Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fort McMurray, Alberta more than just OIL

What do you think of when you hear the name of Fort McMurray, Alberta?

Dirty oil?  Unemployment? A depressed economy? The social problems that arise from a transient population?

Not me. 

I think,  Generosity.   Hope.   Giving.    Community.

I was in Fort McMurray recently during the most difficult period of my life, to bury my mom.  It is when you find yourself being vulnerable that you recognize when people exceed your expectations. 

Fort McMurray, Alberta is a prime example of what living in a community means.

When the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre could not accommodate our request to hold my mom’s Wake, the Native Christian Fellowship Church stepped up.  It was not an easy undertaking to fit in our three-day Wake, especially with my huge family. I am not sure what was already committed but they rescheduled all the existing commitments to accommodate our needs. Thank you, my niece Connie, for all your help to secure this place. At the end of the day, it was perfect. 

And, when we could not secure a location for the feast, again, the Native Christian Fellowship stepped up and allowed us to hold our feast at their church.  Once again, commitments had to be adjusted. Not only did the pastor accommodate our request but he also didn’t charge us a fee.  All he invited was a donation.  We passed a collection basket.  It was not much, but we absolutely do appreciate the lengths they went to accommodate our requests.   My mom didn’t even belong to this church but she was known and respected by the pastor. This is what community looks like.

When we went to Printing Unlimited L.P. to have the memorial cards printed, again, to my surprise no payment was required.  Ms. Mackenzie, the Customer Service Representative, told us they do this as a service to the community … to give back.   And, you would think, since this was a free service, that the job would come after paid work, but no, that is not how it worked.  Our print job of 200 colour copies was actually rushed ahead of paid jobs!  Also, it was printed on hard stock paper and beautifully laid out.

On Ms. Mackenzie’s business card it says “See Why Quality Makes a Difference”. Thank you to Printing Unlimited for quality “community” service.

Even in a down-spiraling economy, businesses in Fort McMurray still have enough consideration in them to give back to the community.  At the end of the day, this community is not defined by dirty oil or the uncertain economic times, but by the people whose hearts are big enough to show compassion and respect to those who are coping with grief. 

I am proud to say that I am from Fort McMurray, Alberta.  On behalf of the entire Deranger family, please accept our heartfelt thank you to the businesses of Fort McMurray who made this process easier, including the hotels, Anderson Robert Funeral Services, Caribou Flowers, Printing Unlimited, Native Christian Fellowship, and especially the nurses at the Extended Care, Northern Lights Regional Health Centre who looked after Mama in her final years on this earth. 

Thank you! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In Everything there is Something Good

On January 15, 2016, I challenged myself to write about being grateful over 100 days.  

The quickest way to be happy is to choose what you already have - Werner Erhard 

Day 29

This morning I woke up for the first time in my life without my mom.  I am grateful to read all the status updates and pictures of her on my facebook newsfeed.  Our journey together has changed but has not ended. Today, I start a new chapter in this journey. 

It is a new beginning. My love for you, mama, has no ending. 

Day 30 

I am thankful for the love and support of everyone near and far, family and friends who called me to check up on me. 

My mind has been preoccupied with all the wonderful things mama means to me. It gives me joy to think about her and as I think about her, I can see her smiling and feel the last kiss she gave me.   
Today and forever she fills my heart with love. 

Day 31

I am grateful to be alive and to see things in perspective.  The most important thing for me to do is to be authentic.  To show my emotions and to allow the process to take its course.   

Day 32

I am grateful to spent time with this beautiful angel.  She is filled with joy and spreads happiness to everyone she meets.   Seeing life through the eyes of a baby has its rewards like being present and appreciating what we have.  

Day 33 

I am grateful that my family did their part to ensure that my mom had a respectful service on February 18th, 2016.  I am thankful for the strength to be able to give the elegy without breaking down.  Thank you to all the people who made this happen.   

Day 34

I am grateful to be home safe and sound.  I came home thinking there would be at least 50 centimetres of snow on my sidewalk, but instead it was all cleared.  Thank you to the person who was so thoughtful, I appreciated it.  :) 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Eternally Grateful

On January 15, 2016, I challenged myself to write about being grateful over 100 days, which I will be posting weekly. 

These few days have been difficult.  Today, I woke up for the very first time without my mom. Our journey together has changed but has not ended. My heart is heavy and I am eternally grateful that we had many wonderful years together. She is my heart and will live on in me.  

Day 22 
I am grateful to wake up to visitors, but when I opened the door they ran away. 

