if I knew then what I know now…

I heard this phrase the other day

and it actually inspired me to finally sit down

and write.

If-I-knew-then3

Yes I know,

long time coming

so hopefully it’s worth the read.

The first thought that came to my mind

was looking back to my younger days.

Being aware of the people

who played such important roles in my life,

I can’t help but realize

that I truly did not have to impress anyone.

There honestly wasn’t a need to fall into any sort of “peer” pressure

and I really didn’t have to try as hard as I did

just to fit in

as I look back on it now.

The connections I made with my friends through the years

were deep-rooted and real from the very beginning.

If I knew then

what I know now

I would have been much more relaxed being me

because those same people

who to this day still have such an impact on my life,

accepted me just they way I was all along

and lo and behold

still do because they continue to make the choice

to stay involved in my life

to this very day.

(even if the jokes I tell are still super corny

and they sometimes wonder if I will ever grow up)

I really never had to improve my appearance

or look a certain way

now that I am completely aware of that,

however I honestly thought I had to

in order to feel accepted.

Case in point:

I actually allowed them to sit me down

and apply make up

which to me was basically the equivalent

to Chinese torture.

(those who know me well are nodding right about now)

I never had to try to be someone I wasn’t

and thank goodness my choice to be simple

funny and ordinary

was just fine by them.

My family saw the potential in me

even if I did make mistakes

and if I would have known then

what I know now,

it would have dawned on me very early on

that no matter what,

I would still be the same wonderful person

with a good heart

and I would never have worried near as much

that I needed approval

to be exactly who God intended me to be.

Life’s journey has us all taking roads

we sometimes aren’t ready for

especially in our younger years

and as we look back to the decisions we made along the way

one thing becomes very clear

that no matter what it was,

or how hard it may have been to get through

we always scrutinize our choices or decisions

good or bad

because of how it may have looked to others.

The way I see it,

nothing is worth regret.

Nothing is worth how others perceive it

or judge it.

Now that I am finally at an age to be considered

“experienced” or “qualified”

or at least

“old enough to know better”

your path,

your life,

your worth,

and most of all your being

is of great importance to you and only you

when the time comes to meet your maker.

I suppose if I got the chance to tell young people

what I have learned

knowing what I know now,

it would be

trust in who you are.

Look at the people around you

that love you unconditionally,

that need you in their life

as much as you need them.

If you feel the need to fit in

or think being important or successful

 to certain people

who don’t genuinely support you

or get you

is all that will ever matter,

you will lose yourself somewhere along the way

trying to be someone you are not

and that creepy word

“regret”

will haunt you one day.

Keep it simple really.

There is only one YOU

and if you pay very close attention to the people

who have liked the “real” you unconditionally from the start,

I can promise they will be loving you

every step of the way.

Life is hard enough as it is,

and what better way to be

going through it

than by being yourself!

inspiration quantity of life

I really could go on and on

but I figure I’ll just put this out there

and let you think through it.

So one more time…

If you knew then,

what you know now

where would your mind take you?

Make it a great day everybody

and may God bless!

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Thanksgiving without you Dad, but the cheese tray is full!

Along with so many others

glancing at an empty chair

this Thanksgiving

our family will be missing

one very special man.

Eddie, Dad, Papa!

dad mother's day 2014

The idea of our first formal holiday

since he passed,

not having him in the middle

of all the chaos

seems rather pointless

to even celebrate.

Dad had a way of making his rounds

with everybody

and usually keeping us in stitches.

The rules were simple

when it came to holiday festivities,

 Mom did all the planning and preparing

(with Mama of course)

and delegating us girls

as to what we could contribute to the big feast.

 Dad would simply be Mom’s chauffeur

to and from the grocery store

but his main function for turkey day

was what he did best,

Entertainment director!

He wasn’t much of a drinker the last few years

but when he did open a beer,

I used to laugh at him

because he would say things like,

“if your Mother asks, this is my first one!”

or

“have a beer with me so I’m not drinking alone!”

I would laugh even harder

because after 50 years of marriage,

Mom knew more about his behaviour

than he did most of the time

but it never got old

and was always amusing to watch.

