Space and Grace: Taking The Space You Need Part Two

This is my second blog post about taking up space. Here’s the link to part one. I started writing it over a year ago but never published it. Today is the day I change that.

 I suppose this topic has been on my mind a lot, so I have much to say about it. (Shocker! This is a bit of a warning. I’m not a long story short kinda girl, I’m short story long all the way. I have to tell you the backstory to really drive a story home. I try to whittle down my words, but, well, you know, I just struggle with it.)

In January 2021, I made a post on social media about taking up space, and I will share it here.

Sweet Libby! Since this photo, we added a second dog to our family; sweet Lulu.

“A while ago, I joined my dear friend’s Homefires Beta group. (Life changing. I’m not exaggerating.) Cristy Duce challenged us to “dance it out”. I mean, closing the door, cranking your music and giving it ALL you’ve got. I accepted the challenge.

I danced around my room and moved my WHOLE body. I sang my heart out. I was unapologetic about how extra I was. And then I sobbed. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I moved and sang. It was so unexpectedly cathartic and I couldn’t believe the release I felt. I couldn’t believe all the things I was feeling. I’m so grateful Cristy challenged me to do that. (And now, I challenge you. )

Afterwards, I couldn’t get over how liberated I felt. I didn’t realize how apologetic I tend to be for taking up space. Physical space (I’m big), my words (I’m long-winded and loud), my feelings (I feel a lot), my thoughts (I think a lot and…squirrel), my ideas, and the list goes on.

I felt liberated because I took up space. I took up the space I wanted. And I didn’t apologize.

I love learning, but I sometimes put the things I’ve learned on the back burner. They’re still in my mind, but I need reminding. So, Libby, thanks for reminding me how I should be living. Look at her taking up ALL the space. Sometimes I make myself small. This puts an unseen and unnecessary weight on me. I loved the release I felt when I danced it out and I can apply this in so many ways. There is room for us all. There really is.

This momma is going to take the space I need. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I hope you join me in this. The world is big enough for us to do so. ”

 Reading this a year later brought tears to my eyes. Oh, how I need this reminder!

Now here is my follow up post from February 2021.

“I made a post a while back about taking up space. There are so many ways to take up space. It looks different for everyone and it is a very personal thing, I think.

One way I am taking up space is giving myself space. Like actual space. My birthday is next week and the only thing I want is to stay at a hotel overnight. BY MYSELF. That kind of gift hasn’t really been on my radar before, but it sure is now.

January (2021) was a hard month for me. After talking to family and friends and doing some reading, I realized it was a hard month for the majority of people. February seems to be a hard month for the majority, too. Jeesh!!! Even with the hard, though, I have found lots of joy. I’m giving space for the hard and the good. I *try* to embrace the suck and also find joy in the every day. (The hotel stay brought me joy too, but that’s not something I can do often. Or can I? Maybe this should become a thing for me.)

I’m trying to give other people their space, too.

I haven’t always been super good at taking care of myself, but it’s become a priority now.

Cristy Duce encouraged me to write myself a letter back when I was doing Homefires with her. I just found the letter a while ago and read it again. Woah. Thank you July 2020 Jacquie. And thank you Cristy. (Also, it may appear I’m obsessed with Cristy because I reference her OFTEN. Hahah! Maybe I am, and maybe I am. )

In case you needed the reminder, “YOU ARE WORTH THE INVESTMENT”, whatever that looks like for you.

P.S. I’m so curious. What are some things you do for yourself??”

Once again, I’m grateful for this reminder!!

Since these Facebook/Instagram posts, I have stayed at a hotel by myself twice! Once for my birthday mentioned above, and once in May 2022 after we sold our house. (I’ll write about that journey at some point.)

For my birthday stay, I made sure, thanks to a suggestion from my sister, to book with a hotel that has a restaurant attached. Priorities. The pandemic restrictions were lifted a little to include the opening of swimming pools, and “my” hotel had a swimming pool. I decided to bring my kids to the hotel with me so they could enjoy swimming in a pool for the first time in nearly a year. They were elated! And they loved hanging out in my hotel room waiting for our scheduled pool time. It was a great way to start my getaway. Another great way to start my getaway? Birthday cannoli left in my mini fridge, compliments of the amazing staff at the Sandman Lodge.

My husband picked up my kids and I went on my way. I went shopping for some very adulty type things that I’ve been putting off. Keep your mind outta the gutter-I was shopping for a printer, a pair of running shoes and a dress. I took all the time I needed and made friends with all the cashiers without my kids being annoyed.

I went back to the hotel and ordered delicious food to eat in my room. Then I called my family to say goodnight. I didn’t feel guilt over being by myself. I don’t know if I could have said that even a year ago. I had brought all manner of things with me to do if I felt so inclined. What happened though? I ate my dinner, and then called a friend.  She just happened to be working a sleepover shift on a day that she typically doesn’t work. We had an amazing visit that lasted THREE hours. Three! We never could’ve done that in our normal situations. It was so serendipitous and it filled my soul. I went to bed and slept like a dream.

I tried to create a photo opportunity with a “relaxed look”. I don’t look relaxed, I look like I’m preparing for Tune in Tokyo. Regardless, I loved the comfy bed and wearing the complimentary robe.

My morning was full and I wasn’t planning on going home until dinner time. I was so filled up that I didn’t feel the need to prolong my getaway just because. I genuinely wanted to go home to my family.

Honestly, it was exactly what I needed. One of my friends mentioned that she goes and stays by herself in Waterton. (One of my favourite places ever.) I’m adding that to my bucket list. The second time I stayed at a hotel, I left feeling the same way. I really needed the time completely on my own. I returned to my family recharged and in a much better space.

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had much time to think, to spend time with family, and with myself. I’ve had therapy sessions and other opportunities for learning. Through these experiences, I’ve started to focus on my triggers; what they are, what my patterns are and what I can do about them. I’m a work in progress, that’s for certain!

I have an experience to share which includes my triggers and taking up space.

In the springtime, the weather started warming up and we’d go for walks/scooter rides. Our puppy Libby would join us. It was something to look forward to. It seemed the whole town would be out and about taking advantage of the nice weather and paths. We saw a friend with her family and their dog. While the friend and I visited, the kids wanted to take turns taking the two dogs while on their scooters. My youngest child couldn’t handle the dogs’ strength so I said he couldn’t have a turn. He had a hard time with that decision, and I understood. I gave him space to feel all the big feelings. And then I sent the kids to keep going on the path so I could finish my conversation with my friend, with the intention of catching up to my kids afterwards. My youngest, who was five at the time, wouldn’t listen. He was extra clingy and kept yelling at me. His behaviour was escalating and I could feel myself getting worked up and I didn’t like it. It felt like I was about to Hulk out.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Neither would I.

Thankfully, I was able to recognize what was happening and pumped the breaks. I said something like,

‘I’m feeling really triggered right now. I need to feel my big feelings and then I can let it go. You are yelling at me and not giving me the space I need right now. Please give me space so I can feel it and let it go.” And guess what happened next? Right after I said that, he scootered away to catch up to his siblings. It was a simple and powerful lesson to me.

Since this has been on my mind so much, I’m trying to notice when I’m not giving enough space. Take my plant, for example. I never re-potted it when I should have. I never gave it the opportunity to reach its potential. The directions on this plant said, “Don’t be fooled by this plant’s small size. Give it time and patience, and it can grow up to 4 or 5 feet if you let it.” I didn’t let it to reach its potential. I stunted it. I know at times I’ve stunted my own growth. It hurts me to say it, but I’ve probably stunted growth in others, too, just by not giving enough space. The great thing about us being us, is that we can take our space. We aren’t like this plant; we don’t have to wait for others to give us that. We can take it!!!

Giving space to ourselves and others is the gift that keeps on giving. Same thing applies to giving grace to ourselves and others. Space and grace-I need to remember that concept! And I like the reminder on the plant tag: “It can grow…if we let it.” Here’s to taking action (giving, receiving, letting) and giving space and grace. Here’s to the growing, healing, and learning opportunities that go along with them. Clink! (Pretend we tapped our glasses of our preferred beverages. Mine is a cold Fresca from a can.)

Healing Humour Learning Mindset

Struggs to Func and Getting Out of a Funk

A little housekeeping before I begin: I started writing this blog post months ago. I’m not in the same headspace as I was at the time of writing. I feel strongly I should still share, regardless of it being an inaccurate portrayal of where I’m at right now.

A thought came to me a while ago: “I sure am taking other people’s driving personally. I wonder why?” So upon further reflection, I realized that I’m quicker to get frustrated and irritated by other drivers and pedestrians/cyclists. Like REALLY frustrated and irritated. I realized that it is most likely because I have been struggling a bit with how I feel about myself. My pattern is typically that when I am happy with myself, I am happy with others. The opposite is true as well, and that’s where I am at. I’ve been struggling in different ways, but especially with how I’m feeling about myself. Clearly, that is being projected onto others. For example, I’ve been getting extra frustrated with other drivers and/or pedestrians and cyclists. and their actions or lack of awareness. My default is to mutter negative names or phrases at them. “Are you serious about life?”, “Learn how to drive!”, “You have got to be kidding me!” are just a few PG phrases I’ll throw out. Useless and dummy are some names I have been known to say. It’s not a shocker that I have been speaking negatively about other drivers or pedestrians because my negative self-talk game has been strong. Recognizing this pattern has given me a desire to make some tweaks to my mindset. (Also? I noticed I am the most impatient while driving when I do not plan my departure properly. When I am rushed because of ill-timing, I am SO impatient and irritable at others. It’s really not you, it’s me. When I am prepared and leave enough time to get to my destination, I’m pretty darn calm. I’m also a more courteous driver. “No, after you. I insist.”)

Boromir gets it. Also, I don’t know who to credit for this meme.

I’m sure there are other connections I could make between my response to traffic and my response to life. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, so I will share something else regarding my driving. If you lived in western Canada or followed the news in 2016, you’d be familiar with the Fort McMurray wildfires. It was awful. Such destruction. Hearing the reality of what life was like during the catastrophe really had an effect on me. I remember there was an emergency evacuation and many people weren’t prepared to leave with such short notice. One of the struggles of the evacuation was how fast people had to leave the city. Many vehicles were pulled over along the hiway because they ran out of gas. That inspired me to work on my family’s preparedness. For example, I have worked hard on our 72 kits. I also now treat my gas tank as if half full is actually “empty”. So, I try to never let my tank get below half. These aren’t huge things, but they’ve certainly helped me feel like I’m a little more prepared!

