We know…

To all those courageously, stubborn people

we love so very much,

who are going through some dark and trying moments

and more than likely too proud to ask for help

thinking it would be some sort of burden or bother.

Thinking also,

that it would be an admission of weakness or failure to reach out

and even worse,

fear of vulnerability or emotion.

So I got an idea

that maybe the best thing to do

is explain what the rest of us already know

and it won’t cost you one second of wondering

and hopefully fills your heart with some sort of comfort

at a moment you may just need it.

never alone

We know it has been hard.

We know you have meltdowns,

and we know you have cried alone.

We know you are fighting and continue to fight

every single day.

We know you won’t let some of us get close enough to assist you

yet we know you do need us discretely from time to time.

We know you wanted to give up more than a few times

but also we know you never will.

We know you keep most of us at arm’s length

so we don’t have to feel the hurt like you do.

We know you would be annoyed and maybe even angry

if you thought we pitied you.

We feel helpless

yet we sit patiently in the background

in the event that you do call on us.

We know you feel beaten down some days and hide it diligently,

as not to draw any undue attention to yourself.

We know you are stubborn in your convictions

but definitely more than capable

when it comes to your endurance and strength.

We know you are not weak or incapable

but we do know you are not super human either.

We know you are a warrior

and although not all warriors win their battles

they sure as hell never back down from a fight.

You see,

we do know more than you think

but we also know enough

to give you the respect and space

to do the things you need to do.

One more thing…

You know who you are!

Have a great day and may God Bless xo

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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!

who’s ready to chase some rainbows?

inspiration rainbows

I realize there are some

that will get this

and some that won’t

but if there’s anything I am hoping for

once you have read it,

is that you allow yourself

time to just sit and think about it.

We are not put on this earth to simply exist

or present ourselves as emotional warriors,

unscathed or unfeeling,

simply because we come across as upbeat

and seeming as if nothing

can phase us

especially when life

certainly has a way of reminding us

that it isn’t just sunshine or lollipops

or we are as invincible

as everyone might think we are.

Being an eternal optimist,

immunity to suffering is something

we go through like everyone else

but I truly believe that perspective

is the fine line between

winning or losing our battles.

If you cut us

we will bleed

but let me try to explain

as best as I can

why our healing times

might seem a little quicker.

With every success,

every failure or disappointment

in which the curve of life throws at us

we are meant to learn and grow

as individuals.

It is not only about

it just being easy

and without challenge

or being foolish enough to think

that any of us go through life without

our share of emotional scars or broken hearts.

Keeping ourselves trapped into a darkness

that can and will at most times

tear us apart

or to some extent

remove what faith

we may have once believed in so much

when we allow our minds to take us

and keep us there.

Adversity and acceptance

is our way of growing.

Not saying it’s easier

but for all us “rainbow chasers” out there

it’s our way of not only pulling ourselves through

the beautiful moments,

but to give us

on some level

strength to push through the hard ones

and trust me,

this year has been a tough one.

As we approach yet another New year,

we gear ourselves up

into thinking

that what we put our hopes and wishes into,

 should actually happen

and on some level of delusion

believe they will come true

simply because we asked for them

just like everybody else,

but if there is one thing that makes perfect sense to me now

as I sit and think about what I would want

for this New Year if asked,

there is absolutely no doubt

what my response would be.

new year 365 if lucky

That being said,

there is nothing wrong with making ourselves better

even in times of loss.

There is nothing wrong with wanting for others

the happiness and joy they deserve

even though we’ve been denied that feeling

in our own tragic moments.

There is nothing wrong with

accepting  failure or loss

just so long as we understand

it should never be what defines us.

The creation of man

happened for a reason

and I would hate to think

that the only question we ask ourselves

at the end of the day

when things don’t go as planned is

what are we here for

or why even bother?

Each of us were created to make a difference.

Some in big ways and some in little

but the concept really has no bearing

on what it is you do

when you navigate through this life

but rather how you learn

to do it the best way

that you know how

while you are still here.

So take a moment to really look at your life.

Good or bad,

happy or sad,

ask yourself one very important question

especially with who surrounds you this year.

Look at those who know your story

before you decide on what it is

you expect for this coming New Year.

Whether you are a “resolution” person or not,

we all have expectations to improve our lives.

By all means work on improving yourself.

Health and fitness,

success and finance’s

spiritual and emotional

however

they can all lose some appeal

if the people you love the most

aren’t there to cheer for you

or watch you succeed.

So now that I have your attention

decide on what truly matters

come the first new day of the year.

