Category Archives: Calgary

Christmas/New Years 2022 – 2023 Bustle in the Overmann Household


It’s been a soul nourishing time, this season of festivities, a substantial departure from my rather quiet life in Kelowna. There were lots of family meals, parties, school functions, Oliver’s 8th birthday party in the middle of the month was certainly celebrated in fun form at Westside Recreation Centre, the kids enjoying an afternoon of skating, swimming, eating cake 😂!

A Christmas luncheon and faire at Aliana and Oliver’s Waldorf school returned in full flight after a two year covid hiatus … the classrooms were decorated by troops of parent volunteers, students and teachers … they were decked out in fairy lights with various themes .. unfortunately school policy does not allow for pictures 🫤 … too bad! it was so magical and beautiful!

I tried to capture some of the moments for my journal. Not as quick on the draw these days with pictures … I tend to sink into the moments more often rather than documenting them 🙏

How is my darling Oliver 8 already???!!!
Aliana and friend Sophia at their drama class presentation for parents/grandparents!
The family gathers sans Tim who was still in Asia.

Rob takes us out for a delicious dinner at Hy’s … that great tradition!!

2022 Christmas family picture!
Another family shot
Aaaah the sauna! ❤️
Sarah thoughtfully arranges a typical Finnish Christmas experience … a portable wood fired sauna was delivered in front of their home to be enjoyed for 24 hours … surely this is as close to heaven for this Canadian whose very bones run more Finnish most days and certainly when presented with a gift of a sauna!
This is my happy place … no question!!
Good friends, these three ❤️❤️❤️
Rob and Jackson cook up their usual Christmas Eve feast! Andrew lends a helping hand 😊
Tim arrives back from Asia in time to host a festive and delicious grilled chicken dinner with Liseanne, sharing stories of his time in Thailand and Japan.

Christmas dinner was a quiet affair albeit delicious as always at the Overmann home, with only a handful of family around.

My darlings on Christmas morning ❤️❤️
Celebrated New Years with Linda, Court and Penny! We had thought a sleepover would be wise (it was!) No midnight champagne for us … we had it after dinner and I think we were all asleep by 10 pm 😂 … no more party animal longings lingering in any of us!
We woke up early, savouring our morning coffee, as we welcomed in January 1st!
Linda and I enjoyed flicking through her photo albums, reminiscing about the decades of New Years Eve parties at the Mackid home. More than a few tears surfaced as we viewed pictures of our much younger selves partying like there was no tomorrow … our wild woolly youthful selves on full display 😂
A young Chris, Jenn, Sarah and Tim, our children, joined us at Mackid’s one New years!!

2022 is now relegated into the history books. A new year, new experiences beckon. I sold my home of seven years … a surprisingly quick sale, taking less than a month for an offer … I had listed it prior to leaving for Calgary thinking it would take until the spring to sell … but it all happened so quickly!

Kelowna somehow never quite felt like a fit for me, despite making a valiant effort to try and make it so.

I have zero clue at this point what I will be doing in a few short months, or even where I will be living! A nomadic life holds great appeal as it always has but perhaps not so easy at this age where my knees are an issue I deal with daily 🫤. Brian used to say, my theme song should be Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” … still very appropriate even after all these years and varied life experiences! 😊

For perhaps the first time in my life, I have no plans, beyond the most elementary and necessary ones! Yes, it is an unfamiliar feeling, to be so devoid of a plan … but more importantly, it also feels strangely exhilarating! I am still drawn to explore this beautiful earth, even if I have to limp along while doing so. It will certainly be a different experience than my past adventures where I have hiked and biked the back country roads, hills and valleys in many countries but I am cool with what is and will adjust the sails accordingly!! Stay tuned 😊

Thanksgiving 2022


Thanksgiving this year was perhaps the first time in far too many years that I was with my birth family and all our various offspring and partners. There was “halina” to spare … a Finnish term that roughly translates to lots of commotion and party atmosphere 😂!

