Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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Green

I’m happy to link up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Green is a symbolic colour in my family. We’re 1/3 Irish on my Mom’s side so you can imagine how important St. Patrick’s day was when I was growing up. We would say our prayers, honour St. Patrick and have my ancestors recipe of delicious Irish Mulligan stew.

There was one thing that confused me though could a certain colour of green denote danger? I was told if we were to wear Paddy green that it was bad luck. When you grow up with Irish ancestry a lot of superstitions are a part of life so I just didn’t question it.

I didn’t know what shade of green was paddy anyways so I chose not to wear until I was an adult. Then one day my Mom came to visit me and I was taking her shopping. I came out dressed in a new t-shirt I had bought recently and heard her exclaim “oh no you’re wearing paddy green!”

I went back to my bedroom and changed immediately. I know that may make some laugh as I was grown woman. But when my Mom starting making the sign of the cross and praying the Our Father I took this outburst seriously.

After we got to the food court I asked my Mom what was the superstition connected to that particular colour of green. She had told me my Great Grandparents immigration to Canada, tales of the Irish banshee that had a body of a dog and a face like a scary villain out of Grim’s stories. But really paddy green what was the fear of that?

She had explained that when someone in our family had worn the colour that a relative would die. At first I scoffed then I looked deep into her eyes and was ashamed because there was a belief and fear there.

Who was I to question the validity of a belief she held all throughout her life? After this insightful conversation we went back home and I made her a cup of tea and her favourite treat scones, like my Gram used to make. I cherish those memories and keep our Irish traditions alive with my own children.

My favourite thing about St. Patrick’s day is that there’s no expectations on this day. No need to get dressed up and go out to anyone’s for dinner, or get out of your pyjamas for that matter. The only thing you need to do is be happy, drink green beer, and sing Danny Boy.

In my family I make the green pancakes and potato patties like I would have as a child. And for one day out of the year I speak with an Irish accent. I’m putting those years of theatre training to good use. Also it makes my kids happy, and I love to hear their giggles when I break into song and kick up my heels in an Irish jig. I think the world could use a lot more happy traditions so I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be with you.

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The Tear

What is it about the passage of time? I’ve heard that time heals all wounds, time passes on and time is short. It’s that tear in the fabric of time that intrigues me the most. Where you can be another version of yourself-someone who is stronger and makes better decisions and takes a different path in life.

Like the actress Gweneth Paltrow played in the movie Sliding doors her character was on the subway platform deciding if she should or shouldn’t get on the train. The director portrayed what would happen with her life if she stepped on the subway and who she was and who she interacted with.

It really fascinated me with the twists and turns within the plot of the movie. It showed me that you do have to be careful what you wish for. As I’m watching this the character in my favourite TV show #Thisisus is replaying the memory track of what his life was like before when he was a high school football star and adored by everyone. Kevin had colleges scouting him, a girlfriend who loved him and a close relationship with his family. Then it all came to a crashing end when he was tackled in the big game and suffered a broken leg.

He still had the beautiful girlfriend (who he would later go on to marry and divorce), a strong bond with his fraternal twin sister Kate, an emerging relationship with his adopted brother Randall, and his parents Jack and Rebecca that were there to love and support him to this jagged tear to his football dreams. Yet Kevin can’t see past any of that as he sinks into a depression that goes on to shadow his life in his current phase.

What would’ve his life been like if he avoided that devastating hit that changed his path forever? Would he have gone on to football stardom and become the proud recipient of the Heisman trophy, married the girlfriend and lived happily ever after? Even though he’s a television character Kevin and his life story is enthralling to me that he went onto to what appeared to be a good life making a successful living as an actor while recovering from the death of his Father, the rock in his life.

How would his life be any different if he would’ve just thrown the football, avoided the tackle and never have to lose his Dad at such a young age? It’s the conundrum I’m sure most of us have encountered at some point on our path what if I would’ve taken that subway train, stayed with the ex or gotten that scholarship to college. It’s the tearing of the dream that we have for ourselves that can hurt the most where we feel the regrets of time we’ve lost and where the what if’s eat us up inside.