It’s hard to imagine his wonderful presence

that won’t be sitting with us

and how it really won’t ever be the same

without him,

but while remembering some of those fun times,

something came to mind.

Although his physical presence is missing,

his spirit still has so much power.

In every story we share,

or every moment we remember

Dad will really be with us.

Chances are he’ll be

hovering in the kitchen

and probably wondering when

Mama will start making her gravy

or sneaking cheese from the platter in the fridge

knowing if Mom caught him,

she’d holler,

“Eddie, get out of there, that’s for later!”

I would imagine when the camera’s come out,

(and that is standard Stewart tradition if you are a first time reader)

he’ll be in every shot

doing what he loved doing the most,

being a total ham

(or should I say Turkey)

Case in point: Thanksgiving 2012

thanksgiving 2012a

I think the biggest thing to remember

why I should possibly be thankful

is he gave us so many memories

to be thankful for

regardless of what we are dealing with this year.

I actually started to dread this day

but the one thing that keeps

popping into my mind

is he would be heartbroken

if we didn’t continue to love life

and treasure making new memories

as a family

even without him.

I am sure he is so proud of us

although we are all grieving

in our own ways

yet I can envision that little smile is on his face

knowing that we have all come together

not to be saddened

but more so

to gather and regain,

even more strength.

I can’t lie and say it will be easy

not having him here

however he’s been alongside us all along

and nothing made him more at peace

than being thankful

having his family surrounding him.

So if by chance you have an empty chair

and struggling a bit this Thanksgiving

there is a good possibility

those we are missing

are very busy working the room

and if that doesn’t help,

you may wanna check

the cheese platter in the fridge 😉

From our family to yours…

Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless!

Thanksgiving boy and girl

I believe in signs…Do you?

believe it or not

Today’s story is either something

some of you believe in or you don’t

and I will let you come up with your own theory.

Myself,

I have always believed in something bigger out there

and keeping an open mind

to some strange and unexplained situations

especially when it comes to the unknown

so take it how ever which way

you want to take it

because I have already

drawn my own conclusions.

My sister and Mom were talking on the phone

and because of my Dad’s recent passing

somehow got to discussing

what my Mom thought she should be leaving us

after she departs from this world.

As I walked into my sister’s kitchen

 only hearing this one-sided conversation

and my sister telling her it didn’t matter what she planned to leave her,

my sister suddenly turned to me while still chatting with Mom

and said,

“Kimmie, does it matter what Mom leaves you when she passes away?”

My response was without hesitation

and something I have always lived by.

I said

“As long as I have a 20 dollar bill in my pocket

when I walk out the door

my life is content,

so leave me 20 bucks and I’ll be just fine!”

Of course I couldn’t leave it at that,

so I had to add that I also wanted her new coffee percolator

that I just bought for her a week ago.

percolator

Please don’t judge me,

it’s a really good one 🙂

From there I left the house

and ran out to do a few things.

When I got home,

I walked into my bedroom thinking,

“Good Lord I need to clean this room up!”

Started picking up my shoes

that I have the worst habit of just flinging off my feet

once I get in the door

and leaving them in the exact spot they land

until the next time I need them.

I get through that little mess

and my mangled  bed is next.

I fling the comforter off and begin flapping the sheets in the air,

move from one side to the other

taking out any and all wrinkles

than placing the comforter back on top.

As I make my way around

taking the creases and folds out

and about to flip the last corner of my comforter

I look down between my bed and night stand

and there in plain sight

hanging from the chord of my lamp

hangs a crisp and fresh

20 dollar bill!

20 dollars

My very first thought was

Holy Crap!

I didn’t even know

I was missing 20 bucks

and trust me

if I was missing it,

my room would have been turned upside down

the day before

like the police do when they have a search warrant.

So what do you think?

Coincidence or something greater?

I truly believe my Dad heard what I said

to my sister and Mom

about simply being content

with a 20 in my pocket.

I think it was his way of letting me know

that he was always going to watch over me.