Dinner at King Taps by the lake with Sarah, Rob, Aliana and Oliver on their first day in Kelowna. Tim, Liseanne and their two dogs Wilma and Martha opted to stay at Jennifer and Steve’s for the weekend.

Brilliant sunset as we walked back from dinner.

A slightly larger gathering at my home the following night with both my kids and their entourage, Margaret and her troops. Fun getting together with family … there has been so little of it in these isolating covid years.

Aliana, Oliver and Penny opted for a picnic style dinner on the floor 😂

Thanksgiving festivities culminated in a grand finale at Jennifer and Steve’s lovely new home. It was a warm and welcoming gathering with over 20 of us sitting around various tables. Delicious turkey and potluck contributions from everyone …

Aliana Oliver and Penny … three peas in a pod 😊

Malachi is the tallest in the family now!
Wonder what they were checking out 😂
Cousins all hugging 😂

I share a bit of the history behind our Thanksgiving:

“During and after the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada, such as the turkey, pumpkin, and squash.

Celebrations involved spending time with family, feasting on earth’s bounty and religious services for many”

It had been a somewhat emotionally exhausting three days … I lead a fairly quiet life and at some point on Thanksgiving Day, I needed a few moments of quiet so I opted for a nap … 😂😴

But yes, all in all, feeling thankful for the revival of family connections, for sharing beautiful days together, nourishing meals, much laughter, camaraderie … all of it nourishing ‘soul food’ for body, mind and spirit. 🙏

Onward to winter winds …. A month later November 6th in Calgary … 😂

Summer 2022 Winds Down


August kicked off with the Hawaiian themed wedding of my dear friend Mickey’s son Rod, who I have known since he was a wee toddler. It was a special weekend, full of celebratory joy and much laughter and love. Feeling honoured to have been treated as a valued ‘family member’ 🙏.

Melanie and Michelle, beaming under the rainbow
Beautiful ceremony in the acreage gardens of Rod’s partner Lyle’s family homestead in Vernon, B.C.
Rehearsal dinner

Two old buddies celebrating!!

Leaving behind the Okanagan heat for the refreshingly cooler coastal breezes of Victoria was a welcome way to finish off summer. My sister Margaret, Mickey and I hit the highway from the Okanagan, dropping Mickey off at her home in Surrey, where we ‘camped’ out for the night in her master bedroom. Felt like royalty! Margaret and I continued on early next morning, joining up with Sarah et al later that day. Our August home in the James Bay area, was a tiny charming carriage house on Government Street behind the parliament building … apparently the oldest street in Canada, west of the Rockies. We nestled into the cozy space and made it our home for the rest of August.

Early afternoons found me driving my grandkids to their sailing lessons for a few weeks, allowing for much quiet reflective time by the ocean in the afternoons. It is one of my favourite places in British Columbia … the coastal area at Oak Bay, to take in the always stunning views along Dallas Road and onward to the scenic Beach Road towards Oak Bay and the Victoria Yacht Club. The daily oceanside breeze was a refreshing respite from the intense heat of the Okanagan. I would often stop at a seaside driftwood bench with a good book, coffee in hand and quietly marvel at the variety of beautiful vistas in our country … East coast to West coast, I have been fortunate to trek through so much of it. Feeling grateful 🙏

The oldest corner store in Victoria, The Birdcage … a block from our house … kids liked to head there for a treat … we grandmas tend to spoil a bit 😊
Exploring a park outside Victoria
Oliver walks on water 😂
So apparently does Aliana 😂
Sailing classes

Sarah, Rob, Aliana, Oliver and I explored our renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr’s early home, now a museum, a mere few blocks from our carriage house. I remain astounded in how little I knew about her life. She was such an independent woman for any era, never mind hers! It would truly have been an honour to have met her! Parts of me definitely resonated with her unusual spirit. To learn more about her life and her art, I picked up a few books from the museum and have now been devouring them!

