’t be forever.

My new job

I’ve been in my new job three weeks now and I feel like I’ve been there forever. I’m working as an Early childhood educator in a kindergarten program. I’ve been hired in to do early Intervention for children. I will work with the Kindergarteners as well as two Grade 1 classes. I love that I can use my education. Before I came to the school system I worked in Early Childhood Education for 30 years. I loved working with young children but I wanted to work with children who needed extra help. I did a contract with a boy who had a brain injury for two and a half years but got no sick time, only 4% holiday pay, no benefits. I worked harder than Anyone and got paid a low wage. I left to become an Educational assistant last year. That’s a job that does not get the Recognition it should. It’s a very eye opening job and can be really tough on you physically.

This is one of the few places in my career as an ECE that I’m reconized for the work I’m doing. In my job I help young children with literacy, numeracy and social emotional. With the experience in my education I get to see things in the children that otherwise could get missed. I’m a very observant Person so when issues have arised I discussed them with the teacher I work with. Then together we work on solutions for each child.

One of the things I often see in the children is if they are hungry or if food is really important to them. Like I’ve said before if your hungry how are you supposed to be able to concentrate on anything let alone be expected to listen to what the teacher is asking you. Hunger is often missed by adults but there are signs that tip me off that they are hungry. One of the children says they are hungry lots but even if they have had breakfast food is very important to them. So for that child they eat when they come to school we both noticed the child settles in better, becomes calmer and is able to listen to what is asked of them. The teacher I worked me told me she would never have thought about food as an issue. I told her as a child who came to school hungry I know full well what hunger is like and learning is impossible.

I also see the signs of children with stress and anxiety in their lives. One of the children goes to the bathroom everytime we have a transition. They got checked out medically to make sure it was not a medical issue. I talked to the teacher about when it happens. It’s not just transitions, it’s also if the child feels they can’t control a situation. I also observed how easily they got frustrated and angry again when things seemed out of their control. I knew early on it was a child who has stress and anxiety. Both of these issues I’ve had lots of experience with as being a child who grew up hungry and I had piles of stress in my life. My life experiences have helped me so much in helping these children.

I spend lots of time with all the children and I love doing the small groups I get to do with them twice a week. It’s called talking tables and it’s helping children with literacy skills. I get to work on topics with them with songs, games and helping them recognize objects with words. I work with two kindergarten classes both in my cohort and I love helping each class learn. I love that when they are upset or sad or just need help with something I can sit down with them and help them work through their emotions. I finally found the right job for me. I have an amazing kindergarten teacher who I’ve learned so much from already. We have become a good team. By the time the school year is over this year I will have worked with four kindie classes, one kindie /grade 1 split class and another grade 1 class.

Humility

Our church has been choosing words to talk about the next three services. Last week was Thanksgiving and Gratitude. This week we are talking about Humility. For me I’ve learned to be humble in many areas of my life. For a long time caught in addiction all you can see is yourself. I didn’t care about who I hurt to get what I wanted in life. Pride was huge for me and I’ve learned that in sobriety you become way more humble.

” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility and patience.” Colossians 3:12

” Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

” Be completely humble and gentle, be patient bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

I have so much in my life that I’m humble and in awe at everyday. For a long time I could not figure out why I ever survived my childhood. So many times I should have been dead or not being able to cope with all the trauma, but God being there every step of the way. His mercy and grace on my life and His Strength for me through very painful times. So many times I say that what I endured in my life made me into the woman I am today. God’s grace washed over me. To me the most humble thing in this world is Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. He shed His blood for each and everyone of us. How could we not be humble after that?

Today a lady I met in Washington I knew her children well. I went to church with her and her husband. Today she went home to be with the Lord as her daughter wrote she now is walking up in the streets of gold and no longer has to suffer. What I remember about Patti was she was a really humble woman who loved everyone she met. Her heart and soul loved the Lord so much. She’s been suffering the last few months when her cancer came back. She was a pillar in the little church she used to attend. Not only would she help everyone she met, she had a great sense of humor. Patti you will be so missed by all your family and friends. It’s people like this who we can learn true humility from. ❤️

What kinds of things do you feel humble about in your life today?

Saying goodbye is never easy

Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things I have to do. I hate it. How do you let go of a 6 year old relationship where you poured out your heart to this person every couple of weeks or month. They knew your darkest fears, your pain, your joy and the things you accomplished. They stood my you in your addiction and they stood in your corner every step of the way. They encouraged you when you wanted to give up and when you couldn’t do it anymore. They cared for you in every way. They prayed for you and laughed with you.

