Clearing the Wilderness…..

I had a heavy chest this morning.  So I pulled on my winter boots and toque and headed out the door with our dog Blue.  Getting out into nature has become a haven for me in chaos of life.  It’s a place where I have found my thoughts to slow and I find some inner peace.  As I set out his morning the sun was minutes away from waking up.   The sky a mixture of beautiful pastels of soft pink and orange.  The air crisp and clean.  Frost clinging to every branch of every tree. Snow covered fields and bush surround me. The path on which I walked is made of nicely packed snow along the tree line.  Although I found some peace this morning was different than usual.  Ironically this place that brings me peace is the very reason I’m seeking it’s presence this morning.  The threat of the clearing of this wilderness looms with the heavy equipment I can hear clearing sections of forest that has become a place of calm for me.

My husband Josh and I purchased almost 10 acres 8 years ago.  Our peace of paradise lies between two sections of trees. The area surrounding is a mixture of farmland and what we call “bush”.  We have visited this place frequently for years but were finally able to build a home here two years ago.  The opportunity presented to purchase the land around us about 3 years ago but it was pipe dream outside our means. We speak frequently of asking the farmer to subdivide the property just to the east of us, a few more acres of this sacred land we have come to enjoy.  Alas, we were enjoying our surroundings without the formality of owning it so we laid low.  An act I have come to regret.

A little more than a week ago my phone rang.  The farmer calling to let us know that he would be clearing trees to expand his ability to farm the land covered in bush.  As he is explaining to me my mind racing so quickly.  Was I understanding him correctly??  Is he really clearing the bits of forest out our back door?  Mixed with emotions of frustration and confusion some gratitude surfaced that he was leaving some trees to the south of us that provides us with some coverage.  With a heavy heart I thanked him for what he was leaving and asked he explain his plans to my husband Josh.  His plans didn’t seem comprehensible, I was partially convinced that I was not understanding him correctly. 

I handed the phone to my husband  Josh.  I sat on the edge of the bed beside him as he heard the news I just received.  His shoulders dropped and his voice changed as the conversation carried.  Amidst the conversation I was so proud of him and the way he respectfully communicated. This point I will come back to.  Although I want to make a villain out of this farmer (trust me I tried) the truth is that he is a really kind man.  He has been nothing but respectful to our family.  It seems to me he is someone who hates confrontation and avoids the same at any cost.  I have much empathy as a I try to understand that the farming business is changing in our world and even in our very community.  The threat of big cooperation’s taking over family farms must be a heavy reality to our neighbors.  The farmer told my husband that he sold a quarter further away to purchase the one backing our property.  He bought the land with his sons as a business venture.  He bought this land to support his livelihood.  How can you make a villain out of a man who is looking after his own family?  Regardless, back to the part of my husband speaking his own truth.  I heard Josh say firmly to him that if he was being truthful he didn’t like the idea of the bush being cleared, that he wished the farmer would leave the section behind our home but furthered that he respects the property is not ours and it’s his to do as he pleases.  He presented the idea of subdividing the section so we could preserve the area to which the farmer responded “now you have me thinking” ….  Sadly, for us there has not been a response to Josh’s request.

As Blue and I ventured down our beaten path the crashing of the forest on the other side of the quarter echoed.  The beeping of the heavy equipment a reminder of how fragile the wilderness really is.  The reminder to me of the animals that have made this area their home now being misplaced during the harsh winter all presented to me at the forefront of my mind.  If I am being truthful resorting back to the much desired “villain” role in wanting to justify my own sorrow and anger I pictured myself “tinkering” with the equipment to cease or at least stall their efforts.  Alas, I could venture this way, but I know in my heart acting in such a manor is not a path that honors the essence of who I am.

In addition to the fear of the bush being cleared another weird scenario occurred at our home yesterday.  After being without internet for years, yesterday we took the plunge and subscribed to a rural internet provider.  As I was out in nature my kids lay sleepily in their pajamas on the couch watching Netflix as I was outdoors.  My fear that we are watching the wilderness dissipate at the same time we are indulging with a form of technology.  Am I shaping my kids to be indoors spending way too much time on screens?  The water seems muddy and unsettled.  The timing of all of these events seem all to sadly correlated.

