What’s Good?

The sun shining in the North, on a chilly day.

Doing happy husband things with my husband, like exploring an overwhelmingly brand new Canadian Tire super store.

Seeing people ooo and ahh over Snuffy because even though she’s the devil, she can still be cute.

Always the devil in disguise, Snuffy.

Seeing my son in his work gear during lunch.

Seeing our daughter’s completed work in aforementioned store.

Our daughter built these bikes. So proud.

Life is good today.

Yes, she was the first dog to pee in the new Canadian Tire store. Oops. See her guilt?

Fortunately Fortunate

I have to say thank you. Thank you to my husband, Greg, for all the patience, unconditional love and support he’s provided me.

My best friend and PIC, my husband, Greg

More and more we see alcohol (and drugs) affecting people we love and it puts in to perspective the life we have now, and the life we could still be living. We’ve come along way. My husband celebrated 10 years of sobriety this year and I couldn’t be more thankful. We’ve come a long way but it’s not been without obstacles. I think the thing that’s worked for us is that we’ve always been open and honest (and real) with our kids. When shit hit the fan, we’ve dealt with it as a family. We sat down and talked through tears and understanding to get to a resolution so they understood that talking about big issues is necessary to work it out and heal.

So why fortunately fortunate? I say that because we got out of what was holding us back. ALCOHOL. DRUGS. Thinking we were having a good time when in reality, it was nothing but a bad time. We’d live pay cheque to pay cheque, never had money, fought about anything and everything, and most sadly, our kids were in the middle of it. Our addictions always came first. So many people, us included, put the addiction ahead of our kids. Our kids! The most important people in our lives! Fortunately we stopped. That does not go without saying they’ve been impacted by our choices still to this day. It’s always a work in progress to remind them that they’ve always mattered we just didn’t know how to parent until we were able to see straight and heal. Fortunately fortunate.

I’m grateful every day my kids have sober parents. I’m grateful every day I can make choices about my life with a clear conscience. All I can do is pray they and the ones we love learn from their mistakes and realize that we’re not made to drink alcohol socially. Too much generational trauma has taken that away from us. Nothing good comes from drinking. I know this from experience and that sucks but again, fortunately I can speak out about our experiences so maybe it’ll help others. Fortunately fortunate. See you’re worth before it’s too late.

Sober and happy in 2020

Move #2

Long time no blog! I hope this post finds you happy and healthy.

I know, I know, it’s long overdue. If it was a book from the library, I’d have to just purchase it. That overdue.

I find myself in Fort St. John. Again. Earlier in the year we came here for a visit and ended up deciding we were going to give it a go and move here. It wasn’t really planned and even though we settled, we decided as a family it was best to go back home. It was humbling and stressful but growth and learning, too.

Fast forward to today. I’m on week two at my job with a great employer and fun and supportive coworkers in a new town. It’s crazy how things work out and my previous job was still available. I can’t help it was just meant to be. It sucks, though, that we’re all scattered but in time we will be together again and making new memories together.

When our daughter left to college, I realized there wasn’t really much keeping us in Fort Nelson. Our kids have grown; they’re moving onward and upward and soon will start their own lives independently of us. That’s hard and scary, for them and us. Nothing has been easy. It’s just made it easier because we’re sober parents, can talk things out and deal with issues as they arise. As the kids stretch their wings, I started to realize that my husband and my lives are changing too. We need to find our own paths again, separate of dependents and with that, change comes.

As hard as these decisions have been for us, I’ve had to find it in my heart to trust what’s happening and believe in the good that will come from it. It’s new, challenging, hard, exciting and unbelievable. I know some people doubt the move, “oh she will be back” and yeah, maybe. It is home after all, but I also believe that home is where we are together. It doesn’t have to be a set place. Home is memories, that’s it. It’s familiarity. We can make a new place and space familiar, too. We can always visit the memories, no matter where we are.

I have so much more to say but it’s late and I should be getting ready for bed. My alarm going off repeatedly comes early.

Hopefully there will be another post before 2019 ends. Ha!

Love and kindness always,

R

2018 and What’s Left of It

What a day it’s been. Never mind this year. Today was challenging. There’s stuff happening and I can’t fix them. There’s also things that I can fix so part of what happened today was out of frustration with myself. I won’t go in to detail because that’s my personal business but I can happily report, I chilled the fuck out.

