Celebrate Every Day

Today marks my husband’s eighth year of sobriety. It has gotten much easier but it hasn’t always been so. We struggled through a lot of shit to get to today. We made it here together.

I remind him often how much I love him, how thankful we are for him, and how grateful we are for this life we have. The one thing we don’t do as a couple is celebrate our successes enough, though. The little successes matter just as much as the big ones.

Like tonight, just so happened we got tickets to Green River Revival, a CCR Tribute Band, and so we invited family to come along and we had a good time, with lots of laughs and loud tunes. I don’t remember the last time him and I went out anywhere together, gussied up and had fun with other adults. Made me realize how important it is to celebrate more often, no matter the occasion, just celebrate. Celebrate our lives, happiness and health. That ought to be enough, to celebrate every day.

Back in the day, we’d get drunk and high to celebrate and celebrate getting drunk and high, it was a lose-lose situation. Now, we can enjoy the good times without drugs or alcohol and remember the whole night. YES! I don’t miss those old days. We have a really good life and I am happy to celebrate that, every day. We deserve it.

I love you, my Lomens. I love this life with you. I’m grateful every day that Creator gifted me with the three of you.Good night.

Renee

They All Count

This is still a post, so it counts.

I’m tired. When I’m tired, I get grouchy.

When I’m grouchy, I can’t get “in the zone”.

When I’m not “in the zone”, I can’t write or be creative.

When I can’t write or be creative, you get posts like this. K? Cool.

Peace out. Sleep tight and so will I. Tomorrow is a new day to start fresh. YES!!

Renee

It’s a Talk Show Life

Have you ever wanted to call Dr. Phil on your family? No? Me neither.

Actually, I’ve thought about it more than once. Honestly. Anyone else? What would you say? What is the one big issue you’d want help with? Parental issues, sibling rivalry, midlife crisis, unhappy marriage, love triangle, unruly kid, mooching adult kids? There’s a lot we all could choose from I’m sure.

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If you contacted the show, do you think your family would participate? There’s a lot to consider. Would work let you take the time off? Would you forget to turn the coffee maker off? Would your life be worse off than before? What would you wear? Do you think calling the show would result in your family being even more pissed off at your or at each other? What will Jane or John do when Dr. Phil surprises them with mandatory treatment? Flip out and tell the camera guy to fuck off or decide to go but decide they hate your guts and are never going to speak to you again? Imagine that scene!

Isn’t it funny to think of the reality of all that happening? What if you got a call tomorrow from a Dr. Phil producer to be on the show? Or better yet, Jerry Springer? We all know Jerry Springer is going to result in some missing hair and/or water to the face. Let’s pray none of us ever land on Jerry Springer.

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Ok, enough of that, I better get to bed. I had myself some laughs. I hope you did too. Let the scenario play out in your mind with the members of your family. It’s actually pretty comical.

Good night.

 

Renee

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Five Questions

It’s day four of my one hundred posts in one hundred days. Today, since I wanted to keep it simple, I’m going to answer five random questions from the book, Question of the Day by Al Katkowsky.

  1. What was the hardest thing you had to do that yielded a huge benefit?

First thing that came to mind was leaving my job. I had been there four years and absolutely loved what I did. I never considered it a job; it was something I loved to do. To me, it wasn’t work and I believe I provided an invaluable service to the people I served. The huge benefit in leaving my work is that I got to heal my mind and spirit from the damage that was caused to me mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The other thing that came to mind was fire walking at Unleash the Power Within! RAWR! I AM A FIREWALKER! I walked on fire, a bed of burning hot coals, and I didn’t feel a thing! I did it. I faced my fears, got in a peak state and kicked ass across that fire. BOOM! What’s the benefit of that? I know I can do anything I set my mind to! I am capable, courageous, smart, fun, and fucking badass! Whoooo!

  1. Who did you most recently meet that made you feel that you really need that kind of person in your life?

Helen and Ivonne, Tony Robbins and my fellow Fire Walkers from Unleash the Power Within San Jose. Each person in that SAP Centre was there with good intentions and a fiery spirit ready to conquer goals and smash the shit out of fears and judgments limiting us. Together we made moves, shook our asses and walked all over the fires in our lives to bust out smiling with an even more fiery spirit than before we got there. I need all those kinds of people in my life. We all do!

  1. What did you most recently notice someone getting paid for, or doing professionally, that you know you could do better?

Ha-ha! This is on page 85 of the book, not even joking, and I randomly picked questions I opened up the page to. This was one of them.

See question and answer 1. Simply put, my communications and newsletter job, hands down.

