Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I probably should have known

As the one-month gap between my posts might suggest, I am not really good at restrictions when it comes to expression. I probably should have known that doing a daily blog was not a good fit for the way my mind works. Formatted pictures? Daily posts that have to follow the same pattern? Commitment?! RUN! FLEE! HIDE!

However, I wanted to say that starting this blog really sparked a good thing in my life. Having to find at least one thing in the day that I was grateful for helped to move my mind into that track. There have been so many days this past month that I have stopped and thought, "I am really grateful for these belly laughs" or "I am so grateful for that conversation" or "I am so thankful that we got to spend the day this way."

This is sort of a goodbye, but more like a "stay tuned." I actually have a more permanent blog in mind and have just been waiting for the time to create and launch it. It'll be a blog where I don't have to format pictures every day and where I can talk about the subject matter that really weighs on my mind. There are so many things I want to explore and share, and this type of format just wasn't the place for it.

I will end my second-last Map to Joy post with the things I am grateful for today:

1) English friends who bring chocolate-mint "biscuits" to work. (How can you refuse a chocolate-covered anything when it is offered with a lovely accent like that?)

2) Friends who make me laugh.

3) The readers of this blog - you guys are incredibly supportive! I got more positive feedback from this blog than any of the others I have published. It really means a lot when you are baring your soul, so to speak, to know that people are reading and want to open a dialogue about it.

I will be back in the next few weeks to tell you about my new blog, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 36: TGIF

This year has taken a lot out of me in every possible way. I can't tell you how much relief the weekends bring! Will I spend my time on anything worthwhile? Probably not. Other than seeing a visiting friend tomorrow, I'll likely spend my two days of freedom watching cat videos and eating whatever I can get my grubby hands on. But I will be home with my favourite person ever and I'll be wearing my pajamas all day, so I will call it a win.

And that is my Day 36 - nothing insightful here, just a reaffirmation that I am 92% homebody.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Days 34-35: Simplification and Snail Shells

I have been trying to focus on simplifying my life by cutting out the things that are not improving it or that are actively affecting it in a negative way. One thing I am learning is how to make that distinction, and how to know when to say no and to stand my ground. When you have been a people pleaser as long as I have, it is very hard to break out of that mold. But I know it is time to take care of myself, and I will do whatever I need to in order to make that possible.

As you might imagine, restructuring one's life is not relaxing work. I am exhausted and run down already, but there are some things that badly need to be tied up and put on the shelf so that I can keep moving forward.

Physically and mentally, I am a bit of a mess. A post-partum body goes through so many changes, and I seem to be one of the lucky ones who gets most of the weird things. Like postpartum depression and anxiety, an excessively dry and itchy scalp, painful and unsightly eczema on my face...etc. It's a party and a half and I am worn out.

Days 34-35

Today, I am just thankful for reasons to smile. Like the yummy dinner we had last night with some of Danny's new work contacts, and this teeny tiny snail shell that I found today. Isn't he cute?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Days 30-34: I'm Still Here!

Days 30-34

I took a few days off from the blog to enjoy some time with Danny. Work took him on the road for almost two weeks straight and I was in sore need of some quality hubby time! I was thinking about thankfulness even without stopping in here; the great thing about this blog is that I now search through my days to find things to be thankful for. So here goes...

A Step in the Right Direction
We ordered Haven's headstone back in May and were told over and over again that it would be ready...soon. Well, it was finally installed last week and we went to visit our girly. It was hard to see it there; I guess making it "official" made it all seem more real, but I think that it will help bring a bit of closure too. I am so thankful that we were able to

I can't talk about the stone without also being thankful for all of the people who gave to us financially in the wake of Haven's death (they also gave to us in many other ways too that were and are appreciated!) Sadly, insurance companies do not recognize stillborn babies and do not provide for funeral costs, even though the costs are exactly the same as for a baby who happened to live for an hour outside the womb. Our friends, coworkers, family members, and even strangers reached out and gave to us, and it is only because of this financial generosity that we were able to afford Haven's beautiful funeral service and headstone. We are so, so, so grateful for the love our little family was shown when we were at our lowest. I am also grateful for the friends who spearheaded and organized the giving - it was such an incredibly thoughtful thing to do and it means the world to us (you guys know who you are).

Finally laying our little one to rest properly is a step in the right direction.

Impromptu Road Trip
One of our favourite things to do is to head out on the road and explore different parts of the island. We have been doing it every summer since I moved here back in 2007. Somehow, between Danny starting a new job this summer and me returning to work in June, we never had a chance to go out and explore anything. We spontaneously decided to head out to Flatrock for a little day adventure on Sunday, and I was so glad we did. It is a gorgeous, peaceful little spot. Next time, I will bring a picnic! A day out with Danny was just what I needed. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and sunlight didn't hurt either!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 29: And a Dollop of Sour Cream...

Day 29

Today I am just thankful for the good evening I had with one of my closest friends. I have been having a rough few weeks, but I spent tonight cooking, then eating with my friend. I made my favourite comfort soup - Mexican Chicken and Black Bean. It was nice to have a good chat over a yummy meal. And wine. And pie. 

A good evening indeed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 28: The Silver Light

This morning, I had to run a work errand that took me downtown. I was almost back to my car when I realized I hadn't even looked up from my task long enough to enjoy the morning. I'm glad I took a moment to just soak it in. 

