|Posted on December 3, 2020 at 5:10 PM||comments (1489)|
December is here. I am getting out my Christmas decorations and I always get excited about that... but I miss my tall-helper. My Ben.
And his meticulousness with things. Lights, perfect...with proper clamps and staples. It may surprise you to hear that I am satisfied with duct-taped sparkly lights ...my goal is quantity and wanting decor everywhere... and don't worry I will cover that duct tape with garland... I just wanted glitter, sparkle, lights... everywhere.. and oh, yes... right now.
Not Ben, haha. He was always so patient. Laying things out, set up taking half the time, declining my tornado of help. Every year he'd say, 'Just let me do this myself.' And every year, I was shocked and dismayed that an ACE helper like me was benched. I learned to let him be and get onto other decorating, though so it worked well. He tackled outside and big things.
Even though I would describe our style as minimalists, for me, this is not true at Christmas. I add to my decor and delight every year, budgeting to add, add, add.
Every truly, every year, he would be wide-eyed, genuinely surprised that I bought .. even more Christmas things... He'd quietly shake his head and say, 'Well, I don't know if we even have room for that.' (but cleverly, not anything truly foolish.. like 'stop buying stuff' or 'put that back'.)
I bought more things today and he's not here to wide-eyed (but quietly) inspect my parcels. Another first... missing Ben with decorating.
|Posted on October 8, 2020 at 1:40 PM||comments (237)|
It takes more work to seek the joy. To hold on to the joyful moments, because right now- they are only moments. And they are fleeting. It's a difficult mental exercise for me. I know the power of our minds, the impact of gratitude, the importance of kindness. I have been a champion for these things for years.
And now, in October 2020, I am struggling to do the mental work myself. I see many others who are a bit lost in the changes that 2020 has flung upon us. I write to inspire and to remind us all- myself included- that nobody is alone. I am here. I am doing my best.
And I am thinking of you, as you struggle to do your best too.
Virtual hugs from Kris
|Posted on October 6, 2020 at 7:55 PM||comments (252)|
It's so hard missing Ben. I wish he was here for all the little things. The daily things. All the little moments that fill my day. I got new glasses today. I moved my RRSP to a new bank. I had caesar salad for lunch- is my breath garlicy? I'll catch up on laundry tomorrow. Do you want to go for a walk? You don't realise how many moments add up in a day. How many moments I miss him.
It's constant. That's why I live in the mix of joy and sorrow.
I have a wonderful, beautiful life surrounded by loving friends and family. I have a house and the best cat in the world, Mia. I am grateful every day for these simple (yet big) things. It's in between that creates so much exhaustion. It's the yo-yo of up and down - those wonderful little things followed by the cold realities: you aren't here to admire my new glasses. You aren't here to talk about bank rates. You aren't here to check my breath or help with the laundry and I don't want to take the walk alone.
|Posted on September 22, 2020 at 2:30 PM||comments (141)|
Be kind to yourself. Let your thoughts love you and be nice to you. You really are a wonderful person, and you are doing your best.
This year has been a beast ... for all of us. I think it's important not to compare our journeys, to allow ourselves grace and a DEEP BREATH.. no matter what we faced. Everything in *our* lives matters to us, and is important to us.
My own personal struggles this year include isolation, loss of income, navigating the virus, and losing my sweet Ben. Losing Ben on top of it all has amplified some of my reactions. I feel *more* alone, and more uncertain for sure. I miss having a partner and I miss him being around.
It takes work, but if I look for blessings and joy this year, I can find it. My job now is to work on my mind; help it to find peace, find joy, find grace. To not be hard on myself and to allow myself to just be....whatever that is on any given day.
Focusing on beautiful things in my life does not mean I am ignoring the pain, hurt and grief of Ben's death. I feel it frequently- whether I want to or not. Crying on the phone to the air-conditioning guy, choking up when I'm weed-wacking the yard, crying into Mia's fur... it's all there.
My goal is to let myself feel that hurt, but then to take baby steps to keep going. To reach out when I feel I can't take it anymore, to share and let myself be loved.
I wish the same for you. Please reach out, please share (with whoever you need to- I'm here if you like!) and let yourself be loved. BY yourself... and by others.
|Posted on September 14, 2020 at 5:55 PM||comments (235)|
Today I was interviewed by Marsha Bergher Wietecha on her Blog Talk Radio Show. It's called Born to Talk. She asked me about my 2020, about being the CEO of Your Life Sparkles, being an artist, author and all the different hats that I wear. We also talked about the inspiration for Your Life Sparkles- so much of it is from my mom, Marie. She passed away in October, 2018 but her legacy is alive in the positive, loving things I do today. We talked about my sisters and their impact and support in creating Your Life Sparkles. We talked about Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and the incredible impact she has made in my life with becoming an author, growing professionally and becoming a best friend across the continent.