Moving on from vehicles. A while ago, my sister Jill told me about a post she made on Instagram that said “Happy people don’t gossip”. She and I talked more about it, and it is so true! When I am happy, especially with myself, I don’t often engage in gossip. And I tend to not be so judgemental of others or myself.

Further to that, I was talking with my dad one day and I kind of emotionally spewed all over him. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. He wisely shared a story with me that gently reminded me that my outlook was on the negative side. It was humbling, and it was just what the doctor ordered. He called it the Parable of the Canker Sore. It went something like this:

Around Christmas time one year, when my dad was a young buck, he had canker sores all over his mouth. They were painful and made eating, drinking and talking difficult. He told me that he just focused on how awful the sores made him and that he lost out on all the great things going on around him. Christmas was always a favourite time of year for him, but he couldn’t see past his pain in order to enjoy the family time, festivities, celebrations and good food!

My dad’s story reminded me that sometimes we focus so much on our “sores” that we can’t see all the joy and goodness around us. When we have that kind of tunnel vision, we are unable to see the positive. I really needed that reminder. I guess you never outgrow a good parenting moment from your own parents. Between my sister’s and dad’s insights and the traffic insights, it further reiterates something: I have not been as happy as in the past or as I want to be.

This cup was too small for my emotional spew, just like it was too small for “Partied Out Phil’s” spew. Wayne’s World is the movie of my youth. Whenever I can slide in a reference to this movie, I sure will.)

I was watching an episode of Queer Eye in 2018 and Jonathan Van Ness coined the phrase “struggs to func”. I love a good abbrev every now and then, and this one really tickled my funny bone. So much that four years later, I still think of it often. And if I’m being honest-I’ve been a tad struggs to func!

Let’s not kid ourselves, I think we have all struggled to function a bit on a global level at some point. Two plus years into a global pandemic, and no one has been left unscathed. Our overall wellness mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and economically has been affected to varying degrees as well as varying timelines. I think we’ve thrived in some areas, only to just survive in those same areas later.

Jonathan knows.

I’ve felt incredibly frustrated at times recently. I’ve come so far in many ways and I was maintaining or increasing that growth. And now I feel I’ve been plateauing or regressing. I have felt mentally and emotionally fragile. You’d never know that just looking at me. I’m strong like bull. Nothing fragile-looking about me, but I assure you, I have been.

I won’t share all of the ways I’ve been struggling, who has time for that? But I do want to share an example. I’ve always loved people. I’ve always been super social and thrived in social settings, big or small. Being near people energized me. And I haven’t minded being in the spotlight. (I may have been accused of being an attention-whore a time or two.) I have changed, though. Instead of being “textbook” extroverted, I feel I’m more introverted now. I guess you could call me an ambivert. But it’s more than that. The last few months or so, I feel like I’ve been struggs to func socially. I feel overwhelmed in social settings. Do I even know how to “people” anymore? Odd things just come out of my mouth. I’ve become highly anxious and I tend to avoid crowds. I have become so sensitive to noises. I definitely have stress responses to crowds. I rarely avoided people I know in public places before, but I find myself going down a different aisle in the grocery store so I don’t have to talk. This is not normal for me. I think if it’s a controlled environment and I am prepared, I am still quite social. I don’t know, but maybe I am okay with that because it is on my own terms?

Kind of accurate to how I’ve felt, except it extends to all people. Not just those from high school.

I also don’t know who to credit for this.

I debated sharing this story that showcases I may or may not have forgotten how to interact with others. It has brought me so many laughs and maybe it will make you laugh too. It equal parts hilarious and humiliating.

In the area I live, we were near drought conditions this spring. We had a stake-wide fast in our church where we fasted and prayed for rain. One day, as I was walking into church, it started to rain. I was thrilled! We needed the rain so badly! And it was a faith-affirming experience for my family that our prayers were answered! I got caught up in the moment. Some male missionaries, also known as Elders, were outside too. They asked me how I was doing. Instead of answering my typical, “Living the dream”, I improvised and said, “Living the wet dream!” Meaning, it’s raining! Meaning, how exciting that we’ve been blessed with moisture after our prayers were heard! After I said what I said, I walked away happily and then I stopped dead in my tracks once I heard what actually came out of my mouth. I quickly tried to explain what I meant, but the damage was done. I just had to walk away. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole. I was mortified. The Elders were gracious about it, but I’m sure they’ll tell their friends back home about the crazy lady who was talking about wet dreams. I forgot to mention my 11 year old daughter was there. I wasn’t planning on discussing nocturnal emissions, but…teachable moments and all that. Also, can I pay sometime to follow me around with a hook full time?

Life has its ups and downs, that’s for certain. The good news is that I know gray skies always clear and that the sun will always shine brightly! (We’ve been having a heatwave this summer, so it’s definitely shining brightly.) I have a long list of things that help me see and feel the good around me and I want to work on them. My tendency with my goal setting, though, is to sprint out of the gate. I try to do too much at once and it’s just not sustainable. Do I need to try and do all the things on my long list in one day? No. I remember hearing a question posed while I attended university. The question and answer were: what is the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s a good reminder for me. It is okay to focus on just one thing at a time to help me reestablish positive patterns in my life. And then eventually, I can add more things. Not only is it okay, but it is good to focus on fewer things all at once. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ) that talks about small and simple things. It’s one of my favourite scriptures.

One small and simple thing I have stopped doing is my daily gratitude sharing. Even though I know how important gratitude is, I just got out of the habit. The lack of gratitude sharing in my life has definitely had an impact of my mindset. Just writing it down has ignited a flame to start this personally and with my family. What better way to start than with the beginning of the new school year? One thing I can start today is expressing my gratitude out loud to my family. That’s not overwhelming. I can do it! Small and simple things are achievable. And the end result will be great! I’ve learned so much, yet it seems like I’ve forgotten much of it. I’m grateful for the gentle reminders I’ve been given to help me remember what’s already in me; what I already know.

This is a pretty packed post. I’ve thrown quite a bit at you. Just like I emotionally spewed on my dad, you may feel informationally spewed on. I hope you’re okay.

I don’t really want to end this blog post. It’s been so long since I’ve published a blog post. But, alas, it’s time. So I’ll just say a few things. It’s good to reflect. It’s good to have people in your corner who you can have insightful conversations with. It’s good to give yourself and others grace. It’s good to eat an elephant one bite at a time. Its good to remember the small and simple things. It’s good to look for the good. Hope is a good feeling to have. And it’s good to laugh!!!! Feel free to add any funny awkward stories in the comments. Also, please know you’re not alone in the struggs.



I remember watching  Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad as a kid. And by kid, I mean teenager. (I sure loved those Lawrence brothers.) Or maybe it was another one of those Power Ranger-type shows. Anyway, there was one episode that has stayed with me all these years after having watched it. In the episode, one of the villains had planted a virus in the main characters’ (the heroes and heroines) phone lines. Whatever messages were spoken aloud were then changed by the virus.  So whenever the heroes and heroines called and talked to each other on the phone, they weren’t hearing what was actually said. The manipulated messages were meant to cause discord within the group. And it worked. The characters felt so misunderstood. You could see their frustrations and feelings of helplessness when the other character was not hearing what they were actually saying. If I’m being honest, I have wondered if I have this virus in me. 

Communication is not my strong suit. I try to listen to others and I try to be listened to. Active listening is a skill I’m working on. I try to “read the room” and be aware. Even with effort to understand others, I may still jump to conclusions and misunderstand their words, meanings or motives.

I often feel misunderstood. When I feel misunderstood, and I try to explain myself further, sometimes it only makes things worse. And then I feel trapped. A damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. I feel like that virus from the tv show is actually in my body, and it rears its nasty head and distorts my words and meanings and intentions. (I wrote a blog post about intentions HERE.)

Sometimes when I’m misunderstood, I feel so trapped, and no matter what I do or say, I can’t change what people think, but I can change what and how I think. And what I feel. If I’m questioning things in a healthy way and find my answers, then that’s what I need to focus on. Obviously way easier said than done. 

I have some stories to share about feeling misunderstood. I know, I know. When do I not have stories to share?

Exhibit A:

Costco is usually busy no matter when you go, but dinner time is usually quite busy. So there I was recently, with three hungry and irritable kids, making a return, wondering why in the world we were at Costco at that time of day. I saw a restaurant business owner that I know. When he asked how I was doing, I responded with, “Good! But what the heck am I doing here at dinner time?” Meaning, it’s too busy and we are hungry. He seemed a bit taken aback and quickly responded that he was at Costco because he was waiting for his son to finish an extracurricular activity. He misunderstood me. He thought I was asking him why the heck he’s at Costco at dinner time (and not at his restaurant). I tried to explain what I actually said. I don’t know if he heard, or if he just thought I was an entitled jerk questioning his dedication to the restaurant. For the record, I would never question that. Business owners are unsung heroes.  

We all have our own past and present experiences that shape us. Those experiences affect what information we process.That restaurant owner may have had some ignorant comments made to him before. Or maybe he felt guilty for leaving the restaurant. Or maybe it’s for some other reason. Our own past experiences and tendencies influence what we see and hear. 

Exhibit B:

The F word has plagued me for decades. Flirty. Being labelled as flirtatious has always made me feel misunderstood. In high school, our graduating class took a survey and voted on different categories.  I was voted by our student body as Biggest Flirt. It was kind of funny, but kind of not. Okay, yes, I have flirted. Haven’t we all? I’d like to trade the one F word for another.  I have always been friendly. Let’s say fearlessly friendly. I love people and love to hear their stories. I’m typically unafraid to initiate conversations or give people compliments. I do this with males and females, young and old. My friendly tendencies do not discriminate. 