Remind yourself that although life isn’t perfect

or fair at times,

and during the “storms”

where you seem to feel the safest

hiding under a blanket

like some kind of cloaking device,

you really have to ask yourself,

“If I don’t take a peek,

could I be missing something incredible?”

You can remain negative and blind

wasting time under your dark clouds,

or you can change your focus,

accept and acknowledge

that it will be hard to do

and throw away the fear that is holding you back.

The choice is

and will always be

YOURS!

This picture is courtesy of my sister

who said Good morning to my Dad up in heaven

on her drive into town one day

and lo and behold this appeared

giving her enough time to pull over

and take this picture before it quickly disappeared.

From above,

his message was clear.

NEVER stop chasing rainbows!

debbies rainbow

Wishing you all

a year of endless possibilities,

the courage to face whatever may come

but above all 

an unexpected rainbow 

at the very moment you may need one!

From my family to yours,

Happy New Year and may God Bless xoxo

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

Dear Dad, I know you can hear me…

It’s been just over a week

and although his heart stopped beating,

his legacy and life will live on!

Dad with cowboy hat

With every memory

and every story

we still feel your presence Dad.

There isn’t one person

who you have made an impact on that can’t smile

the minute your name is mentioned.

Whether it be a silly moment

(and there are quite a few of those)

or a sentimental one

your true character as a man

made a difference in the lives you did touch.

It’s interesting that before God took you

to fly among angels

how reading words or poems

regarding living life to the fullest

or not to take life for granted

were only words

scribbled on a page

without true meaning

until now.

be grateful

I know you are watching over us,

especially Mom and Mama

and honestly Dad,

I have felt your presence the instant

you left.

I never thought I would have this kind of strength

or composure but somehow

you are with me and sometimes I swear

I can feel your hand on my shoulder

and even the odd time or two

it’s as if you are whispering into my ear.

I know you hear me every time I get into my car

because that is my time to check in with you.

“Good morning Edward”

and I still hear you reply

“Good morning Kimberley”

as we always did before.

I know you hear me asking that you keep a close eye on Mom and Mama,

that you not miss a beat with Debbie, Nat, Corrie and myself,

and above all smile with your grand children

and guide them as only their Papa could ever do.

Naturally we speak of your sisters,

your brother in-laws and your sister-in-law

and your son in-laws as well.

We run through your niece’s, your nephews

and all other relatives

because I know that tender heart of yours

and you wouldn’t want to miss one single person.

 From there on we cover

all those amazing friends

who became a close piece of your heart

through out every stage of your life.

Somehow I envision that you have

a whole bunch of your sticky notes up there

just to make sure there isn’t one person you may miss.

This is going to be a tough Father’s Day without you Dad

but if there is one thing I will be counting on

is you will be among us when we gather.

Mom has brought you home

and the really good thing now is

I am sure your hearing is perfect

so no more struggling to hear what we are saying.

You will hear that we love you

more than life itself,

that we Thank you

more than you will ever know,

how we miss you

every second of the day

but above all…

How very blessed

and proud

we all feel

to have had you in our lives!

Oh and not to worry Dad,

our father’s day golf game is still a go.

Your grand children want to come with me

to share that day

in your honour.

Something tells me

we’re going to need your assistance

BIG TIME!

 Also we are going to plant wild flower seeds

at the 3rd hole

to represent your only hole in one.

Putting an end to this is harder than I thought

so I will finish with a quote

my cousin Jennifer sent us

knowing how meaningful it truly is

and that if Dad could tell us one thing,

this would definitely be it!

family tree

Happy Father’s day Dad

Love you always and forever

I know you can hear me!

XOXO

some win medals, others win our hearts!

Yes this is another one about the Olympics.

How can we not be talking about it?

For each and every one of us

there is a feeling.

For some,

it’s just another competition.

Nothing other than a disturbance

to their regular scheduled and favorite television programs.

For others it becomes somewhat of an addiction

and among those

here I am.

watching the games

So why all the fuss?

What’s the big deal?

Sports are sports.

You can catch anyone of them

during their peak seasons

(and not at such odd hours due to some stupid time change)

as long as you have access to a television.

I think it becomes something much more than just games.

Regardless of what country you stand behind

or cheer for

the stories in the background

are some true shining moments.

Now bear with me,

I am Canadian so this may seem bias,

but I can tell you

it will fill your heart with pride.

Human spirit does not discriminate.

 It has no colour,

religious background

or prejudice.

A man named Gilmore hadn’t been skating well

leading up to his big race.

So what did he do?

Turned to his fellow team-mate Denny,

and gave him the opportunity to give us the best chance of a medal

and sacrificing his own last 4 years of training.

