Changes


leaves As we head into fall, (yes we are, don’t try to fight it). I can tell we are because the morning air is decidedly cooler, the school zone speeds are back and some people are already changing over their closets to sweaters and jeans.

O.K. one of those people is me. I can’t help it. After summer I’m ready for a weather rest, some home-made soup and fall programs. This autumn I’m going to be making another change. I have signed up for a healthy eating/exercise program, it’s been too long since I felt really good about myself, and I’m a proponent of self-esteem for women. Too many of us doubt we’re good enough, thin enough, sexy enough etc. etc. It’s hard to accept that I’m not at my best health wise. There has been some self-exploration going on and while I encourage that for everyone woman I meet here at work, it’s been a tough go.

Not being happy with the way your life is going can affect so many other aspects. If you are broke, and driving a 5th hand beater, it’s hard to feel strong about your ability to teach, if you’re living in a tense and/or dangerous marriage it’s difficult to see how brilliant your art work is. We need a catalyst sometimes, something to break up the perpetual grey clouds we’re under. For me it’s losing weight, getting a healthier cholesterol number and maybe break the pattern of kidney stone occurrence with a better diet. What can you do? Do you need help to move beyond the brick wall? There are programs, counsellors and activities galore in Powell River. Whatever it takes, remember to take care of you.

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‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ Coming to PR!


 

Please click on the link above for a poster detailing a new event coming to Powell River in October

The Family Safety Committee invites you to join us at The Patricia Theatre on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Guest speaker Jill Cory, co-author of When Love Hurts, will start off the event, followed by the film Fried Green Tomatoes. Admission is by donation. We are raising funds for the Victim Crisis Fund.

Victim Crisis Fund is used to support victims of family violence in meeting personal safety needs: such as purchasing a dead bolt or changing locks on a door, paying the installment fee for a land line for priority response, curtains, or other items pertaining to personal safety. Please see attached poster and circulate it to your clients and colleagues.

 

Sunday October 1st – Screening of “Fried Green Tomatoes” with Guest Speaker Jill Cory. Doors open at 1:15, Show Time 1:30. Admission by Donation. Concession will be open to purchase popcorn and snacks for the show!

 

Hope to see you there!

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Get together!


logopr  Tonight is the Blackberry Days Street Festival; the night where you walk from Alberni to Duncan seeing and talking to people you literally haven’t seen since last year at this time. Tasting all types of food, listening to music, watching the belly dancers and chatting with friends. It’s generally a good time and a celebration of our home town.

In light of all the events from the last year, (from the last week actually) it’s a good idea for us to appreciate what a wonderful part of the world we live in. Yes, there is poverty, homelessness and drug issues, family break-ups, child hunger and isolation of seniors, but in the grand scheme of things we are closer to the top of the ‘favourite home towns list’ than the bottom. We have amazing support agencies, an ever-improving food bank, a wide selection of 2nd hand stores to access and mental health and addiction services to help. It does seem like things have flipped considerably since my high school days, but I’m glad that if we have social issues, we have the social agencies to step up in response.

To tie in with the Blackberry Days, there are a few high school classes having their reunions this weekend. These gatherings are a time for reflection. When all around the world people are being hurt by strangers because of what they believe, or because of the colour of their skin, it’s almost a breath of fresh air to be able to cast your mind back to the heyday of Max Cameron’s hallways. When you were 17 or 18 and you had your entire life ahead of you. Whether you stayed and worked 30+ years in the mill or ventured off to university or a job elsewhere, Powell River was your home! So welcome reunion attendees, enjoy the weekend, there’ll be time enough to rail at the news when you get back to reality. Take care of you.

S.O.S-Signs of Stress


“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” Hans Selye

            On page 59 of the ‘helping abused women in shelters’2 workbook there is a list that lays out various physical signs of stress. Some of them might be obvious, some might be a surprise to you.  They are messages that your body is trying to send you, are you ready to listen?