And we also talked about my new arrival on the scene as a widow. There is so much grief and hurt wrapped in my heart this year. It's an odd mix for someone who wants to inspire and be positive. I'm still in here, it just looks and feels different without my loving husband, Ben. It hurts how much I miss him.
I'm doing the work of allowing myself grace, allowing myself time. But it's hard. I feel torn. I want to go forward, be productive, find normal. I want to rest, breathe and take it slow. These feelings contradict themselves daily. Within my heart, the battle continues... and as I take small steps, one moment at a time, I know I can do it. The community around me- close and far- lift me up.
I'm different now and I need to get to know myself again. This new, next version of me. I don't know how it will go. For the first time in a long time, I don't have a vision board or 5 year plan for myself. I just don't know. And with that, I am working to be okay with that too. My goal is to do what I can and to not beat myself up (oh the mental game!) when I am not thriving.
It was heartwarming to have Marsha celebrate who I am and what I do. To have her feel proud of me, to listen to her rave about my work and my platforms. To cheer for all that I have accomplished in this upside-down, twisted year. Today was another moment for me. A sliver where I felt joy for me. Joy for what I am doing, what I could do, what I can still hope for.
|Posted on August 30, 2020 at 3:05 AM||comments (230)|
It's harder to find gratitude in my 2020.
This year has been a series of difficult events. Heartbreaking times. Trials in our human world. Trials in my personal world. Losing my 43 year old husband on July 16 was a shock that I was not prepared for. Sometimes I want to put my head under the pillow and hide away.
But then I see glimmers of hope. Pieces of the world that are working together. Compassionate moments, random acts of kindness, love against the odds. And I remember that I am not alone. I remember that is what I want to stand for. I want to be that voice: love, peace, kindness.
At the moment, I'm quieter than usual for me. I'm not on a stage or soapbox. I'm not speaking the words I believe in my heart to be true- love yourself! Be kind to yourself! Be kind to others. We are in this together. Because in some ways, we are not in this together. Not everyone lost their husband on July 16. But there are so many moments that are exclusive for you, or him, or her, or any other person... we have a shared journey, but woven in... are our individual experiences and lives, too. Everyone has their own 2020 to grapple with, to navigate and to decide, what's next for me?
So, looking for gratitude feels harder. But to me, that means it is even more important. The mental battle I face is a struggle. Finding peace, finding love, finding myself in the midst of my own 2020 chaos. When I see others champion love and gratitude, it reminds me how much that shared message means. It reminds me that even quiet voices matter, including my own wounded one.
I am grateful for the love that surrounds me, the life I am given, the freedoms I have. I am grateful for my home, garden, friends, family, and my cat, Mrs. Mia. I am grateful for so many things- both big and small and it's up to me to keep circling back to these hopes. These lights in my life. These things I am grateful for.
I hope and pray for so much good to come to our world in these times. My heart lifts when I see and feel others who find gratitude, strength and love and share it with one another. Keep it up.
|Posted on May 8, 2020 at 1:25 PM||comments (244)|
I've seen a flurry of activity on my social media. Of course, that is what social media is for: sharing.
But when sharing starts to encompass fearful rhetoric, conspiracy theories and angry messages, I worry. I wonder where has the critical thinking gone? When we quickly share a meme, a joke, a photo that makes us smile or laugh, I know I don't always put too much thought into it. But when we share impactful videos and messages, without doing ANY fact checking, questioning 'Is this true'? we do ourselves and our friends a disservice.
I've had worries about our current situation, I have questions, uncertainty. But I strive to question, find out more and strive for fact-based information.
I implore you to please ask questions when you post:
Who is this person?
Are they credible? How so?
Who is the reporter? Are they credible? How so?
What is their agenda? Why is this being shared?
Who is their audience? What is their goal?
What is their platform? What is their media outlet?
Who owns or supports that?
Why would they post this?
Would could they stand to gain?
Who would speak for this? Against this? Why?
Look things up and consider as many questions, as many sides as you can.
Often, we embrace things that a good friend has shared, or that fits our narrative. But in these times, it's so crucial to take a moment, ask questions and think critically about it.
