Waiting At Heaven’s Gate

Someone I care deeply about is dying. My best friend has exhausted all curative treatments after a year long journey. Surgery, Chemo & Radiation have stopped & the cancer continues to take over her body.

She now finds herself in the final stages of lung cancer, Brain Cancer and with the news cancer has spread to her liver, the doctors have sent her home saying it could be anytime. BABY MACKENZIE & GRANDMA

From the day she found out she had 7 months, then 3 months and now they say anytime, I keep asking myself “what I can do?”  I just felt so helpless throughout her journey. This girl has been so strong, positive and dealt with whatever was thrown at her with courage. I just tried to be there, to listen, to talk to laugh & to inspire hope & faith.  Always keeping in touch. It’s all I knew how to do for her at this point. Support her through this difficult time.

enjoying our time together

enjoying our time together

ANGEL FAITHI knew her Dr. Appointment was coming up and told her to let me know how she made out. Well she called the next day to tell me the news. “It’s not good Pauline, the Dr. said it could be any day” and then the next thing she said, was “I have a beautiful Angel I want you to have, it says Faith on it” Unreal! Throughout her Journey I have always encouraged her to have Hope & Faith. I even got a kitten and named it Faith in her honor, something I could take comfort in.

Today was the first time I have seen her since our phone conversation a week ago, I stopped to pick her up and was feeling a little uncomfortable I didn’t know what to say to her, I held the tears back, she came to the door with a smile on her face and the Angel Faith held high for me to see. She was so excited to see me and give me the angel. It wasn’t about her dying it was about me. Making sure I had something to remember her. This is when it hit me “oh my god, she’s going to be gone soon” but then just in that moment I got it. I answered my own question “what can I do?”  I can be there for her, take it one day at a time and continue on with the listening, the laughing and whatever else she wishes for. It’s all she wanted.   I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts that run through her head. I look into her eyes as we talk and it’s hard not to think of what’s to come. For now, though, I will accept the reality of my friend’s condition, if only with my head. I know I will later come to accept it with my heart.

The day i was given my Angel Faith.

The day i was given my Angel Faith.

My best friend is on her way to heaven’s gate and as she told me today” Heaven can wait, I ain’t ready yet” That’s my friend and I love her spirit.

So here’s to a few more stories being told, a few more laughs and a celebration of her 49th birthday next month.

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Discovering Ecotheraphy

Have you ever thought that you’re not as happy as you should be in your life?

I’m sure you have. We all have at some point in our lives.

About a year ago that was me. Not that my life is hard, or that I have a lot to worry about, I have a pretty comfortable life. It was just me feeling stuck .Thinking too much about the past, worrying about the future, just not being thankful for the present. I decide it was time to take some steps to enhance my level of well-being. I started on my journey. I took to the World Wide Web and googled well-being. Here I found a number of new activities and practices that I could take up: meditation, singing, running, performing acts of kindness, mindfulness, yoga and so on. I do a lot of these now, but the one thing I was surprised with was that research had shown of all these activities the most effective thing you could do, according to research, is to take up gardening.  flowers
Gardening? No wonder I always felt so much better after a day of working in the yard. I should tell you first of all that I am not a gardener. I have no idea what the flowers in my flower beds are called, with the exception of the Hosta plant. Oh yes, and the impatiens flowers. All I know is that those plants in the back get nice purple flowers and the others in the corner get beautiful yellow ones. Yep, and that’s how I plant my flower beds.
I read in an article that in the UK, gardening has begun to be used as a therapy for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety. As an alternative to prescribing anti-depressants, doctors in a pilot study are signing patients up for 12 week gardening courses. The ‘Grozone’ project teaches patients basic horticultural skills and encourages them to grow their own plants, which they can take home afterwards.
ECOTHERAPHY! Sweet! I love it! I have always enjoyed being outdoors and soaking up the beauty of nature in general, a walk through the woods, sitting on the beach, stopping by a roadside park. I have used all of these to improve the symptoms of anxiety and to improve concentration and well-being.
So although I have been under the weather with a cold I decided to venture out to the flower gardens yesterday. It’s fall here so it’s time to cut back, transfer and weed the few gardens I do have. If you know me, you will know that I have been on a mindfulness journey and have become very wrapped up in practicing mindfulness because it is such a powerful tool that keeps me staying in the now. So as I was digging in the dirt I found myself absorbed in the digging, lost track of time and the restlessness and chattering of my mind just faded away. I felt alert, alive and my mental energy became more intensified.
dirtI was in the moment! Concentrating on the beauty around me, free from the anxieties of the future.
So today I got lost in the gardens again. I have never devoted much time to the activity. But I’m beginning to think that I should start. Not only did it feel great to get out and do some physical activity it kept me focused and in the now, it gave me a sense of accomplishment too. I know I will have to wait until next summer for all my hard work to unfold but I also know once the snow melts and spring arrives and the first sign of bulbs pop through the ground I will be knee deep in my new ECOTHERAPHY.
And for now I will give thanks to mother nature for providing a day of sunshine. Cheers to another wonderful day outdoors.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