According to Cambridge Dictionary, flirtatious is defined as, “behaving as if you are sexually attracted to someone, especially not in a serious way.” Okay, 75 year old lady that I told smelled good at Costco, I am not sexually attracted to you. I just really enjoyed your fragrance of choice. As for you, 17 year old young man at church? I gave you a compliment on your singing voice and told you that you sounded like Roger Whittaker. Also not sexually attracted to you. And to all my first cousins at a family reunion? Sure, I sang a karaoke duet with one of you to the Phantom of the Opera’s song Music of the Night. Did we sing with commitment and intensity? Yes. Totally nailed it! But, it does not mean I want to be kissing cousins.  Friendly and outgoing. Yes. Raging flirt who is sexually attracted to everyone I speak with? No. I have felt misunderstood by this all. Or M!Ssundaztood, as my friend P!NK would say. (Don’t get the reference? Give it a Google.)

With all that being said, I can see how sometimes I’m seen as flirty.  I often say too much. I struggle with awkward silences and feel this compulsion to fill the dead space.  I can get awkward and wordy and maybe say some odd things. I can see how I’m deemed as flirty. I get it. I also can see that if my husband was as chatty as me, I’d probably have some concerns. (It would be truly out of character for him to be like this, though. For me? I think I came out of the womb like this.) It is not my intention to flirt. Keegan has teased me about flirting with different trades workers who come to the house to do work. My daughter Evelyn has overheard these conversations. More like overheard and mimicked.I have two stories about her calling me out. 

Exhibit C:

One of my dearest friends and I would often take my kids to our favourite family restaurant. And we’d often end up having our favourite server wait on us. Let’s refer to him as Josh. (He happens to be in a relationship with a man. This matters, just you wait.) He is hilarious, sassy and quick witted. We laugh a lot when he comes to our table. Seriously, I have a hoot with him! Josh and I were laughing about something, and Evelyn said, “Mom, are you and dad breaking up so you can marry Josh?” As quick witted as he is, Josh said, “Yep, I’m your stepdad now! And you’re grounded.” More laughter! Anyone who knows Evelyn knows she has a great sense of humour. She was just teasing, the clever girl, but I still felt a tad triggered by it.

This isn’t the restaurant I was referring to, but it’s the only photo I had with me and my kids in a restaurant. Also, ponytails are not my friend. Just call me Slick Rick.

Exhibit D: 

Just as a reminder, I’m not that comfortable with silence. I’m trying to be, but I’m a work in progress. We had a particular FedEx delivery worker who consistently delivered to our house. He was on the quiet side and it always made me a titch uncomfortable. So what did I do? Yack away. The song with lyrics Yakety yak (Don’t talk back) is beyond true. I wouldn’t give him a moment to comment on anything. I filled in all the silence. Just call me Yacky Fleming.

One day, when our FedEx guy rang the doorbell, Evelyn opened the door and left it wide open. She proceeded to yell very loudly, “Mom, the guy you always FLIRT with is here!” I almost died! Awko Taco! Needless to say, I didn’t go to the door! I was mortified! And it totally made me think of Billy Madison when his kindergarten teacher embarrassed him. “Thank you very much Miss Lippy!” Reminder to everyone: friendly should not be synonymous with flirty!!! Also, oddly enough, FedEx no longer delivers to us. The new company doesn’t knock and wait for us to answer the door. The drivers ring the doorbell, leave the package and promptly leave. Do I have a reputation in the delivery world? Hmmm. 

Next example. 

Exhibit E:

Growing up, we weren’t allowed to say fart. We had to say toot or fluff. So you can surmise that swearing was a big no-no. My brother, who was 5 years older than me, was bugging me relentlessly. I was so frustrated and felt cornered so I yelled, “YOU’RE SUCH A BUGGER!” Bugger, as in, a person in the act of bugging me. I didn’t mean it as a swear. I got in so much trouble. We weren’t a spanking family, but I’m pretty sure I got spanked. I was probably 10 or 11, so it was extra traumatic. I tried to explain what my intentions were, but they fell on deaf ears. I felt SO misunderstood. It was a very helpless feeling. 

I have countless more examples involving varying degrees of misunderstandings. I try to be reflective and have a healthy balance to make changes where needed. At the end of the day, I tend to be pretty hard on myself and I’m trying to overcome it, but it’s a challenge for me. I have high expectations of myself and I think that naturally transfers into having high expectations of others too. That can be a good thing, but there needs to be a balance. It is easy to get frustrated or put out with others. I wrote about expectations HERE.

I remember being given a really neat challenge. It was one where I was encouraged to pray to Heavenly Father so I could see other people through His eyes. I was also encouraged to pray to see myself through His eyes. I accepted the challenge then and have continued this practice when I remember to. Anyway, I have prayed many times for this to happen. Guess what? It works! Heavenly Father’s love is unconditional, real and right. Praying for this has helped me see myself and others through His eyes, and I was indeed filled with love, understanding, and grace. I have a testimony of it, but I still often forget to pray for that Divine Sight. (Hi, my name is Jacquie and I’m a sloooooow learner.) 

Feeling misunderstood can be uncomfortable or hurtful, but there’s good news! We can combat it with being slower to jump to conclusions. We can try to really hear what people are saying and ask them to clarify if we are missing something. We can try and work on our communication skills. And we can definitely pray. Pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to understand and hearts to feel. That we can have the Divine Sight to see truly see ourselves and others the way God sees us. Wouldn’t that solve so many problems? 

I’ll end with this. Writing these blog posts has been therapeutic for me. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and helps me come full circle.  It helps me make connections and encourages me to use my personal experiences as a tool to see patterns in myself. (Why don’t I write more consistently? It makes me come alive!) I truly hope you can gain something from my musings, too. I feel honoured that you’ve read any of my writing. Thank you, my friends, near and far. Friends that I’ve met or just haven’t met…yet! God bless you. 

Learning Mindset Self-improvement


I have some thoughts on intentions that I wanted to share!

One evening, about six years ago, I took dinner to my friend and her family. They had just welcomed a new baby into their family. I really wanted to help in some way, and bringing dinner seemed just the thing. Now picture this: a pregnant Jacquie walking up the stairs to their house, carrying a heavy tray filled with homemade spaghetti sauce, meatballs, pasta, veggies and dessert. 

Did I mention I was pregnant and emotional and stressed? Making dinner was something I wanted to do for others, but it was always a stressful to-do. I would worry if the dinner would be tasty, or if I made enough. And at this stage of my life six years ago, I’d worry about the timing of dinner delivery because I had a one year old boy who had an inconvenient tendency to fall asleep on drives in the evenings. If he slept for even five minutes, it would affect his bedtime and he wouldn’t fall asleep until close to 10 pm. Thus, affecting my quiet time in the evenings, and I think we all understand the sacred nature of adult time sans children. Plus, I knew the mess that was awaiting me in the kitchen. I didn’t clean up as I went, like I do now. All these little worries added up and I wouldn’t be the kindest or calmest person to my family. But I digress.

Somehow, while walking with a tray in hand,  I tripped up the stairs, fell down, causing the food to go flying. The spaghetti and meatballs painted my neighbour’s light coloured stairs and their gray stucco exterior. Did I mention they  lived in a newly built home? It was a disaster! I felt awful, both physically and emotionally and I started to cry. Like really. I tried to do something nice for this family and I ended up not only ruining the dinner, but I was convinced I ruined their house, too. Plus, I still needed to feed my kids. And I had that worry that my baby fell asleep amidst this “quick” meal delivery. 

I don’t have many photos for this blog post. So, here is one of my baby, Bennett. He’s the one I worried would fall asleep in the van ride to deliver. Oh, how this makes me miss my babies!

My friend came out because she heard the ruckus. She was so gracious, and even found the humour in it all. I sure didn’t.  I profusely apologized about the mess and for the lack of dirt-free dinner. Between tears, I was able to call my husband Keegan and tell him what happened. I was a hot mess and wasn’t thinking clearly. Keegan was also gracious to his irrational wife and said he’d leave work early and grab some pizzas on the way home. Could I have ordered pizza from a restaurant in the town I live and have them deliver? Absolutely. Did I see that as an option amidst my whole world crashing down around me? Nope. I was trapped in a glass case of emotion. (Name that quote.)

The end result wasn’t what any of us expected, but I knew my friend still felt of my love. She knew of my intentions. However, even with my good intentions, the whole ordeal was an inconvenience for all parties involved, especially for my friend’s husband, who insisted he’d clean off the mess instead of me or Keegan doing it. And before it all froze. I’m so grateful for people being able to see what’s in my heart and not necessarily what’s in the finished product.

Now onto the next story. I went to Costco last week and saw the Lite Brite toy on sale. I loved that toy when I was a kid! Seeing it transported me back to when I bought the Lite Brite for my nephew Jack when he was around 5. (He is now 21.) I was so excited to give it as a gift! I loved it, so I assumed he would, too. Jim, who is Jack’s dad and my brother, told me years later the truth about that gift. At the time of this particular gift-giving, Jack was at the age where commercials were still a thing. None of this streaming or PVR business where you can bypass commercials. You had to watch them the old fashioned way.  Apparently, every time Jack saw a toy commercial during the Christmas season, he’d mention how he wanted that advertised toy for Christmas. But when the Lite Brite commercial came on, he didn’t make a sound. Not a peep. It was pretty much the one toy he didn’t have interest in. My intentions were good; I wanted to give a gift to my nephew.  After learning the truth about my beloved Lite Brite, I felt disappointed and a tad embarrassed. I can laugh about it now, and see how my good intentions didn’t have the outcome I thought they would. But hopefully, my nephew still felt of my love!

When I saw a whole pallet of Lite Brites at Costco last week, I was still drawn to them. I wanted one. Surprisingly, my kids did, too. I didn’t end up buying one, but maybe they’ll get one for Christmas. Then I’ll be able to relive more glory days!

And they were even on sale!

There will be instances in our lives when we have good intentions but do not act on them. I’ve been trying harder than ever to act on my first impression to do something. (Read about that HERE.) But I’m not perfect. I really missed the boat in this next story I’ll share. It’s a tender topic, but I still want to share.

Henry (not his real name) was a senior gentleman in my town who walked miles every day. He fascinated me. No matter the weather, he was walking. Throughout the duration of a few years, I got to know him a little better. Whenever I’d see him around town, we’d chat a little. I learned that he was a widower and walked so much to fill up his days.

