A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Can you see what's there? It's a wonderland!

My last story about beating the winter blues - for this year
Calabogie Lake from our balcony
We were on vacation last week  - our family retreat - and when we arrived this was the view from the balcony of our cabin, overlooking a still-very-frozen lake. And we woke to fresh snow on Sunday morning! Even yesterday we had a sprinkling of snow! While many of my friends on Facebook are sharing photos of Spring flowers, we are still working on Spring thaw!

The only way to survive our very long Canadian winters - to "Beat the Winter Blues" - is to find the beauty in that with which you are fed up! So last Sunday morning I put on my winter boots, a winter coat, scarf and mittens, and went for a walk to take some photos - to "find beauty."
Trying to "find beauty every day" - last Sunday!
Just this past Christmas I shared a story about my pavé lights charm and how I made a conscious effort two years ago to find some strategies for beating the winter blues. At that time I also decided that I needed to build a bracelet called "Beat the Winter Blues." So I asked for wintery Pandora charms for Christmas 2012.
I've already shared stories about a few of these charms and how they help me "beat the winter blues." My son gave me the snowman and the polar bear dangle for embracing living in The Great White North. My husband gave me Santa's stocking which reminds me to look forward to Christmas shopping and filling stockings from Santa. And my daughter gave me the snowflake and the blue vines. She was quick to point out that she was the one who gave me some colour for my bracelet! I also had some Christmas money from my Aunt Edna, and used it to buy the blue looking glass murano and the enamel blue daisy charm.
My Pandora gifts Christmas 2012
A sample of Aunt Edna's photographs made into note cards
Edna is a very talented photographer so having this daisy charm on my "Beat the Winter Blues" bracelet reminds me that even in the deep cold of winter I can still try to "find beauty every day" - and document it with photographs!

One of my favourite authors is Geneen Roth. She writes about healing from compulsive and emotional overeating. One of the books in my collection is "When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair: 50 ways to feel thin, gorgeous, and happy {when you feel anything but}" Best. Book Title. Ever.

Goodreads describes the author's work, "Geneen Roth's pioneering books were among the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight, and body image. She believes that we eat the way we live and that our relationship to food, money, love is an exact reflection of our deepest held beliefs about ourselves and the amount of joy, abundance, pain, scarcity, we believe we have (or are allowed to have) in our lives." 
I follow Roth on Facebook and when I saw this photo and quote on my NewsFeed it made me realize I was onto something with my affirmation, "Find beauty every day."
Roth explained this photo, "I believe in love. And beauty. I believe that every single person has something they find beautiful and that they truly love. The smell of their child's hair, the silence of a forest, their lover's crooked grin. And I believe that if you follow this love all the way to its end, you will perceive an intangible presence and peace, you can find the stillness where goodness and healing and love exist."
Some photos after an ice storm this winter
I previously shared stories about my Walking in a Winter Wonderland clip and my Wildflower Walk charm, which I first earned at Calabogie three years ago on our family retreat. These meditative walks are one of the foundations of my pursuit of health and happiness. And thanks to Geneen Roth I have a better understanding of why the walks and photography are so important in my healing. I will continue to take photos on my walks. But I also try to find beauty in other ways - where I don't have to be outside in the winter!
The beauty of frost on our bedroom window

The beauty of a $2.00 mug from the Dollarama that matches our bedroom - and my bracelet

The beauty of a mango for the pancake breakfast at school
The beauty of a sculpture in a neighbour's front yard
The beauty of a yellow rose only 99 cents from the hospital flower shop on Mondays
The beauty of the afternoon sun on the hardwood floors of our bedroom 

I also find this blue daisy charm looks like a blue forget-me-not, and that is the symbol for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. My mother had Alzheimer Disease for a number of years before she passed away in 2008.

Our twins were 2-years-old when my mom was first diagnosed. By the time they were in Senior (5-year-old) Kindergarten she was getting pretty forgetful, even though she still knew us by name. Every time we visited her at the retirement residence she'd say, "Now what grade are you in?" The kids would patiently say, "We're in Senior Kindergarten Nana." Then I'd have to explain that it was like Primary school when I was a kid. Before we'd leave there would inevitably be a few more times when she would ask the same question. Same answer. Same explanation. They were so relieved when they were in grade one - so much less explanation required! On the way home one day the kids were asking me why Nana was so forgetful. I explained that she had an illness that affected her brain, that her brain was (quite literally) shrinking.
Taylor and Mitchell celebrating THEIR birthday with Nana
A short while later I was at the doctor's office with Mitchell. I happened to mention that Mom had fallen into the tub and cut her head, and been to the Emergency Room. So the doctor pulled up the results of the CT scan. She explained to us that we could see that there was space between Mom's brain and her skull. She said that if we compared it to 5-year-old Mitchell's brain, his brain would be closer to the skull and he would have more undulations and surface area than Mom's did.

The next time we visited Mom she was forgetful again. As we were leaving her room Mitchell put his index finger and thumb about an inch apart, and quite seriously said, "Nana's brain must be THIS big now!" I have to say Mom got quite a kick out of hearing that story - she kept her sense of humour right to the end!

Aunt Edna with her big sister, my mom,
a few months before Mom passed away

Edna was 14 years younger than my mom. Losing her had a huge impact on both me and Edna. So it seems appropriate to have this charm from my mom's little sister.

Of course visiting Edna in San Francisco might be an even better way to Beat the Winter Blues!

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