-Luther Burbank

Mindfulness Slipping Away

Loving the outdoors this time of year.

Took some time out in my day to take in this beautiful scenery near the railroad tracks, some time to think, breathe. Everything is silent. I find myself deep in thought when suddenly I hear a noise in the distance. The sound of the train coming down the tracks brings me back to reality. The faraway place I was becomes no longer important and the moment that matters is now. Sometimes being mindful slips away from me. It’s like ever thing else, we must take the responsibility into our own hands to stay in the present.
The sound of the horn, the buzzing noise of the train on the rails, finds me getting excited! I wanted a picture. I’m pumped to have the opportunity to get this great fall shot-at that moment nothing else mattered to me except for the beauty of the moment I was capturing. Everything else forgotten.

Beautiful fall scenery in Sequin Township, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Beautiful fall scenery in Sequin Township in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Staying in the present takes time to develop. It is hard work and there are times when I feel like I want to throw in the towel. I know I will face challenges, obstacles, and problems, but I also know that if I am determined, I will get through them.
I do realize that life is not perfect, nothing is perfect or normal and there will always be obstacles. I also realize that these obstacles are nothing but teachers on my journey. Since I started on my mindfulness journey, keeping myself aware of my thoughts and staying in the now, my life has improved. I have reduced stress and I am a lot calmer, more at peace, and happier. I am able to see things in a whole new way and get great burst of insight at times that change my days from blah to WOW!

Look into the future and you see worry, look into the past and you see regret, look into the present and you shall find the purpose of life.

Nature, The Best Medicine

Getting outdoors to somewhere full of bright beautiful colors, the calming sound of the water is so peaceful and is the perfect natural antidote to stress and anxiety.

Muskoka Beauty

The Muskoka Beauty in the month of October is stunning.

I said it before & will say it again, Fall has always been a favorite season of mine. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. Like with fireworks displays.  Hope you are able to get out and explore the beauty of the season and reflect on everything that you are grateful for.

More of the Muskoka Beauty in October.

More of the Muskoka Beauty in October, just can’t get enough. Love it!

Just An Ordinary Day

“What a great day!” A well-deserved break from work.

