Appreciation

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Canadian Thanksgiving just passed and like I do every year, I took some time to reflect on what I have to be thankful for. There’s my family and friends, my loving pup Bennie, this opportunity to experience life abroad, and surprisingly, a newfound appreciation for all the things I no longer have. You know the old saying you never know what you have until it’s gone; well I have found this to be incredibly accurate.

Cozy rainy days, wrapped up in a blanket, sipping a cup of tea and listening to the sound of the rain on the roof; the comforting feeling of warming up after spending time outside in the cold; the beauty of changing seasons; dog parks and dog friendly places; sidewalks and walking trails through the forests; maple syrup and crisp, delicious bacon; going to the grocery store and being able to find most everything you need and if you can’t there’s other stores and online shopping; the use of actual addresses; going out dancing with my girlfriends; getting dressed in the morning and being able to wear whatever you want with no risk of offence.

It’s a very long list and you would think with so much longing I would find myself slipping into sadness but that hasn’t been the case. I have found that with each thing I find myself missing a new appreciation blossoms. You don’t realize how refreshing and rejuvenating a rainy day can be until you move to the desert. Just like you don’t realize what a miracle address systems are until you no longer have one. I suppose I always appreciated and loved bacon but that is beside the point. I’ve found that when I find myself longing for something, I smile because I know it’s something else I’ll appreciate that much more.

At the beginning of 2017 I started a gratitude journal. Every morning I take a minute or two to list three things that would make the day great. Every evening before bed I list three amazing things that happened that day. It’s a way of finding the good in everyday. I decided to do this as a way to cultivate a more meaningful and positive life. I never expected to see such a big change in my way of thinking so quickly. By bringing gratitude to the forefront of my thoughts at the beginning and end of each day, my mind has naturally begun to think in more grateful ways. It’s how I’ve managed to cope with my longing with appreciation instead of resentment. I suppose by bringing gratitude into my life, everyday is now Thanksgiving Day, to my mind.

 

 

 

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Uncomfortable moments

Yesterday I went traipsing through an oasis jungle to get to a beautiful Wadi and I got to see some of the most breath taking views this planet has to offer.  I went off-roading with friends up a mountain side on steep, narrow, winding roads. I put my trust in strangers to help us find the wadi safely.  I held on tightly to Momma’s hand while we navigated the winding steep stairway down to the wadi.  I cringed every time a palm leaf would scrape against my body, making me think of all the creepy crawlies around me. I went completely and utterly out of my comfort zone and I was rewarded beautifully for it.

Since leaving the comfort of our home and life in Canada, I’ve continuously put myself in uncomfortable situations.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to establish new friendships, being scared to drive on my own but doing it anyways, flying across the world on my own with our dog,  and jumping into a vehicle with my new friends for a grand adventure.  All these moments began with me being very uncomfortable and all finished with a sense of awe and wonder.  Not just in seeing and experiencing new things but also a sense of awe at my own courage in these moments.

Now I’m not foolish enough to believe that every time I step out of my comfort zone I will be rewarded with wonder and awe.  Sometimes things will go incredibly wrong.  Like for example the first time I went to a beauty salon here.

I had a really hard time when we first arrived. We were staying in a rough place, infested with cockroaches as it was the only hotel that allowed dogs. I was too scared to drive but knew I needed to get myself out of the roach motel for a bit.  I made up my mind and went to a beauty salon in the building next to our hotel.  I decided to get a conditioning treatment for my hair and I ended up being there for four hours.  The ladies spent the time talking about how straw like my hair was and stared at me like I was an alien. The hairdresser used an old eyebrow brush to apply the treatment and they had to run outside to fill up a cistern for the sink to rinse it out as they didn’t have running water. Then they blowed my crazy curly hair dry with a blow dryer and brushed it out.  My hair was horribly frizz-tastic.

When I got back to the hotel with my crazy hair and laughed with Alex, I knew it was still worth it.  I may not have had the experience I was hoping for but I knew that this little step out of my comfort zone was leading me to take bigger ones in the future.  Uncomfortable moments that lead to moments full of wonder and awe and beauty that takes your breath away.  I would say that the frizzy hair was worth it.

 

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Photo credit for the above photo goes to my lovely friend and 4×4 queen Gemma ❤

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Taking my space

Last night I went to a ladies evening to meet and mingle with the local ladies in the expat community. It was a lovely evening, lots of laughs and good conversations.  At the end of the night when I had returned home I looked at some pictures that were taken and I stood out, being so much bigger and taller than the rest of the women there.  I had a bit of a moment looking at the pictures and my old insecurities started to arise.  That word ‘big’ it’s like a knife to my heart every time someone says it to me. I creates an immediate response of shame, like I have to apologize to the rest of the world for taking up more space than them.

I didn’t  like the response I had to this word so I took some time for reflection. Some time to figure out what the word ‘big’ truly means to me.

Recently my father was speaking of the gorgeous plus sized model Ashley Graham and he said “oh that big girl!” I cringed and my response to him was that you should never, ever call a woman big! He didn’t seem to understand why big was so bad. After all he married my Mom and she is a gorgeous tall woman herself and he just adores her. So why then, can my father look at my mother and say “you’re a big, beautiful, brilliant woman” and mean every word with love and all my Mom and I hear is BIG?

I suppose I could start blaming the media, the fashion industry, movies and television but blame doesn’t solve anything. What I need, is to change my inner narrative. I want to hear the word big being used to describe a woman and think, that woman is powerful, she owns her space, she is BIG and she is exactly the way she is supposed to be.

I want to feel that way and I know with some hard work it’s possible. There is great power to be had from affirmations and positive reinforcement. So although now it’s a struggle; I know that someday in the near future I will look at a picture of myself standing tall and owning my space and think, Catherine you’re a BIG woman, and I will smile.