Oliver our guide 😊
Emily Carr apparently loved solo wilderness camping in this tent trailer and did so frequently with all her animals in tow
Carr Gardens
Statue of Emily Carr in front of the Empress with her ubiquitous pet monkey perched on her shoulders

Sarah flew the kids home to Calgary early, leaving me with a few days on my own at the end of August. Sarah’s dog Dexter was left behind to keep me company until Sarah returned on the weekend. Dex and I explored the historic streets in the early morning hours … it has been almost twenty years since I have been woken up by a furry four legged family member! Little bossy boy Dexter nudged me awake shortly after sunrise every day … a return to early morning risings once again 😂


Summer Moments – June and July 2022

Lakeside at the Kelowna Yacht Club

My friend Jane’s 70th birthday surprise party put on by her children … they always make me feel like I am part of their family … I remain so grateful that we renewed our friendship some years ago, a friendship that had its beginnings in 1967!!

Jane’s children, grandchildren gather to celebrate 🎂

Canada Day picnic fun with my neighbours

The many joyful moments of summer at Glen Lake on Vancouver Island, caring for my grandchildren ❤️

Checking out a game on my iPad … oh my, those long legs and feet 😊
Morning coffee view ❤️
Morning snuggles ❤️
Oliver learns to love jumping in the lake, after a little encouragement from Aliana. He jumped in several times that day, surprised to discover it was fun not terrifying! 😂
A short hike to the tidal pools on a portion of the Juan de Fuca coastline trail.

Avid hikers, these two!

Aliana heads out for a morning paddle on her 11th birthday before we head for the airport … a family birthday party awaits her in Calgary 👏🎂❤️

Reflections via Instagram From a Much Valued Guru (Spiritual Teacher) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India


A departure from my normal blog posts … but it resonates! Ten years ago, my time at Parmarth Niketan Ashram was an intensely heart opening, life affirming experience and the teachings continue to reverberate in my life to this day. With all the strife and uncertainty circling our beautiful planet (perhaps it has always been this way … the evolution of the human species is seemingly a very slow process) … and as we pass the halfway mark of 2022, this message in my email box today arrives at an appropriately auspicious time. Hari Om Shanti🙏

Satsang with Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji

“Asteya – non-stealing – is not as simple as refraining from stealing a possession that belongs to someone else. We steal much from others without realizing it. We steal people’s time by wasting it engaged in idle gossip or complaints. We steal people’s credit by claiming to have done something that actually was accomplished by someone else.

We steal from Mother Earth by using more than we need – by driving cars that are too big and use too much fuel, by building homes larger than our requirements, by purchasing more and more unnecessary possessions which are made using natural resources and whose production pollutes the atmosphere. We steal the dignity, the safety and the health of the poor when we purchase things that were made by indigent people in deplorable conditions.

Further, if God has blessed us with prosperity and we have enough to help others, it is stealing if we do not share our wealth.

We must realize the joy that comes from sharing with others. Life is for sharing and caring. Life is for giving.”

– H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji

A few of us gather after evening Satsang
I’m in there somewhere 😊 for evening Ganga Aarti
My little Yoga Sangha 🧘🏽‍♀️
Walking the grounds of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in the early morning hours was always a peaceful, deeply spiritual experience
Enjoying a morning fresh fruit salad with Madeline on the banks of Mother Ganga (known as Ganges River to we Westerners😊)
Ganga Aarti

Late Winter to Spring 2022


What a spring 2022!! Who could possibly have anticipated what has transpired??!! I felt so sure that a new world order was slowly emerging after the pandemic pandemonium of the past two years. Hardly the kind of world order I had hoped for by any means 🙄

The truckers freedom rally started its long journey across Canada to Ottawa to protest the endless mandates imposed by our government. I would have joined in except I am not comfortable driving on winter roads through mountain passes. Cheap excuse not to get involved 🙄! However, I was very proud of the peaceful way the majority of the protestors that did go forth bravely, handled themselves … although not crazy about the incessant horn honking in Ottawa … was that really necessary?? It is inevitable that protests tend to attract a fringe element of bad apples who garner far too much attention! Unfortunately this one certainly did, necessitating the ‘beyond overly knee jerk reactionary actions’ of our Prime Minister. For what it’s worth, I was in total disagreement with how our government handled the situation.