To top it off my husband (Jim) was off as well so we could spend the entire day together. Apples PC
Often times we are not off on the same days and I am off gallivanting on my own not making it home till later in the evenings. Jim will always ask “What did you do all day?” I laugh and say “I went shopping”. He doesn’t get it. For Jim shopping is just achieving a goal or a mission. Need new shoes, try them on, they fit, get them, get out. So today Jim came and spent the day with me just to see what a real Pauline day looks like. I am a person who is very passive at shopping. I can’t select a thing quickly; I need to get satisfaction, the item needs to speak to me-I know as soon as I see something if it’s for me. I’m not a mall shopper I’m more of a thrift shopper. Love the consignment stores and thrift shops.
Life changes – there are people out there that have quality home furnishings and accessories that are in “like-new” condition and they no longer fit into their lifestyle or decorating scheme, so why buy new when I can practice the three R’s – Reuse, Reduce, Re-cycle. You never know what you might find that fits perfectly into your lifestyle or décor. I almost always find something.
So here goes our day.
“Jim I would like to go to Collingwood today to get apples from the Orchards”. In case you don’t know where Collingwood is it is a town in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on Nottawasaga Bay at the southern point of Georgian Bay. They are known to grow some of the best apples there.
Ok, first we need to stop at the transfer station because I forgot to take the garbage out yesterday, also when we are there I would like to check the shed of not so dumpy stuff to see if there is anything there I can maybe refurbish-oh, by the way there was a beautiful solid wood chair that was just left there to die. So I took that & will work on refurbishing it one day.

Jim just shakes his head and loads it into the Mazda. Driving out from the transfer station Jim says there’s a rattlesnake on the road, so I make him pull over so I can take a picture.

Rattle Snake

Rattle Snake

I didn’t get too close because I couldn’t tell if it was dead or just playing dead. Picture taken and we are on our way. Next stop Tim Horton’s for a large green tea-now were off.

Along the way we make a detour through Wasaga Beach.
Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a very popular summer tourist destination, situated at the southern end of Georgian Bay and a neighbor to Collingwood. This time of year the beach was deserted so I made Jim stop so I could take a picture.
As we drove into Collingwood the smell of fresh apples is unforgettable. If you’ve never been you need to visit and experience it for yourself! The honeycrisp apple is my favorite apple of all times, it’s “explosively crisp,” snapping off in great chunks when you bite into it. It has a coarse texture, but is light and juicy, with a flavor that’s a balance of sweetness and tartness. I make the drive there just for those each year. So apples, pears and plums were purchased and we moved on.
A pair of crazy animals

A little further down the road was a great display of the fall harvest, squash, gourds, pumpkins and more, so I made Jim stop so I could get a picture. Yep, he shakes his head. As we drive away I tell him I would like to check out a couple of my favorite consignment stores in town so off we go.

First Stop Restore, nothing too interesting in there but when I went to leave I could not find Jim. I look outside and there he is sitting all relaxed with the car door open just waiting & whistling away. What a trooper. A store I Love 2

Only two more shops to go. I think he actually enjoyed these other two shops, he spent time checking things out and yes, I did find something to bring home from one of them. Two beautiful candle holders.A Candle holders
Off to Penetanguishene.The town I grew up in to visit with my parents and bring them some freshly picked apples, but first another stop at the Real Canadian Superstore for Cat food, which lead to a visit to the Joe Fresh department, cosmetic department & ending with the purchase of cat food, 2 chocolate bars and a potted mum in my favorite color.A Plant
Now we have arrived in Penetanguishene for a wonderful visit with my mom, dad, brother and even my favorite uncle stopped by. What a nice surprise. Perfect day to sit outdoors and get caught up on the news and reminisce.
It’s time to leave, Jim has to be home for darts at 7. He belongs to a local league. So off we go once again. Mactier still an hour away. A final stop for Pizza on the way home for dinner. Well except for the next stop that I wanted because the colors are looking so beautiful I needed to take a picture. LOL.
So Jim is at darts with the boys having a few beer, probably not discussing his shopping adventure and well, I’m here relaxing writing all about it.
Now as I sit here writing my blog I realize that each time I write it brings me closer to developing the habit of gratitude. I want to savor all the good moments throughout each day. Spend time thinking about happy memories. And at the end of each day, have a few things I am grateful for. Today I am grateful for Jim Miller my soul mate, the loved ones in my life, the delicious apples and soft place to lay my head tonight.
Life is short – treasure it – be with the people and go to the places that set a spark within you. If it does not nourish your mind, body and soul…then find someone or somewhere that does.A Jimmer
Thanks to the person that sets a spark within me and allows me to be whom I am.
Now Jim totally gets my day adventures & how I get caught up in my surroundings. Will he come along again? Most definitely. We had some great laughs.

