Category Archives: Family and Friends

Christmas Celebrations

Ah, Christmas is now over and I finally have a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy what a wonderful time it was.  I love the holidays.  I love the fuss of all the decorations, the cooking, and the gatherings.  I love the excitement of wrapping presents, having lots to do, and catching up with people you haven’t seen for a while.  I just love it all.  This year, my sister Tiffany and my Mom came to Eston to celebrate Christmas with the Johnston side of the family.  My Ma and sis were here for a few days so we got plenty of time on our own, with the family, and visiting friends.  Louvain was kind enough to host a wonderful Christmas gathering where as always she was up to her elbows cooking amazing food for everyone to enjoy, and working her butt off to make sure we were all having a good time.  And what a good time we had!

In Quinn’s family, his Mom has carried on her family tradition of opening gifts Christmas Eve.  It was my first time doing that so it was something new and fun.  Quinn and I spent Christmas Eve with the McLean side of the family.  We had a wonderful meal together, went to the church service and then went back to their place where we opened up gifts and spent the evening playing games.  It was such a great evening together.  Christmas morning we opened up gifts at Lorne and Louvains, had a nice relaxing afternoon and then played plenty of games at the McLeans and the Johnston’s after an exceptionally amazing Christmas dinner cooked by Lou.  It was nice to have my family and Quinn’s family in one place this year.  I felt spoiled to be able to be so close to one another and have the opportunity to bounce back and forth from house to house.

Every Christmas holiday I am reminded of how blessed I am.  This Christmas, was no exception.

Now it is time to relax for a couple days (AKA get back to home renos) before the New Years celebrations begin.  Hoping all of you were just as blessed this Christmas!

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Mahalo Hawaii!

Hawaii, where do I begin?  It was an absolute blast!  All the ladies on my Dads side of the family decided to go to Hawaii for the one-year anniversary of my Dads passing.  What an amazing time!  We all endured a tough few days before the trip and what better reprieve than a nice vacation away to clear our minds?

Sixteen of us packed our bags and headed to the land of beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, and an underwater world that can bring tears to your eyes in amazement.  The whole gang of us spent one week together exploring Hawaii, sitting pool side, and eating far too much for a bikini to forgive.  There were days we spent as a group doing activities together and seeing the sites, and there were days we spent doing our own thing – whatever caught our fancy for that particular day.  It was the perfect balance.

I can honestly say some of my favourite family memories were made on this trip.  Everything from watching my Mom and sisters snorkel, to watching grandma bask in the sun on our boat trip.  I adored seeing smiles after smiles on everyones faces.  I loved the excitement in watching someone discover a new place, and the joy in sharing a “first” with someone, like my cousin Dorothy going on a plane for her very first time.

Everyone left after one week and Mom, Tiff and I stayed back to have some down time to ourselves.  It was an amazing time.  My sister Christa had to go home to be with her babies which is too bad because she would have been icing on the cake those last few days.  We got a room at the Marriott and essentially stayed pool side for the remainder of the trip.  We slept in, we didn’t do any activities, and we just enjoyed some relaxing time with little on the mind and nothing on the agenda.

One of the highlights of our trip was most definitely snorkeling, then swimming with the turtles for the first time in my life with Larrissa and Sam (apparently I did with my Dad when I was younger but I don’t remember so it doesn’t count).  It was an incredible site to see.  I was lucky enough to have a few more times swimming with the turtles after that, but the first time it happened was by far the most exhilarating.  What beautiful creatures!  Another highlight was when I went swimming with the sharks.  I decided against an open water dive (I wanted to wait for Quinn) so I opted for a dive at the local aquarium where they have six species of sharks, blow fish, stingrays, and plenty other amazing sea creatures to swim with.  It took my breath away (literally) to have hammerheads brushing up against me in the water and tiger sharks circling above me.  What a thrill.

The whole trip was great.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was glad to share with everyone there (and missing everyone who wasnt).  Thanks everyone for such an amazing time and for the gift of a million wonderful memories!