Just as our Canadian situation was settling down and the truck rally folks were making their way back to their home provinces, Russia attacks Ukraine!! What??!! New World Order??!! Hardly! One step forward, ten steps back into the old worn out paradigm of war! Mr. Putin, what were you thinking??!! My father said it best long ago and I have never forgotten his words, roughly translated from his Finnish into English …. “If a diplomatic solution is possible in conflict situations, we must find it! Killing each other is not an intelligent way to solve problems”! It seems incongruous to me that in 2022, we have a large wealthy country like Russia, attacking a smaller country in hopes of adding to its borders and yes, undoubtedly taking advantage of Ukraine’s abundance of natural resources!!! Whaaaat??? Come to your senses Mr. Putin et al. I doubt there is a country in the world who agrees with your choice of action against a peaceful country! The positive to this brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is what I remain hopeful about … that it has led to a powerful and united international response! I pray this war will end soon.

I post some more peaceful scenes from late winter and early spring with my family … to balance out the negatives that are simultaneously going on in our world.

Strolling along in a Victoria in full bloom in April
My precious darling grandchildren with me in Victoria
Trio of love ❤️
Birthday celebrations in honour of my 70th … lovely flowers from my sisters ❤️
A fantastic spa sauna day at The Cave … from my kids, …. enjoyed with Sarah and Linda ❤️
An amazing lunch and theatre production of “Million Dollar Quartet”.. a birthday gift from my dear friend Linda ❤️
Mexican fiesta complete with the tastiest margaritas this side of Mexico put on by my son and son-law!
Followed by a Mexican fiesta dinner with family !
A quick flight back to Kelowna where my sister Marg takes me out to Cedar Creek for a fabulous birthday dinner!
A gift of a glass fairy light from Jane … seems appropriate for these precarious times 🙏
The Birthday continues with a lovely lunch with my good friend Jane ❤️.

It was good also to see my older sister Maija a week later. She treated me to a delicious birthday lunch at Joeys where we reminisced about our childhood … had some good laughs and a few teary moments too. Totally forgot to capture a part of the afternoon in a picture.

So there we have it … the ‘new start’ to 2022 as May comes to a close 🙄 🙏. Praying for peace on earth

Fall and Winter 2021 into 2022 Blog Catch-Up … Overdue 🙄


Nothing short of pure laziness has stopped me from updating my journal … my blog … my life documentation of sorts. I do like to keep it up, if only to refer to it every once in awhile, to see where I am at, or more appropriately, where I have been, both geographically and internally. It’s a senior memory thing at play 🙄!

Fall pictorial moments into Christmas and January …. my lazy lady style of blog update 😂

Fall hikes in the mountains

For the most part throughout this historical covid period, I have been living in a state of zen like calm, challenged intermittently when I travel to my daughter’s very busy household 😂. Geographically, my travels have consisted of frequent trips to Calgary and Victoria to offer a helping hand to Sarah when needed. I have termed my life these past two years as “Feast to Famine’ … from the busyness of my daughter’s home … (was I also like this in my thirties and forties??!! … an unequivocal yes 😂 !! … they are typically the busy decades when raising a family, juggling work and life in general) … to the monastic quiet lifestyle of my home in Kelowna where I return to refuel, to slow down, breathe deeply, regain a sense of gratitude for all that life has brought my way. 🙏