Happiness is a way of Life, not a destination.

Attitude A Choice

21366_560737483983401_2017972483_nLast October I suddenly quit my job. Realizing that the past 6 years with this company was changing who I was. The negativity of the workplace was sucking the life out of me. I was becoming one of the negative employees I once complained about. Not someone I wanted to become. Was it scary, just quitting without a plan in place? You bet it was!

Anxiety & Depression took over my life for a couple of months until I just woke up one morning and said. “I don’t want to feel like this anymore” So I had a choice to make, stay stuck or pull myself up out of this frame of mind. A choice, something we all have.

This is when I realized the impact of choice and attitude on my life and how important it was to surround myself with positive, happy people and to make time for more things that made me appreciate the world.

Spending time exercising and helping others have helped me boost my moods and put me in a better frame of mind.
Working at developing a good attitude is so worth it! It has helped me to improve my health, my happiness, and I believe it will help me live a longer life.
Is it easy? I’m not saying it’s easy, but what I am saying is if I can do it you can too. It’s a choice!
Become aware of your thoughts, when you have a negative thought try to replace it with a positive thought. It takes some time, but what do they say? It takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 one days, give it a try. Choose your attitude, change your life! Change
Since implementing this mentality my life has improved dramatically. My health has improved. My anxiety and depression have disappeared and I have made the choice to stay aware, to practice mindfulness and to only allow people into my life who are good for me and have a positive outlook on life.
I’m at a time in my life more than ever before where I can say “Life is good” I follow my heart.
Here’s hoping this gives you some inspiration if you are stuck.

Starting the day off with a positive quote every day is a great way to reinforce positive changes in your life!

10 Days Of Good Deeds

Today I am patting myself on the back.  I have completed my pay it forward game.10 Smile cards gone.

Crazy how these 10 Smile Cards got me thinking. First thing in the morning when I woke up I found myself thinking, “What good deed can I do today”.  I almost stressed myself out. I just did not want to miss an opportunity to pay it forward. I quickly discovered as the days went by there is always going to be something I could do to make someone’s day a little better. I did not have to stress myself thinking about how I would pass along a card it just happened.

Here are a couple of the opportunities I was given over the past 10 days. They just might make you smile.

The toilette paper one was by far the funniest. I was at the mall and was washing my hands at the sink when I noticed the lady beside me who was about to walk away had toilette paper coming from the bottom of her dress. Needless to say when I approached her to tell her, she was so happy she did not walk into the mall like that. She was a little red in the face but we both had a good laugh & I handed her a smile card. She thought it was a neat thing and thanked me so much.

I work at a golf course and the bugs were pretty bad after a heavy rainfall and the pro shop was out of bug spray. One of the members was disappointed that we were out and so worried about getting eaten alive I just couldn’t let her go without offering her the bottle I had in my bag. As I handed her the bug spray I gave her a smile card with it. She was thrilled & upon her return to the pro shop after her round of golf she smiled at me and said “I passed it forward”- turned out several people on the course used the spray and the card went around to each one that used it.

These are just two short stories I wanted to share with you to show you it just happens you don’t have to wake up thinking what your good deed for today will be. Opportunities will arise. Just be aware of your surroundings.  It doesn’t have to be something big, just something.

The best part of the last 10 days was when some of the people I passed smile cards off to would come to me and say “hey guess what? I passed the card long” I could tell when they told me their stories and their faces lite up that they felt it, how good it made them feel by doing a good deed.

To me that’s all that matters, just making things a little better.

I have copied my cards and will keep them with me to pass along when opportunities arise.