So what did Denny do?

Not much more to explain except

that is a silver medal to the left of the picture.

olympic pride

Now hang on…

I have another.

An Olympian is trying to fulfill

his Olympic dream

during his cross-country ski race

and the worst possible thing happens.

His ski breaks.

His dream has come to an end.

How on earth can that be inspiring you are wondering?

From the sidelines

a Canadian coach

rushes out with a spare ski in hand

and straps it on

knowing this poor guy will never come close to winning

but wants to give him the opportunity

to at least finish his race.

canadian ski helper

Goosebumps yet?

I have one more

which I can say brought tears to my eyes.

Women’s snowboarding and 2 sisters

Justine and Chloe

win Gold and Silver.

In the crowd is family

anxiously awaiting the chance to get near them

when the last race has finished

and it is confirmed,

both will stand on the podium beside each other.

In the midst of all the excitement

the camera’s capture Mom hugging one of the girls

and although the noise level was over the charts,

the sounds of both Mother and daughter

sobbing and barely catching their breath

could clearly be heard over

the roars of the crowd

as if nothing else even mattered

at that exact moment in time.

0208-oly-mogulsW2660.jpg

Even describing this one for all of you

once again put a lump in my throat.

These are only a few

I chose to share,

and I can only imagine how many more

we don’t hear about.

So when asked

why I get so obsessed with the games

naturally it’s about the pride of my country,

the determination of our athletes,

the wins and even the losses

but when you see first hand

what a human being is capable of

or feel emotions

that have the ability

to bring tears to your eyes,

do I really have to explain myself?

So if you will excuse me,

there is another week

to prepare myself for

God knows what

on the Olympic

emotional roller coaster,

but you’ll all be happy to know

I will be ready!

I am NOT taking

any chances this week!

tissue dispenser

Best of luck to ALL the athletes!

Make it a great day everybody!

there’s nothing like receiving Christmas “presence”…

Christmas magic

There is something to be said

about the magic of the season.

No question about the anticipation,

the beauty of Christmas lights

glowing so brightly

throughout the world.

A fresh covering of white snow,

 weighing down tree branches

as far as the eye can see.

snow-covered-christmas-tree3

That sense of amazement in a young child’s eyes

when that certain gift under the tree

is placed in front of them.

Even the hustle and bustle

of shopping in crowded malls

to slowly cross off gifts

on that famous list

is a huge part of what the holiday season

is all about.

Let us not forget

the emotion attached to

every Christmas carol we hear

from Oh Holy night

to I’ll be home for Christmas

that can bring shivers to our soul.

So now that I have described almost exactly

what this time of year brings

to so many of us,

there is also one more thing

that is also a big part

of what we have to endure.

Those who are NOT standing among us.

Whether God took them

within the year,

or previous ones,

their absence becomes a large part of our heart.

Of course it’s about missing them,

wishing they could be sitting at the dinner table

sharing one last meal.

family-Christmas-dinner

Hearing that laughter one more time

while opening gifts

or just gathered at the kitchen table

among family and friends

feeling a sense of comfort and togetherness.

Not to say that any other time of year

has less meaning,

but Christmas is and has

always been about

peace on earth.

Showing kindness and love.

Time spent with family and friends

but most of all

memories.

So it only stands to reason

why our hearts carry a bit more weight

in the weeks leading to the big day.

Reminders of their time on this earth

circles us

around every turn.

As busy as we all may get,

and without fail,

our minds will wander off

to our very own special moments

 from time to time.

A conversation,

a moment that only you shared with them

or maybe just their smile

that has never left you.

Regardless of what you carry with you,

it is never easy.

Of course through the years,

and only in time

does the ache in your heart subside

but as every season approaches,

that emptiness really never disappears.

Not to say there is any good news about our loved ones

who are not with us

to share another year of celebration,

but if you stop and think about it,

what they have left us

is a reminder of how much appreciation

we should have

right here and right now.

In no way do I make light of the hurt in anyone’s heart,

or that I have the answers to any of this.

We all have our own ways to push through

the hard moments,

but I would hope that maybe this year,

if or when that special someone

does comes to mind,

that you imagine them smiling at you,

and urging you to take a good look

at who is among you this holiday season

and how fortunate and blessed you are

to have this time together.

Our angels

if given one chance

would tell us to treasure these moments.

Hug harder,

laugh louder,

smile bigger,

love better,

but most of all,

tell us that the magic we feel

could be them

standing alongside us

this holiday season

and still being apart of it all.

hands ghost

After all,

another word for gift

would be

“Presence”

I wish you all Peace and Love!

A very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

~God Bless everybody~