 I felt the impression quite a few times to invite Henry over to our house for dinner. I finally decided to take action and called my sister to get his number. He was in her ward (a church congregation). I was ready to invite him over. I got excited thinking about where we’d go from there. Would he be receptive to our invitation? Would he eventually become like an adoptive grandpa? I didn’t expect my sister’s response at all. She told me that Henry had died just a few days earlier. My heart was so sad for lots of reasons. One reason was for the missed opportunity. I put those nudges to the back burner for years. And now it was too late. I had a good cry for his family, our community and for me and my family. For the “what ifs”. I eventually realized that he was reunited with his sweetheart and that he wasn’t alone anymore. That offered me some comfort, but didn’t take away my guilt. This experience taught a valuable lesson: act on those good intentions. Even if the end result isn’t what you intended! In this case, even if the end result wasn’t what I wanted, and he didn’t accept my invitation, at least Henry would have known that he mattered to me. 

I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom with this last story. I just wanted to share this hard lesson I learned. Sometimes there are expiration dates to our opportunities. The good news is that, for the most part, regardless of the end result, people can see the intentions of our heart. I’m so grateful for that. Thank heavens, literally, for a loving father in heaven who ALWAYS sees our intentions, no matter the finished product. Sometimes I feel so misunderstood, but God always gets me. (I have some stories to share about that HERE.) Hopefully, we can all give a little more grace to ourselves and to those people in our lives when our/their end result leaves much to be desired.

P.S. I still enjoy taking dinner to people when it’s helpful, but I started to realize the stress it sometimes puts on me, and inadvertently my family. When I am mindful and know that a homemade meal wouldn’t be conducive to a peaceful evening, I’ll buy dinner for the family. Gasp! You read that right. Rotisserie chicken, buns, bagged salad and a treat. Boom. Done. Everyone wins. I’ve also been on a chicken pot pie kick lately because of how symbolic it is to me. Read about that HERE.)


Right Under My Nose: Trying To Recognize What Others See That I Don’t

The old adage “right under your nose” certainly rings true. I try to be aware, but sometimes I just can’t see what’s right in front of me! And it takes someone pointing it out to help me see what I’m missing. (However, when that person is my husband, I occasionally have the tendency to resist listening to his wisdom. Yes, I am prideful. Oopsie.)

I have countless examples, but I’ll narrow it down to three.

1. I have become quite sensitive to noises. Even when my kids are making happy noises, I may still feel overstimulated. Same goes for the puppies. They play together in the house and are so happy, but so loud. I recall saying to the kids a time or two, “Go be happy somewhere else!” Of course my kids will also make unhappy noises. And those are especially triggery. 

  I love listening to music when I’m in the kitchen or doing different tasks throughout the day. I’ve also started listening to scriptures, General Conference talks, audiobooks, podcasts etc., but music is what I mainly listen to. Link to the scriptures and talks here.

One day, my husband Keegan returned from work to a less-than-harmonious home. The kids were having big emotions and fighting. I was overstimulated and on edge. He said hello to everyone and walked to our sound system and turned it off. The simple act of turning off the music made a huge difference. My precious music WAS adding to the noise! It makes sense though, because music has been described as organized noise. It’s beautiful, powerful and moving, but it’s still a type of noise. I didn’t make the connection, but my husband did and I’m very grateful he saw a solution to a problem that I couldn’t see. It’s certainly been helpful since.

2. I love our puppies Libby and Lulu. They have brought a wonderful dynamic into our home that I am forever, or should I say fur-ever, grateful for. One thing I haven’t loved, though, is their love for my bathroom garbage. The puppies mastered opening up the garbage lid and getting out all manner of disgusting things: used q-tips, floss, panty liners, wipes, as well as tissues. Libby actually swallows the tissues, wipes and panty liners. Ew. She’s been known to throw up the panty liners a time or ten. She usually poops out the tissues and wipes. To my knowledge Lulu isn’t quite as gross as Libby.

My solution to this problem was to close the door to my bathroom. Well, Libby can open the door, so there went that solution.  I started to lock the door, but it became way too inconvenient so I stopped locking it. It’s crazy how often I open that bathroom door. Honestly, I was consistently frustrated by the whole thing. It was my main grievance of being a pet owner.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law and her family came over. We played outside with the dogs. Libby pooped out a wipe but she couldn’t quite get it out, and she panicked. She ran around with it attached. It was hilarious and horrifying to watch. Keegan and I helped extract the culprit (and dry heaving was definitely involved). I complained to my SIL about the whole garbage frustrations and do you know what she said???? “Have you ever considered putting the garbage beneath the bathroom sink?” Um, no. I have never considered that before, but what an ingenious suggestion that truly solves all the problems. Why have I never considered that as a solution?  RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE! The dogs cannot open cupboard doors. Problem solved. Boom. I’m grateful for my SIL’s willingness to share her suggestion.

Yes, those are baby wipes. No, we don’t have any kids in diapers.

3. I love to read. My parents love/loved to read and so do my siblings. Reading is in my blood. Even though there are many benefits to reading, there is a downside for me. If I’m really into a book, I tend to stay up way past my bedtime to read, like into the wee hours of the morning. Or I sometimes start my day off by reading instead of starting my day off the way I know I should.

I don’t have any other photos of me reading in bed. This’ll have to do? I took a selfie with this book because a friend said she was reading it too. It’s a good read!

I remember reading in bed one morning, and receiving a prompting from the Holy Ghost to put my book down and get out of bed.  I was so into my book and I was so close to finishing, that I declined that invitation. Then I felt that nudge again. I could hear my kids in the other room and they were independently getting their breakfast. I heard them playing and creating. They were fine. I committed to finishing the book and I did, ignoring those promptings. 

Guess how the rest of our day went? Not so well. I didn’t start my day off right. I didn’t read my scriptures, pray or move my body like I normally do first thing in the morning. And I didn’t connect with my kids like usual. I was grumpy. My kids weren’t into listening to me. I felt behind before I even began. It was a really off day. 

Since then, I’ve been able to recognize, with thanks to those nudges, that I shouldn’t put off my morning routine. We all benefit from my routines! An added bonus? One of my friends suggested I use reading as a reward since I get so much joy out of it! I’ve never thought of that solution. So, once I accomplish the things I set out to do, I can reward myself with my beloved reading!

Bonus share: I just remembered it right this very moment. A few years ago, the president (also known as the prophet) of our church challenged us to go on a social media fast for 10 days. I did it. It was hard, but I did it. And I learned that I habitually opened my apps even when that wasn’t my intention.  Perhaps my purpose was to check IMDb, one of my favourite apps, but my fingers would automatically touch Facebook.  I also learned I had an unhealthy relationship with social media. It was too easy for me to sit and scroll mindlessly, or to subconsciously compare myself to everyone, or feel left out. I was able to recognize that I would use social media to validate myself. The ‘fast’ helped me recognize many things about myself and my patterns. It helped me realize I had more self-control than I thought I had.  I wouldn’t have done the social media fast without the invitation.

I’m grateful for those divine nudges, friends, family and leaders who offer simple solutions that I have been blind to. I hope in the future that I’ll be more aware and open to what is right under my nose. And that I’ll be in tune when family and friends may need me to help them find a simple solution.


Swiper, No Swiping!

I have a problem. Okay, I have a lot of problems, but I am going to confess to one in particular. I love to “swipe” people. Do you remember Jack and Karen on the show Will and Grace? What a riot those two were! Anyway, Jack would pretend to swipe a credit card in Karen’s cleavage and say, “Denied”. Then she’d turn around and Jack would swipe between her butt cheeks and say, “Approved”!

I was inspired by that in the late 90’s and have since then swiped people with credit cards, books (ouch!), kitchen utensils and anything else I can get my hands on. If I couldn’t use anything, I’d actually use my hand. (One of my other problems is taking things too far.) I especially love swiping people when they are walking up the stairs in front of me. It’s to the point where my kids won’t walk ahead of me. Haha!

Fun Fact: When I was going to university I worked for my cousin’s father-in-law. I was invited to a family function, and I used a spatula to swipe him. Him, as in my boss. That was a moment of regret, if I’ve ever had one. That happened 16 years ago and my boss still shares that story. He has a great sense of humour and accepted that breach of conduct. I don’t think I can live that one down. And rightfully so. Has that stopped me from swiping people? Negatory. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Fast forward to September 2021, I got a taste of my own medicine and I have photo documentation to prove it. My brother swiped me with his phone during our sibling photo session. I loved that Rhonda Steed captured the sequence of events.

Picture perfect
The unexpected swipe
What’s done is done

I am 39, and sometimes very much feel that old, or even older. But other times, I feel like I act my shoe size and not my age. For reference, I’m a size 10. I sometimes wish I didn’t find juvenile things so funny. Is there a gene linked to immature humour? I’d like to know. Until then, when someone asks where someone or something is, my response will continue to be, “up your butt and around the corner.”

P.S. If you’ve never seen Dora the Explorer, there is a sly fox named Swiper, and he steals or swipes items from Dora and her gang. The response to those thefts is, “Swiper, no swiping!”, hence the title of this blog post.

Books Grief Healing Self-improvement

Taking the Space You Need: Part 1

I started writing this blog post in July 2020 but never finished it. Here’s my attempt at finishing all the thoughts swirling around my head regarding this topic. And there’s so much to be said that I’m doing it in parts.

In case you’ve never read my writing before, I need to tell you some things. I’ve been on a beautiful and difficult self-love journey for the past six years. It all started with decluttering and recognizing that I don’t need to fill up my space, be it physical, social, emotional or spiritual. Filling up all the space was taking away MY space and I started to create boundaries in my life, as a result. Boy, was that hard for me for many reasons, but especially for someone who was a people pleaser! I’m a recovering people-pleaser now and I’ve found strength in knowing that the more I love myself, the less I seek external validation from others. But that is essentially why I have been a people-pleaser. I wanted to do and be enough for them. But it only filled me up short term. It was never enough. (Never, never…now you’re wishing you were watching The Greatest Showman, aren’t you?) I’ll write more about this at another time.