When I think back to this year and where I’m at today, it’s been a roller coaster for sure. My mental health has taken a beating, and still there’s down days, but they’re fewer and farther in between. I’m thankful for that. I wouldn’t wish anxiety and depression on anyone yet I am sure 1000s of people go undiagnosed every day. I think back to a year ago, when I left my job of 4 years and what a mess I was in, refusing to succumb to such a thought. “Me? Depressed? But I’m not! I’m just stressed. I’m not sitting around crying all day.” That’s what my thought of depression was. Little did I know, every symptom I had was exactly what depression is. Hmmph.

I’m ok to talk about it now. I’m not ashamed of it. It was years and years of built up stress, trauma, grief, addiction, shame, guilt, everything!! Pushed down and pushed down until I couldn’t stuff anymore down that it caused me panic attacks before work, shaking, nervousness, headaches, and emotional roller coasters. Add to that a troubled work environment and the thought of my son graduating and leaving home and my husband being at camp, I wonder how I wasn’t hospitalized, seriously. It was madness.

Now, just over a year later, I am the owner of my own business, still doing what I love to do on my terms. I have more time to get things done, in a time that suits me. I’m grateful for my husband’s endless support and love, and for his compassion and patience. I am thankful that my kids were patient too. I was a real asshole some days. Surprise right? Ha. The three of them will read this and probably think, “some days?!”

I had planned to talk of my year but I guess that sums it up. It was eventful to say the least. Mental health issues puts everything into perspective for sure. I am so grateful I can talk about the issues and support those going through similar issues. I get it. Every situation is different and I’m not a medical professional but sometimes just talking shit out helps. I’m thankful I have people in my life who would drop everything to just listen. If I can do that for one person than I will. Sometimes all we need is a friend.

I’m looking forward to 2019 with my eyes and heart wide open. To that, cheers! Let’s make the most of these last weeks of 2018.

Love always,

R

Surrender. You’re Not in Charge.

I can’t sleep. Suddenly so much on my mind, like this blog. I haven’t forgotten about it, I just struggle to write when I’m not in the right frame of mind. Go figure. Can’t sleep, tossing and turning, thinking of all the things that need doing and then I think “perfect time to blog!” It is what is is, I guess.

My husband is at camp, our son at college, our daughter made B honour roll and picked out her grad dress and I’m operating a small business from our home with two dogs by my side all day long. There’s a lot happening these days. A lot of changes happening quickly. Sooner than we’d like, both kids will be out on their own, then it’ll be just me, since Dad is always away at camp, working hard as he always has for us. It’s a lot to take in. Acceptance.

Surrender. I started meditating a few weeks ago now and heard that word during one of the meditations and it really resonated within me. Surrender. Go with the flow. Let life happen as it will. I guess that word ‘surrender’ applies at this moment since I’ve decided to write instead of tossing and turning. That’s a good word to remind myself that it’s ok to surrender and let life happen. Whatever will be will be and it’ll all work out in due time. We are, after all, just along for the ride.

As much as I struggle with our kids growing up, I trust. I remind myself that we’re taken care of by powers greater than ourselves and we’ve done the very best we could do as parents and that any wrongdoings in the past are lessons learned. We’ve grown and learned from our pasts and get to see all the great things the Creator planted before us come to fruition for our kids and us. As much as I get mom-crazy, I know it’s all going to work out. I surrender.

See? Writing is healing. I am tired now. I guess I had something to say even if it makes no sense at 1:30AM. It’ll be ok. Good morning.

R

One of the many Good Vibes I shared on my Facebook business page Warrior Way. Check it out!

Coffee & Sunshine

The sun is coming up and I see it shining on the tops of the bare poplar trees. I hear and smell my coffee brewing. I am still tired from a late night. I didn’t go to bed until 4AM because I napped yesterday afternoon. I really need to stop that, it messes up everything.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but so many words, so little moments to write them. I have to be “in the mood” or right frame of mind to write. Maybe a half-asleep state it is, like now? Who knows. Shrug. Anyway, I love to write. I love putting my thoughts to screen, that’s the cool hip version of paper. Writing is healing for me. I really ought to do it more often. Today just felt right to write.

My coffee is done and that is my cue to end this short but sweet post. I wish you a good and fulfilling day wherever this post finds you. Peace!

R

I’ll even share a selfie. It’s what the cool kids do these days.

A New Year, New Beginnings

Today is my birthday. Or was birthday. It’s almost day 2 of a new year being a new age as a new journey around the sun begins. I had a good day. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but here I am. Starting this year off right.

I started my own business, so I’ll be busy growing and working that. I found that I love painting rocks so I’m going to make that a priority, too. Our son left to college in September and our daughter is graduating this year so this year will be about change and adjusting. I love writing and that is definitely going to be on the list of things to do also. It’s a gift I have to nurture because it’s helps my healing journey. I’m going to make this year about living simple and with gratitude.