  1. What do you accept in friends that you don’t accept in strangers?

Well, this is an easy one. I accept friends coming over, taking their shoes off and visiting, strangers not so much.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. My family has, on more than one occasion, invited strangers to crash at our homes because we’re nice (maybe naïve, too) like that. Ha-ha. I believe most people in this world are good people and we like to help people, even strangers. It’s good karma.

  1. Who or what did you not realize you were attached to until that person or thing was gone?

My older than old balls, ratty old Point Zero coat that I ordered from the Sears catalogue in the mid-nineties. I kept trying to part with it but could never seem to let it go. My grandma repaired it for me, the cuffs had because worn out in patched, the zipper on the pouch didn’t work and then finally this winter, I dropped it off at the thrift store. Low and behold, my son asked where it was and I told him. He wanted it for skidooing and winters at the cabin, so we tried to go reclaim it but they said they must’ve thrown it out if it was damaged. It was time to let it go obviously. Needless to say, I was sad. I was hoping it was there so my son could keep it, which meant it would still be in my life. Ha-ha.

That’s my five random questions and answers. I love to write but sometimes, even I need prompts. I’d love to see your responses to the questions above, too. Feel free to post your responses in the comments section.

It’s been a long but really good day. I got to spend the day with my fellow firewalker that’s in town for the weekend. Yes!

Good night and God bless.

Renee

Why Don’t We Dance?

“Head, heart, feet move me,

Beautiful, sacred prayers,

Drum danced till late night.”

#DeneHaiku by R. Lomen

Dene Tha Assembly 2017

Today I got thinking about the Dene drums and dancing and how proud, strong and happy I feel when I dance, especially when it’s alongside my family. I believe dancing to the Dene drums heals us; it is our medicine.

Then I got to thinking about other things, such as why don’t our members dance, or drum? Some do but very few do. Why is that? Why do some communities have many drummers and dancers while others do not? What’s different about the communities?

I remember when I was a child, unsure of my age at the time, but drummers from Alberta came to our community and we celebrated Treaty Days with tea dances at Old Reserve. The only memory I have dancing in those early years was when an Alberta Elder drummed on my grandparent’s lawn for a few of us kids. I’m not even sure who the other kids were but we danced around in a circle as he drummed, having innocent fun, no cares in the world.

Fast-forward to my early teens when we still had Treaty Days Princess pageants and girls vied for the title… remember those? I recall dancing but it wasn’t something that I felt comfortable doing. I didn’t grow up around the drums until those early years so it wasn’t something that I was born around. I guess I felt insecure and unsure of my footing, shy, fearful of judgment or criticism.

Later on, I became involved in drugs and alcohol and Treaty Days became something else to me; a party, the weekend to hang out at the drum dance and then go party afterward, usually missing days two and three. All those years of participating in our traditions wasted.

Now, going on nine years of sobriety, I’ve danced at most community dances and traveled with my family to other drum dances and gatherings just to dance and be surrounded with others that like to dance, too. I can’t imagine not having the drums in our lives. Even in the last two or three years, I’ve been witness to my husband picking up the drum more often to help drum and had the blessing of dancing while both my husband and son drummed. My heart overflowed with pride in that moment.

So, back to my question: why don’t people dance? I guess it’s a culmination of many things, both internal and external. We pay to bring drummers in for special events and pay thousands of dollars to have 20-40 people dance while at other communities there’s 100s of people dancing together, celebrating, having fun, showing pride in the ways of our people. They often dance until the wee hours of the morning and still the dances could go on if the drummers didn’t need their rest. There is something to be said about Elders out dancing people our age. They’re still trying to teach us the ways, yet some of us don’t see the lessons. It’s such a beautiful thing to be a part of. I wish more of our own people danced but in time, with healing, that will come.

Nothing is more healing than dancing alongside your family, kids and friends to drums so powerful that you can feel them deep inside your soul. I missed out on so many years of that because of the choices I made when I had the opportunity. I’m thankful my kids grew up around the drums at an earlier age than I, and that they get up and dance with and without me. They know they don’t need drugs or alcohol to dance and participate in their traditions and that makes me proud. They respect the drum and the dance.

With summer coming, there will be more chances to get those feet moving. I hope more people get up; show their pride and DANCE to the drums. It’s healing. Don’t worry what others may think or say, dance for you, dance to heal your heart, dance for the pride you feel, dance because you can! Dance because your future generations are watching you, waiting for you to lead them.

Close your eyes and imagine the day when all of our community dances together.

 

Renee

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Check out my “Live from DTFN Assembly” Youtube video of a drum dance in Chateh, AB!

Goals and Gratitude

Good morning. The sun is coming up and I am on day two of my one hundred day challenge. I will write one hundred posts in one hundred days. That is my goal.