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Home from Hawaii

There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they’re faster or stronger than other fish. They’re just touched by something extra.
~Ed Bloom, Big Fish

We are home from our wonderful vacation to Hawaii!  What a brilliant time!!  I havent written in a while so once I settle down a bit I will post about what September has brought and how our ladies getaway went.  XOXO

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My tiny teacher…

I was looking through my journal the other day and stumbled across a little note I wrote after my niece Kiya passed away.  On January 7th, 2009 I wrote “When I grow up I want to be like Kiya…I want to fight my way through life in the most peaceful and beautiful way possible”.  With 12 days left until we “celebrate” a year since my Dads passing these words couldnt be more true.  This has been a tough journey to “fight” through, but I am praying I continue to fight through it in the most peaceful way I know how, all the while still seeing the beauty through the pain.

Thank you Miss Kiya Jade – you were the tinniest fighter I knew with some of the greatest lessons to teach me.

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Dear Dad…

(Poster created by the beautiful Miss Alyssa Chomick Yuhas from welikewelove)

Dear Dad,

So many things have happened in the last few months; I cant believe you’re not here to share these moments with us.  Summer was good, really good actually.  The lake was perfect as always.  John helped me get the boat in the water and I parked it just the way you and I practiced dozens of times.  I nailed it…first try!  Not nearly as confident without you sitting beside me, but that will come.  I never did try to wake board this summer, its just not the same without you.  Suddenly the hard wipeouts and back pains arnt worth it without you being the one to pull me or cheer me on.  Tiffany was a trooper though and she mastered surfing like crazy; you would have loved to watch her, she is a million times better than last year.  Oh and Mom, Tiff, and I are fishermen now…thats kinda fun eh?  The boys came out for their week too; for the first time they never did get around to returning the cans, funny though, cause I think they still got paid.  They were pretty glad to have Uncle Dwight around and mentioned a time or two how proud they are of him coming around to pay the bills for Mom now that you’re gone, haha!  We had family and friends, we had delicious food and plenty of laughs.  Mom held us together.

My birthday hurt.  I cant remember the last birthday I spent without you.  I missed your card.  I spent my day reading accident stuff that we got mail; not fun.  Thankfully though John, Cheryl, and Jessica saved the day and brought me another cake a day or two later, as if they instinctively knew celebrating on a different day would feel better.  It did.

Dad, you missed out on the best day of the whole summer…I GOT ENGAGED!  I am officially getting married, to a farmer to boot!  Quinn proposed on the July 28th.  He did it around the fire with all our family there.  He wanted it to be at a place you loved, to somehow have you share the moment with us.  It was perfect.  I know how much you loved him and I wish so badly you could share this joy with us; it really is amazing.  All those drives, all those tearful conversations, my doubts of ever finding the right man and your encouragement’s that one day I will.  Your words flash back to me as I look at Quinn; he is a visible reminder of all those promises you made to me since I was a young girl.

And so, the planning begins.  And guess what?  It will be an Eston wedding!!  Ive been planning for the last couple weeks…aka ive been an emotional disaster for the past couple of weeks!  I cannot fathom an Eston wedding without you.  Plus im in over my head with ideas and you’re pretty much the only one who could partner up with me perfectly and get things done just the way I see them.  Uncle Lorne, Lou, and Neil have been amazing though.  They have helped and supported me in every chance they can.  Lorne sometimes just shakes his head but even that makes me feel better because it reminds me of you.  Today Neil taught me how to drive a tractor and I spent the afternoon in some godly huge machine jerking my way around mowing the lawn.  I could almost see you standing at the other end of the yard, laughing and proud.  This wedding is tough without you.  I wish you could come back, if even just for the day, I would even take ten minutes so you could walk me down the aisle; who am I kidding, I would take anything.

So there it is…a great summer, a painful summer.  A summer filled with blessings.  Before this happened I would have never thought I could make it through this.  Then it happened and I dreaded a summer without you.  Once again, I thought when summer came I would never get through it.  But I did, we did.  You would be amazed by your girls.  We have done so much learning, and growing, and loving.  I miss hearing you tell me how proud you are of me and I know if you could send me a little note you would say just that.  Im proud of me too, im proud of all of us.

Happy Summer Dad, but its almost Fall now and the boys need you back at the farm….