  • inability to concentrate or focus on one thing
  • trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, sometimes called insomnia
  • being irritable or having a short temper
  • over-reacting to small problems/snapping at people for no reason
  • feeling sad or hopeless
  • changes in eating patterns (not eating or eating too much)
  • feeling that your heart is beating too fast
  • smoking more than usual or starting to smoke after you quit
  • pacing or finding it difficult to sit down for very long
  • having the urge to cry or crying at small things that don’t usually upset you.
  • feeling anxious or afraid for no particular reason
  • being easily startled by sounds
  • drinking alcohol to try and calm down or relax
  • abusing prescription or illegal drugs
  • having a nervous, upset or queasy feeling in your stomach
  • finding it difficult to stop thinking about the stressful thing in your life
  • trying to avoid things that remind you of that stress
  • having difficulty remembering things
  • focusing on the negative and thinking negative things about yourself
  • strong desire to run away or leave your life behind
  • not wanting to be around other people
  • grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • sore muscles, pain, headaches, etc.
  • shortness of breath
  • being accident prone
  • feeling of weakness or dizziness or of lift not being real

Obviously having one or two of these symptoms could point to generalized job stress, over active children in your life, or just feeling the blues. If however, the list looks like your typical weekday, you are probably seriously stressed. The construct of stress will be different for each of us, and each person handles it in their own way.  I won’t tell you that all you need is a bubble bath and some candles, or a trip away. If you could afford to get away or even afford candles you might not be in this situation right? I will suggest talking it out with a friend, going for a walk, or just take 5 minutes to do some deep breathing. If things are beyond the in and out of air, please call someone professional. If the stress is a result of relationship abuse, don’t wait. There is a list of numbers on this website, many of them are no cost to you. Take care of yourself.

Here to Help


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This website is about 2.5 years old now so some of the websites and links included have been sitting there unnoticed by yours truly. One of the mental wellness sites we have a link to is called ‘Here to Help’. When I clicked on it this morning it was exciting to see just how many useful links, articles and quizzes they have for people to check into. There are Mental Health topics, Personal stories, Addiction topics, and screening self-tests for depression, alcohol use, well-being etc. I took a couple of them while I was looking around; don’t worry I’m fine.

If  you’re wondering how you’re doing generally, I suggest you take the well-being quiz. It doesn’t send your information to anyone, it will just let you know how you’re handling life at the moment and give you some pointers on how to improve things. (If you need them). The link is on the ‘Websites and Resources’ page, or you can go to http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca

If you want to talk to someone about the results of any of the tests there is likely someone in Powell River who can help. Mental Health & Addictions are on hand, AA or NA groups hold several meetings a week, and there are also life coaches/counsellors listed in the phone book. (Some may even be on your workplace health plan, check it out). In this day and age it would be unusual for someone not to feel overwhelmed with life. If you’re not coping like you used to, reach out and talk to someone.

Take care of you.

Deep Freeze


snow-in-pr  Does this picture cool you down a bit? If so, you’re welcome. I added it because of the blog post title. The ‘Deep Freeze’ actually refers to cleaning the ones here at work, but it served a dual purpose to me.

Cleaning out freezers can be somewhat like an archeological experiment, you never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes the identifying ‘left-over’ labels fall off making it difficult to identify the contents of a bag. Sometimes you find 10 loaves of bread at the bottom so you realize you have to make stuffing soon. I took everything out, defrosted it and organized the food before returning it all to the interior. It started me thinking about how often we should do this kind of reorganization in other areas of life. (You knew I was going to tie this freezer excavation in with soul searching didn’t you?)

So, what’s hiding in the bottom of your ‘deep freeze’? Ambitions, hopes and dreams, plans to return to school? Why are they sitting down there with all the old ice cream? (You know the tub that has been softened and re-frozen so many times it’s probably not even good anymore?) Bring your ‘stuff’ from the floor of the freezer and put it in the basket so it’s at the top; the first thing you see. This way you can’t keep ignoring it. As women we have a way of stuffing things down, we do what’s best for other people first. We eventually ignore the longings and aspirations that we had as young girls and replace them with jobs, partners, kids and pretty much everything else. So next time you’re looking in the freezer for dinner options, don’t forget to make sure your ‘stuff’ is still where you can see it, better yet take it out and de-frost it, bring it back to life! Take care of you.