So what do you even do all day?😳

When I tell people I’m a housewife with no kids I have come to expect about three different responses. The first one is from what I believe to be is a person who is content with their own life. This type of person is capable of feeling happiness for another person and has no problem expressing that they think it’s an awesome situation. I really like this type of person, I imagine most people do.

The second response is usually from other women and it’s generally very negative. These are the women who I choose not to spend my time with. Women who struggle to be happy for other women. Women who most likely struggle to be happy with themselves. These women usually ask, so what do you even do all day?  Often I can see the judgement in their gaze. I hope that it’s mostly jealously fuelling their snide remarks and sour expressions but it’s probably more than that. You see, if this was sixty years ago it would be other housewives condemning the working woman.  It doesn’t matter what year it is, if you’re doing something out of the norm, some people will judge you for it. I’ve come to accept this.

The third reaction I get is usually from men and it’s the assumption that I’m a gold digger.  No surprise there. Thanks Kanye.

I used to constantly feel the need to defend myself against these reactions, to explain mine and my husbands situation and why we chose to live our life this way and I grew sick of it. Why was I giving these judgemental people permission to effect my feelings?  When in reality if they didn’t judge me for being a housewife, they would certainly find something else to judge me for. It’s just the way they are and I can’t change that. What I can change is how I react. You know that saying, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react” well I think it’s finally sunk in. Gone are the days when I stumble through my words trying to explain myself and my situation because if you’re worth being in my life you won’t need an explanation.  You’ll know that I’m a freaking fantastic housewife and more than that I’m happy being one. Do what makes you happy and you will be happy. Do you think the haters are happy? Somehow I doubt it. 😉

 

 

A Life of Love

This is a poem I wrote when I was single about what I wanted to find when I finally fell in love for real. I didn’t write it because I read ‘The Secret’ and wanted my positive thoughts to create it. I also didn’t write it out of loneliness. I wrote it because it was in my heart.
I don’t think I realized that at the time, most of my best poems have been written without even trying. Like my subconscious sorted them out beforehand and just pushed them to the forefront of my mind to be put on paper. Regardless of how it came to be, I am a lucky woman because it came true and I was able to read this to my amazing husband on our wedding day. I hope you enjoy it.

A Life of Love

I don’t want you to love me, in spite of what I’ve done
I want you to take my face in your hands, look me in the eye
And tell me that the past is just that and we will continue to live in the moment

I don’t want you to love me because I’m beautiful
There is nothing more beautiful than the sight of love
I want to be beautiful because you love me, all of me.

I don’t want you to love me because of the things I do for you
Recognize that everything I do is because I care
I want you to know that I do it all because I love you, all of you.

I don’t want you to love me because it’s easy
Life is not fair, simple or easy and at times it will be hard to find reason to love
I want you to know that we will get through it together for true love needs no reason.

I don’t want you to love me with restraint
Love has no rules, no need for moderation, and no limits
I want you to abandon all your inhibitions and love me with everything you have to give.

I don’t want love to be just a word spoken between us
Love is more than just a word; it can change, nurture and protect us
And I need you to know, that I want nothing more, than to live this life of love with you

Does it really get better?

I’m writing today about something that I am very passionate about and that has affected me personally, almost my whole life. Bullying.  You see, I read an article written by a Mother who thinks that bullying is a normal thing for children to go through, that it helps you to learn how to pick yourself up and work through problems.  She is under the impression that today’s youth are too pampered and unable to cope with the stresses of daily life, and apparently bullying will help them to toughen up and become functional members of society.  I can see her point of view, and I completely disagree with it.

Let’s go back twenty years to 1994.  I was 10 years old and had been in school for six years.  I was bullied everyday, for those six years.  Now think about yourself, what do you think it would do to you to have someone with you eight hours of the day challenging your self worth, telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you don’t have any value in this world.  I imagine it would change you, that those people’s words would stay with you.  That no matter how successful you become, or how much you change physically, there would always be that mean girl inside of you, telling you that you just aren’t good enough.

You may look at me today and think that I turned out ok, that it couldn’t have been that bad if I’m doing so well now.  Let me assure you that I am far from ok.  I’ve spent everyday since escaping school trying to pick up all the broken pieces that those bullies created.  I’ve fought with myself constantly, trying to quiet those voices that tell me I’m not good enough and I don’t have value.  I have fallen apart countless times and with the help of my family and friends slowly but surely I have become almost whole again.

I remember my Mom telling me that it will get better, that you won’t be bullied forever, that this will end.  Well it does get better, and I don’t get bullied now but I can assure you, it doesn’t ever really end.  I am still fighting through the damage from the abuse of my bullies, everyday it gets easier but it’s something that should never have to happen.

I always felt like something was fundamentally wrong with me, and that was the reason that I was singled out and bullied so brutally.  I now know, that there is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with me.  I am exactly the way I am meant to be; but there are times I can’t help but think, would I be just a little braver, or stronger, or a little more trusting if those bullies never had a voice in my life?

 

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My first blog post <3

I have been struggling, not only on what to write my first blog post about but if I should even bother writing a blog.  It seems as though everyone has a blog now a days and I have to admit I don’t enjoy the huge amount of misinformation included in them.  It was also difficult picking a topic, you see when you google blogging apparently you should stick to one niche, for example baking, photography or puppies.  Never having been a stickler for the rules, I have decided to go against the grain and be topic-less! My blog will simply be about what makes me happy, written with kindness in mind, the things I enjoy doing and most likely an excessive amount of photos of my puppy.  I do hope you enjoy my writings about my beautifully imperfect life.

Here is one of many aforementioned puppy pictures.

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