I have so much to be thankful for. I have a good life. I have a loving husband, healthy kids, a roof over my head, clothes, clean water and food. We have our health. We have our sobriety and that is everything. We are living the life our ancestors wanted for us.

I came across this post from The Language of Letting Go and I thought I’d share it. It’s some food for thought going into a new year and a new journey (and it doesn’t just apply to family but everyone and every thing too):

“There are many paths to self-care with families. Some people choose to sever connections with family members for a period of time. Some people choose to stay connected with family members and learn different behaviors. Some disconnect for a time, then return slowly on a different basis.

There is no one or perfect way to deal with members of our family in recovery. It is up to each of us to choose a path that suits us and our needs at each point in time.

The idea that is new to us in recovery is that we can choose. We can set the boundaries we need to set with family members. We can choose a path that works for us, without guilt and obligation or undue influence from any source, including recovery professionals.

Our goal is to detach in love with family members. Our goal is to be able to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and live healthy lives despite what family members do or don’t do. We decide what boundaries or decisions are necessary to do this.

It’s okay to say no to our families when that is what we want. It’s okay to say yes to our families if that feels right. It’s okay to call time-out and it’s okay to go back as a different person.”

I look forward to this new journey and the year ahead, free of the past with nothing but sunshine on the horizon. I will make it a good one that’s for sure. Let’s do this!

Peace!

R

I’m Sorry for What I Said During Election Time

An apology is owed.

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I have said many things and participated and done many things that have played a part in the negativity and division in and around our community. I want to apologize for my part. I do not speak on behalf of anyone but myself – not my family, friends or acquaintances. I am responsible for my actions and for that I apologize.

I have thought about this for the last little while, since the forum really, and have gone back and forth about whether to even bother with this post but for my own peace, I am saying sorry for my part in all of it. Sorry to anyone I hurt, affected, or who felt bullied and harmed by my words and/or actions. I am sorry.

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There is no excuse for my actions and words. I can’t take back what I said. In the moment, I meant them. I had to have; I don’t just randomly say things for nothing. I was angry, frustrated, resentful and outraged at the actions of people and events, but in looking back, it was more than anything they’ve done. It’s many things piled up over time but again, no excuses, I said them and I meant them. What kind of apology is that you ask? I said them and meant that at the time, BUT I could have handled things differently. I didn’t have to go online or talk shit about people with people.

Do I hate the things that go on in our community? Yes. Do I dislike some people and/or their actions? Yes. Do I disagree with council actions and outcomes? Yes. Do I have a right to hurt others privately or publicly? No. I have said hurtful things and really, none of it should have gone further than my own thoughts. I can feel things, even think things but I don’t have a right to post them about or say them out loud. Why pass on my shit to others? Why put that negativity on anyone? Why do I think others need to hear my thoughts about so and so and what they’re doing or not doing? Why is my opinion the right opinion? It’s not and I know that. I have the right to feel the way I want about issues in our community, but I do not have the right to hurt others with my words or actions. I was foolish for taking sides and believing that what I was saying and doing was ok. It was never ok.

I believe people have the right to stand up for themselves but how you do it is something else. I could have handled things differently. This apology and post is in no way saying we should accept things the way they are if we don’t like them. What I’m saying is, there are better ways to deal with them and make our voices heard. It’s also up to us to decide how much energy we want to put in things that could possibly never change. It’s all about thinking things through. Something I’ve not done clearly, obviously.

I’m not sure if I’m being clear because I don’t want to try to justify an apology or excuses for my behavior, words and/or actions. I’m saying sorry because I know what I said and done was wrong. That is not who I am. I’m not a hateful person nor am I willing to waste any more time or energy on politics and other issues that are not my business or that do not have a direct impact on my life. What people do with their lives is none of my business. My focus is my life and my family. All the other stuff is secondary and is not owed my time, attention or energy. Politics will always be a hot topic in our communities and frankly, nothing will change. So, that being said, I’m letting go and moving forward. Releasing the beast that is politics and other related issues.

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The saying rings true: if we want respect, we must give it. I know that’s easier said than done especially when it comes to rez politics but it is what it is – people vote, people get elected, people are happy or complain and then it happens all over again come next election time. I remember reading a Facebook memory of mine and it said: “I have a deeper appreciation for those who serve on Council because I can now say I know what it’s like.” Well, come election time, those thoughts were lost on me but the reminder prompted in me, the right thing to do. Apologize. Thank you for your service, Councillors. We may not see eye to eye on things but you did the best you could, just as we all are. I wish the next council luck and success, too.