 

100 reasons


empty purse   There was an announcement recently that the newly elected NDP are raising the income assistance rates by $100 per month to $710, and the disability pension will go to $1,133 per month. At the same time, many landlords have raised the cost of rent by, you guessed it $100 per month. I understand that those folks that have rental properties need to ensure their costs are covered. I see the bills that come into our place. I know how much hydro, natural gas and cable set us back. The costs are climbing just where you live. This doesn’t cover the price of food, transportation, or entertainment.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of this financial rise, it can’t be any worse for the poor and disenfranchised in this province. They have been stuck at $610 per month for way too long and many of them lost access to bus passes last year. It’s a vicious circle and as in most situations it’s the children who suffer. Thank goodness for school breakfast programs, clothing for kids concepts, food banks etc. All of which were supposed to be temporary solutions, now far too many families depend on them to scrape by. What we see in our corner of the world is women often staying in abusive situations because it’s too expensive to leave. With zero housing, little money and fading hope for either on the horizon; sometimes it’s just easier to coast through. As I’ve mentioned lots of times here, if you want to talk to a counsellor, get help with any of the legal processes or just ensure that your child is dealing with life please contact one of our free programs (numbers above in the agency list). Take care.

Technological Issues.


cell phone There is a nasty trend out there at the moment. Other transition house societies will agree that it’s been on the rise all over Canada, and our agency has had training in it as well. What is it?

The media calls it cyber bullying, and we have seen on the news the number of youth who have committed suicide because of it. They were threatened online by strangers or people they go to school with. Adults are affected as well, work place cyber assault is on the rise. I wrote about this subject not long ago, but a recent phone call to one of our programs has brought it forth….again.

A person, young or old-‘er’ should be able to converse, take pictures, get on their social media account with out receiving sexually explicit photos, threats, suggestions etc. It’s an amazing tool in the right hands. In the wrong hands it can be detrimental to a person’s mental health and self-confidence. If you are being cyber-stalked please talk to someone, have the local police force take a screen shot and start a file for you, don’t isolate and think you did something to deserve the negative attention! These people are bullies, and there is no difference between them and the big guy on the playground 50 years ago! Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is it ok yet?


logopr   

Our little city has taken some hard knocks lately, families are grieving, the young people involved and their loved ones are reeling.

Along with the deaths and injuries of the young men involved, there are young girls and women going through cancer treatments and requiring support. Well, there are quite a few residents going through treatments for various illnesses that need comfort, financial support and travel help.

 There are agencies and church groups that can help you get back on your feet if you’re being hurt, if you’re hungry or having difficulties getting through the day.

All of the above are hurtful, harsh and can be difficult to deal with. Stress creeps up on you in different ways, you need to be aware of how you cope with it compared to your friend or neighbor. Some people drink or take drugs, others yield to yoga instead. Some people just drop out or ignore the signs all together, and others cope with stress on a ‘one day at a time’ level. Which is your way? Is it a healthy option? What can you do to change how you deal with hardship? I write (obviously) and read to download my emotions. I listen to comedy on YouTube, and I sit and look at the lake. With all the hard news, we need to be good to ourselves. I hope you find your way soon. If you need a little help with it, please call someone, there are lots of phone numbers throughout this website.

Your Life in the Balance


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(This exercise is taken from page 64 of the ‘helping abused women in shelters, part 2’ workbook. It’s written by Alison Cunningham and Linda Baker, published in 2008).

This kind of exercise graph helps us to focus on the things in our lives that weigh us down versus the things that lift our spirits and make us feel good. See the box below for writing these down. You can make a list for of your own if you want to. I find it helps to put things on paper when I have a decision to make. Even a simple pro’s and con’s list to clear my thinking before making a move.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Things Pulling Me Down                                              Things Lifting Me Up

 

 

 

How many can you come up with? If you want to share with someone close go ahead, but it can also be something for you alone, especially if you have people’s names or personal information on your list. I don’t think it matters in which order you write things down, but balance is key here. (Psst, that’s why I have scales at the top of the page). If you have 6 things pulling you down, try to come up with 6 things lifting you up. Remember these items don’t have to be monumental, it’s not a complaint sheet or a bragging list. It will be different from your friends, from your sisters and it may even be different from the list you did two weeks ago. Be good to yourself. If you have any questions or concerns send me a message or call someone you trust to talk to. Take care of yourself.

Early Warning Signs


light-bulb-lit-black-47541430      An early warning sign of relationship abuse can change depending on the abuser. Sometimes you know what to look for, sometimes it occurs to you afterwards. In the workbook for victim service workers called ‘helping an abused woman-101 things to KNOW, SAY and DO’ I found a list of signs and decided to share them here.