I love the St. John's harbour, especially in the early morning when the light is thin and silver and everything looks more real somehow. A few years ago, I used to have to drop Danny off to work really early most mornings, so I would drive my car to the top of Signal Hill and watch the sunrise and the ships as they made their way into the harbour. Though we were going through tough times, I remember those mornings with fondness.

Day 28

Well, I've rambled on as usual, but today I am just thankful for St. John's sunrises over the harbour and for being able to look back on hard times and still find fond memories.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 27: The Truth

Something that I have been learning lately is that truth sometimes comes from unlikely sources, but we can learn a lot about the world and ourselves if we are open to hearing it. 

I have had more than one person tell me lately that I don't take very good care of myself. As I am wont to do, I was offended. But, as I am also wont to do, I went away and thought about it. These people were right. I don't eat well or exercise enough or feed my soul with activities that I know would bring me happiness. Why not? Sadly, deep down the answer is that I don't think I deserve it. I was shocked when I realized that. So I am trying to do better now. I started with a self date night yesterday since Danny was away. I had a nice meal and got a good night of sleep. I continued this morning with a nice breakfast at home ("egg toast" and a little slice with some jam) and healthy meals all day. I am going to try to treat myself how I would want my loved ones treated.

Another truth that came my way this week was delivered in a rather rude way. This person, who I deal with in a professional capacity, told me that we need to focus on one big thing at a time (though there were many big things which needed to be addressed at once). I was upset at the offensive way that this was delivered to me, but upon reflecting about it, I thought, "this person was right, but they missed the mark a bit." My anxiety does not make a lot of sense to someone who does not suffer from it. It takes seemingly normal tasks and events and turns them into worst case scenarios. The physical symptoms are scary and exhausting. But following this conversation, I realized that I needn't let my anxiety own me. There are some things I can do to minimize the pressure I am feeling. It is time to let some things go; to streamline my life. To focus on the things that matter - the "big things." See? Truth.

Day 27

Today I am thankful that I am learning to learn and for the lessons that have come my way in the past few weeks. I hope that I continue to benefit from them and to listen with less offence the next time a lesson comes my way (no matter who the teacher is).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 26: Contemplation and Flowers

Danny and I spent the weekend out at his mom and step-dad's cottage in central Newfoundland. I always love to visit; it is so peaceful there with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river. I sat out on the gravel (just up from the flower in this photo) and looked out over the river and listened to the burble of the water and the wind swishing the leaves. I could feel the past few weeks' stress seeping out of me as I breathed in the fresh air (and was eaten alive by sand flies I discovered later...but no matter).

I am a quiet contemplation sort of gal; I need the stillness to recharge and be restored. I brought along a book for the mini trip called "Hinds' Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard (that is a whole lot of H's!) It is a story of transformation in the format of an allegory. It follows the journey of a lame and disfigured girl named Much-Afraid as she makes the trek from her home in the Valley of Humiliation to the High Places with the guidance of the Shepherd and her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering. I read it as a young girl, but I had not lived enough to really grasp the depth of the story.

Anyway, as I was reading, I came upon this little passage that I liked, so I'll share it with you:
...in a lonely corner behind a wall she came upon a little golden-yellow flower, growing all alone. An old pipe was connected with a water tank. In the pipe was one tiny hole through which came an occasional drop of water. Where the drops fell one by one, there grew the little golden flower, though where the seed came from, Much-Afraid could not imagine, for there were no birds anywhere and no other living things. 
She stopped over the lonely, lovely little golden face, lifted up so hopefully and so bravely to the feeble drip, and cried out softly, "What is your name, little flower, for I never saw one like you before."
The tiny plant answered at once in a tone as golden as itself, "Behold me! My name is Acceptance-With-Joy."
This passage and all of the others I have read so far made me think about the journey I have been on this year. Though I don't believe that the pain in my life was caused by anything or anyone, and though I would trade everything I have learned to rewrite history and have my daughter back, I do believe that I have been given a chance to learn and grow and become as a result of this tragedy.  I realized early on that I have very little control over the circumstances of my life, but I do own my reactions to those circumstances. In the end, it is all I own; I am "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." Acceptance with joy...that is something I am working on.

Day 26

I am just thankful for the solitude and peace I found this weekend. After a long, hard month, it made me feel able to tackle the upcoming week and all of its challenges.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 25: Snug Bug Weekend


I'm not what you would call a physically affectionate person; it's just not the way I was raised. You don't see me hanging off of my friends and it's pretty unlikely that you'll see me touch someone's arm during a conversation. I hug only my closest friends (when I remember to) unless there is something big happening.

Aaaand then there is Danny. Apparently I am a touch person, but with only one source! When I met him, I discovered that I love snuggles. I am constantly on the lookout for an opportunity to burrow my way into his side (he protests a lot but I usually win).

Day 25 

After several days apart, Danny and I are back together today. And, like a barnacle, I have been attached to his side. Thank goodness for snuggles and the weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Days 23 & 24: Gifts and Silence

Days 23 & 24

Yesterday was a rough one and I was still feeling the aftershocks today. I am thankful for the two friends who carried me through. One gave me a thoughtful little gift and card and the other just listened. In the post about empathy, I talk about friends who are able to just be there with you. These two know how to do that.


I know some people may have been expecting this to be a cheerful blog (I might have even thought that), but I am coming to realize that being thankful is a choice. The truth is that I struggle and I have to go searching for reasons to be thankful at times. This won't always be a happy place, but it will be an honest one.

On another note, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on the post about empathy, and that got me thinking about maybe doing a feature post about how to help a grieving friend (and how not to help!) I could seriously write a book on the subject, so I will give it some thought.