Is the grass always greener over on the other side of the fence? Not necessarily, should we all just be living the life of our dreams with no regrets or resentments? I’ve always intended to raise my sons to follow their dreams, reach for the stars and be kind and giving human beings. It’s the life that we live that shows us who are true character really is. Excepting the hand we’re dealt and taking the leap of faith and being who we’re really meant to be that matters the most.

I saw myself becoming a famous actress and singer entertaining the world with my talent. Unfortunately I didn’t have the courage to pursue those idealistic dreams and leave my parents and go off to the big city. I didn’t believe in myself as much as I should’ve and that tears at my heart still today. But who am I to say that my dreams shall just wither and die? I can still realize them just in a different way, by performing in theatre and pursuing my passion for storytelling.

It’s the gift of words that sets my heart aflutter now as I’m passing on that love of reading and writing to my sons. It fills my eyes with happy tears as I sit and listen to my youngest champion son reading about Pete the Cat and his buttons as he acts and sings out every page. When I thought his brain might not be able to make sense of the letters with his autism and mental processing speed. Then as my heart swells with pride when my oldest rock star son starts reading me an essay that he’s writing for school and telling me he wants to be a writer like me when he’s older.

I wish for them not to struggle with their identities or what direction they should go career wise like I’ve done. To be able to avoid the “hits” that happen in life the fair weather friends, bullies on the playground, and young love breakups. If I could I’d protect them from it all but then they wouldn’t be truly living and discovering the world for what it is. Their time shouldn’t be spent wondering what if but really experiencing all that life has to offer them from school, friendships, love, and beyond!

It’s in these moments that I know I found the right path and even though my mind can wonder about the what if’s of the world it’s the life that I’m living being the best me I can be that matters. Not the one who made her way to Hollywood to become the actress of her dreams who may have caved in to all the pressure that a lot of celebrities fall under and resorted to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

I would rather be my authentic self who loves who I see when I look in the mirror, that prays with my children every evening for a better world for them to grow up in, and loves my husband with everything in me. That’s the bond of family that dreams, pride, fantasies, or ego can never tear away.

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Ten Things of Thankful Successes and Springing Ahead

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I will start out my thankful list by being really honest I loathe the spring time change. I love to sleep, day time naps especially since my youngest son has severe sleep apnea we’re awaiting surgery to repair. Knowing it was coming around the corner of losing that hour filled me a sense of dread. I had intended to change my clocks then my son woke up and needed some cuddles. By the time I got him settled we both fell asleep. Waking up Sunday on my couch and disoriented because I had no idea what time it was is quite a trip. I persevered to get through the day as it was beautiful and sunny and I couldn’t waste a moment of it. So onto to the thankfuls with your co-host of TTOT Fly on our Chicken Coop Wall
I’m thinking of my successes this week on this Sunday where I take 20 minutes for me to write this blog, tuck my kids into bed and get in one last kiss. They’re my biggest successes in life as well maintaining a loving relationship with their Dad. Today was a beautiful sunny day so we went to spend it at the zoo. Laughter, sunshine, and watching the Penguins swim after my happy boys as they played made me giggle and smile. The biggest successes in life are made up of who I love and who loves me. 💖

 

Penguins get very hot when they swim so they cool off by fanning their wings out at their sides.

 
I’m thankful that my family therapy program is going well and there’s been a lot of progress with adjusting and changing troublesome behaviours. I feel more confident about keeping myself in check and not overreacting and letting a trigger affect my progress with a difficult situation. I’m noticing the good and ignoring minor behaviours and dealing with major ones immediately. 

I’m thankful for the consistency, calm approach, and compassion that I’ve been able to tap into have been the greatest keys to our families success. We’ve been having regular family meetings and checking in with each other to talk about our feelings. Each of us feels heard and understood and then we usually play a board game or Wii after. 

  
I’m thankful for being consistent and getting four workouts in as well as some resistance training and yoga to build and stretch out my overworked body. It’s been a long slow recovery with my neck injury in January due to how stressed my central nervous system was. I’m happy to say I’m back to feeling 90 % better and know I’ll be back to more cardio and strength training soon. 