So I do the only thing that felt right this morning.  I went out into nature.  And as I walked in this place of beauty I tried to manifest to the universe the need for peace in my life.  I wanted to pray for the bush to be saved but that didn’t seem right, it somehow seemed greedy.  So, I prayed for strength, I prayed for continued peace, I prayed for acceptance of whatever comes my way.  I prayed for the squirrels and other creatures on the move, for my family and for the farmer and his family.  The conclusion that I have come to this morning is that my heavy chest is a sign of loss to me.  Loss of somewhere I have found comfort, peace and stability.  I have also come to understand that peace is not just “out there” but also right here inside me.  And although the wilderness may not be steps from my door it’s all around me.  If these daily interactions are so important, I will make the effort to find this peace somewhere else close by.  As for my children, I have faith that they will continue to enjoy the outdoors, that the presence and importance of the same will be reminded to them as the grow into these incredible little people they are becoming.  Although all of this isn’t maybe what I was seeking I felt better after my time in the wilderness. I suppose I found my contentment for today.  

Thank you so much for venturing along today.  I wish you comfort in whatever “wilderness” brings you peace.

Love and light to you all,


Soothing Friendship Woes

Today my husband arrived home with my daughters, Kate (8) and Brooke (6).  Kate walked in the door with glossy eyes that diverted mine and mustered a somber hello.  Their dad walked in after them and explained Kate wasn’t invited to a birthday party and was feeling quite devastated and gave me a sideways glance asking if I would talk to her. 

I followed Kate into her room who was wrapping herself in her favorite fluffy white blanket and falling down on her bed in tears.  She let me lie beside her and rub her back.  I reflected on the truth which is Kate has not been invited to a girls birthday party in her class.  I don’t think there have been many, but she hasn’t been included.  It puzzles the shit out of me.  She’s not an annoying pompous girl and she is certainly not a know it all.  She is quiet but oh so sweet and thoughtful to others!  I pushed away my own desire to “fix” her sadness and let her cry it out.  I also shared my bewilderment at the scenario and tried to shift the question to “I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t invite you, you are funny, smart thoughtful and kind.”   

To make matter worse, my youngest Brooke who is a little more outgoing, was invited to her first birthday party from school. Something her big sister has yet to experience.  Universe, what is the lesson here???  I had not told Brooke about the party because I knew her own best friend had not been invited and I didn’t want this to be a topic on the playground. No one wants to envision any crying 6 year old on the playground.  Part of me was pissed at this moment too.  I mean yes, social gatherings aren’t large these days and a person needs to draw the line but what the fuck?  Gah, the dilemma…. Can you see how the drama was building?? 

So all this is floating around for me.  As I lie here trying to figure out how to not screw this parent thing up.  Questions floating around  me like, how do I be fair? Am I saying the right thing? How do I support my girls? Why is it so hard to watch them have heartbreak?  It was all feeling so yucky to me.  I had this moment when I thought “I am so glad I’m not a kid in school and don’t have to figure this bullshit out myself.”  Which immediately lead me to “oh shit….. am I still navigating this kind of drama in my own life?”.  If I am being honest, the answer to this is yes…..  Insight, something to ponder. Great ha ha.

I’ve always been that girl who had a lot of friends.  I connect easily with others and work hard on staying connected with people.  But something has changed for me. In new settings I haven’t set out to meet new people and develop new friendships. Also, in the last few years and even months I have found myself distant from some of my friends that I have for a long period of time considered “my people.” I don’t hate them, I don’t wish terrible things upon them and I certainly still like to run into them and say hi.  I do this thing where I feel like I need space and to some degree push people away. Some of them have moved along which is great… isn’t it??  I find myself having a moment of panic and sorrow at times asking myself did I do the right thing?  Do they not like me anymore if they no longer are including me?  In my heart I know it’s right, in my heart I know I don’t need all of these connections, In my heart I need to be okay with what is right just for me. This time in my life is pivotal and for the first time in forever (I’m a mom now singing ”for the first time in forever” from frozen he he ) I’ve really been working on my own self, this is something to celebrate but it still has some grief/saddness attached to it.