  • He speaks disrespectfully of his former partner or partners
  • his is disrespectful towards you
  • he does unwanted favours or puts on a show of generosity making you uncomfortable
  • he is controlling and/or possessive
  • nothing is ever his fault
  • he is self-centered
  • he abuses drugs or alcohol
  • he gets serious too quickly about the relationship
  • he intimidates you when he is angry
  • he has negative attitudes towards women
  • he treats you differently around other women.

These may apply to your partner or someone else you know. They may not all be present, but they do give you something to consider!

Keys to a stable (life).


KeysIn my prior career there was a man named Joe* (not his real name). He was fascinated by keys, sets of keys were even better. We surmised that it stemmed from his time spent in an institution and his understanding that ‘he who had the keys had all the power.’ Joe was right.

If you have keys, more than say 2, that means that very likely you have a living space with a bolt; you have a vehicle that you value enough to secure; a friend or family member that trusts you with a ‘spare key’ to their home and perhaps a job somewhere requiring a secure entry. This is a heady combination of responsibility isn’t it?  Every time a set falls to the bottom of a purse, I fret a bit as my security and sense of well-being are attached to the ring. I think I understand what Joe had known for years, the jingling musical sounds, the solidity of brass and nickel, gleaming gold with the jagged edge that fits perfectly.

In the next stage of  your life; if you decided to part from your abusive spouse, you will need to get keys to a new place, a secure place where no one can hurt you. This is where your well being will be attached to your own ring of brass. If you need help finding it, give Sylvia a call at the Stopping the Violence Counselling program; 604-4856965 

Relationship Addiction?


In her book called ‘Smart Love’ Jody Hayes talks about addictive relationships. There are some do it yourself exercises and hints, quotes from former clients and philosophers. The overall message in this book is ‘releasing yourself from the need to be everything to everyone-except yourself’.
It’s not a new book, published way back in 1989, but the issue of women becoming enmeshed with their spouses, children, parents and friends is ongoing. As a support worker I often see the 30-60 year old woman who has ‘given everything to everyone’ and doesn’t understand why she’s empty now.
Relationship Addiction means ‘becoming obsessively involved in the life of another person’ it’s like the other person becomes a drug to you, like an addict to a substance and similarly there is pain with withdrawal. “RA’s are secretly afraid that if they stop controlling others, they will lose everything, but instead by letting go, ” You no longer need to do what you always felt you had to. You have choices.”

Have you ever been sitting with a BFF and all she talks about is her man? HIS opinions, HIS favourite foods, HIS needs. Tiring isn’t it? When this starts to happen, ask her what she thinks about things, remind her that loving detachment means that she can still care about him, but that she needn’t be desperate to help him. This is especially vital if he’s not doing anything to help himself. She has the right to refuse to ‘take on’ his problems, or addictions. You can remind her (or yourself if this fits your relationship) that though it may be hard at first, women who are relationship addicts must find a way to take care of their own needs. Seek counselling, ask yourself honestly, “What’s in this for me?” Listen to the answer carefully.

Women are, for the most part, the caretakers in life. They care for kids, aging parents, spouses, siblings. They are often underpaid, underappreciated and stay in this rut until they run out of steam. They lay down their needs, wants and childish expectations at the altar of ‘love’. If you find that you’re clinging to someone, ask this question. Am I clinging because I’m too scared to let go? I urge you to examine your relationships and if your fingernails are bleeding from hanging on too tightly, call a counsellor. Take care of you.

Excerpts in quotations are taken from Chapter 3. Jody Hayes’ book; Smart Love. Published in 1986 by Tarcher/Putnam

Discussion bits.


cup_of_coffee_188317   One of the things I like to do is converse with people, to find out through gentle probing what their life is like, their history, family connections etc. I don’t know if that’s the writer in me, an occupational hazard, or am I just a busy body? It’s my considered opinion though, that the majority of humankind like to talk about themselves. Whether it’s in a lounge, bar, coffee shop, hairdresser’s chair, or supermarket you can always hear someone using at least one ‘I’ statement.