I’m thankful I did take the time to rest and recuperate when my body said enough. I’m not always the best at slowing down because the routine and nervous energy has been something I’ve thrived on. I’m learning daily what I can and can’t do and running on empty in my food fuel or emotional tanks is detrimental to my well being. 

  
I’m thankful that I started a new parenting group and I’ve met some like minded parents looking for strategies and I’m refreshing skills that I haven’t been using. I also attend a support group for parents of anxious kids and it’s been a tremendous support and lifeline for my family and I. One major thing I’ve learned is how difficult it is to have my mind and body in a fight or flight response. As well as anxiety lies to us and we are the truth of our feelings. Taking the six second approach to engage my senses I’m able to help myself and my children go from intelligent brain to primal. 

I’m thankful for beautiful weather and I got outside to do walking everyday this week. The sunshine’s an elixir in my life and I feel so much better if I get my vitamin D fix. It always feels better when I walk and I’m able to clear my head when life situations overwhelm me. I see and hear messages that I wouldn’t by being preoccupied. 

 

Angel wings in the sky

 
This week marked a very special occasion as my cousin’s daughter turned one! I’ve written more about her story last year Here and the challenges this sweet baby girl faced. With an incredible, tenacious, Mom with the strength of a warrior guiding her through life and a patient hard working Dad as well a ton of love and support I see nothing but success for Amazing Grace. 

 

Photo courteousy Love by Krista Evans and used with permission

 
I’m thankful that my son had a fun game to round out his hockey season. Both Atom and Novice teams were matched up and the kids had a blast playing against each other. Next season most of them will be reunited on the sane team as Atoms. I’ve come to know a few of these players and their families and my family and I feel blessed to have made some amazing friends. 

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I’m thankful for visiting with my friend, chatting over wine, and enjoying some relaxation in my hot tub. As a special needs parent my days are busy with therapy lessons, school, hockey, and medical appointments. When I put those things all aside and focus on my self care the results are positive for all my family. I feel better knowing I’m taking care of myself and my happiness and that makes me a better person, Mom, wife, and sister! 

I’m thankful that I dropped all of the housework chores and took advantage of a beautiful +15 sunny day. We went to the zoo and had a fabulous time. I watched my kids interacting with the Canadian geese who were almost domesticated with how tame they were. A few of the exhibits were closed due to maintenance and the gorilla family were celebrating a new baby. We were able to see a live cam of the Mama and her little baby cuddling. It melted my heart and made me think of how I cuddled my own growing precious son’s. We’re really not that much different from animal kind and human kind when we all are united in love. 

A Mother’s love 💖

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Ten Things of Thankful-Feeling the love

The day of love is upon us as I cozy up under my cozy fleece blanket and cuddle up with my family and feel thankful for the smiles, laughter, tears, and most of all love. Here I am to share my week with the lovely hosts of TTOT linkup while the lovely Lizzi enjoys her travels. 

I’m thankful for the blessing of being here with my family. I think of so many times in my life I didn’t think I would ever realize this dream about becoming a Mom. Now here I am cuddling with my precious boys and feeling full of love and bliss. 

I’m thankful for the beautiful gifts of flowers, a wonderful meal and a lovely card my adoring husband gave to me. He spoiled me in all thewonderful  ways and our son’s treated us to a V.I.P. restaurant experience. 

I’m thankful after a mid season hiatus that season six of The Walking Dead premiered tonight. My husband and I are huge fans and we’ve been counting the days till it was back on the air. I won’t give away any spoilers to any other fans. I will only say that it had everything I ever wanted in an action packed, turbulent, jaw dropping, firestorm of emotional thrill ride episode! 

I’m thankful that the reward chart that I’ve been using with my son has worked out so well. He’s been very helpful and we’ve figured out some of his triggers and ways to work with them. He’s done so well that he’s earned himself a special day out that I look forward to sharing with you next week. 