I don’t expect people to forgive and forget or even accept my apology but so long as I clear my head and heart of the wrongs I’ve done against others, that is all I can do to make things right in myself. I’ve come too far in my life, my journey, my healing to allow hatred, negativity and my opinion to hurt others and get the best of me. I can and will control how I voice my concerns. Sure, things slip, I get heated, I forget but these little reminders of who I am pop back up and remind me to do the right thing. I know who I am and that is not who I was raised to be. Love life and it will love you back, even if you don’t agree with people, places and things.

Mahsi.

Renee

Treatment and How to Get There

Reading this post may help you or a loved one get the help they need or want.

It’s been 9 years since I went to Kakawis Family Development Center on Vancouver Island. Some years after I completed the program, the center moved and changed their name and now they’re in Port Alberni, operating under Kackaamin Family Development Center. From what I’ve heard, the program still operates a great family program and some of the same great staff is there but I couldn’t tell you for sure, as I’ve not been there myself.

I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all. Of course, specifics are more blurred now because of time, but I got in touch with a counselor and said I was ready to go to treatment. Knowing full well, “just quitting”, was impossible. I tried lots of things, like an in-community treatment program, moderation, stopping cold turkey and yet nothing helped me.

Fast forward to the day I left with the kids in my car, headed south to the island, with lots of fun stops along the way, trying to stay positive for them and not talk myself out of turning back around. There were so many things going on in my head like change, fear, unknown, strangers, different people, places and things, missing the party, my kids’ feelings, and everything else under the sun. You name it, I felt it, but away we went. We made it a few days later and soon enough we were there.

After 6 weeks, several of my family members came to greet us at Kakawis for our graduation ceremony and I tell you, it was the most emotional day of the whole program. Leaving my treatment community to come home to the same things, people and places that I left to get sober was scary and parts of me didn’t want to leave the safety and security of my sober family. I did, though, and my family went on a little vacation to Victoria for a few days before heading home and well, the rest is history. In 2010, my husband sobered up and we’ve never looked back. Our kids deserve so much better than what we’d started them off with.

“I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all.”

Ok, so the actual reason why you read this post; getting to treatment. What do you need to do?

Like I said, my memory is vague but with the help of Lynda Gwynn, I came up with this list of things you need to do to get yourself to treatment:

  1. Decide you want to go to a treatment center. I’m sure there are many across Canada, but for the sake of this post, I’m focusing on centers in British Columbia. Here’s a link to some centers in BC. Do a bit of research on them to decide where you want to go, keeping in mind that status medical pays for some and not for others. Decide if you want to go alone or if you want to take your kids, like I did. There’s a lot to consider and it will seem overwhelming but remember the end goal and how worth it will be.
  2. Once you’ve come up with some ideas of places you’d like to go, discuss this with a counselor. You will need a counselor to complete the center’s treatment application process. If you don’t have access to internet or a computer, you can discuss best options with a counselor, too. Libraries have free computer use, too.
  3. According the most treatment applications, you must have at least 6 sessions with a counselor before attending the center and many like you to be drug and alcohol-free for at least 2 weeks but it could be longer depending on each center’s requirements.
  4. As part of the application process, you will also need to get TB testing done. This can be done at your local clinic or health center if there’s a RN available.
  5. Once your entire medical is done and your family doctor completes their portion of the application, you and your counselor can send off the paper work. In most cases, the counselor will fax it off for you.
  6. Now you wait. You wait for an intake date from the center.
  7. Once you’ve been accepted to a center, you can plan your personal and family affairs accordingly. Ensure finances are in order, that bills will be paid while you’re away, and that you have a few dollars for any items you may need. Talk to your Nation’s patient travel to secure funding to travel to and from the center. Talk to Social Assistance to see how they can assist, too. I’m not sure how that works but your counselor may be able to provide more around that.
  8. Now you wait some more. Ensure all your sessions are completed before going to treatment, that you’ve abstained from drinking and drugs and that you’ve got all your affairs in order, so that when you pack up and go, you’re all ready. The time between you getting your intake date and the time you actually leave your community can be trying, hard and scary. You have a lot of time to talk yourself out of going, so find sober family and friends who will support and encourage your healthy choices. Of course that is always easier said than done but remember the end goal; you made this step for a reason, you want to be sober and healthy.
  9. You can and will complete treatment! Remember how good it will feel to be free of addiction. Remember how sick you were the last time you got wasted or high disgusted you felt after that high. Remember how impacted your kids are. Remember the end goal – You! Sober! You can do it!

Lastly, remember you are worth it. Our kids are worth it. Life is worth it. Life is too short to live in misery and drown in addiction. We’ve lost countless loved ones and friends because of alcohol and/or drugs and I choose not to be a statistic. I choose life. I want to live. I hope you do, too.