How do I explain all of this to Kate?  I’m a thirty something who apparently doesn’t have the world figured out, never mind friendships.  I feel that same sorrow that Kate felt when she walked in with those glossy eyes. I’m actually proud of her for identifying the source of her saddness and releasing the emotion.  Truth is her sorrow rips my heart out more than my own sorrow does.  So, for now, I’ll do all I can do which is give her a soft place to land, foster relationships that are important to her and validate the shitty feeling that arises maybe too often in so many friendships.   Alas, I must do this for myself.  After all, showing kindness and compassion to myself might be one of the most valuable lesson to model for my sweet, silly and smart Kate.

Much love and light to you all. 


A Tribute to Who She Really Was: Meet Auntie Mary Lou

Today is the day when I am making some time to sit down and reflect on the loss and death of a family member who had cancer and also battled with depression.  You see, for some time this blog post has been floating around but I couldn’t bring myself to write it for several reasons. I think the largest barrier to unfolding this message today is that I pride myself on telling my own story and not overstepping and oversharing other people’s stories.  To write this I am walking a fine line.  In my heart the information I will share with you today is with the best intentions to capture a beautiful soul who struggled with depression.  I feel the need to separate the illness of depression from essence of who my auntie was.  It’s become obvious to me that the domino effect of depression had impacted nearly every aspect of her life and sadly I don’t think she or my family dug as deep as we should have and talked about it. That there was shame attached and the waters became muddy.   This blog post is dedicated to my Auntie Lou who passed away in early January of this year.  This beautiful August day marks the date of her birthday, with that, Happy Birthday Auntie Lou, I hope you can sense the biggest hello and warm hugs wherever it is that you happen to be.

Here’s a little backstory of my Auntie Lou.  She was fourth in a sibling line of six.  Raised in a decent size city in our Province by her mother and father.  My father, aunts and uncles frequently reminisced on the street they lived on, the neighborhood children they played with, the house full which included six kids and borders, and the creativity to make financial ends meet.  Although there were happy memories shared there were hardships that resulted in the divorce of my grandparents while the youngest three children were still living at home.  My Auntie Lou over the years shared some of her memories of her dad remarrying and a stepmother who was not always so kind.  My Auntie married and left the home before the age of 18.  Although there were many happy memories in her life the disadvantages began compiling at an early age. 

Despite many hardships my Auntie was the single mother of two boys.  Truth be told these boys became her pride and joy and seemed to be the greatest success of her life.  My Auntie while in hospital for end of life care reflected on the pride she felt watching them grow and learn to read.  While they were young she rented a duplex and provided a steady upbringing for them.  Like many single mothers there were challenges but she kept on. 

It seemed to me my Auntie persevered for many years after her sons grew up.  She adapted to life changes pursing different careers as needed.  My Auntie was a social butterfly with many friends whom she loved to spend time with.  I remember her as this laughing carefree spirit for the majority of my life.  She was the aunt that would say bad words such as “shit” and tune in to listen to us when we rattled off our stories.  She was genuine and seemed to have a little bit of a bad ass streak in her, I loved it.

Reflecting back my Aunt seemed to carry on with her mostly cheery self until about 15 years ago.  I’m not sure exactly what happened around that time.  It was the last time I remember her dating, I knew the break up with her boyfriend was a hard one.  My Auntie always had health issues and was often doctoring and off work.  The relationship with her eldest son was strained.  There are many aspects that occurred but what was evident was that depression was quietly seeping in.  To some degree it seems to me that this is when I began to lose my Auntie. 

So many “classic” things began to occur that often do with depression; low mood, lack of motivation, isolation of self.  Eventually family and friends withdrew.  Her lens shifted from a cheery outlook that was foggy and tainted with disdain.  What breaks my heart most of all when I reflect back is how this disposition was a root cause in what I believe was her loneliness and demise.  Throughout the years many more relationships broke down, she had several stroke, her diabetes was unmanaged.  Auntie Lou continued to deteriorate both physically and mentally.  Sadly, she was diagnosed before Christmas with pancreatic cancer. 