Celebrating my best friend Linda’s 70th birthday at Bonavista Lake House
Grandpa Brian enjoying our little darlings 😊
Uncle Timmy’s handful of love ❤️❤️
After a tasty dinner at Hy’s
A Christmas cabin weekend at Baker Creek
Cheers from the cozy Baker Creek cabin!
Two buddies ❤️❤️
Family Christmas party at Bob and Sandra’s … Justin masterfully entertained the little ones ❤️
Cousins at the Cullen’s Christmas Wonderland
Family gathered for Christmas cheer and gift exchange
Some wine perhaps 😊
Christmas Day at Lisa and Rick’s
Sarah brings in a portable sauna … who knew this was available??!! Loved it!
The kids did too 😊
Oliver’s birthday party …

And just like that, Oliver is now 7 😊

Christmas morning pancakes and board games at Tim and Liseanne’s

Summer fades into Fall



Have given fleeting thoughts to a new journal post but oh so hard to be motivated most days …. summer warmth has faded into fall’s golden hues …. my thoughts slowly shift to thoughts of further global explorations …. but most days, a quiet zen like peace invades in it’s place and I am quite content to push wanderlust to the back burner … I simply savour this precious time with my granddaughter, Aliana …. being in her midst, seeing life through her two year old innocence … such brilliant simplicity and honesty …. it is enough. />















Spring 2013 rolls along ….


As a young child, I kept a rather sporadic diary for a number of years …. scribbling down random thoughts here and there ….. that pattern reappears with my adult blog/journal/diary …. realizing it is over two months since my last attempt at arranging my thoughts into some form of written/typed order …. time! ….. sometimes the words, much like thoughts, amble and ramble along, helter skelter, like the ebb and flow of life itself 🙂 Young Aliana continues to draw my attention and presence to Calgary …. any contemplations for dusting off my wanderlust wings has certainly taken a back seat. Being a grandparent is a whole new journey, presenting a myriad of daily delights. It has been a surprisingly easy focal shift from my global volunteering and travels. I have, quite simply, moved into the zen of grand parenting ….. a rather easy slip back into the world of the young exploring mind …. playing in snow drifts …. watching Aliana eating her first handfuls of newly fallen snow was sweet as I watched her little face break out with surprise and delight at the texture and taste …. we play almost daily in neighborhood parks ….. I am revisiting the experience of life through the eyes of a child! Never an indoor sort, I indulge and introduce my love of nature and the outdoors to Aliana. We walk the neighbourhood turf of her home, identifying birds, trees, buses, cars, trucks, planes and helicopters, playing in parks, pointing out the seasonal progression of nature …. trees with their delicate little buds, waiting for the warmth of spring to unfurl and unfold …. all these observations continue growing her vocabulary …. so quick, this progression of human development ….. sigh …… with a smile :).

Many years ago, a tradition was born, or more appropriately, it grew into a tradition, of a yearly ‘girl’s week’ with Sarah …. one year to Vancouver, a few times on high school trips to Thailand and Malaysia, where I was parent volunteer with a hundred grade 11 and 12 students (quite possible a touch of insanity surfaced volunteering for that post :)!!) or visits to my family in Kelowna and Vernon, a summer jaunt to Puerto Vallarta, where we hiked in the jungle …. another year, a heavenly Hawaiian spa week, many trips exploring Banff’s hiking trails, or Victoria’s tidal pools, or often, if money and time were a restraint, as they frequently were over the years, a day hike and picnic in our own beautiful back yard of Bragg Creek or Kananaskis! …. Brian, took our Tim on ‘guy adventures’ of their own in the same time period …. creating a bank of memories and experiences for our children.

So with that in mind, and with Sarah’s husband Rob working part time in Vancouver for the last few weeks, we catch a flight to the coast! …. Sarah and Aliana to enjoy quality time with the other leg of their little family, yet allowing us to also enjoy some ‘girl time’ during the days as Rob worked. Leaving behind a snow laden Calgary to breathe the moist west coast air was sheer heaven …. the contrast is always so striking in spring …. Vancouver is but a short hour or so flight from Calgary yet worlds away …. the greenery is everywhere!! …… trees and flowers in bloom, warm sunshine, moist air and the sea, the glorious sea!! We walk the beach along Stanley Park, the marina pathway, the eclectic and interesting downtown scenes and streets of Vancouver ….. squeezing in a birthday spa day for both Sarah and I, (I will be away for her birthday next month) at the new Fairmont Pacific Rim Willow Stream, a delicious birthday brunch at Hotel Georgia …. we make our way to Stanley Park, play on the beach with Aliana, refuel at the Tea House Cafe, savour a chilled sauvignon blanc, feast on a tasty array of appetizers ….. a fine West Coast afternoon!! ….. we lingered long, with Aliana cooperating beautifully!