Love Always and Forever,
Ren-Putter

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Update coming soon…

With so many things going on in my world I dont even know where or how to begin writing.  This summer has been treating me well, really well actually and im just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying it.  One day soon Ill send out an update, until then here’s a little video my sis made, it makes me smile….

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Truth…

Though trials come, though fears assail
Though tests scarce understood
One truth shines clear; it cannot fail-
My God is right and good.
~Hagar

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A letter to all you Dads…

Isn’t it amazing to know the depth of your own pain, your own tragic story and still know how blessed you are??  There are times when I grieve where I confuse myself over my own tears; each tear intertwines into a thick woven thread of gratitude for being blessed with such an amazing man as my father and sorrow over the loss of him in our lives.

I often sit in appreciation over the qualities my Dad brought to his relationships with his daughters.  He worked very hard at being a good Dad and truthfully with three girls it really did take A LOT of hard work.  This is a list of the admirable qualities my Dad brought to our father/daughter relationship, this is also a list that I challenge all you Dads to bring to your relationship with your daughters:

You are the one person in the world who can make things better…always

Phone her, text her, email her as often as you can – it means so much to us

Be consistent in her life – never walk away

Take your daughter on dates and spend time getting to know her

Always forgive her and always allow her to feel safe asking for your forgiveness

Brag about her

NEVER – EVER – EVER allow pride to dictate your relationship

Take time every day to pray for your daughter – she will feel your prayers in your relationship and she will see them in your eyes

Believe in her; KNOW with every fibre of your being she is capable of ANYTHING – if you know this, she will too

Tell her you believe in her

Tell her why you believe in her

BE THE QUALITY OF MAN YOU WANT HER TO MARRY

Look your daughter in the eyes the same way you did the first time you held her, every time you look at her

Promise her the world…and work to give it to her

DONT – EVER – GIVE – UP

Teach her

Be firm when you need to be but gentle and appreciative of her delicate heart

Buy her flowers

Say you are sorry even when you know she is in the wrong

Write her cards with meaningful words, she will read them forever

Hug her, scratch her head, hold her hand – she loves it

Make her laugh

Hold her accountable

Go out of your way for her – she will know and appreciate it every time

Tell her you love her every chance you have

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger – never…ever

Emotionally and spiritually fight for her for as long as you need too – this is where the hero part comes into play

Know she is never too old for you to still be her Daddy

Image Source: weheartit.com

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If birthday wishes really do come true…

I believe birthday wishes still come true in heaven, in fact I would like to believe birthday wishes carry more weight in heaven.  Tomorrow is my Dads birthday and this year I am sure my Dad would have bundles of birthday wishes.  He would have piles of wishes for each of his family members; he would wish upon them health and love, a healing in their hearts, a growing in their spirit and faith, a life of living testimony to the roots we were given particularly through the troubles we face.  And his girls, he would have so many birthday wishes for his girls.  It breaks my heart to name them all because I picture him, on his knees in prayer desperately pleading yet strikingly confident for the wishes he has in store for us.

This year however I believe his big birthday wish would be for his wife.  I know pain in a whole new level after experiencing the tragic loss of my Dad.  At times my ache is overwhelmingly large; a paralysing of the mind, a delicateness of the spirt.  YET, when I put myself in my Moms shoes, my heart is overwhelmed with sorrow.  I lost my father and this hurt is large, but the loss of a spouse is a whole new playing field that I hope to never experience.  I know my Dads hurt is large when he thinks about the burden my mom now carries and the loneliness she is forced to face at not even fifty years old; I also know if birthday wishes really do come true my Dad would blow out each and every candle thinking of her.

So this year, on behalf of my father, I am extending his birthday wishes to my mom.  I cant even comprehend the endless list of birthday wishes he would share with her and I am sure it breaks his heart knowing most of his wishes cannot come true right now.  But I believe he would wish her a day of love, of shared support and uplifting, of friendship and family that touches her heart.  He would wish her laughter and memories.  He would wish her a renewed faith and friendship in the Lord.  He would wish her the memory of whispered dreams and encouragement’s only the two of them shared.  He would wish her the thought of his hugs, and the remembrance of his kisses.  He would wish that she knew beyond a doubt how proud and amazed he is as he watches her master the toughest roll in her life.  Endless, endless wishes he would pour onto the love of his life in celebration of his birthday.