In the midst of those six weeks of diagnosis I watched my cousin and my father form a bond while they stood by Auntie Lou’s side, made decisions about her health and gave her the comfort she needed. All along for those 15 years these two were on her side and supported her which I don’t think was always easy to do. The pride I have for those two men still warms my heart.  Despite the struggles of watching her battles with both depression and cancer I believe they saw the real her and provided her with a final gift, the gift of dignity.  And then one cold January night six weeks after diagnosis she took her final breath with her son by her side.  In an instant the life of Auntie Lou is imprinted on us in the form of the memories we have.  

Unbeknownst to me, my Auntie had requested at her funeral for the “Sound of Silence” to be played at her funeral.  Although she loved Simon and Garfunkel the version by Disturbed was played, either way I think it was an excellent choice that she made.  If you haven’t heard the song of silence stop what you are doing and play it.  It’s beautiful.  At the end of my blog post here I will post the lyrics below. Interpret how you will, but there was a message in that song that I think my Auntie intended to leave with us.  I think it was my Auntie’s way of finally telling us the turmoil she felt, the loneliness she endured and the disconnection from other’s that she lived first hand. I believe that she so badly wanted to connect, wanted to reach out but for so many reasons related to depressions she just couldn’t.  One of the verus goes:

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know

Silence, like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

take my arms that I might reach you”

But my words, like silent raindrops

fell and echoed in the wells, of


I fight my tears back realizing how she must have felt for so long.  To fight for so long with depression to be diagnosed with cancer and be taken six weeks later.  That depression impacted her ability to live life to her fullest in the last few years with cancer robbing her of her last breath.  That truth be told she likely wasn’t heard the same as others by medical staff and by her family and friends because of her depression. If anything at all what I wish I could tell her is this, while the sound of silence played at your funeral I heard you loud and clear, you were brave and you were loved. Thank you for being just who you were.   

With everything I write I ask myself what is the purpose of unveiling these details?  What good can come of sharing vulnerable details related to my aunt?  Somehow I believe that if my aunt had the tools to advocate on her own behalf, to challenge the detriments of health and challenge stigma attached to mental health she would have.  Perhaps I have some of my own guilt that I didn’t do more, say more, advocate more but truthfully I know that’s not mine to bare. It wasn’t her fault, it’s not my families fault, it’s not my fault… it’s the fault of depression and cancer.  These variables were in her circumstance unmanageable.  For me it’s a reminder to have real conversations with people, to remember that everyone has their struggles but inside each of us is a desire to be heard, loved and appreciated.  It’s a reminder that mental illness such as depression darkens people’s lives and roars it’s ugly head by isolating people and overshadowing the essence of who people really are.  It’s a reminder to inform others that people don’t choose depression, depression has a strong genetic component that when compiled with psychosocial issues can be crippling.  So, with all that said  I say screw you both to depression and cancer.  When I choose to remember my Auntie it will be for who she really was, the curly haired aunt who fought with me at thanksgiving for the crisp skin of the turkey, for her infectious laugh and for the warm hug I counted on at every greeting.  I thank her for teaching me how to listen to children, laugh, joke and not always take life so seriously.  Happy Birthday to my sweet and funny Auntie Lou.

Love and light to you all,


“The Sound Of Silence”

Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.”

A Vendetta Laid to Rest, Finally…

Since I was 17 years old I’ve had a vendetta that I’ve been ruminating about. Ridiculous I know. This vendetta has been a thorn in my side for many years mostly because at this stage in my life I strive to live my own truth and having empathy for others…. That is with the exception, for the most part, of one particular person. I had decided when the opportunity arose I would face that shit, yesterday my chance arrived.  I wasn’t sure how it would go but I am reporting the experience to be a delightfully refreshing moment in my life.  Part of my current mind set is asking myself “why did I wait so long?” The truth to that is for some reason I wasn’t ready.   

