People who come into your life for a reason

I believe people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know why but they make our lives so much better. I have the opportunity to have a boy in my life. G is 8 and I’ve known him since he was 2 and a half. He had a story that is really hard to hear but I see God’s hand on his life from day one. G was born to a couple who loved him so much. This was their first child. Unfortunately post partum depression happened after the birth of G. Nobody caught it and it makes people do things that they would never do. I can’t imagine how desperate they become and they think what they are doing is best for eveyone. There is help out there for anyone.

At the end of January on a cold day somehow G and his mom ended up in a very cold fast moving river. Unfortunately G’s mom died in the river and G was face down in the river they think for about 30 minutes. Someone passing by thought they saw a child in the water. Ambulances and helicopters came and got G out. He was 7 months old and was rushed to the nearest children’s hospital. They put him in a coma to help his brain recover. He was in the hospital for months and he was not expected to live. Not only did he live but nobody expected much from him. He had brain damage from the near drowning.

I met G and his family when I worked at a local daycare. He needed a one on one worker to help him with his daily activities. I remember the first day I met him he was super shy but he had a smile that lit up the whole room. I slowly got to know him. When I first met him he came with a team of support and I met with them about how his care would go. He was non verbal and when he started preschool he got an I pad to help him communicate with the other children and the adults around him. I had to learn how to use it and how to teach G to use it. I now was a part of his team and we and his family worked together to make sure that he was well cared for.

What I discovered when I first worked with him was I saw a similarity in how I was when I moved from Ireland to Canada and I was so low especially in school. My brain needed to be challenged. I saw the same in G, I realized when I took him out for walks that he never noticed a thing around him. All he could focus on was walking. I showed him how to expand his mind so he noticed things around him. I soon discovered he loved cars, trucks, excavators, anything that was big and moved. He noticed things I never noticed and he was always the first one to notice things that were different in his class or around him. I helped him with sign language and then his I pad.

His team had no expectations for him when I first met them. I realized that this boy tried everything no matter how hard it was so I pushed him to do things over and over again. It could 100 or more times for it to click and he got it. I helped prepare him for kindergarten. Toilet training came up and I told them yes I’m in for the challenge. 8 months of repetion and motivation and it paid off and G became trained. His team was in awe and when he graduated from Preschool the tears of joy and that’s when I was told they never expected him to do any of what he accomplished. I stood and told his graduating class and all the families what an amazing and awesome boy G is. It was hard for him but I told him that it’s hard now but we keep practicing and it becomes so much easier. He never gave up ever no matter how hard it was.

I’ve watched him grow up and he just finished grade 2. At age 6 he started to talk and has had years of speech therapy. I still remember the day he said my name for the first time. What joy that brought me. His speech has progressed so much and now he talks in sentences. He says the funniest things and he continues to keep learning and moving forward. He has the best sense of humor and he and I laugh so much. I have the great opportunity to hang out with him this summer. My favorite kid. I tell people G is like the kid I never had. He’s the light of my life and I love him very much. I’m so happy God put him and his family into my life. He’s one of my greatest blessings. He still works hard to overcome the things he can’t do but he never gives up. I look at how far he’s come to all the things he’s all ready accomplished and the list is huge and it makes me smile. 🙂

The faces of dementia

I spent the weekend with my dad. I do respite care for my mom so she can have a break. I’ve not spent the night here in a while so when I visit I don’t see how far the dementia has gotten. I’m not sure it’s something you get used to. I have a hard time with who my dad was to what dementia is doing to him now. He worked on the BC ferries and he did all the food in the ferries. He made all the decisions and he had a huge team of people he was in charge of. When he retired his job was split into 3 jobs. He’s used to organizing lots of people.

Recently where he lives they have built a new condo complex next door to them and part of the complex is replacing the fence between their property and the townhouses where my parents live. They had to take down the fence behind where they live so you can see through to the next road and into the site. My dad is really thrown him a lot and the stress has caused him to obsesse about what is happening on the other side. He believes that this is his project that he needs to fix. His problem though is the people are incompetent. Saturday morning he was worried about his pants getting dirty because he was off to work to fix the problem on the side of the fence. I told him I would come with him and he said well you can’t there is full of guys and I needed gloves. I was able to distract him and we went for a walk. We saw all the old cars that were in town for the Duce days. They drove down Cordova Bay road. My dad loved that. He talked about it a lot yesterday. It’s funny how the brain remembers some things and not other things. As soon as we would get home he’d be back out inspecting the job site. My poor mom she has to do this day in and day out. It’s so tough.