I watch my Mom navigate through this journey and I have unbelievable pride in the woman she is.  This is a woman full of strength and beauty.  A woman who can face one tragic loss after another and continue to get up and fight against life again and again.  She is a person who can identify with pain more than most but can also see the beauty in life more than most.  A Mom who continues to care for her children, to love on them, to support them, to know them, to hurt for them.  A lady who still is an amazing friend, an unbelievable grandma, a giving, uplifting, and compassionate person.  The whole world would understand if she laid down and quit but no, not my mom, she simply does not know the word quit.  As my Dad would say, my mom truly is “simply the best”.

So tomorrow as we celebrate my Dads birthday, I hope as he blows all his candles out in heaven, each and every wish he has for all of us float down to earth and land in our laps.  Thats how Dad would have wanted his birthday anyway, to be about us, rather than him…thats what made him so special.

I’ve got money in my pocket,
I like the color of my hair.
I’ve got a friend who loves me,
Got a house, I’ve got a car.
I’ve got a good mother, 
and her voice is what keeps me here. 

Feet on ground,
Heart in hand,
Facing forward,
Be yourself.
I‘ve never wanted anything. 
No I’ve, no I’ve, I’ve never wanted anything, 
so bad..(so bad). 

Cardboard masks of all the people I’ve been
Thrown out, with all the rusted, tangled
dented God Damned miseries!!
You could say I’m hard to hold,
But if you knew me you’d know,
I’ve got a good father, 
And his strength is what makes me cry. 

I’ve never wanted anything,
No I’ve, no I’ve, I’ve never
wanted anything so bad..(so bad).

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What I miss the most…

I often find myself in daydreams over what I miss the most about my Dad.  Do I miss his mannerisms the most?  His in-the-air golf swings, his back stretches, his giddy jig, or maybe his “hell-o” when he answers the phone.  Maybe I miss his hugs the most.  The best hug I have received from any man that walked this earth was my Dads.  He side hug, his ill-catch-you hugs, his bear hug, his gentle hug with the kiss on the top of my head.  What I would give for one of his hugs.  His advice on small everyday things, on big things – how did he get so insightful and full of wisdom?  Even when I didn’t want his advice at all, he would just reply back with a simple “one day” and wow was he right, “one day” is actually here.

I miss hearing his truck pull into the driveway.  I miss the sound of his booming laughter.  I miss having someone to razz around with, to banter back and forth with.  I miss the idea of him, I miss the reality of him in my life.  I miss calling him, and texting him.  I miss dinners, and arguments, birthday cards, and ice cream drives.  I miss it all so much.

And now more than anything, I miss my fathers encouragement.  My Dad was blessed with the ability to lift people up, to encourage them, and make them feel stronger.  I look at my life and everything I have achieved and I know without a doubt it was because my parents believed in me, they told me I could do anything.  When I saw my father look at me, at any of his girls, I always knew two very clear things: he loved us all passionately and fervently AND he believed we hung the moon.  There was NOTHING he thought we couldn’t do.

There are times my heart gets the best of me.  Emotion sweeps over me and I wonder, was I really cut out to deal with this much pain, can I do this?  And as frustrating as it can be at times, I know I can, and I know if my father was here he would say just that.  He would tenderly guide me, encourage me along the way, he would send notes of praise to lift my spirits, and when that wasn’t enough he would finish the job with a swift kick in the butt.

My Dad believed in me and encouraged me; today I really miss that the most.

With that being said, Tiffany posted her first video she made of her playing the guitar and singing a song she wrote herself.  Now I know I am biased because she is my sister BUT I think she is really freakin good and this song makes me very proud to listen too.  I am so glad my parents took the time to foster confidence in us.  There are endless people with amazing talents completely undiscovered because they don’t believe in themselves, and they don’t believe in themselves because they didn’t have anyone who believed in them.  My sisters and I are so blessed to know we are capable of doing anything, even putting out songs on the world wide web that normally only the shower gets to hear.  Proud of you Tiff!

Image Source: weheartit.com

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