After my mom died unexpectedly in January 2018, my self-love journey was accelerated. I was dealt a hand that I did not expect nor want, but it was still my hand. So, I tried to give myself all the space I needed to feel, to remember the good and bad, to grieve and to heal. Some well- meaning people would try to tell me how to feel or how to ‘get over it’. But it’s not anyone else’s journey is it? No one grieves the same way, so why do we try and tell people to grieve like us? I can’t get over my grief, the gaping hole that was left in me when my mom died. I can’t get over it, but I can move forward with it. And I am. I feel I am honouring my beautiful mother by letting myself feel it all, give it space, deal with it and heal along the way.

I’ve come to realize that sometimes I don’t give my children space to feel all the things. Sometimes I don’t acknowledge their feelings as much as I should. I think as parents we all do it. We forget that our kids have big emotions and need help to process them. I had a session with my therapist (official title is a Child Life Specialist, but I unofficially declare her title as Healer.). Before this session, one of my kids was having big emotions because his sister was invited to go to a friend’s house, but he was not. I tried to console him. He wasn’t having it. I eventually tried to tell him he should be happy for his sister because she hasn’t had the opportunity to go to this friend’s house often. I was half tempted to arrange to have a playdate for him just so he wasn’t so sad and disappointed. I mentioned this incident to my therapist and she gave me some insights that really got me thinking. She said things like:

“It’s okay to let kids grieve the loss of not getting the toy or experience. As parents, it’s usually our first instinct to rescue our kids or logic/guilt them out of it.”

I had never considered that I was not letting my kids grieve over these (little to me) things. It’s big to them, and I should give them the space they need to feel those big emotions. No amount of reasoning, guilting or (gulp) even shaming them will change the fact that they need to process it. My therapist gave me prompts that I could use instead of what I was defaulting to. Prompts that would aid me in connecting with my children. I could approach conversations with my kids in a more validating and questioning way. For example:

“That is hard (or disappointing, sad etc.).”

“I wonder how you’ll manage that?”

“I wonder what would happen if…”

“I wonder why…”

I couldn’t resist adding a meme.

Coming alongside our children helps them navigate the feelings of disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness, all the way to the feelings associated with deep tragedy. Sometimes I project my own values, experiences, or desired end goals onto my kids. It can become too convenient to just tell my kids how they should feel, respond and behave. Sometimes I lean towards more of a dictatorship when it comes to parenting. When that happens, we all lose out on the questioning and learning process. My kids lose out in coming to their own conclusions. They lose out on learning that they are capable problem solvers.

I was raised in a time where you were sent to your room when you cried, pitched a fit, questioned authority and the list goes on. I’m sure most of us were. As a result, I learned to bottle my feelings up and didn’t really know how to effectively let them out. I’ve had to learn that as an adult. It’s hard to break those deep-rooted habits and tendencies. I am working on recognizing that my thoughts and feelings are not wrong and neither are other peoples’. It’s okay to cry, feel it all and question things.

In 2019, one our of favourite families had invited us to celebrate the baptism of their daughter. We were all gussied up and ready to go. Miraculously, we even arrived early. The church parking lot was empty when we arrived and I was baffled. As it turned out, we were extremely early-a whole week early! Lachlan, 3 at the time, was so disappointed. He cried and cried and couldn’t understand why we didn’t get to go to the baptism. I love that he was disappointed because it showed that he cared about that family and the baptism. Now, I don’t remember the outcome of his big emotions, but I just remember thinking he was too stinking cute with his broken heart and bowtie. I just had to take a photo. I hope I gave him the space he needed to grieve that disappointment.

I had to document this. Hahah! Luckily there was someone nearby willing to take a photo. We obviously had a lot of space here.
I want to squeeze him.

I have another favourite family who is going through some unimaginable trials right now. Someone gifted them the book, “When Sadness Is At Your Door” by Eva Eland and they showed it to me. This book is beautiful and profound. It taught me some powerful insights in such a simple way. The illustrations are beautiful, too. I immediately bought a copy. If you are looking to add to your library, you won’t regret it.

There’s not a lot of text, so I’d like to share it with you. (The illustrations add SO much, but I know if I wait to take photos of the book, this post may never be published. Haha!)

“Sometimes Sadness arrives unexpectedly.

It follows you around…

…and sits so close to you, you can hardly breathe.

You can try to hide it,

But it feels like you’ve become Sadness yourself.

Try not to be afraid of Sadness. Give it a name.

Listen to it. Ask where it comes from and what it needs. If you don’t understand each other, just sit still together and be quiet for a while.

Find something that you both enjoy, like drawing…

Listening to music or drinking hot chocolate.

Maybe Sadness doesn’t like to stay inside. Try letting it out sometimes.

Go for a walk through the trees. You can listen to their sounds together.

Maybe all it wants to know is that it is welcome.

And to sleep, knowing it is not alone.

When you wake up, it might be gone.

Don’t worry-today is a new day.”

I cried the first time I read this book. It really touched me.

Did this book make you feel things? It gets me good every time. And it never gets old. (But this pandemic is getting old. And so am I. I have an abundance of silver hairs to prove it. And I refuse to dye my hair at this point. I feel like I’ve earned every silver strand and I am proud of it.)

I made this post on social media in January 2021 and feel that this further illustrates the power of “I wonder”:

“Recently, I was saying a family prayer and I asked for our hearts to become softer. And as I said that, the word ‘gentle’ came to mind. So, I prayed for that, too. Instantly, I pictured baby Max, my nephew who was born last year. (He is perfection and we are all obsessed. Instead of playing, my kids would rather take turns holding and reading to him. It’s the sweetest.)

As I pictured baby Max, I also pictured my kids holding him, loving on him and being so sweet, soft and gentle. And I had some questions come to mind. After the prayer, I asked my kids, “Would any of us raise our voice at Max? Would we ever be physically rough with him? Would we try to hurt him with our words or actions?” The answer was unanimous. NO!!! We wouldn’t. We couldn’t imagine being like that to him or any other baby!!!

My next question was, “I wonder what would happen if we were as gentle with each other as we are with Max?” It really made us all think about it. My mind didn’t stop there and another question came to me. “I wonder what would happen if we were more gentle with ourselves?”

Last year was the first time I felt impressed with a “word”. It was reset. And it was exactly what I needed. And for this year, I can’t even tell you how much I needed this specific divine guidance to have gentle as my word. It’s like God knows exactly what Jacquie Fleming needs. Weird how that works. I know being gentler will make a huge difference, especially coming from the year we just said goodbye to. I’m a lot of things, but I don’t think gentle is one of them. Here we goooooo!!!

P.S. Do you have words or themes for the year? If so, I’d love to hear yours.”

I have a lot of gratitude in my heart for all the nuggets I’ve been learning along the way. And I hope my life will continue to be filled with all kinds of wonder and expansion. I’m grateful for the ability to learn and grow and change. I am especially grateful for those people who I learn from and grow with. Sometimes I’m a bit of a slow learner, and I keep making the same mistakes repeatedly. I get frustrated with myself and I’m so grateful for a family that forgives me repeatedly. I’m grateful I’m getting better at forgiving and being gentler with myself and others. I’m grateful that I’m finally recognizing what I need and figuring out that I’m important too. I’m starting to take up all the space I need. I’m worth the investment. And so are you!!!! And I can’t leave off how eternally grateful I am for a God who gives me second, third, fourth, fifth and thousandth chances. He encourages us take all the space we need.

Mindset Self-improvement Teaching

It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

We all tend to have strong beliefs, notions or opinions about things. Or even people. But sometimes we change our minds. It might be due to maturation and life experiences, our quest for learning and healing, the season we are in, just because it’s the right thing to do/divine inspiration. Sometimes I feel almost hypocritical when I change my mind. I shouldn’t feel that way, though, because life is fluid and always changing. Life gives us so many opportunities to learn and grow. Doesn’t it make sense that we are fluid and always learning, growing and changing, too? If we stay stagnant, that’s on us. I think it makes sense, but why does it sometimes feel like I’m eating crow if I change my mind?I will say this again for whoever needs to hear it: it’s okay to change your mind. (Me. It’s me who needed to hear it.)

*Edit: Oopsie daisy!!! I forgot that I wrote this previously and didn’t end up including it in yesterday’s blog post. I feel I needed to share this, too. Especially since it references Julia Roberts. Haha!

My kids were building with wooden blocks one day. Bennett told Evie he was building something and then he changed his mind once the finished product looked like something else. Evie thought he lied because he didn’t do what he said he would. It was a good opportunity to talk about how changing your mind isn’t the same as lying.

I have sometimes wondered if I am a hypocrite because I have felt strongly about some things in the past and no longer feel that same way now. Does that make me a hypocrite? No! What it makes me is human. (But I am obviously a hypocrite sometimes.) We are fluid, always changing. Well, hopefully we achieve balance in how we change and who we allow to influence us to make changes. We don’t want to be like Julia Robert’s character on Runaway Bride. Remember how she always changed what her favourite eggs were based on who she was dating? She didn’t know for herself, so she changed her preference to her newest fiancé’s preference.

I LOVED this movie!!!!

I would like to share a few examples of my mind-changing ways.

I remember when I once thought boys had cooties and were gross. I also thought mushrooms and tomatoes were ‘bisgusting’, as my kids used to say. I have changed my mind since then, on all fronts. I married Keegan, and he does not have cooties, and is the farthest thing from gross. I am drooling thinking about a tender steak with sauteed mushrooms, and a perfectly toasted BLT.

I can recall countless stories of people from my church sharing the same story; boy meets girl, boy takes girl on a few dates, boy and girl get engaged. (Side example: I used to think the traditional-style of boy proposing to girl was the thing to do. Who is to say that is the only way? As the morbid idiom goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. My kids will tell you all about how it’s perfectly normal for men or women to propose.) To be honest, I was a bit judgey about the whole super short courtship and engagement trend. Well, I ate a big ol’ slice of humble pie because I knew I loved Keegan before we even started dating. It wasn’t puppy love, either. Or lust. Don’t get me wrong, there were lustful feelings, but the love was real and right. But because of my strong beliefs, okay…judgements, I didn’t want a short courtship. We dated for about 10 months by the time we were married. (In the culture I grew up in, that is a long time. Haha!) In humbled hindsight, I truly wish we would’ve just got married quickly and not drawn it all out. I’m really sorry if you felt judged by me. I was a real cotton-headed ninny muggins, and I am so glad I changed my mind about it now. No judgement coming from me. I now understand how you could love someone in such a short time. When it’s right, it’s right, especially when God is involved in the process.

