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

 

Racing Against Time

There’s so many things I want to say but not enough memory to remember what they are. I’m home alone, it’s a Saturday night, the puppies are playing beside me, bumping me as I type this. They sure know how to annoy some days. Thankfully, their cuteness overrides my annoyance.

I’m feeling lost for words even though there are so many things I want to say. My mind races. My heart pounds. I have a lump in my throat. It feels like anger, a deep sadness, anxiousness, pain, love and healing. I feel like there’s been so much death in such a short period of time that I am racing against time to do and say all the things I want to do and say. I feel frantic some days. I want to shout to the world, “I love you, you matter, thank you for being a part of my life, I’m happy we met or that I got to call you family/friend!!” It just seems like there’s never enough time, especially when your loved one is taken so suddenly. It’s hard not to face the reality of the most certain thing we have in life – death. It’s imminent.

Having been a part of so many funerals, going through the losses of family and friends, it has really put life into perspective for me. I’m just so grateful for every day of my life. My husband and our kids. Our life, health and happiness means so much to me. Every thing just seems so trivial now. Such things are usually not worth my time or energy. I really like my life of solitude. It grounds me. I want to live fully and embrace every day, for it is all we have for sure, in this moment. Nothing is promised. I can’t even put in to words the longing I have to just live a good, healthy and rich life. I feel I owe it to my past loved ones to do right my by life and really live and love. I don’t have enough words to express my longing but it’s there, deep in my soul, and I’m excited for life. I wake up every day grateful because I am.

I feel free and alive. Yes, even as I sit here with dogs (now) bouncing on my lap, in my pjs, messy hair, ready for bed. I can’t explain fully what I feel because it’s something I’ve never felt before. Maybe it’s an enlightening? What the hell is that anyway!? Or change? Or growth? Or healing? I don’t have the right words but I know that whatever is coming, is going to be fucking amazing. I’m also very excited!

Before I say good night, bless those who are grieving tonight, whether it be a loved one, a job, a partner, a child, know that you are loved and that you’re being protected from above. We are never alone. Good night.

R

What Do I Have to Say These Days?

So many things that I forgot all of them. I often think of something I’m passionate about or that I feel is worth writing about then don’t because “I’ll do it later”, and end up not writing and here I am, still nothing.

I guess deep down I have so much to say that it can’t come out? Who knows? I’m here now, though. I’m just writing because it’s healing to me and helps me sort through things that need sorting and other times I just write because it makes me happy. Like today. I feel good this morning.

I woke up early, made my coffee, lit my smudge and said a prayer. I managed that much with two dogs running amok and at my ankles. I need more smudge and prayer in my life, especially with these two ~ Jonni and Cash. I sure love them although they drive me crazy at the same time.

Pretty much sums them up every day.

It’s 7AM and it’s almost time to wake up the kids for school. I’ve been dealing with a lot of emotions around our son is graduating and soon leaving the nest, and I’m anxious about his leaving. On the opposite side of that, when both kids have left the nest, I think that’s when our lives will really begin, as two adults, husband and wife, with no kids in the house. What does that look like? What will we do with all our time? See? It’s scary, weird and exciting, I think? Who knows? Maybe I have a complete meltdown and midlife crisis and move to be with them? Maybe you could watch said meltdown unfold right here! Only time will tell.

So, it’s the end of February and I’m still unemployed, taking things day by day. You’d think all I would be doing is writing with all my free time but I’m just taking each day as it comes, focusing on myself and all that’s inside, letting go of things that no longer serve me a purpose. I’ve been reading, playing solitaire, seeing the people I need to see, helping friends, and keeping the house afloat, while the hubs works and the kids go to school.

I’m also off to see Tony Robbins very soon with my aunt and I’m excited about that. I set a goal, added him to my bucket list and boom, here it is! Isn’t that awesome? I think so.

So I didn’t say much, nothing that’ll blow your mind anyway, but I wrote and that’s what matters. Writing makes me happy. I choose to be happy.

Have a good day.

PS ~ It’s almost time to wake up the kids. *insert audible groan here*

R

Kids These Days

Have you ever looked at your kids’ baby pics and just felt so overwhelmed with love, that it felt like your heart could possibly explode? That’s what happened to me today and I cried. Call me crazy. Crazy in love with my dehzonas. They’ve been everything to me and Greg but it hasn’t always been that way.

Life before 2009 was a blur, and somehow, we managed to not mess up our kids. I owe a world of gratitude, a debt that I could never repay to my parents, especially my Mom, for helping raise them when we weren’t able. I’m not proud of the shit I’ve done nor can I take it back but they’ve been our everything since we got life on track and started to really live and be parents. It’s one thing to have kids, quite another to be a parent. Even today, I’m still learning to parent. Parents living beyond the “teens years” should be a medical miracle.

I got a photo of them today from my cousin who lived with us at the time who took the photo and just so happened the kids’ school photos were on the fridge so I placed the other along with it and my heart felt so overcome with love, gratitude and happiness that I get to see them every morning and wish them a good day at school and tell them I love them. Look at those kids!! Those smiles. Oh, my heart! Before, I wouldn’t see them for days and parts of me still feel deep shame for that. I’m sorry my kids.

I looked at the photos, then sat on the couch and cried. Even writing this, the tears well up. So many years taken from them and us, all because of alcohol and drugs. I hate those memories. They stole a mom and dad from their children. I think about my own parents, too, the struggles they faced became my life, too. I don’t blame them for my past. I had choices. I had to choose the right path for me and for our kids and eventually I did. I’m thankful every day.