We went out for coffee to Matticks twice he loved that and I took him out for a drive and he’s super observant and notices things that I never really saw. He sees things that I may have passed 100 times straight away. We spent time down at the beach. He loves people watching. I love his sense of humor and we laugh lots. Saturday night we watched a really good movie and this morning I was reminded that my parents have done so much for me in the past and even though this hard for us all he’s the best father figure I’ve ever had in my life. I love him with all my heart and yes dementia is taking him away slowly but everytime I’m with him I make it the best time we can have. Through thick and thin we are in this journey.

Healing

This week I got the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I know God is the healer of all things and I’ve seen Him heal. Psalm 147:3. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” There are so many verses about God and His healing.

My friend said I can share this on my blog so I will let you read this in her own words because they are beautiful.

Cancer Journey #2
April 1st was my last day of work… I had become too sick to continue. My lingering cough and sudden weight loss since Christmas was flagged by my cancer Dr’s that I see every 3 months as follow up to my first bought of cancer. It wasn’t asthma, allergies to my new cat, or post covid cough – it was cancer in my lungs… spread from a few remaining cells from my previous breast cancer. More scans and tests revealed “innumerable nodules” of cancer in my lungs, stomach, lining around my lungs, and yes… it had spread to my bones in many places as well. My Dr’s were so sad for me and promised to help me remain as comfortable as possible and prolong my life somewhat, but there is no cure for this. The treatments were started very quickly (targeted therapy and hormone therapy, along with IV treatments to try and build bones up as we go) but I was told it was NOT a cure. The cancer cells would eventually figure out how to mutate so the treatments would no longer help. I was in shock initially but did think immediately, “this doesn’t have to be my story!”
Being a christian for my faith, I know that all things happen for a reason and is part of God’s plan if we have to go through valleys of suffering. Yes we can pray for healing, and many many people began praying for me from all over Canada. I had so much support from my closer family and friends. I didn’t go public with this as I didn’t want the rest of my life to be about cancer and have to face ongoing enquiries and pity (like my Drs) from the world. But so many great people who are christians still die from this disease or many other reasons… at a younger age. For me my grief was for not being there for my daughter’s in their young adult lives… maybe not seeing them marry, or meeting my grandchildren and supporting them through all that. Otherwise, I was “okay” with dieing but of course didn’t want to.
So I asked people to pray that the targeted therapy / chemo work twice as fast (before it learned how to fight back) and for healing. My first cycle of 3 weeks chemo (pills at home) gave me a huge relief from symptoms with my lungs. It gave me hope. Then I asked some to pray that my cells be “stupid” enough to not figure out how to fight back. I like specific prayers! I have had my blood counts drop to very low as well, sometimes making my treatment be held off for a week while I recuperate, as well as reduced the dosage so my body could tolerate it better.
The last few months I have had lots of time on the couch, or in my little patio rose garden… with time to think, meditate, listen to music and sermons… all seeking out answers to some tough questions. I sought peace in a dark journey. I thought about death a lot, and pushed back fear with prayer and determination that my last months would not be miserable. I came to the point where I have peace about where God is leading me, and sought purpose for the time I have left here on earth. I committed to trying to start up a “50’s plus” social group in my church and began feeling well enough to tackle things around my home again. And my thankfulness grew… when you live “on the razors edge” of life, knowing that your time is limited – you can get to a place where all blessings are treasured. “Greatness of heart is displayed by those who know how to hold suffering and gratitude at the same time”.
Yesterday I got the results back from a follow up CT scan (after 3.5 months of treatment). The scan showed only 2 nodules left in my lower right lung… about 7 mm in size. That’s it!!! It won’t show the cancer on the bones, but as you can see- most of the obvious cancer is gone in my lungs and stomach. I also believe its reduced in my bones as I have had no pain there either after the first couple weeks of treatment. It is a miracle… truly. I still have cancer, but with God all things are possible and I may be healed completely! Or I may live with some cancer for the rest of my life, but I will definitely live longer than the initial impression I was given! Regardless, God truly is good and has chosen to let me live longer and I am blessed to be able to share testimony about this. He knows when my days will be done here on earth, and I am so thankful to have him walk through this all with me. Times like these are tough, but they can bring you to a better place spiritually for sure.
So I just wanted to come out publicly where things are at for me! I will continue with current treatments – but my hope is that I can eventually stop or at least reduce the chemo. Then I can go back to some kind of work and have some energy and stamina back. I have been blessed with financial support from many sources throughout this – even though I have yet to see one dollar from medical EI, my needs are being met. Hallelujah! Feel free to share my testimony to those who may be encouraged by it.

I’m still in awe about this. The power of prayer is mighty and we’ve all been praying for full healing for Wendy. Thank you Lord for this. Wendy is one of my dear friends and I’ve known her a long time. I love this woman and I’m not sure if I was in the same situation I would handle it with so much grace. I know Wendy’s story will give others encouragement and I know that God’s not done with her story yet. She wants to help others in this journey.

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.