I’m thankful that he also offered to read to me tonight without me having to ask or beg. He does love to read to himself but not out loud. He enjoys adventure chapter books, Diary of a Wimpy kids comics and the Hardy Boys. He found a Jurassic Park book and was excited to read to me and his little brother. I’ve discovered if he finds something interesting he’ll want to share it with me. It’s a win/win for both of us. 

I’m thankful that my youngest son is finally over his chest cold. My poor little boy has been so sick lately and it tears out my heart to see him struggling with his breathing. Next will be asthma and allergy testing to see if there’s anything underlying with him having a weakened immune system. 

I’m thankful that he’s been able to sleep the last couple of nights. I don’t sleep when he’s not sleeping I just drift in and out of consciousness. I was so exhausted this week I fell asleep at 9:30 pm with a book, snack, and my phone in my hand. That was a restful sleep that was sorely needed and the ability to unplug helped tremendously too. 

I’m thankful for a fabulous Valentine’s Day having a family hot tub soak. It was the perfect day for laughs, making plans, and filling each other in on the events of our week. I love moments like this no matter where we live we always have each other. 

I’m thankful for groceries in my pantry, food in my fridge and a roof above mine and my family’s head. In times likes these during this recession not everyone has one or many of those blessings. I’m grateful for how hard my husband works to provide these for our family. 

I’m thankful for time off for the week. Tomorrow is a province wide family day and my kids are out of school as well for a convention. I’ve planned some down time as well as some fun activities that I look forward to surprising them with. 

  

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#Mondaymusings-Lets talk about mental health on #Bellletstalkday

 
I have a story to share I always have. I have a big heart and a big vocabulary and I’m always up for a honest, open discussion. Yet the one thing that always silenced me was my depression. To speak of it meant a horrible feeling of shame that washed over me. I have struggled with the stigma of it since I was very young. I was four years old when my parents separated and with that brought an immense sadness. 

I had no control of it but I was glad to see the fighting stop in my daily life. There were still tears, prayers, and long heart to heart talks but the hurtful words thrown about so carelessly were gone. My Dad took on another life and family and my Mom was forced to make a life as a single parent to two little girls who needed her. She struggled with mental health too, sleeping at odd hours of the day, angry outbursts, tear filled days and nights as her heart was broken over her failed marriage. 

I saw it all, heard the stories, and did my best to comfort her. Being empathic I could feel every emotion and it was like a double edge sword living with this pain. I was so young and impressionable and yet I was growing wise to the ways of the world. I grew up like any other typical kid living in this  existence as I fought with the sadness and anger that would overtake my heart. The world was too loud, confusing, chaotic, and busy. I didn’t know how to cope so I turned to prayer, songs, and my faithful books. 

I grew into a sullen teenager and battled with anyone who would talk to me. My poor Mom didn’t know what to do and so we attended family therapy. I soon started having nightmares as triggers from my childhood came back to haunt me. I would go days on end not sleeping which means my Mom did do. I was finally diagnosed with clinical Depression and Insomnia 

I refused medication as I had such a fear of being drugged into what I call the “Ritalin generation.” It seemed like any child who couldn’t sit still, thought outside the box, and expressed a volatile opinion was put on the token drug of choice. I wasn’t going to be a statistic so I chose to take a more natural route. 

My Mom supported me with this as I changed my nutrition plan, got more exercise, and took Valerian and other herbs for my lack of sleeping pattern. It was a dark and confusing time in my life and I coped with it the best I could. I soon matured into an adult and had years of journals that commemorates that confusing chaotic time in my life. As I grew older graduated and attended college my mental health issues came back full force. The stress of deadlines, securing a student loan to attend school, and maintain a relationship took it’s toll. At the age of twenty I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I also experienced a lot of death in my life losing both my Grandparents, parents, and my step sister all before I was the age of forty. I suffered with Post Partum Depression which I had with both of my babies and it was dark, devastating tunnel of grief and despair. What I hadn’t know that it was being overshadowed by Sensory Processing Disorder. I would come to know that when I took the journey with my children to a diagnosis.  Who both have two types of SPD, (also known formerly as Sensory Integration and Sensory Dysfunction Disorder) Sensory Defensive Disorder which means avoiding all sensory input to the central nervous system and  Sensory Modulation Disorder which is the opposite, it’s the seeking out of all sensory input to the central nervous system. 