Lately a lot of the discussions have revolved around the changes in Powell River. They aren’t all to the good either. I love my hometown but there’s a new element here. Some crazy scary drugs are on the street, and as you’ve likely read in the paper, people are dying as a result. I know this isn’t new to P.R. or the rest of the province. I’m not being naïve or judgmental, but you have to know what you’re taking and how much is too much. When I was younger, (oh, there’s that phrase we’ve been waiting for) Powell River had street drugs, but you used to know what you were getting and from whom. It’s not like that anymore. If you’re worried about the  young people in your life, learn about the drugs so you know what to look for.

A friend and I were talking about ‘taking constructive criticism’. It’s something I struggle with, not sure why. It’s not that I think I know everything and don’t need to be ‘told’. It’s a pet peeve when other people get their back up when advice is offered, so where does it come from? If someone is offering to show you a better way of doing things, or helping you with bits of information why would you turn your nose up at it? A sign of insecurity obviously; no one wants to be seen as less than intelligent. Isn’t not taking advice from someone who has learned that particular lesson themselves rather less than intelligent? Anyway, just thought these ramblings of mine should be out of my head and onto the screen. If you have any thoughts, shoot me a message. I’m always up for a discussion.

 

Two Events, One Great Community!


On May 13th, the local Royal LePage Real Estate office staff held the 2nd Annual garage sale to raise money for Powell River & Region Transition House Society. I have included a quote from Neil Frost, Realtor about the results;

“Wow, our garage sale raised $2000.00, plus $1000.00 from the local RBC that makes $3000.00 total. Thanks everyone for everyone who donated time, energy and money!”

That’s great news, and our thanks go to all the staff and realtors who took the time to organize, sort and sell items to raise money for our non-profit agency this year.

The next event is the ‘A Taste of Art’ event on May 27th. We have been chosen to be this year’s recipient of the proceeds from this art show/wine tasting social evening put on by the local Rotary Club. It sounds like a wonderful night! I have included the details on the bottom of the main page and in the Messages tab as well. I will let you know how well that evening went at the end of the month.

A big thank you to the Powell River community for their continual support for local teams, agencies, non-profit group events and each other. We Rock!

Patience and other virtues


120px-Balance_justice    Instead of writing yet another mawkish Mother’s Day post, I have decided to focus on some of the traits I inherited from my own, (mother that is). She is patient, and wise, funny and driven, a caregiver and open-hearted. She has been hurt, stung by sarcasm, and seen some real rough personalities. She has lost many people to illness and death but keeps bouncing back. She has shown toughness and tenderness in the same half hour period, she forgives quickly but she doesn’t always forget! Don’t assume that her silence is agreement; she has learned that you can’t change a person’s mind with arguments. She knows the difference between classy and a fake but treats them the same anyway. There are a few real no-no’s in her mind; hurting her family is #1!

She dresses well, doesn’t leave the house without lipstick and her hair done, (just in case), but she can knock your heads together if you pick on her loved ones. She takes care of herself, even when she doesn’t always feel like it, she’s got a smile that can make you feel like it’s going to be a great day. She has worries about the future but they don’t consume her present. Her tears will temporarily rip at your heart but even in her pain she makes sure you’re doing ok.

This woman is mostly my mother, partly myself, sister and niece. If you have a woman in your life that quietly amazes you, please tell her. If someone tell you that you’re amazing, please believe them.

A big bucket of water


water bucket I was talking to an acquaintance recently and she was bemoaning all the ‘stuff’ happening to her and in the world generally. I empathized with her, but relayed my favourite mental exercise in response. I hope this makes sense to you.

  1. ‘When you’re feeling as though everyone is looking at you, talking about you and passing judgements, imagine the situation as a big bucket of water’. She looked confused at that but I persevered.  ‘Then think about sticking your whole arm in and splashing the water all around, swish it as vigorously as you can. Then take your arm out and while you’re drying it off, take a look into the bucket. ‘What happens?’ She asked. ‘The water goes right back to a state of calm; all the actions, the splashing and swirling is forgotten and it’s just a smooth surface.’ Shaking her head, still not sure about the story, she said. ‘What’s the point?’ I explained that even though it seems like everything is a crisis, mixed up and violent, it will all calm down once there’s no human activity to stir it up. That’s how much impact we make in the world. So anytime you’re feeling like you are the center of attention, or the center of people’s universe and that they are all focused on you, just remember what kind of splash is actually made in the end.’ She nodded. ‘This story is not intended to make us feel small, but to remind us that sometimes, when it seems like a storm is surrounding us, it’s just, as Shakespeare noted, ‘a tempest in a teapot.’