Our wedding invitation. Looking at this photo evokes so many emotions and memories! Keegan and I craved each other and could not wait to be married! We couldn’t wait for the day we could just say goodnight and not have to say goodbye at the end of the night. Also, yes. You see correctly. Our colours were pink, brown and cream. Sepia photos were all the rage.

Traditions. When I think of that word, I immediately hear Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof belting out the song, “Tradition!” Sometimes we automatically do things because of the deep-rooted tradition of it all. It’s okay to change your mind on these things, too. I just spoke with a friend who broke tradition this year and ordered Chinese food for their Canadian Thanksgiving. Lightning didn’t strike with the lack of turkey, stuffing and all the fixings. Everyone loved it!!! In fact, my friend told me this is going to be their new tradition! My husband and I have only made one turkey dinner in our 14 years of marriage. I was dog-tired (a little foreshadowing for you) after the preparation, cooking, hosting and cleaning. Even though we loved gathering family together, it was exhausting. I have a new appreciation for all the effort and work that goes into it. And I think if I was in charge of Thanksgiving dinner every year, I’d opt for Chinese food, too. Genius idea, really. As long as there was still pie involved.

When Keegan and I were pregnant with our first full-term pregnancy, we went to a prenatal class. Co-sleeping was discouraged, so we decided against it. We both planned to have our baby girl sleep in her own room, in her own crib. That sure didn’t happen with her. Or for baby number 2 or 3. We became co-sleepers, and we (mostly) loved it! I breastfed and it was more convenient to have the baby with me in bed. That helped me get more sleep. One time, Evie had a fever seizure in our bed. It was so scary. Everything was fine after, but we were so grateful we were with her. Co-sleeping helped both me and Keegan with having a peace of mind. (If he wasn’t on board, we wouldn’t have been co-sleepers.) We had lots of quality time and so many tender moments together as a family as a result, and I will never regret that. I know co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it worked for us. I’m so grateful we changed our minds.

When Bennett was born, Evie would sleep on a mattress beside our bed. When Lachlan was born, Evie and Bennett would sleep together in Evie’s room. Then we moved into our new house and this happened. Hahah! Eventually we had a “kid bed” where all three kids would sleep in Evie’s room. Now, each child sleeps in their own room, but occasionally we still get nighttime visitors.

When we first meet someone, I think it’s natural to draw conclusions about him or her. In general, I tend to get positive first impressions of people. Sometimes, however, I have been ‘rubbed the wrong way’. It makes me so happy when I meet that same person later on, and changes are made to that first impression! What often helps instigate change in this situation is putting in the time. Everyone has a story and sometimes the chapters in their story have made them build up walls. Putting in time, helps you see through the chinks, and you get a glimpse of who they really are! I’m sure I have rubbed people wrong. I use humour as a defense mechanism, I’m a silence-filler and I’m sure I’m too ‘big’ for some people upon the first time meeting me. Insert awkward laugh. I’m a recovering people pleaser and it hurts when people don’t like me at first. I should carry around a business card that says something like, “Give me another chance. I’ll grow on you like fungus.”

In our little family, we do not own any video game consoles. Our kids do not play video games at home, but they do enjoy playing at other people’s houses. We don’t give our kids much screen time, either. Will it always be this way? I hope so, but at some point, we may have to reevaluate our kids’ ages, stages and interests. We might change our mind. And if we do, that’s okay.

I have two very recent mind-changing experiences. One is in regards to homeschooling, and the other is having a pet. For the record, I NEVER wanted to homeschool my kids. And I NEVER wanted to own a dog post-kids.

I love learning. I love teaching. I love connecting with people. I love kids. I love creating. I always have, and I suspect I always will. It seemed only natural that I would become a certified teacher. I loved the class setting. I loved all my students and busted my butt to help them feel safe and welcome, to learn, grow, believe in themselves, and to take risks. I loved going to school as a student, and I continued to love it as a teacher. I kind of expected people to feel the same way about school. Naive, I know.
When I was a teacher, but before I had kids, I had some (uninformed) opinions about homeschooling. I thought homeschooling was odd. I just didn’t get it. I loved school so much and had a positive experience, that I assumed most parents would want their kids in public school. Confession: I may have even generalized homeschooled kids as being socially awkward and a bit on the weird side. I had heard other people talk like that, too, and had met a few odd ducks who fit that mold. In other words, I had no real data to back it up, but I generalized. After I had kids, I was humbled. I changed my tune and realized that parents have insights into their children that no one else does, and that fuels their decisions to make. I still didn’t get the whole homeschool thing, but I got the whole parents-know-best thing. And I respected that. Did it mean that I ever wanted to homeschool my kids? That’s a negatory, my good buddy! Negatory with a capital N!

My kids love school. Covid school was hard on them. And on me. As soon as it was announced this summer that school was back on, the kids couldn’t wait to go school supply shopping! They were thrilled to be going back to school! They had amazing teachers who I trusted and respected. We went school supply shopping as soon as our local pharmacy was fully stocked up. The kids were so excited, that they labelled everything and put it all in their backpacks. Even their Kleenex boxes. And to be honest, I was thrilled that I was going to have two mornings a week to myself. Even though I had mixed emotions that my baby would be in preschool, his excitement trumped my mourning.

They would’ve slept with their school supplies if I let them.

So, imagine my surprise when mid-August, I felt a Divine Nudge to homeschool for the 2020/21 school year. Say what???? Why? Who, what, where, when, why and HOW? I had the skills and I didn’t work outside of the home, but did I have the patience? What about the alone time I was supposed to get because I had paid my dues? I had a taste of Covid school for over 3 months and didn’t want to do that again. No sir! Keegan, had mentioned homeschooling years ago, but I shut that down real quick. I didn’t want to. And I trusted our school division, and the terrific staff at our schools! I wanted to shut this prompting down real quick, too. I battled it for a bit, but between talking to God and my husband, I realized I could do it. With God, all things are possible. And I realized homeschooling wouldn’t be like Covid school. Even though I felt peace with this decision, I still had a million questions. Through talking with friends and family, I felt a surge of courage and support. I could do this. We could do this. And the kids will thrive! Did I feel judged? Yep. Did I have bouts of insecurity? Yep. Do my kids mainly play with each other? Indeed, but we make sure to socialize with other families! Do I get lots of time by myself? Nope, but we are finding our groove and I am finding ways to get what I need.

Class picture!

Homeschooling is not without its challenges, but the kids and I are loving it. There is so much to say about all of the positives we are seeing. And I need to say something to all the homeschool moms out there that I never ‘got’: we are only a month and a half in, and I’m just a newbie, but I am starting to get it now. I don’t know what the next year will look like, but for this year, I am all in. Thank you to all the homeschool pioneers who were so brave to do something with very little resources available and/or support from the public. Thank you for paving the way! I know that it was not without sacrifice. Also, I am sorry for being close-minded about it before. I feel like you are Sam I Am, homeschool is green eggs and ham and I am the grumpy close-minded dude refusing to try it. He finally got a taste and so did I! We both like the green eggs and ham!

I will share more about our homeschool adventure on another blog post. Stay tuned!

Man’s best friend. We consistently had a dog in my growing up years and I’ll never forget them, or their names: Muffy, Binky, Lassie and Shelby. I adored each and every one! (We had cats, too, but this isn’t about them, regardless of what they think. Haha!) I was what you’d call a ‘pet person’ when I was younger. As an adult, though, I just didn’t want to be a pet owner. Keegan felt the same way. We knew it was a big responsibility and didn’t want that on top of our other responsibilities (work, community, church callings etc.). And we didn’t think it was fair to be away all day long. Then we had kids, and definitely did not want a pet. Keeping humans alive and happy was enough for us! Plus, we didn’t want the mess. Having a pet, other than a fish (and even then, no thanks), was not in the cards.

Me with Binky (AKA Richard Gere eyes) and her puppies.

While the kids were trick-or-treating last year (2019), I got the strongest impression that our family was supposed to get a puppy. I immediately told Keegan. He had a look of shock on his face, and then told me he had the exact same thought at the exact same time. Insert awkward laugh and shifty eyes here. Did I mention that our daughter has a phobia of dogs? We have been taking her to our doctor of natural medicine, as well as for talk therapy, and there is progress, but it still is a very real issue. We did not want a puppy, but that prompting was one we couldn’t ignore.
Within a few months of that prompting, our kids met and fell in love with their cousins’ puppy. Then a few months after that, they fell in love with one of our dearest friend’s puppy. Our kids started asking if we could get a puppy. The phobia was still there for Evie, but we were thrilled with the baby steps made. The prompting from Halloween night was definitely still on our minds, but we weren’t ready to take action. In April of 2020, that prompting came again, so we took action. (I don’t even know who I am anymore.)We got on a waiting list to get a female poodle!!! Once our puppy was born, we let the cat out of the bag. The kids were thrilled when we finally told them! And we decided to name our puppy Libby, which was going to be Lachlan’s name if he was a girl.

Fast forward to October 2020. We picked our Libby girl up!!! (Check out our breeder, Justine, if you’re in the market for a poodle! She’s wonderful.) Libby was so darn cute, calm and snuggly! We were so excited to have her join our family! The honeymoon phase abruptly ended though. Evie’s phobia was wreaking havoc on her. Bennett was having allergic reactions to a “hypoallergenic” dog. Lachlan was scared of her, too, and I had often had to carry him around so she couldn’t get him. Libby was so hyper and bitey and unpredictable. I couldn’t turn my back without her peeing and pooping somewhere in the house. She was a stage five clinger with me, which is equal parts adorable and annoying. She was up throughout the night and whimpered and barked all night, despite the fact her kennel is in our room. I felt like I had a newborn baby again. The only difference is that my nipples weren’t hurting. Haha! I expected things to be challenging with a puppy, but I was not expecting all of this. It gets better every day, but oh my goodness!!!! It feels like life will never be the same again. And there are so many resources out there on how to train your puppy, that it has made me question myself at every turn. That’s overwhelming, too. I ended up reaching out to Evelyn with Perfect Pooches for some in-home puppy training. Evelyn is amazing, and just what we needed. We are glad we changed our minds on the whole pet thing. We don’t regret getting our Libby Lou and we love her so much already. (That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally dream of our pre-puppy life.)