 

Clara Hughes

 
I’ve learned a lot as a Mom to children with complex needs and I’m now referred to as a walking medical dictionary by my therapist. I’ve come to know from my experience that being a special needs parent is not for the faint at heart. We’re all struggling in our ways with parenting, making our marriages a priority, and trying to carve out some me time. Some of us struggle, swear, drink, and eat too much. I believe others do too they just hide it better. I still have another leg of my journey to take with my children as more letters of the alphabet are discovered with each diagnostic test and assessment. Since I’ve introduced therapy with a psychologist, a psychiatrist, occupational, physical therapists,  and speech and language pathologist their future is looking brighter with early intervention. 

 

Clara Hughes speaking candidly about her mental health

 
I advocate strongly on their behalf and my own and I share this glimpse into our lives for #Bellletstalkday. This is a mental health initiative in my country Canada and for every talk, text, tweet, and share Bell will donate five cents to Canadian Mental Health. Last year the campaign raised over $500,000 and I had the fortunate experience of meeting one of the spokespersons former two time Olympian Clara Hughes. 

Please share, talk, text, and tweet the hashtag #Bellletstalkday to erase the stigma of mental health and bring it into the spotlight than having it shrouded in darkness and fear. One random act of kindness can do so much to help others like one ripple across the water that can create a wave of understanding. 

It’s time for #Mondaymusings and all you have to do is this list of things. 


Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.


Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to this post.


Add your link to the linky which you will find either here and on the post of a co-host. Today’s co-hosts are Everyday Gyaan and Living My Imperfect Life

Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.


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The Christmas magic is real 

The magic of Christmas has enveloped me. Last night we went driving around town looking at the Christmas lights. I was taken back to my days as a child as my eyes danced in the twinkling of each bulb. We saw really cute penguins, elves, reindeer, and moose. We also saw some very unique decor with Santa as a hockey player complete with a Maple Leaf jersey, Santa on a  camouflage motor bike, and the one that made me tear up a beautiful white lighted Eiffel Tower. Then the chorus of questions poured in like a hot cup of insatiable curiosity. I then remembered all my inquisitive questions that I bombarded my Mom with every year. From my precious preschooler:

“Will Santa bring me my Bat Cave?”

“Does Santa like cookies or muffins?”

“Will he wake me up when he gets here so we can play with his reindeer?”

From my wise but vulnerable to the truth, elementary school student:

“How will Santa come to our house if we don’t have a chimney?”

“How will he walk through the front door and not set off the alarm?”

And the last one I’m hearing more and more this year…

“Is Santa really real-or is just you and Dad?”

I think back to what my Mom said all those years ago and it’s the same thing that I’ve told my oldest son.