Soon our son will be graduating and our baby girl the year after. We will have an empty nest and our kids will make their own ways. I trust Creator will guide them, as he’s guided us to today. It hasn’t always been easy but we’ve had each other and that’s the most important thing. I want my kids to know how much we love them, no matter where their lives take them, home and away, they will always come first. We love you so so much.

Kids these days make me a slobbering, emotional mess. I kind of wish they stayed small forever but then the world would never get to experience the great, helpful, smart, funny and adventurous dehzonas we brought into this world. Xo

R

Old Behaviors Die Hard

I woke to a bad dream at 4:00AM. I dreamt of the past, things that I’m not proud of and with that, the same feelings came rushing back which woke me up. It’s almost 8 and I still feel the feelings. Ugliness inside. Occasionally, I feel pangs of shame and regret of all the things I’ve done to the ones I love – mostly, Greg, our kids and my parents, who never gave up on me.

I am not sure if the dream has anything to do with me taking part in the Recovery Through Expressions program last night offered at FNFN, which I loved, by the way. I’m happy I went. Art is healing and peaceful, too. I’m really happy I got out of the house and did something I’ve never done – that’s twice in one week, might I add! Says a lot about my 2018 goals.

I went thinking it was about addiction and recovery and wasn’t sure how I felt about talking about addiction after all these years but soon realized it was not that at all. It was about whatever we wanted it to be. I felt like part of it was dealing with my Grandma’s passing and the whole grieving process but ended up sharing how I’ve been feeling lately and thinking about that old life. The life I used to love and live for. The life where I didn’t have to be responsible and could drown all my issues in alcohol and drugs.

You’re probably wondering what my pictures above mean. Well, so am I. The pretzel documented how I was feeling about being at the program, which sums it up pretty well. The middle photo was the outcome of the ‘recovery through expression’ piece and to sum up my piece, is the last image. I am happy I went. I got to talk and laugh with a fellow member who I don’t get to see that often and just take some Renee time. It was good. I look forward to more programs like that.

But, back to that dream. I am not sure what it all means but I do know it was a good reminder of why I chose sobriety. I hated myself in those dark days and some days, I still do. I’m still learning compassion, love and patience for myself. I know that was not the real me. The real me is the me you see today – learning, healing, growing. I’m really thankful for my family who loved me anyway and never gave up on me. That life is a part of who I am and that will never change but today, I’m happy that my old behaviours in that dream, were just that – a bad dream. I woke up sober, healthy, knew where I was, and got to see my kids before school. That is the life worth living.

Watching Shameless at 7:00AM probably doesn’t help improve the mood but that too, is a good reminder of why I’m grateful for today. Haha!

Bless you all on this beautiful winter day.

R

Monday Morning Feels

It’s Monday. I’ve been meaning to write on Sundays because it’s a “down day” whatever that means? I just like to make stuff up so it’s easier to procrastinate then I end up doing other things and realize it’ll have to wait until tomorrow so here I am, it’s ‘tomorrow’.

There’s been so much on my mind lately. Coming, going, being present, my future, self-worth and values, and, and, and. So it goes. Usually when I have those thoughts, my instinct is to write but then the filters in my head go off, and I get the “I’ll do it laters”. Then when I write, I don’t know where to start?! So many things in my head and heart.

Anyway, here I am. It’s Monday in case you missed that part. Who knows? Maybe you have a ‘case of the Mondays’. The puppies are asleep (must be nice), I’ve had my breakfast and coffee and shoveled snow. Being outside with the fresh air sure makes a difference in how I feel, it’s refreshing. It’s like when you realize that it’s all small stuff and you exhale the bullshit. Ahhhh!

What am I trying to say? I guess it’s just that I feel thankful for clarity. It hasn’t come easily but I’ve continued to do the work. I attend regular counseling because who couldn’t use a good bitch session? I smudge and pray. I seek out my supports for their feedback and try to talk my way through the hard stuff. I have a great support system. I mean, the best, you know lifers? Those people. They’re great. I highly suggest you seek out those people in your life, too. It’ll do wonders.

With clarity and I guess, age, I’m able to see things differently than I did 1, 2, even 5 years ago. With each death our community has suffered, I’ve come to appreciate life and genuineness. I don’t care for small, petty, dramatic stuff. Yes, I still get amped up about things that grind my gears, but usually after I’ve had time to reflect, I am quick to realize that it does NOT matter.

All that matters is my husband, kids, parents and how I make my way in this world. Am I hurtful to others? Am I being a leader for my kids? Am I setting healthy boundaries for myself? Am I helping or being kind because it’s the right thing to do or am I seeking some kind of reward? Is my ego in check? Why do I care about that or this and is it my business? Most of it is not my business. I better recognize!

All these things are constant work and with each passing day, I try to do better and be better and some days, I put it off until tomorrow. I owe it to my ancestors, kids and future grandkids to pave a good path for our future generations. Every day is an opportunity to do the right thing, be kind, helpful and loving, and when mistakes are made, admit my wrongdoing and apologize and move on. Let shit go. Nothing else matters but right now. All we have is this moment. Life is so short and I certainly do not want to spend my days amped up about things that are none of my business and seeking approval from external sources when all that matters is what I, my husband and kids think of me. Who the hell cares what “Jenny from the block” thinks of me? (I thought that sounded better than Jane or John Doe)

I have a good life. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, clean water, a bed to sleep in, a loving family, three dogs, and CLARITY. More so than I’ve ever had in my life and for that, hell yeah! Forty-something is the new 20-something, I say! Haha. To end, I wish you a good and clear day. Focus north! (Only my close friends will get that last part and that’s ok.)

Peace! Blog to you soon.

R