Of course, a visit to the coast is never complete without a a drive to Mickey and Gordon’s home near Crescent Beach …. A quick stop and we are off to the beach, a few miles away, where Mickey, Sarah, Aliana and I stop for a delicious seaside lunch of fish and chips (we left Gordon happily tending his garden) … Mickey of course, being one of the best grandparents ever, and always prepared with fun surprises, brings along some beach toys (tupperware dishes, cookie cutters, spoons 🙂 allowing for Aliana to explore the beach, digging up sand, shells and rocks! Love love love the West Coast!! A most refreshing respite from Calgary’s seemingly never ending wintry vistas …….


















Beautiful Alberta Skies


What a glorious sunset as I drove home yesterday! … There is nothing quite like our Alberta skies, whether fully lit in the warm hues of a yellow, pink and orange blanket at sunset or the wide open crisp clear blue of a winter morning sky … takes my breath away and one reason why I continue to be drawn to live here for just a little bit longer 🙂 before wanderlust nudges, seducing me back on the road ….




Four Days in the Life of Me ….


An ordinary life on an even more ordinary weekend … still managed some extraordinary moments …. a peaceful walk in wintry Griffith Woods, a pleasant drive to High River, which has grown into quite a charming little Alberta town, to meet the first grandchild of our friends Gay and Mike Morris. Their daughter Jaimie, (Sarah’s childhood friend) and her husband Wade welcomed Jayden Nelson into their fold December 13th …. it was lovely to cuddle a newborn again … A family Bon voyage dinner for Tim at his favourite restaurant, the Japanese Village followed that evening … he leaves Monday for two months of adventuring in Australia ….. followed by a Sunday pizza night at my sister Marg’s …. culminating in a family farewell hug scene at Calgary Airport …. Tim, although a rather mature 25, still gets ID’d every time we are out with him …. my ‘little boy’ !! I finally understand my mother, who never ceased to dispense the most mundane advice to me as an adult …. “Remember to wear a hat in winter weather” for instance …. Although annoying in my early adult years, never ceased to produce a chuckle in my later years …. (Hope my kids get to the chuckle stage earlier than I 🙂 Were she alive today, undoubtedly she would still remind a sixty year old me, to “wear that hat”!!! I suppose some part of every mom still sees a bit of the child, whose hand she once held in her own, in her adult children.
…… poignancy heavy in the air today …..


























An abundance of female energy ….


What a mixed bag the past ten days have been! Had little warning or prep time for all the family drama that would ensue … When I had invited my good friend Linda and niece Sandra to join me in La Quinta some months ago, it was with the idea that we would gather for a peaceful, quiet, restorative spa week, with perhaps some gentle yoga and meditation time! Hmmmm … or rather …. Ommmm. …. yes, a good reminder to continue on the flow journey 🙂

It has been my observation over the course of my life, (and I have been my own guinea pig in this regard) that the more appreciative, open hearted, loving, kind and grateful one is, the less likelihood there is for dysfunction and unhappiness to take residence in the human heart …. it is so easy to get mired in that negative space but with a shift in attitude into gratitude for whatever life brings, be it good or bad, an amazing transformation occurs. It is quite extraordinary, really! That attitude shift and my mother’s overly simplistic but ultimately wise solution to just about everything …. ‘good solid nutritious food, fresh air and lots of rest’ and health would be restored! All good … old fashioned advice that works wonders for most circumstances that ail the human spirit. Allowing others space for their own journey, no matter how I may see it as pointlessly thrashing around in a sea of pain and anger, is my lesson I suppose. All the love and support offered is but a bandaid for the bigger issues they must address.