Some may think it was just some type of luck

and others like myself

may believe in a much higher power,

so as I said,

I will let you come to your own conclusions

however this is what truly happened

(that’s why I had to take a picture)

and although it kind of freaked me out at first,

I can honestly say

that as I am about to head out the door,

feeling very content

I am extremely confident

my Dad will hear me say,

“Thanks for the 20 father!

Guess I can afford

my own percolator now!”

Make it a great day and God bless!

Somedays… all it takes is a hug!

best things happen

Have I got a cute story to verify this one

so sit back and let the smile in your heart shine.

Every Wednesday I leave my door at 6 a.m.

and travel 2 hours to my first store that I service.

Without getting into a whole lot of boring details,

I basically put up and display books and magazines

which requires a bit of muscle but nothing I can’t handle.

Today was really no different from any other day,

and once I arrived I did my thing

and quickly got to the matters at hand.

So there I am singing along to the music playing over the loud-speaker

lugging and lifting things were they needed to go

and basically getting my work groove on.

(Yes I actually do sing out loud and proud to say no complaints)

Not yet anyway.

Now at this point in time,

I become completely unaware of my surroundings

other than where things need to go and so forth.

People will stand and browse at books

so I basically just maneuver around them

getting my work done

making no direct contact.

I don’t bug them and they don’t bug me kinda deal.

Today was a little different though.

I did notice an elderly woman standing over to the side

but again,

I just thought she too was checking things out

until I had bent down to pick something up

and there she was standing right beside me.

Her purse hanging from one arm

with a striking resemblance to Sophia

from the Golden girls.

sophia

I stood up and asked if she needed help with anything

and with the cutest little smile

  and shaky voice

what happened next

completely changed my whole day.

She said

“No dear, I am fine but I’ve been watching you work

and you work very hard. Can I give you a hug?”

I will admit for a split second

I thought she might not have been all there in the mind

or got loose from the crazy floor at the hospital

but there was something very normal

and inviting about her voice and smile

so I lifted my arms and said “Absolutely!”

To be very clear,

it wasn’t one of those 2 second hugs

with a mild little hand tap on the back.

She really squeezed me hard

and with meaning.

After our little embrace she said to me,

“I love giving hugs because I always get them back.

It’s the best feeling in the world at my age.”

hugs bring comfort

You’re probably thinking she got her hug and went on her way.

Nope!

She mentioned to me that she was 91 years old

and her name was Alma.

That hugging is something people should do more

and laughter is the necessity to living a long and happy life.

She was amazed at my strength

lifting the boxes that I had to lift

and told me in her younger days

she wasn’t that strong but she did have 9 children.

I immediately raised my arms up over my head

bent and bowed in her direction and said,

“Alma, having 9 children makes you the Queen of strong.

I am not worthy!”

That actually made her laugh out loud

and I think she even blushed a little.

Before she left me,

she thanked me for the hug and making her laugh

to which I told her,

“No Alma, thank you for making my whole day. Bless your heart.”

Okay so you’re thinking the story ends now.

Nope!

With the biggest grin on my face

and feeling like this woman was a blessing sent from God,

this day was even brighter than I could have possibly imagined

but just when I thought the moment had passed

I overheard her as she was heading out of the store

say to the cashier,

“That young lady over there works very hard and is such a sweetheart”

and the woman working behind the cash piped up and said,

“Yes she does and that she is!”

Moments like those don’t happen all that often

but a sweet woman quickly reminded me,

it doesn’t really take that much effort

to bring happiness to someone’s day

and at 91 years young,

if she’s still doing it,

the rest of us have absolutely no excuses!

world of nice people

Thank You Alma

Until we meet again

God bless!

It was a VERY good year!

Well Miss Elli

today is one whole year

since I introduced the youngest member

of our family to the world

(and as luck would have it)

it’s also Easter Sunday today.

Definitely a day of blessings.