Merry Christmas blessings to you from our house to yours. 🌟

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Christmas traditions

Hello my name is Jsackmom and I’m a “Christmasholic” There I finally admitted it, I get very excited about the prospect of celebrating as I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of Christmas. I remember traditions from when I was a little girl and being at my Grandparents with their ceramic tree with plastics lights all lit up. 
It would sit on the china cabinet looking so tiny but beautiful, while I sat on the floor looking up at those lights twinkling in the evening glow. We would help my Mom and Gram prepare for dinner and get our pyjamas on then my sister and I would get our snack ready for Santa with our Mom’s help. We would put out the homemade shortbread cookies, carrots for the reindeer, and a cup of nice tea to wash it down with. My Gram would help us hang our stockings on the towel rod in the kitchen while my Grandpa looked on with a mischievous smile.
 You see those stockings were his socks that he loaned to my sister and I. Next we would go off to the living room and magically there would a present there on the floor for each of us. We would open it up knowing each year it would be the same, pyjamas, slippers, or a house coat. We didn’t care though it was the excitement of getting to open a gift on Christmas Eve that made the holiday more special. 
We would sit on the couch in our new sleepwear and sip on our hot chocolates while we sang Christmas carols and then my Mom and Gram would tell us the Christmas story of baby Jesus and the Nativity. I had always loved the story and still tell it to my children as our tradition. Then we would get sleepy, rubbing our eyes, and toddle off to bed. My sister would have the couch and I would have the blue cot that folded out. My Gram would push the coffee table up close do I wouldn’t roll out of bed. 
Sleep would find me late into night as the visions of sugar plums, turkey with all the trimmings, and toys to be had, would dance in my head. The next morning I would be bouncing around waking up my sister as I was delirious with excitement and more of a tough and tumble Tom girl than sliver bells and cockleshells and we would race to the kitchen to open our stockings. We would dig in and find candy, nuts, mandarin oranges, tiny little doll toys, and whatever else Santa could stuff in a men’s sock! 
Next we would go to the living room and see what else Santa brought us. There would be a Barbie for my sister and I would have a doll complete with accessories of a hair brush, bottle, and outfit. We would also open clothes, books, more candy, and always a religious item of a holy statue. My Mom always made sure we put the Christ in Christmas as to never forget the true meaning of the holiday. 
We would say Grace and have a hearty breakfast as we would go off to our relatives to visit and play with our toys with our cousin. We would always have baking, copious pots of tea, and plenty of singing and dishwashing. We would return back to my Grandparents while my Grandpa would shovel the sidewalk and make his strong coffee in his special pipe whistle cup afterwards. We would help in the kitchen preparing dinner as my four other siblings would join the festivities. My Gram and Mom would fill the coffee table full of appetizers, fruit cake, cookies, a mixture of nuts, hard candy, and liquorice. 
The teapot would never be empty long and we would start preparing to set the table while setting up in the living room with my Gram’s fine Christmas China that would be laid out on the table. There would be at least ten people there and my Gram would say the blessings and my Grandpa would carve the turkey. I would marvel at all the delicious food and watch one of my brothers say “pass the buns” while my other brother would throw him down one at the end of the table. I would laugh and have my bowl of tossed salad mixed with croutons and olive oil. I loved how my Gram would make that for me. 
My plate would be heaping with mounds of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, veggies, dark turkey meat, a little gravy, and I would eat my weight in my Gram’s homemade stuffing. After we would clear the table, drink tea, and enjoy pumpkin and lemon meringue pies. My Mom loved the lemon so it was always a staple at the dinner table. After us kids would go out to the foyer and play and have our pictures taken on the steps to the upper floor in the apartment building. 
Then the night would wind down, my older siblings would leave for home, and my sister and I would be getting ready for bed in our new Christmas pyjamas. We would lay there as sleep would come quickly after a fulfilling and wonderful day. We would fill that tiny two bedroom apartment with presents, laughter, decorations, Santa with his sleigh full of toys, and most of all the presence of our love for each other. As we got older and Santa came to the houses of younger children we would go to midnight mass with my Mom and Gram.
 I remember seeing the church’s alter glowing with all the lights. I would listen to the priest speak of that first Christmas Eve when baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Then the choir would rise up in voices of pure love and sing O little town of Bethlehem. My voice would ring out with them feeling exalted on high like nothing could touch me, as my spirit was raised to the heavens. I wept in those moments as my earthly vibration would thunder through my body like I was floating. There was magic in the air on that night and I’ve never felt more loved or connected to God, Saints, and all his angels. Being raised that way was a gift, and one I will continue with my children as they grow in the love and spirit of Christmas. To think it all started with that one little ceramic tree perched up high. 

Stock photo provided by the internet

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Ten Things of Thankful

I’ve had a busy weekend up before the sun and back after sunset. My son had a hockey tournament and I found so many things to be grateful for in this weekend alone! It’s been a long week that had my kids and I sidelined with the flu bug. In that time I felt sorry for mysel and had to look for things to be grateful for. I’m glad that in my fever hazed and sick days that I was able to see a silver lining in the grey clouds. Tome to wrap up my week with The TTOT linkup

I’m thankful for cuddles with my children. There’s something about the vulnerability of a child when they just need their Mama to help them to feel better. 

I’m thankful for my oldest son looking after me when I fell prey to the flu germs infesting our home. He was on his way to recovery but still needed to rest. So he set up movies for his little brother, made me some tea and watched over me while I slept. God bless him and his beautiful loving heart. 