In good faith and healing,

Renee

 

Oh, wait! There’s more. Talk to other community members who went to treatment. More often than not, members are happy to help and tell their story if it means helping someone else have what they have or who are working to improve their life. I get healing from telling my story, so thank you for asking. I wish you well.

A Reminder for You and Me

Some reminders for living life…

  1. Step up.
  2. Shut up. If it’s not your business, don’t involve yourself.
  3. Again, when you want to speak up about things that are not your business, don’t.
  4. Stay off Facebook.
  5. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  6. Creator is always watching. Yup, that thing you did last weekend…he was watching.
  7. Be yourself.
  8. Life is short. As cliche as it is, it’s true. Today could be our last day, who knows?
  9. Tell the ones you love, that you love them because see #8. Also, do one better – show them with your time and attention.
  10. Let go of people, places and things that serve you no purpose. See gif. You can do it, Brucey! I believe in you.

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Have a super day. Treat yourself.

R

Monday Vibes

It’s a Monday morning and just Jonni, Cash and I are home. Laundry laundering, windows open, fan running, hot coffee in my cup and I am grateful. Although things seem to be a bit of a struggle right now, we’re going to be ok. We have a good life and I sometimes forget that. We are ok.

The hubby and kids are at work and I wanted to share this short post with you. In the happenings of life, things sometimes become overwhelming and chaotic and we get stressed or worried, but I believe they all work out for the best. We’re always taken care of.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve not been one for socializing but seeing my cousin Crystal’s kids Nevada, Slim and Korianka after a few weeks makes everything better again. They remind me how loved I am and how happy life is. They come running every time I go to their house yelling out my name and giving me hugs, and just say the best things to make me feel happy inside my heart and head. I love those kids. Kids are great. Kids remind us how carefree life should be and how much happiness there is in this world. Mahsi, kids.

Yesterday, I got to go boating with Jason, Crystal, Greg and Ashton courtesy of Jason and Crystal. We spent a few good hours on the river just miles from our homes and it was everything I needed to refresh my outlook on life. No worries. No stress. Just beauty. Thank you, Jason and Crystal. I love you guys. I really needed that and as always, Creator took care of it. I appreciate you both.

Check out this short video I made of our day.

Have a good one, friends.

Renee

Stop This Crazy Train, I Want to Get Off

Stop this crazy train I want to get off. This post is long overdue. I’ve not been myself for a very long time, or at least that’s the way it feels. Aging is hard. Life with teens is hard. Being happily married is hard. Shit is hard or so it seems. In reality, it’s only hard because I’ve not been myself as I mentioned.

I know, I know many people have it far worse than I do and that’s why I should shut the fuck up and be grateful. Don’t get me wrong; I’m so completely grateful for every day, my life, and my family, all of it. It’s just hard to deal with when you’re not feeling yourself and I’m not afraid to admit that. Sure, it’s selfish but that’s ok too. I’ve come to a place in my life where I need to be selfish. I need to take care of me first, so I don’t go completely off the deep end. Cue the crazy train.

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I’m not sure when or where it started but one day I felt good, the next I felt ‘off’. Misery. Whatever you heard about misery loving company is a lie. I hate people. I hate noise. I hate people, places and things. I just want to be left alone. I’m not even joking. Socializing makes me sick. Who knew that was even possible right? Well, now I know. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like this. There were days where I felt literally crazy, like I was losing my mind, scared of what was happening to me. This is not the Renee I know. Oh but it is, naïve Renee. It is fully and completely you and you are ok, I learn to tell myself that after many days and months of feeling like shit.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care? You don’t have to care and I don’t have to tell you but if I’ve learned anything about healing, it’s that talking about it helps and who knows? I just might be helping others to learn about themselves, too. I learned that these feelings, anxiety and depression happen to everyone and I’m not unique by any means. Shit right? We all want to be ‘the one’ hey? Well, tough shit.

If I could pinpoint a time when this started, it would be way back when I worked at my previous employer. That being said, it could have been earlier and just not noticed, so there’s no real way to say for sure. Anyway, I was in the shower one day getting ready for work when I felt like I couldn’t breathe suddenly, like the lights started to go out and my heart rate increased at a rapid pace. That morning I went to the emergency room just to be safe and learned I had a panic attack. What? Where the hell did that come from? I felt fine, though!? I was only getting ready for my usual day. What I didn’t know or understand at the time was that my work environment was causing this stress. Naturally, I blamed myself at first until a really awesome and supportive doctor helped me to understand that it was indeed linked to work and it wasn’t my fault. It just so happened that every morning before work I’d feel ‘funny or off’ but I didn’t realize that until much later and by talking these events through with medical and mental health professionals. Ok, so all better right? Nope.