So much has changed since

that first story I wrote to you.

elli 3Life in the beginning was basically

sleeping, eating and pooping

and that was all I was really able to tell people

about my little cousin

however over the course

of your very first year on this planet

some things have definitely changed

and I thought

how cool would it be

if I shared them

so when you get older

and have absolutely

no memory of them

(and there’s a good chance some of us old farts won’t remember either)

that hopefully some of these pictures

can shed some light

for you.

Where to start?

You have your very own eating chair

and can feed yourself.

Mommy and Daddy

fold it up and take it everywhere.

 Your hand to eye co-ordination

needs some practice

but it’s a work in progress

and you are getting there.

elli eating 2014

What else to report?

Oh yes,

you went swimming

and not only can you dunk like a pro

but you were the cutest

little girl at the pool that day.

Your Daddy’s smile

says it all.

dec 18-13

With so many new adventures

on your horizon

it looked like your artistic side

was emerging.

Mommy put a paintbrush

and some paint into those cute little hands

and your creative side was born.

Now don’t be alarmed,

there are some people

who say body painting

is a form art and you Miss Elli

definitely aced it!

elli and mommy paintingAt this point

I suppose I should mention that

you are a little girl on the move now.

It seems you have an adventurous side

and sitting still

just isn’t an option anymore.

Not quite walking but

as I am typing there’s a very good

chance you’re taking that first wobbly step.

It isn’t really slowing you down however,

one minute you’re not there

and then

“poof”

there you are!

Dec 09-13My goodness,

I could go on and on

about all the new and exciting things

your first year has been about

like waving bye-bye

(which started out a bit backwards)

and basically had all adults waving to themselves

when it was time to go

or the second you heard music

one leg had its very own

lift and kick move

with a little baby butt action.

(you might want to check with Mommy or Daddy)

  I  believe there is a video of that epic moment.

Oh and I must not forget

you had your very own

“peeps” that you loved to hang out with.

A small gang,

but such a cute bunch.

elli and her peeps

God knows there are pictures

that trace every step of the way

of your first year

and all I wanted to do

is give you a glimpse

of some of your treasured moments.

Elli Bea,

you were a blessing to us

the minute you entered our world,

and a year later

you are loved even more

(if that is at all possible)

From the kad-zillion pictures

to choose from to say

Happy 1st birthday Miss Elli,

I think I’ll pick one

that is hands down

your Memere’s favourite

of the two of us

and without a doubt,

mine too 🙂

Apr 16-14

Happy Birthday and Happy Easter Elli Bea!

Can’t imagine what exciting things

will happen for you in year 2

but I will say this…

Next year,

it’s my turn to wear the ears 😉

Have a wonderful birthday Sunshine!

Love You ❤

it happened one night…

Anyone reading this one

should understand a sleepless night.

sheep sleep

As it stands,

last night was mine.

As I laid in bed,

and doing everything from counting sheep

to reciting 99 bottles of beer on the wall

(which by the way I got down to 1 bottle)

I realized how insane it was

that I couldn’t just shut my brain off

and slowly drift into a quiet and peaceful slumber.

 What came to mind

in the midst of all that sheep and beer counting

was how some friends I know

strongly and successfully

have mastered meditation.

Being able to manipulate

both the body and mind

into a serene and still state.

meditation pose

Now I knew better than to actually

follow proper procedure by

sitting and crossing my legs

remembering the last time I tried that

and with both legs locked into submission,

losing complete balance

landing on my back

 only to end up staring at the ceiling

with absolutely no feeling

in my lower extremities

thinking how on earth

would I explain this

to a 911 operator.

So my brilliant self

figured it would be a lot safer

if I just laid flat on my back

in my comfortable bed

and try that

“calming the mind”

thing.

So as I closed my eyes,

I began what I thought

would be the answer to my prayers

and I would tune out the world

 to allow my mind to quiet itself down.

Now the tricky part to this

as I quickly found out,

was it’s a very tough thing to do

when you are someone easily distracted

with any outside interference,

so to combat any noise

the plan was simple.

With my fingers in my ears

I was ready to still my mind.

fingers.in_.ears_

 So here’s what I discovered

during this little process.

Naturally I had no other distractions

but the second my ears were plugged up

and instantaneously,

the inside of my head could hear

what sounded like a distant

thunder-storm rolling inland.