Where are you?


115px-Portable_violet        In this information age we continually claim our rights for more updated and advanced technology. Standing at a bus stop we can check our bank statements, upload the latest from Coldplay, rent a car for the day, get groceries delivered to our homes and the list goes on. I have a picture of a laptop on here, but they are almost passé now aren’t they? Who wants to lug around a laptop when you can fit an IPhone in your back pocket? Technology is amazing, I love it myself but as someone who works in the field of family violence I see how it can be misused.

Colleagues and I have taken technology safety workshops and then taught the information to our staff and clients of a local agency. It’s hard sometimes for women to see the dangers involved in keeping plugged in; their phones could have a GPS signal that gives away their current location, they could take selfies at the transition house that people could use to figure out where they (and other abused women in the house) are. If they’re driving, the ex could install a GPS tracker in their car. There are ways and means of finding someone who should be safe. If you’re interested in finding out more shoot me a message and I can access the info for you. In the meantime-stay safe and unplug yourself from time to time, look up and watch a sunset or a child’s soccer game.

Plastic Peril


credit-cardsDepending on your spending habits, ability to pay debts and attitude towards owing money, the credit card picture above could either scare you, make you anxious a little or render you speechless. It’s hard to believe how much power these little pieces of plastic have over us. I personally think it’s irresponsible of the credit card companies to hand them out like candy to potential diabetics. This is a spending world and credit cards give you the illusion that you can keep up to the Jones’. If the Jones’ are rich, no kids, and own their own house (complete with maid) this may be a step too far for the rest of us peons.

Canada is slowly starting to catch up to the USA in terms of consumer debt; we as humans see commercials for things we want, and don’t think twice about who’s going to pay for it. Interest accrues at anywhere between 13% and 25% on your statements and that means you are essentially giving the companies free money if you let that go for too long. One way to avoid this, (obviously not buying things on credit is the first and most important way, but if you can’t do without that item or service) is to pay the amount as soon as possible. With many of us on-line banking now a days, it’s easy to add the credit card company on to your list of payee’s, along with Hydro, Telus, etc. That way you can keep on top of the payments. Even if you’re just paying off what you spent the day before, you will prevent the interest from accruing. You can also talk to the credit card company and ask them about reducing the interest percentage so it’s easier to pay down. There’s no guarantee they will, but it’s worth a shot. When you are trying to survive on minimum wage or PWD payments each month it’s tempting to charge groceries or a dinner out for you and the kids, and it’s often essential to get your car fixed or the cat fixed for that matter. Living is expensive so it’s no wonder that many of us look to the magic card to help us out. I hope this didn’t come across as preaching, I have been talking to a lot of adults lately who have good paying jobs and they are still in debt to Visa or MasterCard, so I thought I would put it out there. Take care of your money and it will take care of you.

When It All Gets Too Much


There are times when life’s issues become bigger than any hope on the horizon. It could be money issues, relationship breakdown or just becoming overwhelmed with everything. There are counsellors, quite a few of them in Powell River and area, but what if you’re not ready for that step?

There are a lot of online sites that can help you narrow down the issues, and let you know which direction to turn. This Victim Services website has a few links for support and I’ve added the link below as well. Sometimes having the problem narrowed down can direct you to the next step. Do you know the old joke, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It reminds us that by taking large projects or problems in smaller sections they’re easier to deal with. Not quite so imposing then.

https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/programs-services/

Gratitude


What is your definition of gratitude? To me it simply means appreciating what someone has provided for you, thanking them for taking care of your needs. This gratitude could be directed at a stranger who returns a purse you lost, or a parent who takes care of you when your life has hit a snag. The number of possibilities is endless in terms of situations, but there can really only be one response.