I remember learning about commercials in school-breaking down word use, images and suggestions used by advertisers to sway us. One shampoo commercial stated, 'For hair so healthy-looking, it shines.' At first, I could not see any problem, but after conversation with classmates, we realised, 'what is healthy-looking?.. what does that phrase mean? Wouldn't hair be simply 'healthy'.. and that was the hook. The company made no promise of health, but used words to imply it. And, of course, the hair model they used had long, beautiful, thick hair to visually appeal to us as well. Could an older man with thinning hair use this shampoo? Of course he could, but that woudn't inspire sales! And that's the job. To inspire sales.
So, when watching a YouTube video, sharing an arcticle, posting a theory, ask yourself: Am I critially thinking? Or am I just floating along, sharing, scaring. And if so, please take a moment to reconsider your role. You can reset. If you've been sharing in a quick moment something you scrolled past, without much consideration, that's okay. But starting now, RIGHT NOW, you can do better.
We are #inthistogether. Let's do better, together.
|Posted on May 4, 2020 at 12:40 PM||comments (239)|
Here in BC, Dr. Bonnie Henry has coined this phrase, 'Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe' and it's words to remember, words to live by as we navigate the isolation, changes and difficulties that are here alongside COVid-19. I thank her for those words, they have helped me over and over again in the past few weeks.
Lately, I have seen a lot of posts about hardships, struggles and the difficulties folks are facing. Lack of income, concern about finances, struggles with social distancing measures and uncertain timelines. And I feel it too. My husband and I have a financial burden at our door- we are both self employed with very little income coming in, and it's scary. We have taken what action we can- parking his car, less driving for me, applying for assistance, very little spending, and continuing to work on our mindset- we are safe, we are together, we are okay.
I would like to inspire us all to continue to air on the side of goodness. To know that the folks who govern our country are doing their best with every citizen in mind. That we are people, individuals, that are recognised, loved and cared about - no matter where your politics fall. I want to inspire us- as the invididuals- to be kinder, to let the helpful and peaceful thoughts, words and actions be our champions now.
In these uncertain times, it's very easy to jump onto social media posts or commentary that screams 'This is unfair!' It's very easy to get 'up in arms' about the difficulties we are facing. It's very easy to understand, with stress and frustration- we want justice, what about our freedoms, our rights?! I want to encourage you to consider what you are sharing, liking, reposting. I want you to consider the source, consider the facts- and consider the words used in many School Anti-bullying programs: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
One of the great things about our country (and many others) is that we have the freedoms to post whatever we like, whenever we like, without fear of retribution. When I see articles or posts about fines, fears and measures in place to keep us safe, I ask myself, 'How many situations were not like this?' How many citizens are choosing safe and kind behaviours instead? I wish we would read about and celebrate them as the focus of our news. I wish we would air on the side of goodness more often. The citizens who are caring, the police who give warnings - grapple with giving fines, the conversations that consider 'what's best for everyone' at all levels in our provinces and country.
Recently, I heard about a man recieving a $750 fine for playing basketball - and in my social circles, there were many who were appalled by this. But, in the article by CBC (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/kitchener-basketball-player-fined-refusing-leave-park-1.5522579) , many others were also there and when asked to go home for social distancing, they did. There was no fight, no fuss, no drama. They were told to go home, for safety, for social distancing, for health... all reasons we are aware of in these times. It was a reminder to them, with reasonable explanations, and chose to go home.
One man rallied against this order and was therefore fined. And this is the focus- this is the reason for the fueds I have seen. Again I say, let's air on the side of goodness. We can understand wanting to get together, missing sports and social activities. But, it's not safe or healthy, and most of the folks there that day, understood. Was this the right day for that one fellow to take a stand?
I don't believe it was. If you look at the next steps our health teams are working on, they include businesses re-opening with safe gathering guidelines, families being able to get together with 'bubble sharing' (https://globalnews.ca/news/6894169/coronavirus-social-circle-bonnie-henry/), encouraging getting outside (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/please-go-outside-dr-bonnie-henry-says-covid-19-much-less-likely-to-spread-outdoors-1.5550191). You can see the plans for our future, a bright future with health, safety and love at the top of the agenda.
The idea that we are going to be locked up, locked in, controlled is... ludacris to me. We should celebrate our caring officials, caring health teams and caring fellow citizens. I see you, kind people!
Amplify your love, amplify your kindness. The voices celebrating safetly, love and kindness need to be heard. Please keep sharing hope, love and remember Dr. Henry's words:
Be Kind, be calm, be safe.