Mary had a little lamb…I get such a kick out of this picture!

Libby is seriously adorable.

Pardon my short story long. I just had so much to say on this whole mind-changing business. If you read this far, congratulations!!! You win something! You win this reminder: it’s okay to change your mind.

Learning Spiritual Uncategorized

First and Second Impressions: Learning to Recognize and Take Action

Going to see a therapist used to be taboo. That is no longer the case and I am forever grateful for that. Well, maybe it might still be, but it doesn’t play a role in my decision making like it may have in the past. I’ve learned to honour that we don’t have to figure things out on our own. Part of my wellness journey has been embracing different forms of therapy. I’ve done talk therapy, tapping, energy and spiritual work. I’ve also been going to see Daryn, a doctor of natural medicine. Each form of therapy has been so beneficial. Therapy has changed over the years and I think we can all find a good fit with all the options available! (You don’t want to/can’t leave your house? You don’t have to. All of these forms of therapy are flexible! And you don’t even need to put on pants.)

I have felt unburdened and empowered as a result of therapy. Have I felt uncomfortable and extremely vulnerable? Did I sometimes want to quit? Yes, yes and yes, but the journey to self love and self improvement has been worth it. The journey is ongoing, and will never end, but I feel freer than I can remember. I feel like I am not only peeling my layers, but I am shedding them, too. The toxic thoughts, limiting beliefs, the hurt, the unhealthy. I have shed many cleansing and releasing tears. (And I have also released a lot of mucous. This photo was taken after one tapping session. I let so much go!)

Please email me if you want any contact information for the people who have been instrumental in helping me on my journey to wellness.

Kleenex Mountain

I could write about many enlightening experiences from my different therapies, but I want to focus on one experience, in particular. It was during a session with Daryn that I learned something that has changed my life. I’m not saying this flippantly, either. Daryn shared something he learned while visiting a ward (church congregation) in Calgary. The gist of it was that the good thoughts that pop into your head, ones that urge you to follow through and take action, are called “first impressions”. Maybe you have an initial thought to reach out to someone you don’t know super well. Or maybe right before you’re leaving the house to run a quick errand with your kids, you have a thought to take water bottles and snacks with you. Often following a good thought, you may get another thought; one that discourages or discounts the first thought. It causes you to doubt yourself. That is what you would call a “second impression”. So, that thought to reach out to someone you don’t know super well has you questioning yourself and has you assuming the person would think you’re a weirdo. And the thought to take water bottles and snacks? You want to push that thought away, rationalizing that you’ll only be gone for 20 minutes.

I had never really heard of these conflicting thoughts as being called a first or second impression, but it makes complete sense. Don’t you just love being given the words that can perfectly sum things up? Giving them words helps create a deeper meaning, yet helps simplify, too. First and second impressions can be seen as a good thought being potentially thwarted by our self-doubt and insecurities. Or you can think of it as a prompting from God, through the Holy Ghost, being potentially thwarted by Satan’s desire to stop the goodness from happening. Either way, I am seeing through a different lens. That person who you thought to reach out to? You questioned the doubt and followed through. The card you mailed made her feel remembered. She felt seen. She felt loved. In fact, she had said a specific prayer to feel Heavenly Father’s love. Your simple act helped remind her that He is mindful of her. That nudge you felt to grab water bottles and snacks? You decided to grab them, even though you were anxious to get going. You were delighted you brought them because your preparation allowed for a spontaneous playdate at the park! (Both of these examples really happened to me.)

I am a believer that good things come from God. God is good! So good! And first impressions come from Him, no matter how big or small. Satan is the opposite. He thrives in our self-doubt, our guilt and in our insecurities. I have tried to become more astute at recognizing that second impressions come from Satan’s influence. He doesn’t want us to connect with one another. He doesn’t want us to be instruments in the Lord’s hands. He doesn’t want us to have joy. He wants us to be miserable like him. And Satan is sneaky. He tries to bring us down by the littlest actions. I am trying harder than ever to recognize those attempts. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. It just takes practice and patience with yourself.

‘Practice makes perfect’, has been replaced somewhere along the line with ‘practice makes progress’. I like that much better. I know I am not perfect, but I am making progress with recognizing when I am prompted by the Holy Ghost. The more I listen, the easier it becomes. But make no mistake; I still listen to the ‘second impression’. Case in point. I am a creature of habit. For example, I almost always put our laundry baskets by our bed. Notice I said almost always? One day, I put our laundry basket in a different location; against the wall between our bedroom door and our bathroom door. I had a thought to move that basket to the usual place, but I ignored that thought. I was woken up early the next morning to a loud noise followed by “OUCH!” and maybe a substitute swear or two. Keegan was getting ready to go to work. It was dark out. He wasn’t expecting the laundry basket to be where it was and he walked right into it. Did I mention that we have wire laundry baskets? He stubbed his toes so hard! What a way to wake up. If I would’ve followed that first impression, I could’ve toe-tally prevented that from happening.

The culprit.

On a previous blog post, I shared my chicken pot pie story. If you don’t want to read it, I’ll sum it up. After my mom died, I had a craving for chicken pot pie. I wasn’t up to making food, so I knew my craving would not be satisfied. Within a day of each other, two friends brought by chicken pot pies. What a beautiful reminder that I was loved. That God was mindful of me, even when I was so angry at him. These two women followed through with the impression to bring me a chicken pot pie. God used them as instruments in His hands. I will forever cherish this memory.

I have something else to share that I will forever cherish. My friend, who we shall call Jess, texted and reached out to me about two years after my mom passed away. This beautiful friend told me that the day after my mom died, she had the strongest feeling to bring me a chicken pot pie. She told me she second guessed herself, though, thinking that the prompting must’ve been wrong. She questioned her cooking abilities. Jess knew that I had plenty of people bringing tasty food, and thought I wouldn’t actually want a meal from her. So, she didn’t bring the chicken pot pie over. Months after my mom died, I wrote and shared my chicken pot pie story and she read it. Even though Jess regretted not following through with the prompting, she embraced this as a learning experience. She told me she is now able to better recognize and follow through with those ‘first impressions.’ Jess’ text meant so much to me because it was another reminder that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. He sent a chicken pot pie prompting to three people! He will send you those angels, or He will send you a message, one way or another.

One message I was sent didn’t make sense. The kids had been sleeping soundly for a few hours and I was laying in bed about to fall asleep. I had an impression to go check on the kids. I didn’t want to because Keegan had just checked on them a while before. And I was so cozy in my comfy bed. The air purifier was drowning out noise and lulling me to sleep. I was tired and my knees hurt. But, I decided to listen to the prompting anyway. On my way up the stairs, I heard a beeping sound. I couldn’t hear it from my room because of the white noise from the purifier. Upon investigating, the beeping was coming from the deep freeze in the basement. The freezer door wasn’t shut all the way and the temperatures were rising. I think Heavenly Father knew that there was a chance I’d ignore a prompting about the freezer, but I would not ignore a prompting about my kids. He cared enough about the repercussions that a freezer full of thawed Costco groceries would bring. It’s so humbling that God is so intricately woven into our lives.

I have another story to share. This one is extremely hard to talk about, but I’ll be brave.

I was packing up our rental house so we could move boxes into our new home. I was in a rush to get my kids out the door so my mom could watch them while I worked. Earlier that day, I had moved all of my household cleaners to my pantry so I could pack them together. I had a thought to move my cleaners to a higher shelf, but I dismissed I because I was going to pack them up after my kids were gone. I felt that it was just one extra and unnecessary step for me.

I gathered the kids so we could go to my mom’s, and had just finished putting Lachlan in his carseat when I heard the most alarming sound come from Bennett. I can’t even describe it. It was a shocked, scared and painful cry that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Bennett had grabbed the oven cleaner and sprayed it on himself. I think he wanted to squeeze the handle, as all kids love to do, but he had pointed the nozzle at his face. The oven cleaner got in his mouth and all over his face. I have never been so scared in my life. I rushed him across the street to the hospital. The staff were so efficient and amazing.

I was dealing with some huge emotions. Mine, not Bennett’s. He was a champ through it all. He just snuggled with me and let the nurses and doctor do their thing. He even managed to smile and be his sweet, darling self. Meanwhile, I was spiralling. I had no idea how much cleaner he ingested. I had no idea if he was going to be okay. I had no idea what damage the toxic cleaner caused to my sweet two-year old’s body. All I did know was that I didn’t heed the thought to move the cleaner. All I know is that I could’ve prevented this from happening. I have never felt that kind of guilt before.

My amazing and resilient little boy. This photo is still so hard for me to look at.

Fast forward almost 4 years. I am happy to say that Bennett is now six years old and thriving. There seems to be no lasting effects on Bennett, either physically or emotionally. I am forever grateful for the hospital staff. They helped Bennett and were so good to him. They helped me, too. I was spiralling and felt that I was the worst mom in the world. I had a sweet nurse share her own ‘worst mom’ story. She didn’t need to do that, but she did. And I really needed to hear it. Angels come in many forms. My family’s angel was wearing scrubs that day.

Another angel in my family’s life comes in the form of a professional baker. Through the years, we have formed a relationship with the owners of Grandma’s Oven. They are truly heaven sent. If you know them, you know exactly what I’m talking about. After my mom died, we found out Evie was allergic to eggs and was lactose intolerant. That was really hard on her, as so many things have eggs in them. That also meant she couldn’t have any amazing baked goods from Grandma’s Oven. One day, out of nowhere, we got a knock on the door. There, holding two pans of egg-free cinnamon buns, was the Grandma of all grandmas. She fiddled around with egg-free cinnamon bun recipes and made Evie her own batch. She told me, “I needed to do this for Evie because her grandma would’ve done it if she were here.”

Never has a pan of cinnamon buns tasted so delicious. This was another chicken pot pie moment for my family.

You could taste the love in those cinnamon buns.