I’m thankful for finally feeling better after not being sick since a year ago! Then it was my youngest son’s turn luckily it was a fast acting flu bug and he got rid of it quickly. He was so weak and exhausted and he spent most of his time sleeping. I was so glad when his fever broke and he was able to keep down some food. My poor sweet boy was so grateful for Mama cuddles as was I. 

I’m thankful for a family road trip. There’s always music, laughter, and yes even some fighting between my son’s. Yet it’s the conversations that take place that are the most special way to get to know what each other’s thinking. 

I’m thankful for sunrises that take my breath away. There’s nothing more spectacular than seeing God’s graciousness in the colourful tapestrys of beauty. 

 I’m thankful for the clouds that roll in to signify the end of the day and turn into a stunning sunset. Beautiful like a treasured artwork painted by God’s paintbrush. 

I’m thankful for strong little hockey players that put there all into playing their game. My son’s team finished up in third place after two wins and one loss. They passed, played, and held themselves with pride and did everyone in that arena  a service of watching their hearts on display. 
I’m so proud and thankful that the coaches recognized my son for the heart and hustle award for the second year in a row! He was so excited to show me his certificate and hockey puck. 

 I’m thankful for a fun but hectic weekend. There was so upset and meltdowns to deal with due to my son’s special needs and crowds of people can be hard for him to process. He knew that I would be there for him and protect him when needed. 
I’m thankful for pizza pool parties with a bunch of happy hockey players, and taking turns trying to out splash each other on the water slide. After all that was said and done soaking in the hot tub was the best gift of the day. 

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Monday Musings-hiding in plain sight

Life has a way of catching up on you without you realizing. Whether you’ve been eating unhealthy, sleep deprived, or skipping out on daily workouts. All the above has happened to me I’ve been dealing with death, disillusionment, and deadlines. It started out as a way to protect my heart, my family, and just not wanting to deal with the sadness of it all. 
I found it difficult to concentrate on anything so I just kept putting my head down and plowing through life. The late night spent reading, researching, and staring at the moon and asking for answers to life’s mysteries has taken their toll. I had to take a backseat as I felt like my emotions were in the drivers seat. I had to share more than I wanted as I walked away from my business, ignored emails, and my accountability fitness group. I protected myself and put my attention  into my family and my passion and dedication to my theatre group. 

This hasn’t been the first time I put my grief on hold. There’s many times when the pain I felt as an emotional reaction and the empathic aftermath of the grief of others has sent me into a tailspin. You wouldn’t know it to look at me. I got up and got my kids off to school, folding my ever flowing laundry baskets, and made my daily phone calls to family and friends to inform them of the sad news. I had to cut of communication with a family member who’s need for greed was too much for me to bear. Yet I continued to pray that their heart and mind would change. Death doesn’t always bring out the best in people. It’s a rude awakening to see it happening right before my eyes and being powerless to change it. 
Every night for eight shows you’d seen me bright and shining on stage with my cast of our pantomime play. I only told three people how I was really feeling and then dry my tears and put my makeup on and carry on. We had boisterous sold out crowds and small appreciative ones who’s interaction with the pantomime play was as entertaining as the acting itself. 
On our final show I was backstage at intermission and everyone was running around signing each other’s programs and making efforts to keep in touch and it struck me like a thunderbolt, that this was my lifeline. These people, the script, costumes, heart to to heart chats whispering back and forth were my way of divinely grieving. I was honouring my loved one by continuing to live! I had dove headfirst into something that gave me a chance to escape and in the process I was healing my heart. I didn’t realize it until I looked around the room and saw those smiling beautiful faces. It thrilled me to have this ephiphany and I wrote something quickly in my notes so I could cherish this moment for always. Today I share it with you and I hope my words bring you some inspiration about finding your passion in life. Thank you never seems like enough to say so to exude those feelings of gratitude is even more special to me. 
  

  
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Today I link up with #Mondaymusings hosted by Richa Singh and Vidya Sury thank you for having me in your linkup today. 

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