I’ll give you a bit of the back story, but first let’s reverse to 2001 when I was 17. The year of Y2K was just behind us, “get your freak on” by Missy Elliot was released and we still relied on good old fashioned calls to connect with friends. For myself 2001 was a good year. l had a handful  of girlfriends that I gallivanted with and a high school sweetheart.  I had a part time job that paid enough to fill up the tank in my cute Mazda Protégé.  Life at home and school was stable and uneventful. Some of the biggest worries I had was the thrill of anticipating if I would be able to get into the bar (legal age 19) with my boyfriend (the boy) who was legal drinking age.   

The boy was often out partying with his own friends, he was bar aged and I was not. He was a social guy making friends wherever he went. He was friends with this gal, let’s just call her Jen.  Jen was at least a good 3 years older than me and had the most intense resting bitch face I’ve ever seen.  She was most unfriendly and was rumored to be “into” my boyfriend.  I was not impressed that Jen and the boy hung out at the bar together.  Off and on throughout age 17 and 18 I would try to sneak into the bars. On a few occasions, for some reason I made it in, mostly to a bar called “Six Shooters”.  To be completely honest I was never 100% comfortable at the bar while underage.  I had the fear of my parents lynching me if they ever found out and also had this narrative in my mind that it wasn’t likely the safest place for a 17 year old to be…. Regardless, there I was one Friday evening.   

I was sitting at a crowded table, someone was singing karaoke terribly in the background.  Back then you could smoke in the bar, you could see a blue smoky haze across the dance floor that was packed with people wearing cowboy hats.  About half an hour into getting there the bouncer walked right up to me and requested my ID.  Obviously I couldn’t produce it so he escorted me out.  The boy asked the bouncer what was up, turns out Jen had ratted me out.  I was pissed… and continued to be pissed with her until the day before yesterday. Although there were other short interactions over the years that were unfavorable, I believe most of our disdain for each other was connected to that night I was kicked out of the bar. 

Turns out that boy, the high school sweetheart, wasn’t my knight in shining armor…. Oh how there are so many things I wish I could have told my 17 year old self. Sigh.  He ended up living elsewhere but Jen and I continue to live in the same community.  You know how you routinely bump into the same people at the gas station or the grocery store or at the gymnastics building where your kids play? Yes that’s right, my usual encounter with a familiar face is often Jen. I’m a believer that all is connected and there are likely so many reasons as to why I keep running into her knowing full well this is somehow a lesson from the universe that I’ve never been ready to learn.   I’m working on owning my own stuff here but it’s been evident that she is none to pleased to see me around town either.  So, sadly, we give each other the dirtiest of looks or pretend that we don’t exist.  In the beginning it didn’t bother me… but over the years it’s gotten old.  Really how long and how much energy must I exert to maintain my dislike for a woman I don’t even really know?  I remember one day one of her kids was having a moment… ya know, one of those times where the kid was arguing and shouting “but mom” louder than Jen would have liked.  I could feel the tension in the air.  I imagined that she was likely eye rolling and thinking “why does my kid have to be a jerk in front of this Biotch.”  But in truth I could totally empathize with her… what I wanted to say to her is “I’ve been there… hang in there mama.”  But rather we both resorted to those nasty glares we had become accustomed to.  I had decided shortly after that that I needed to lay my vendetta to rest.  I mean the boy was nothing to fight over and we are now grown ass woman.  I vowed I wouldn’t be nasty any longer. 

So yesterday, low and behold, Jen is one till over at the grocery store.  My natural instinct of “oh great” kicked in.  I placed it aside and began reminding myself that I needed to show kindness, to both her and myself and float some positive vibes her way.  She didn’t see me…. I was kinda crushed, I was ready to try somehow to let her know I’m waving my white flag of truth. Minutes later while walking out to my car I spotted her walking towards me.. My heart was racing, I couldn’t speak but I tilted my head and smiled at her. And ya know what???  At the exact same time she glanced up at me and grinned kindly. It’s what I had hoped for but not expected. We can’t control the response of others but strive to be satisfied in the actions we take to better ourselves. We aren’t always rewarded and our kindness not always reciprocated.  Life doesn’t always pan out the way we hope but yesterday it did for me.  I truly believe the vendetta is over and we can be friendly human beings.  I’m calling this a victory and allowing myself to relish in a few moments of satisfaction and contentness.