Add the much earlier passing of my Grandma, my son’s graduation, his pending college departure, leaving a job I enjoyed and financial security, taking on two puppies, financial burdens, losing so many loved ones in such a short period of time, and I ask myself, how did I actually not go completely off the deep end? Thankfully I didn’t and I got help in time. I took care of my health and took time to recover. Some days I slept for two to three hours and would still get seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Even up until recently, I still felt ‘off’ and out of sorts but with talking to great supports, I am feeling alive again. That’s not to say, I won’t get in those funks again because it’s possible. Anything is possible, one day at a time, though. Focus on the good.

So what’s my point? My point is that I believe many people suffer in silence. I believe we need to take better care of our mental health. If we break something, we go to a doctor. If our hearts are broken a hundred times, we don’t. We ought to. If you repeatedly hurt or break something in some way, there’s going to be serious damage and sometimes we can’t see that damage but it’s there and it hurts us in other ways like what I mentioned above. Depression kills. Stress kills. Pain kills. Suffering kills. We’ve lost so many people in our community that it’s impossible for everyone to be perfectly ok. That alone is enough to do serious damage to our people and I think that’s prevalent if you just look around. Today, I am ok but I still have deep wounds that need healing, too. Remember, you’re worth it. You matter and your mental health is just as important as any physical health issues. It hurts to look deep inside and open old wounds but what’s on the other side is nothing short of beautiful. We are worth it.

Today, I choose to enjoy this beautiful day and live life on my terms. I’m not crazy, just dealing with healing, that’s all.

 

Renee

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This Moment

How would I feel if things were easy? Would I be happy? Would I be miserable? What is happy? What is sad? What is an easy life? Is it real? What does easy even mean? I’m sure everyone has their interpretation of what life is supposed to be like but what’s mine?

I imagine life differently but all I know is what I know. How can things be different, when this is all I know?

I know life can always be better. I know I can try and do better, work harder and there’s always room for improvement but what am I striving for, if anything at all?

What if this is what I strive for? What if this is where I’m supposed to be?

I can hear the wind in the trees. It dries my tears. I hear dogs bark, birds chirp, motorbikes zooming by and yet my thoughts are of this time, this moment. What is next? What is beyond this moment?

Who knows?

Renee

Transitions

What is even happening? Life seems insanely crazy these days. My mind and heart are not aligned and I feel at odds with life.

It’s been a while since I’ve attempted to write. A lot has been happening since I last wrote. I don’t even recall what I last wrote. The husband and I started updating the yard with a fence and a new coat of paint on the house (or modular home), but then I got a call for surgery. Within two days of getting the call, my palm was cut open and I was having carpal tunnel surgery in another province. Aside from that, surgery completely halted any further yard/house work we were doing because it’s near impossible to go to the bathroom, let alone paint a house. I probably picked the worst time to have the surgery but I have relief from pain and numbness so that’s the plus side of it all.

On top of all that, our community is divided and things are quite contentious because for one, it’s an election year and two, members are not being heard by the people they elected nor are they being consulted. I am saddened that this is the best our Council and Administration can do. It’s as if the members don’t matter. Election years suck. Rez politics suck. One dimensional leaders suck. Dictators suck. No matter who’s on Council, no one wins, especially when you have a select few people doing what they think is best for the overall nation without proper consultation. As Indigenous people we complain to governments and corporations about proper consultation yet don’t practise what we preach in our own communities and governments. Today, I’m making a conscious effort to focus on more important things, like my son’s upcoming graduation.

OUR SON IS GRADUATING!! Again, my first-born child is graduating!! Let that sink in. Imagine the craziness that alone brings. I’m losing my mind. My heart can’t deal. I don’t want my kids to grow up but I don’t have a say in the matter. They’re growing up and becoming their own people, young independent adults. It’s scary, heartbreaking, joyous, and exciting times. My husband and I didn’t graduate so this is a momentous occasion for us, somehow we didn’t completely mess up our amazing kids with addiction and chaos. Thankfully, we rose above for them and for ourselves. Our kids deserve so much better than we had and I’m so extremely grateful for my parents and family who helped shape our son and daughter in to the really awesome teenagers they are. I just know they’re going to do really great things with their lives. Sigh…transitions.