(there’s a pretty good chance some of you have your fingers in your ears to test this theory)

Go ahead…

I’ll wait!

Now some of you may think

this can be a relaxing sound

when you are trying to quiet your overactive mind,

and it did for a second or two

but here is where things got a little dicey.

Once I allowed the sound of the storm

to kind of relax me

I figured taking a few deep breaths

in and out through my nose

would be the next logical step.

Wrong!

As I have stipulated,

an over active mind

can go absolutely anywhere

so after a few of these deep and long breaths

through my nasal passage

not only was there the sound

of a distant storm in the background

echoing inside my head

but now I sounded like Jason

from Friday the 13th

breathing behind that God awful mask.

friday 13 Jason

Like an idiot,

there I was laying down

with my eyes closed

in complete darkness

thinking about a psychotic killer

and his breathing habits

with my damn fingers stuck in my ears.

Would it surprise any of you

that at this point

I aborted the mission?

Needless to say,

not only did I fail at my attempt to meditate

or reduce some of the anxiety

going on inside my mind,

there was a very good chance

after this little episode

that I may never sleep again.

Just to make things worse,

I realized as I pulled my fingers

out of my ears,

there was this matter

of a wax build up

I seriously needed to give some attention to

come the morning.

You’ll be happy to know

that once I returned from the bathroom

(and yes I scrubbed my fingers)

I finally did fall asleep.

It’s funny how once the storm passed

and sounds of a serial killer

left the cavity of my skull

how quiet it finally got

for me to actually fade away

into La La land.

It’s crazy how these nights

can stir you up

and how your thoughts

can create such grand illusions

but if there is any advice I have to give

it would be something very simple.

If you find yourself

struggling to nod off,

and the tossing and turning

starts happening,

take a quick trip to the washroom

and check the wax build-up

situation immediately.

Not promising this will even work,

but at the very least

you now have

one less thing

to think about

in the wee hours of the night!

You’re welcome 🙂

Make it a great day everybody!

at a snail’s pace…but we’re getting there!

Brainfart

Sorry folks.

Seems like forever since I sat down to write.

I have actually tried more than a few times

but as the illustration clearly shows

I just haven’t been able to get the creative juices flowing.

It’s been one hell of a long winter,

and I’m not sure if my brain decided to freeze up as well.

I did think about another

“I hate this winter shit!”

kind of story line

but I am even tired of complaining

about how long this winter has been

and pretty fed up with wishing harm on Mother Nature

because honestly I think she’s just sitting there

laughing her fool ass off at me anyway.

(care to bet she sounds like the Wicked Witch of the West)

witch of the west

I know I am not the only one

feeling shack wacky

and needing some much needed summer air.

How can we not pitch a fit

when our first snow fall was November 9th

FYI:

Taking a clear and still picture

while your jaw

is spewing four letter words

is much harder than it seems.

1st snow Nov 9-13

So now here lies April

with snow banks that may not thaw until June.

Being Canadian,

you would think I’d be use to this crap

but when my golf season is interfered with

I get a little loopy.

So much that I have actually thought about

buying myself a blow torch.

And yes,

a really cool heat resistant suit as well.

blow torch

Wait a second…

I had this exact thought last year too!

Told you I was getting loopy.

The good news however,

 spring is trying to show it’s face.

The thaw is happening

(at a snail’s pace of course)

but it is.

The potholes that were once snow filled,

now are strategically placed

to hone our Nascar driving skills

or Not!

pot hole

Regardless of it all,

the sun has started to shine brighter.

The air is getting warmer

(no pun intended)

but to a degree.

The days are longer

with more hope that we are almost there.

The trees will soon bud

and if they are as fed up as I have been,

pretty sure this would be their first conversation.

birch please

 Guess we just have to hang in there.

After all,

we go through this every year

so I’m not sure why I even bothered

to write about this again.

All I know

is if next year shows any signs of being long,

you will all know where to find me!

golf winter green

We’re almost there 🙂

Make it a great day everybody!