Life has thrown many curve balls my way over the years and I know that what has helped me personally more times than I can count, is an unusual abundance of blind hope that ‘things will simply improve’ ….. that, and a strong sense of humour that has found me manoeuvring my way through some of life’s rougher mine fields with a lighter heart than one would suppose, given the many life challenges I have faced ….. laughter remains one of our most effective restorative tools … works most every time …. when laughter fails, tears try their hand …. and if those fail, well, time for a massage, which never fails :)!!!

So, doing the best we could, under the circumstances, while Pat and Sandra rested and swam, Linda and I put together good meals to fuel the body, particularly Sandra’s! … It is obvious Pat, Linda and I have enjoyed an abundance of many fine meals in our lives 🙂 … Sandra however, due to recent painful dental work, had not eaten much in weeks and was down to skin and bones …. we were on a mission and like three mother hens, clucked and thrilled as Sandra just about licked clean, every plate of food we served up! There was ample time for many quiet reflective moments, nestled here in the peaceful ambiance of the Santa Rosa Mountains! ….. all worked to sooth the soul, allowing for healing energy to circulate in Sandra’s body, mind and spirit …..

Pat and Sandra fly home, and Linda and I resume our annual spa week ….. Ommm



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Home … A refuge for the heart


Almost home a week but that spacey feeling from switching time zones lingers or perhaps it is something more profound than that ….. family grounds me somewhat … Sarah and Rob hosted a great welcome home barbeque last weekend … so good to reconnect after two months away. Aliana has turned into a sweet little lady in my absence! Great feeling, holding her in my arms … Stampede is well underway, reminding me why I normally escape the city for the ten days 🙂 I am just not much of a “hee haw” party animal anymore, if I ever was. 🙂

Oh, that Birlad, Romania was closer, so I could pay the little ones a visit every week! … emotionally, this was my hardest volunteer posting yet …. It broke my heart to leave these children behind, children who only have the stream of volunteers to give them a sense of love and belonging in the world …. they are all abandoned children and no matter how hard I try, I cannot wrap my head around anyone doing that to a child …. So yes, despite intense happiness to have my own family to hold, love and cherish, a part of me will always yearn to be of help to those most vulnerable, those requiring extra love, care and attention. I suppose I need to feel useful …. making me think, is altruism ultimately, at its core, really just selfishness in disguise? 🙂

My own children have been adults for a long time now …. raising them has been one of the true joys of my life. More than any job or career I had, being a mother was what I enjoyed the most of all. Both Sarah and Tim are happily entrenched in their own lives, no longer in need of the impediment of a doting mother intruding in their lives …. I feel I still have so much more to give and a typical Canadian retirement holds no appeal at this point in time. It would appear I am drawn to those in our world, who have so little …. I am happy in their midst without the distractionsi and accoutrements of our modern world in Canada, a country where we have so much of everything, an embarrassment of riches in every area of life, riches that many parts of our world have never, nor will ever know ….. I think of the penniless peaceful sadhus of India who have willingly renounced all worldly goods or my little ones in Birlad, who can light up a room with smiles in the midst of the harshest of living conditions! …. Not meaning to be too hard on my fellow Canadians, or myself for that matter, but it appears most of us need far too much of everything, thinking the road to happiness is paved with having ‘stuff’!! In recent years, I have noticed a movement afoot, a growing trend, to incorporate more simplicity into our lives, even here, in the land of plenty. It is not without irony, that I realize I enjoy writing thoughts down on my IPad 🙂 …. helps enormously to bring some form of clarity to my experiences of the past few years …. the mind attempts but somehow is failingly incapable of formulating adequate descriptives and reflections on perhaps the most inwardly transformative years of my life as an adult … my insides feel as though they have been rearranged and I am not quite sure how to adjust to the new configurations …..