This relationship I’m talking about is with a counselor. Six years is a long time but I know the woman I am today is because of this person. It’s a relationship like no other because the only time you see them is in their office. This person helped me in my marriage, when my marriage ended and so much more. I could reach out her in an email if I needed Anything. She was always there for me. I’m so Thankful for her I can’t put into words what she’s done for me. Thank you so much.

I won’t forget what you taught me and now I’m ready to go out into this world and be the woman God created me to be. I have lots of tools in my tool box. They say it takes a community to raise a child. I believe it’s the same for adults. Community is everything especially to me. Not only do I have fantastic friends I have have an Amazing church family as well.

In this past 6 years I’ve learned how to put my past behind me, forgiven those I never imagined I would ever forgive. Gone through addiction and come out of that with so many healthy ways to cope. I’ve fought for my marriage in counseling and watched my marriage end. That was painful and so hard. Learned how to cry and really grieve things instead of stuffing them under the carpet. I learned how to stand up for things I really believed in. To speak out against things that needed a voice.

Through my hurt and pain I realized that I could make a difference in this world. God has given me a huge heart for people and children and animals. I understand when someone comes to me with an issue or is battling addiction. I understand, I know what’s it’s like to feel that Shame, that not wanting to do it again and falling right back into it. I know what’s like trapped in addiction but I also know what true freedom is all about.

It’s going to be a transition for me because I’m used to running things by this person. I will miss them a lot. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve taught me. I will make you proud. You may not ever find a quirky client like me but keep laughing and caring and teaching more clients how to live life in freedom. ❤️

Thankfulness

For those of you who don’t live in Canada this weekend is our Thanksgiving holiday. I have so much gratitude in my heart. So many blessings I have in my life. When things are rough or I’m feeling sad the best way to move forward from that for me is to count my blessings. I’ve come through a year of being on my own and even though it was hard at times I wouldn’t change what God had shown me through my grief and pain. I’ve become a much Stronger woman and I finally am able to look in the mirror and not grimise at what I see. I’m learning to love myself and I’m so thankful for that. My self esteem is the best it has even been. That’s huge for me. I’m thankful for who God has made me to be.

I’m so thankful for my family it’s been a tough year for my mom as my step dad has dementia. Our family has grown closer because of it. It’s so hard on my mom to watch her husband decline. I’m thankful that I get to hang out with him while my mom has a much needed break. I just make our time we have together the best I can.

I’m so thankful for all my friends. I have the best ones. I love being able to have coffee and hang out and laugh and have fun. One of my core friends has breast cancer and I’m thankful to be able to help her and encourage her through her journey. Our prayers are working for her. I’m so thankful for new friends I’ve found and who God puts in my life for a time. Friendship is the best.

I’m so Thankful for me new job. So thankful for all the kindergarten children I get to be with each day. To laugh with them, to comfort them when they fall or are frustrated or sad. I get to sit with them on a bench and help them feel safe. My new job is so much better than being an Educational Assistant. My role in the children’s life is a nurturing role and I’m able to do early intervention. I get to work with an amazing teacher who has taught me a lot of things already. I love my role at the school I can use all my skills and experience. Children are such a precious gift. I’m thankful to be part of it. ❤️

I have so many blessings in my life I’m thankful for them all even the ones that are ending. Through out all my experiences God is always there and for that I’m eternally grateful. You should try it if your feeling down or sad make a short list of all the things your grateful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY CANADIAN FRIENDS 🦃😊

Feelings of rejection

Ugh not felt these feelings in a long time. I had forgotten what it felt like. When it came my first reaction was to run away and not deal with it, but that only hurts myself. I can’t believe how much pain I felt in my heart like losing your best friend even though we are not friends. I understand in my head why it can’t be, but my heart is filled with huge emotions that I can’t shut off. I think there must be underlining things going on to have this HUGE reaction of emotion.

Rejection used to be an emotion that crippled me and made me act out in addiction. Today it hurts yes but that all. This reaction makes me realize how much it hurt when my husband left. The old Sarah would have blamed herself but today this is not on me. He chose to leave on his own I did Everything I could to work on our Marriage. He’s been gone a year it’s been hard I won’t fluff that up but I also have learned a lot of things about myself and where yes I failed in my Marriage most of it through my own brokenness.

With the guidence of the Lord I can work through these things and come out better on the other side. There will be more times of me feeing rejection from others because we can’t put all our stock in humans. I will let people down things like this will happen it will trigger rejection but it no longer consumes my life and I can now deal with it in Healthy ways. Today I will be extra kind to myself as I feel fragile but that will pass. God is my comforter and my rock. He helps soothe my pain and as we grow in things that maybe really uncomfortable we know we are never alone no matter what is happening.