I woke up thinking, ‘what am I going to write about for ninety-nine days?’ I started yesterday, so technically, there is ninety-nine days to go. Waking up and getting right down to it seems to be helping. Crank some tunes and get on with it.

Today, it’s simple. Gratitude. Gratefulness.

Gratitude, according to Google, is the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

To recognize day ninety-nine, I’m going to list 99 things I’m grateful for, so here goes:

  1. My family, including the friends I consider family,
  2. The sun coming up shining on the tops of the trees,
  3. Sunrises,
  4. Sunsets,
  5. Driving on the highway when you first notice it’s like summer driving, clear of snow, just you and the highway,
  6. Cranked tunes,
  7. The smell of the coffee brewing,
  8. Silence in the early morning before the world awakens,
  9. Writing,
  10. My MacBook,
  11. Running water,
  12. A roof over our heads,
  13. Money in the bank,
  14. Chickadees chickadeeing,
  15. Journaling,
  16. Reading,
  17. Books,
  18. Bookstores that I can browse for hours in,
  19. Photos,
  20. Sobriety,
  21. My past, it is why I am who I am,
  22. My colorful art from Ashton and Danielle,
  23. Dishwashers, not human, but of the machine kind,
  24. Growing up in a small town,
  25. Small town life,
  26. Childhood friends from Kotchea Sub,
  27. The puddle that always accumulated by the stop sign that allowed us kids hours of play in the spring,
  28. Making mud pies and chocolate milk as a kid (aka dirt and muddy water and no, we never really ate them, but damn, they looked good enough to eat for sure!),
  29. My grandparents, George and Mary Behn, and Fred and Madeline Burke,
  30. Bananas,
  31. Fry meat, potatoes and onions,
  32. A cool shower on a hot summer day,
  33. Our ability to help others,
  34. Education,
  35. Na Deh Kleh Newsletter,
  36. Sober Indigenous men; nothing is sexier than a strong, sober, Indigenous man, who takes care of their shit,
  37. Same goes for women,
  38. A drivers license,
  39. Free courses to learn and grow,
  40. Our public library,
  41. Our cabin,
  42. The wind in the trees,
  43. The wind in my hair,
  44. Sitting by the water,
  45. The ocean,
  46. Vancouver, everything about it, makes it my favorite city,
  47. Airplanes,
  48. Road trips,
  49. Bucket lists,
  50. Checking off items on bucket lists,
  51. Rowing machines, try the one at Infinite Strength Wellness, I love it!,
  52. Getting rid of junk,
  53. Good perfume,
  54. My duvet,
  55. Solitude,
  56. Watching my kids laugh together or with their friends,
  57. Family adventures, road trips, travels, meetings,
  58. Lynda Gwynn,
  59. The Dene drums,
  60. Sweat lodge,
  61. Arizona meetings,
  62. Life on the Rez,
  63. People who stand up for what’s right for everyone’s benefit,
  64. Dateline and 48 Hours, what else would I do on a Friday and Saturday evening?,
  65. Jonni, Cash and Cannon, what’s life without dogs?,
  66. Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within,
  67. Robin Sharma,
  68. Tim Ferris,
  69. My Muck boots,
  70. My Sanucks,
  71. Passionate people, you inspire me,
  72. My voice,
  73. Medical staff in Fort Nelson, it’s nice to have the same doctor since before your babies were born,
  74. Jamie McDonald at Murray GMC, she’s truly the best,
  75. Corbett, Orthodontist,
  76. Great customer service, tip those people,
  77. Our newspaper delivery girl, Sydney (I hope I spelled her name right),
  78. Popcorn and a movie,
  79. Shameless, it makes me appreciate how good life we have, lol,
  80. Kakawis and the families who got us through the first 6 weeks of our new life,
  81. Summer nights in Fort Nelson,
  82. Northern lights,
  83. The brothers I never had, Josh (RIP), Jonas, Brad,
  84. Fort Liard, it brought me so many good things, including my husband and FTL family and friends,
  85. The FNFN Lands staff and building, they helped me through a real difficult time and made me feel welcome, I sure miss them and their space,
  86. Our traditional medicines that heal us,
  87. Healing work,
  88. Days Inn haha,
  89. Our Alberta family,
  90. Josh and Arn’s hospitality,
  91. Crystal’s cooking and creativity,
  92. My husband’s ability to fix, build and work on pretty much anything,
  93. Tattoos, I think I need at least one more,
  94. Bannock,
  95. Rodeo dances, they’re the best,
  96. Laughing with Greg, it’s my favourite thing to do,
  97. Music concerts,
  98. Memories of loved ones past, and finally,
  99. My blog.

Whew! Happy Monday! This is my reminder to start every day with a grateful heart. I’m so grateful for life and the opportunity to wake up to a new day every morning, a clean slate, to improve, learn and grow.