‘Thank you’. Two little words that make someone’s day. If someone has supported you in some way, guided you to an answer you needed, say thank you. If someone you’ve lived with for a period of time cooks you dinner when you work late, say thank you. If I do something to make your life better I’m not expecting a gift in return, just an acknowledgement that you noticed. As a member of the human race it makes me feel good, I’m not ashamed of that need. Courtesy is something that most of us learned in our childhoods, some of us have maintained that, others left it behind with their finger paints. I’ve noticed lately that there’s another segment of people. These folks seem to think that the world owes them; a career, our love, respect etc. The list goes on and so do their expectations. I don’t know where that comes from but it’s not a positive trait. Anyway, I’ve made the point I set out to make. If someone does something for you, let them know you appreciate it. Two words, doesn’t take long and it’s free!

Thank you.

Connections


I have included the link to our local newspaper, it’s online version anyway. I started thinking yesterday about all the local stories and connections that it provides. Information about events, rental opportunities, employment links, vehicles for sale etc.

I would have to spend hours updating all that and it’s not my job. My spouse is a firm believer in not re-creating the wheel. If someone has trained to do something why would you not call him and save yourself the time and bother of doing it yourself!?

So, after I cleared the situation with Jason Schreurs, the editor. I added the link to this blog page, and put it in the websites link as well. When I remember how to add it to the front page then you all will be the first to find out!

http://www.prpeak.com/

Kind of unsure actually….


As a white, educated, middle class Canadian you wouldn’t think I had any trouble with self-confidence  would you? I have free voice, a strong sense of what’s right and wrong, and I’m against any law or belief system that doesn’t treat others as equals. I have worked with adults living with developmental disabilities, and I have worked with women fleeing from domestic abuse. I am a female though, and as a result have witnessed and been a victim of ‘2nd class citizen-itis’. It’s not a rare condition, in fact it affects nearly half of the population. It’s obviously worse in some countries; to the extent of honor killings, or female genital mutilations. We in North America generally deal with the lower end of the severity chart. This in no way takes away from the continued rape of women in the ‘free world’ but we are less likely to be murdered because of our DNA makeup.

Our war zones are on the street, in our office, at the bar; all places that society tells us that it’s ‘ok’ to be in. The fact that a few of these places come with conditions is not explained to us until some poor woman is assaulted, and her story reaches the media. We can go to the pub but we have to think about what we’re wearing, watch who we talk to, in case we send the ‘wrong message’ and count how many drinks we have so that the newspaper doesn’t throw that into the story as well. (This counting had also be with drinks we don’t let out of our sight so as to avoid Rohypnol). So if you do go out with some friends after work and decide to be responsible by taking a cab; can we now count that safety protocol out as well? A woman was raped by a cabbie back in Ontario as she had fallen asleep on the way home in the taxi. Was that some sort of silent invitation to him? A story I just read in a work journal mentioned that as women we give each comment we hear, each dirty ‘joke’ thought before we decide to fight or stay quiet. How many crude stories within our hearing, how many pats on the backside, how many times have we been told not to be so ‘sensitive’ when we make a face at sexist comments. Even reading this piece a loud to myself I worried that I would sound a bit ‘harsh’. Is that also part of our feminine training? My mother is and was a feminist but I still think about ’embarrasing’ a man when I’m about to call him out. When will this end? Send me your thoughts, I’d be interested in hearing them.

 

 

;

March winds blowing.


daffodils  March always reminds me of daffodils; (It is the national flower of Wales as it commemorates St. David’s Day on the 1st of March) just a little tidbit of trivia for you. At some point in the month a sea of  yellow and green is observed all over town. They are simple flowers, they bend in the wind on stalks that look a bit fragile to me. As we know though, just because something looks fragile, you can’t take it for granted that it will crumple.

If you aren’t sure, look around at some of the women in your life. They may have lost a husband or child, they may be dealing with a sick relative on top of a full-time job, they may be dealing with an abusive spouse while smiling at the world outside; but they don’t break. They may bend, their heads may be hanging for a little while, but when things get stormy they just hold tight and wait for things to blow over. I have noticed that the strongest ones tend to be in the middle of a garden; when surrounded by others they are more able to stand again. The solitary flowers will eventually break. Who is holding you up? Do you have enough support in your life? We all need someone to lean on eventually and it’s easier if you have them close by. If you isolate yourself it’s easier to fall. Our agency has people who can help you find solid ground, and supports. Give them a call. In the meantime, enjoy this poem about daffodils written by William Wordsworth back in 1804.

 

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
Decorative I.jpg wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: –
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gaz’d – and gaz’d – but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

William Wordsworth