What else is there to say? Transitions. Transitioning. “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” Married with kids to married with no kids (at home). Kid-less. It’s mind-numbing and overwhelming to think of a life that involves only two people (mom and dad) where there were four (our son and daughter). What’s next for us as a couple? I don’t know but it’s going to be weird and it’s kind of funny to imagine. Life, one day at a time with the love of my life is all I can be sure of right now. I’m optimistic that whatever comes our way, we will deal with it and we will be ok.

Transitions.

 

Renee

 

Rising Up

Well, I lost track but that’s because we’ve been busy giving our yard a makeover among other things. Also, I lost track of days and numbers so let’s just say I won’t be counting days but instead writing for the sake of writing because it clears my mind and heart.

I have realized a few things in the last while since I’ve not been writing. While not writing, I have a lot of time to think about the things I should be writing about. Go figure!

One, I like writing but it takes focus, silence and a clear mind to ‘get in the zone’ hence the reason I don’t write as often as I’d like. There’s a lot of distraction and life is happening around me, so I need to make time. Do it or don’t but writing is therapy and healing so making it a priority is key hence this post today.

Two, I’m so fortunate for my life. I have a super hardworking and handy husband who goes above and beyond at every opportunity to make the kids and I happy and provide a good home and life for us. Look at all he’s done in just six days!

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All of this wouldn’t be possible or happening if we were still living a life of addiction. Fuck, I’m so happy that this is our life. I don’t miss that shit for anything. Addiction is a nightmare. I see people struggling and it’s all because of addiction. It’s the choices one makes each day that keeps them stuck or moving forward but ultimately, it’s all a CHOICE. We wake up each day and choose to be sober and drug free, still, after all these years and our life is good. I’m genuinely happy. Happiness was always short lived when living that life. Fuck that shit.

Three, remembering to be grateful every day for every thing, especially the things we take for granted. I got two calls last week from my cousin Taylor, who’s continuously doing amazing things with her life, thanking me for some ideas I offered up and for encouraging and believing in her. My heart overflowed. It meant so much to me. It took a lot to not cry because it’s a lot to take in when someone says thank you for your help and you hear in their voice, how life changing their experiences were. My heart burned with happiness for her.

I want so many good things for our people. I want good things for the people who wake up every day and strive for healthy communities to make the world a better place for all people, especially our Indigenous relatives. As a people, we’ve overcome so much and the people that are working to improve their communities every day are proof that we’re stronger and more resilient than we sometimes give each other credit for. We’re fucking badass. To all the Taylors and Zakarys in our communities, mahsi cho, for doing the work to improve our communities, you are the next generation of leaders who will bring forth the change we want and need. You are our role models. Thank you for being you, being amazing, being strong when times are tough, being the voice for the voiceless and not giving up even when there’s days you want to. There’s days like that for me, too, but if we gave up, who would lead the way? No pressure. Wink!

So there you have it, some good stuff from my soul. I’m just so thankful for life, the sunshine, the birds, our walls, the helpful guys at Ace Hardware in Fort Nelson, and music that keeps me rocking.

One day, all our people will rise up and be strong and healthy and when that day comes, we will be a force to be reckoned with. I see it already because we model it every day for our kids. We believe in you, Son and Miss Magoonie.

Enjoy this beautiful day.

Renee

Can’t Sleep

I’m wide awake and it’s 11:30 on a Sunday night. I fight with myself to get up and clean while it’s peace and quiet or force myself to get some shut eye. Instead I just write this.

Today Greg and I went for a hunt and saw our first bear and also scored some traditional medicine, diamond willow fungus. We had a pretty laid back day. I napped, too, so that explains the alertness at this hour.

Anyway, not much else to say except I have a lot going on this week, so I best be getting some rest. Good night.

Posts Can Wait, Culture Cannot

I’m two posts behind, tonight and last night. I think? Yes, two, it is.

I have a good excuse though. I’ve been dancing alongside family, friends and community. Dancing to the Dene drums. The medicine of our people.

I got to witness, Taden, drumming alongside men 20-60 years his senior and it warmed my heart. Not only is he super cute, he’s gifted with the medicine of our people – the will to drum and carry on our traditions. What a blessing.

Then tonight, I danced while my husband and son drummed, too. I feel so good inside. Taden also received a drum from Dene Tha drummer and community leader, Fabian. I could feel how happy and proud everyone was for the little guy. He totally deserves to drum all the days of his life.

Although I feel like I’ve not met my “100 posts in 100 days” because I’ve fallen behind, I recognize that focusing on the good things are far more important than beating myself over falling behind. I’m not behind, I just was too busy enjoying life and our culture with my family. Posts can wait, culture cannot.

The video is dark but the drums are loud, and that is the heartbeat of the Dene people – strong and proud. I’m so thankful for this way of life. Something I’ve taken for granted for many years, but now I fully embrace.