To you Jen, if you ever stumble upon my blog I want you to know I’m over it and truthfully I’m sorry I was such a biotch for so long. I’m not sure that we will ever progress to the point of speaking and most likely will not be tight and that’s cool with me but I wish you well every step of the way.  When I see you from here on out you can count on a friendly smile from one grown ass woman to another.

Thanks for tuning in folks, much love and light to you all. 



“Why are you smiling mom?”

I’ve wanted to blog for years but had a million excuses as to why I don’t have time.  I’ve come across some new found time.  Unfortunately, the reason I have time to sit in front of a computer, for reasons of pleasure, is due to the COVID pandemic.  Although it is overshadowing all of our lives and uprooted so many emotions, I’m choosing to spend some time exploring the dreams I’ve had related to “Laura time.”  One of the things I’ve dreamed of doing for so long is blogging.  So here I am. Hi! I’m Laura! Thank you for joining me! I’m mostly excited but I’m a little nervous to share some of the rawness of who I am.  Also, to be completely honest, I don’t even know how to start this off!  I think it’s probably essential I tell you a bit about who I am prior to jumping right in.  I’ll start with sharing with you the people and roles that are important to me.

I have two children Kate (8) and Brooke (5); a husband Josh (no age attached here ha ha); a mom and dad who are most helpful and attentive to my family; two brothers with families who live nearly four hours away that I miss dearly and a handful of girlfriends who are truthfully more like sisters than girlfriends.  I work full time in the human service field (luckily in an area of interest) serving clients of many different backgrounds and experiences.  Within my work world I have several colleagues who I respect madfully.  Here, in my home community, I sit on two separate boards with neighbors and fellow moms that aid in different ways to support our rural community.  You will notice that I often define myself within the relationships and roles that are near and dear to me.  Partially I have come by this honestly but it was polished in my university studies where I learned how/why we function within our family systems and roles.

As I reread that paragraph I slightly smirk to myself.  It’s literally only a paragraph which seems so small and manageable, but when you map out a single day of my life, a combination of these roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, professional, colleague and volunteer take up nearly every waking moment of my life.  Truth is, for the most part, I adore each of these roles.  It’s not that I resent these roles (okay, if I’m being truthful maybe sometimes I do), but rather that the many roles I play seem to consume nearly all of my time… I mean ALL OF MY TIME!! Essentially, the biggest challenge of my life is the never ending search for time to squeeze it all in.  A large part of the issue is that when I can’t meet every demand I end up feeling inadequate and like a failure. Ouch, that’s hard to admit and acknowledge, but it’s true, and that is something I live with every single day.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m full of gratitude for all I have in my life.  But to slow down and smell the roses, or simply read a book, or BLOG would be lovely! I do strive to enjoy life and find contentment daily. There’s a few ways in which I attempt to do this, although I would argue they aren’t always effective.  I’ve tried, maybe not as hard as I should, to say no.  Trouble is, when I look around, people seem to be in the same boat as me.  They are overwhelmed with their own lives doing what they can to stay afloat.  This issue being lack of time that I am experiencing is not just reflective of my life, but of a generation of people who are consumed with ever surmounting paid and unpaid work.  Thanks society, we have it all (sarcastic tone. Also note, you will find I like to blame most everything on society).  So, what I try most is to remind myself that when my children are grown, I am retired, and somewhat limited in my abilities I will likely reflect on this chaos of life and smile to myself while remembering the “good old days”.  Right now, at this moment in time I am living what will be the “good old days”.  My daily mantra often is “take it in Laura and enjoy it.”  In this crazy ride of life I am trying to make every attempt to “arrive at contentment” each and every day.  Along the way I have and will continue to experience high highs and low lows, but hey, this is my life.

If my goal is to arrive at contentment on a daily basis I have achieved it today.  Sometimes it’s hard to measure both emotions and goals.  However, I had help today.  A few minutes ago, while typing, my daughter Kate asked me “mom why are you smiling?” my answer to her?  “Dear, I’m feeling content right now”.

Love and light to you all.

Till next time,