Renee

It’s Time

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s time. I’ve been putting it off long enough. Today is the day I get my ass in this chair and sit down and start writing.

What’s new? The last time I wrote, I was excited about going to Tony RobbinsUnleash the Power Within (UPW) in San Jose, California with my auntie Lycrecia. Well, that was a blast! The hard part was coming home and being full of energy and drive and no one understanding but I’ve still not lost the drive. Honestly, I’ve never been one full of energy but Tony and my UPW family got me to see how important movement and drive are, among other things. At the event, I realized how many of us, including me, just coast through life. We do our daily routines without thought, ensure everyone is taken care of (but us, most times), we settle for less than what we want or deserve and it’s killing us. Stress and mediocrity is killing us. I want to live! I want to live up to my full potential. I know my purpose is beyond my wildest dreams and it’s up to me to make that shit a reality! BOOM!

I can’t recall where I left off when I last wrote and I’m not about to go check, I have no time, I’m on a roll. Tunes are cranked and I’m typing away here.

So, I am not sure if I told you of my newest venture, Na Deh Kleh – Our Paper. I started my own newsletter. Yup, decided one day I wanted to keep doing what I love to do and so I did, I just came up with a name, design and put it all together and ended up with a first edition! See? We CAN make shit happen when we want it bad enough! Whoo! The second issue of Na Deh Kleh newsletter was bigger and better and I’m so excited to include community members in this great passion of mine. After all, it is our paper and I want you to have a say. I welcome all Indigenous peoples from Fort Nelson First Nation, Fort Nelson, Prophet River, Fort Liard/Acho Dene Koe, Treaty 8/Fort St John area communities, and our Dene Tha relatives to contact me if they wish to be a part of our newsletter. As the year progresses, I know we will grow and continue to bring the good medicine to the people. I truly love what I do.

It is now April and it seems like just last month it was January. Time moves so quickly that life is passing us by. That kind of goes along with what I said earlier about coasting through life, before we know it, a year has passed and we haven’t done any of the things we dreamed of doing, nor completed any of the goals we set out for ourselves. It’s time! I challenge you to set one goal for yourself, pick something you’ve wanted to do for a long time but never did. Today is the day to set that in to motion! Find an accountability partner who will hold your feet to the fire and help you reach those goals; can be something big or small, just set that goal. Be courageous and love yourself enough to vow not to live small and DO IT, do the things you’ve wanted to do for a long time. Not every goal has to cost money, it can be anything. Cleaning up the closet you’ve been ignoring for a year, getting rid of the clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months, reading a book from cover to cover or whatever else your heart desires. Do it! Today is the day! I love you. You are worth it. The feelings of accomplishing even small goals are a tremendous gift to your spirit and energy. Who knows what you can accomplish when you start kicking ass on the small goals? Whoa!

I believe in you. I believe in myself, too. For a long time, I didn’t believe in myself. I questioned everything I did, as if I didn’t know myself enough to do what is right for me. Of course I know me! I know me best than anyone! I’d often find myself seeking everyone’s opinion before settling on a choice, even when I’d do what I said I was going to do in the first place. Imagine the time I’d have not wasted had I just done what I set out to do in the first place? I’d probably be off a lot farther than I am now but it’s time. Today, I’m more confident in my choices than ever before. I know what’s right for me. We all do. We all know the answers inside. I read something this morning and it was about our blueprint for our lives and our purpose. We were all born with a purpose and it’s up to us to look inside for what our purpose is. What’s yours? The answer doesn’t come easily. We’ve been hurt and through years of oppression and trauma, we lose sight of our purposes early on, especially if we’ve had traumatic upbringings and grew up in dysfunctional homes. It took me 5 tries to finally stop abusing drugs and alcohol. I knew that is not what Creator wanted for my life or my kids’ lives. I had a choice. No one was making me abuse drugs or alcohol; no one forced the drugs or alcohol in my system. It was a choice I made to do that to my body, my kids, my family, and my spirit. When I could see clearly enough I made the choice to go down a different path and here I am. This April 19 I celebrate nine years of sobriety. It’s time to choose life. Do it! I know you can!

If you ever want to talk, know that I am here. Reach out if you have to. Find someone to talk to. I am not a life coach, a counselor, a therapist but I have life experience and deep love for my people. I know the struggle. I also know how fucking great it feels to celebrate 6 months, then a year and another year, all for my own health and wellbeing and that my kids get to know their parents are alive, sober and really living. They’re worth it. I am worth it. So are you. Let’s choose life today, together!

Have a great and sunny Sunday, relatives. Don’t forget to make that goal! It’s time! Today is the day.

Renee