Good night.

Renee

Your Choice, Your Problem

So, I was worried I’d have nothing to write about tonight since I stayed home and worked on the NDK newsletter all day and didn’t really do anything worthy of talking about but then I forgot I have teens and shit hits the fan sometimes, like just now. Surely, writing about my personal stuff that includes my family is one thing but talking about their specifics is not really fair but then I remembered life isn’t fair, so fuck it. If it happens, I’m writing about it. All in the lessons, kids.

Lately and more so now that my teenagers are growing up and gaining their independence, it’s been a bit of a struggle to be a sane and “nice” Mom. History has shown that I am always the bad guy, it’s a shitty job but as the saying goes, someone has to do it. May as well be the one who doesn’t fuck around, even if it means, my kids hate me some days. So be it. Do I love my kids? Abso-fucking-lutely! If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be almost losing my mind most days and certainly wouldn’t be writing this.

I asked three, maybe even four, times for 16 to clean up the bathroom and entry way, and it didn’t get done after the third or fourth and final time, so there was some yelling exchanged when I got home from a cruise with Dad. Every teenager knows once it gets to that stage, they risk losing privileges, and what do you know?! The cell was in hand, which seems to be a theme every day these days, so away went the cell phone and that ended the argument with the two parties going their separate ways. Two slamming doors followed. Mind you, it is important to remember that said “bad guy” pays for said cell phone which is a privilege and not a right. Right? Right.

Now what? Well, I’m laying here writing this, and keeping my distance. It’s the smart thing to do. I refuse to acknowledge disrespectful and entitled behavior. When we choose the behavior, we choose the consequences. Done deal. Don’t want to do chores, no cell. Don’t want to go to school, no cell. We are all responsible for our own choices so long as we accept the consequences. I shouldn’t have to ask 3-4 times to do your part around the house. We all live here. Let’s all do our part. What will kids do when they have no adults around to do everything for them? Surely, they will learn real quick won’t they? I can only hope since I know some people (not mentioning any names) can’t live without a cell phone.

Anyway, yeah, so that’s my post for today. Life is tough but I’m tougher. Shit, I’m the parent of two teenagers. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. I’m pretty sure I got balls of steel by now. Lol.

GOOD NIGHT.

Just when you think it’s bedtime, you get a call about 17. Great.

Is it a full moon by chance? Ugh.

Renee

Home

The best part of traveling is the coming home part. We made it home safe and sound. Stopped in Fort St. John for lunch and an oil change, then fueled up and hit the road home bound again. It’s a long 8-9 hour drive but when it’s like summer driving, time goes by quickly.

Came inside and chilled for about 45 minutes before our son got us motivated to head outside as a family and do a bit of yard work. Sis and I burned grass and she raked some, while Dad and Ash dug the fire pit out to burn old straw. Then we set up the gazebo mat and started on the puppy pen for the deck. I think this is going to be the summer of the deck. I’ve not used it much or fully enjoyed it since I hate bugs and we finally got a gazebo with netting. YES! Pincher free summer sounds excellent to me!

I don’t have much more to offer than what I did. At least I didn’t miss posting today. The next few days won’t consist of much either unless something totally amazing happens because I’ll be working from home on the May issue of Na Deh Kleh.

Anyway, I hope life treated you kindly today. Cruising down the highway next to my G-Lo, coming home to our kids, spending time outside as a family is my idea of happiness and HOME. There’s no place I’d rather be.

Good night.

Renee

Missed Thoughts

I forgot to blog yesterday, so I’m one day behind now. Shit happens.

We’re in Prince George. Adult road trip for medical isn’t as fun as it sounds but I got to see my cousins Bradley, Barbara and Peter. If only for a brief moment, it was nice. I don’t even recall how many years it’s been since I’ve seen Barb and Peter.

We got up early, drove to get the tire leak fixed, which ended up being about 2.5 hours but got breakfast while we waited, went to the bank, browsed some shops, got a job interview set up, and talked to Labour Canada. It was nice to get up early and walk, something I never do. I really need to start that. Having Greg along for the walk, was a bonus.

We picked up Brad, went to eat, helped him rescue his truck and then just chilled at the hotel. It was a nice day, just going with the flow.

I’m thankful for these moments with Greg. Although we miss our kids, these moments allow us to rekindle the love and appreciation we have for one another. When we’re together we laugh about the silliest things and just take it easy, do whatever we want with no worries. We often think out loud about our future and what that looks like as our kids turn to adults and leave the nest.

We are having breakfast then heading home to our kids. It’s another good day to cruise with my G-Lo. I love him, our kids and our life.

Renee