I am so grateful to have learned more about what kind of impressions we receive. I am also grateful for all the times I can recall where I have been a recipient of people’s first impressions. I want to be the kind of person who recognizes and follows through. We really never know the impact that our words or deeds might have! I want to remember that recognizing the promptings takes practice, and to give myself grace when I forget to listen to the still small voice. Practice makes progress, not perfect.


I Wrote Stuff About Stuff During A Global Pandemic

I’ve had lots of thoughts and emotions over the past four months. I have made progress in some ways, become stagnant in others. I’ve experienced inspiration and also discouragement. I’ve had faith but I’ve also experienced fear. I’ve thought and felt so many things! I have definitely felt the extremes. We are living history as I type. Isn’t that a bit weird to think about?

At the very beginning of this global pandemic, I had the impression that I should start a family gratitude journal. Writing words down is a powerful thing. I have been keeping a gratitude journal for myself and it has changed me. And our family practices nightly gratitude sharing before the kids go to bed (I was inspired by Brene Brown.). That practice has changed our family. We used to just share our gratitude aloud, but since the impression to keep a family gratitude journal, we started one! I love that we will have this journal to refer to in the future. We will be able to remember that life was good, even through the craziness of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our gratitude journals. Nothing fancy, I just happened to have these in my stash. Thank you Dollarama!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge other things, too. These past four months have been a lot to process. I have made some social media posts throughout and thought I should compile and document them here, and add some extra thoughts, too!

POST #1: Words matter to me. They’re my predominant love language. (What is yours? I’m so curious! Also, I’ve never read the actual book. I really should. )
Words matter and I have felt of their influence. And I have influenced others with my words. They can be a beautiful gift! But, also not.

Case in point:
While student teaching in Edmonton, a 6 year old asked me why my arms were so hairy. I had never once thought of my arms as being overly hairy. I really internalized that and allowed myself to become insecure about it. So insecure, that I had a friend wax my arms! I still remember the girl’s name. Lily.

I have a gummy smile. It’s always been an insecurity of mine. In high school, one of my good friends and I were cruising and he smiled really big. I laughed and said something like, “We could never have kids. They wouldn’t stand a chance. They’d be all gums.” My words influenced him. I was the little 6 year old girl. He was me. Instead of waxing, he had dental surgery. I am a total b-hole.

I’m making strides to not let negative words have power over me. That’s a hard habit to break. I care what people think. (Recovering people-pleaser, right here!) I’m trying to edit what I let in. I’m trying to edit what comes out of my mouth, too. Words matter, yes. But we have the power over what we let in and let out.
In the movie Labyrinth, Sarah yelled to Jareth the Goblin King, “You have no power over me!!!!!” This is a good reminder. I don’t know if you need this reminder, but I felt like I should share it.

P.S. I still find Jareth the Goblin King attractive.
P.P.S. I always have movie quotes/SNL quotes/lyrics swimming in my head. I’ll never edit that out!

Anyone else attracted to Jareth the Goblin King?

POST #2: (My family thrives with routine! Not just my kids, but me too!)

Anyone else have an astronomical food bill!!? And found some extra insulation around your midsection? Hahah! Our new hobby has become snacking. I’m pretty sure the Spirit prompted me to come to the following conclusion and I feel I need to share it.

Before the new day starts, the kids and I will pack our snacks in our lunch kits. I set a guideline of what to pack and they choose what goes in. Once the contents of the lunch kit are done, no more snacks! This doesn’t include meals, just snacks. We need some boundaries. Hahah!

So, we packed up our lunch kits tonight, but fridge foods stay in the fridge until the morning. Then we will add ice packs. The kids were so excited to do this, especially Lachlan. Also, I found some hand sanitizer attached to the straps, so I’m excited about that. (Hand sanitizer and yeast are the new toilet paper.)
Tomorrow is our first day with this new routine. I think it will help us.

POST #3: A friend sent me this pancake meme and I died. The truth of the matter is that I’m guilty of being an a hole, too. I can also be a friggin’ delight, and so can my kids. We have more good days than bad, BUT COME ON!!!!

Let me share a few examples (there are many more, believe me):

•I’m happy and feel that it is such a blessing to be with my kids all day. But at times, I am DONE and feel a little trapped and burdened.
•I feel like we are in goodish hands when it comes to our government. But at times, I question it all and think, “Trust no one. Not even Bill Gates.”
•I’m happy to see everyone’s success and productivity that is shared on social media. (I’m talking about you Go Clean inspiration, sourdough starters and Zoom exercise classes.)

•But at times, I feel very inadequate and kind of resent all the success that I’m not experiencing.
•I love myself and feel like I’ve got this. But also at times, I feel like a fatty fatty two by four and am barely holding it together.
•I feel I’m pretty good at having conversations with people and connecting with them. But at times, I’m so awko taco that I feel like I don’t know how to even act in public anymore. (When asking a worker about the biggest package they offer, I started giggling. “Biggest package! Sorry, I have the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy!” And then I giggled some more. What in tarnation, Jacquie? Seriously. I mean…seriously. )

Nothing about this situation is normal. We’ve got nothing to compare it to, either. Brené Brown has a podcast about FFT’s, (Friggin’ First Times). As usual, she helped me see things differently. If you need a little somethin’ somethin’ to help you, here you go. She drops the real F Bomb, by the way. My substitute swearing is just priming the pump for you.

Anyway, thanks for reading this far. If you haven’t, then maybe go eat one of those pancakes.

POST #4: (I have read a LOT of books over the past 4 months.)

I love history. I love learning. I love to read. I love hearing people’s stories. And I love love. So, it makes sense that I love me a good historical Christian romance novel. I get to read a good wholesome book with a happy ending, and I get to learn along the way. It’s perfect.

Speaking of perfect? The use of old timey language in these type of books. I think it’s time to reintroduce the language into our vocabulary. I’ve been keeping notes of the words or phrases that stand out to me. (Nerd Alert!)

Since I’ve resorted to substitute swearing and such these past three months (I blame you Corona for the “such”), it’s only appropriate for me to share “blazes” with you. Blazes is a euphemism for hell, usually in phrases. Blue is added to intensify.

For example:
How the blazes…?
It’s hot as blue blazes!
What in blue blazes…?
It’s all gone to blazes!
I’m working this into my daily vocabulary. Haha!

POST #5: Do you remember that time I was concerned that I might have contracted Covid-19 because my throat was so sore? And then upon reflection, I realized my throat was sore because I yelled so dang loud at my kids?

In May, Bennett lovingly gave me this picture. A picture he drew of me. I was equal parts humoured and horrified. Hahaha! He really nailed the split ends and my big emotions. (There’s nothing normal about what we are experiencing, and there may have been wailing and gnashing of teeth at times.)

During the past threeish months, I’ve said and done things I’m not proud of. (I recall telling one of my kids to “get a life”. What’s next? Am I going to respond with “I know you are but what am I?”) I’m so grateful my kids forgive me. I am grateful that life won’t always be like this. We are making the best of it, but life seems so heavy sometimes.

Speaking of heavy, do you remember the movie The Crow? (I watched it in the 90’s and loved it. Looking back, it’s a super dark movie and I can’t believe I watched it so many times when I was a teenybopper. ) There’s a phrase that has stayed with me for almost 26 years. “It can’t rain all the time.” That’s even the title of a song in the movie’s soundtrack. Things are literally and figuratively raining down on us right now. I needed this reminder, and maybe so do you.
(At the time of this post on social media, it was raining nonstop.)

It can’t rain all the time.

POST #6: You know when house flies get into that annoyingly sluggish stage? It’s the same stage when they also get extra clingy and are always lurking near your head. (Why do you keep landing on my nose, and buzzing in my ear, little fly? I don’t want your poop encrusted legs touching me, thanks. And why do you insist on repeatedly flying into the mirrors or windows? I know you can see outside, but there’s a barrier stopping you. Like, get a clue, fly.)

A little while ago, I was chatting with a friend in my front entryway. The type of fly I described above made an appearance. It was trapped inside, but wanted outside. It kept flying right into the window pane in our door. Repeatedly. The effort and outcome were the same each time. The dang fly just kept buzzing and bumping. To get a different result, one must make a change, but the fly never figured that out. (I’m pretty sure that fly was on my window ledge, belly up, the next day. I guess it did change something. It moved to the neighbouring window. Hahah!)
As I watched the stubborn fly, I had an epiphany. SOMETIMES I AM LIKE THAT FLY!!! I know what I want, I try to get there, but I can’t quite make it happen. I don’t get the end result I want, but I don’t make any changes. I keep thinking and doing the same things. I keep hitting the same proverbial window, but I keep expecting different results. Talk about frustrating!
A belief that has been widely embraced by people from far and wide is that changing your behaviour changes your results. I used to think this was true. Another belief that has been floating around the universe is all about mindset shifts. The belief that changing your thoughts is what actually changes your results. It’s all about changing your mindset, shifting that paradigm. I’ve dabbled a bit in this. In December of 2019, I started to embrace all things Bob Proctor and mindset shifts! I was soaking it all up! And then…COVID. That’s when I became more like the fly.
I’m so grateful for the fly epiphany, because I needed another kickstart. I really needed to be reminded just how powerful our minds are!!!
Here’s a little taste of Bob Proctor (@proctorgallagher on Instagram):

1. Thinking creates an image.

2. The image stirs emotions.

3. Emotions cause action.

4. Action sets up a reaction.

When you’re thinking about what you want, rather than your current results, the reaction (see Step 4) creates new and improved results.

Then, you can start the process all over again by looking at the new result, adapting to the changes that have occurred, and thinking about what you want next.

That way, your life just keeps getting better and better! “

Bob gets it.

I got a little off track for a bit. I have been surviving. I want to make a few adjustments to get back on track. I want to start thriving! Who doesn’t want their life to keep getting better and better?

I have been all over the place. I’ve found the good, the bad, the funny, the sad, the encouraging and the discouraging through all of this. And that’s okay. We are learning how to navigate something there is no manual for. We are all in this together, even though we may feel far apart. I’m learning that fear is the root of the negative things I have been feeling; the anger, doubt, the comparisons and the anxiety. I’m learning to lean more to the Lord. I’m learning more about His gift of grace. I am learning that I am not alone in this.