Day 23 
I am grateful for my friends and the crossover from virtual friends to face to face. Yesterday, I decided to spontaneously contact one of my friends to invite her to get together with me over coffee.  I have been reading her status updates on facebook and thought, we both live in the same city, have not seen each other in years so why not get together in “real life”.  We need to get out of the virtual world and connect in person now and then.   I am glad I did.
I was surprised that she responded quickly and we met up for a lovely lunch. She is an awesome lady who is taking care of her mom who has dementia.  I admire her commitment and dedication to her mom.  She is in service to her mom and she does it with humor and filled with so much compassion. 

 She will chronicle with humor the delicate balance the caring for a person with dementia.  This is her blog, and if you follow it you will be entertained. 

Day 24 
I am grateful for the knowledge and ability to make my own cold press juice and mylk.  These are not only is a healthy alternative but it taste delicious.  I made carrot juice, beet juice, and cashew mylk. 
  • Carrot Juice (Beta-carotene, bones, eyes, blood This will help with muscle cramps and insomnia)
         7 or 8 carrots, 2 granny smith, apples ½ inch ginger, celery
  • Beet Juice  (excellent for liver and digestive system)
           4 beets, 2 granny smith apples, 1 carrots  
  • Cashew Mylk (heart, reduce triglyceride levels in diabetic
         1 cup of cashews (soaked 1 hour) 4 cups of water, 5 dates,               vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, flax seeds,                 black pepper 

Day 24 
My heart is filled with gratitude for my cousin Lorraine who frequently entertains us with her cat Sylvester’s antics.  Sylvester is overwhelmingly charming and never a dull moment. Besides, who won’t want to join him for a cuppa tea. 

Too often social media is filled with considerable negativity that it is a relief when I see Lorraine has updated her status because I know it would contain some comic relief.  
I love you Lorraine and appreciate your sense of humour.  

Day 25 

When it is cold outside I find it more difficult to maintain a diet of raw food.  Fortunately, I enjoy making homemade soups.  My main ingredients are most often to add ginger and turmeric. 
These spices are my go to for almost everything.  I put them into smoothies and in my green juices. They are warming and anti-inflammatory.  It has been used in Chinese and Indian folk medicine for over 4,000 years to treat a variety of ailments.  Recently, it is being recognized by Western medicine.
I am grateful for the many people who impart their knowledge to me.  

Day 26 
I am grateful to be living in the country. 
More importantly, I am grateful to notice interesting things on my drive into Kanata or coming home.  What do you see when you look outside of yourself?

We have a number of artists living in the area but I don’t often get to see them on the side of the road painting in the winter. But I see this man at this spot now and then.  I wonder, will he be surprise if stop and give him this picture next time I see him. 

Day 27 
Today and everyday, I am grateful for my mom. My mom is the strongest person I know with the greatest capacity for love.  Her teachings will always be part of my DNA. 

She is part of me, and I am part of her, together we are one. 
I wrote this blog post sometime ago and some of you have read it before. 

Day 28 
Therese Deranger 1919-2016 
I am grateful to have on my life’s journey family and friends who support and respect me.  People who really “like” and “get me”.  Not their perception of who they think I am, or who I should be. 
As events unfold in the days or weeks to come, I will remain strong.  My beautiful mom died, February 12, 2016. 

I will accept into my very being all my mom’s courage, strength, wisdom, and love. My journey with my mom is changing, but she is very much part of the fabric of my being.  She will always be a part of me.  She is me, and I am her.  Together, we will continue our journey albeit in new way, one that I accept will not be easy.  Her medicine will be strong in me and will guide me forward.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's a Muscle / 21 DAyS of GrAtiTUde

On January 15, 2016, I challenged myself to write about being grateful over 100 days, which I will be posting weekly. These last 7 days, I really had to make a concerted effort on some days to appreciate and be grateful. This exercise is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. I have learnt that no matter what is going on in my life, there are always grateful moments that are just waiting to be noticed.   

Day 15
I am grateful for oil.

I called my oil company to let them know that my house temperature was dropping. The serviceman insisted that I was not due for an oil delivery.  I suggested that he send someone to check the furnace. He did. And guess what? No oil in the tank! Oil has been delivered. Now my house is toasty warm again. J  #grateful

Day 16

I am grateful that I live in a place where I know my neighbors. It is important to feel safe and secure in your home and good neighbours help foster that feeling.

I am grateful that I l know my neighbours' names.  I Am fortunate that my neighbours are also friends and are very much like family. #family #neighbors #countrylife 

Day 17

I am grateful for a sister who called me at that perfect moment.  There is nothing I cherish more than family and their support. It is a blessing to have family who brightens your day when you hear the sound of their voice.  Like wise, it is heartbreaking to watch a family member go down a destructive path of self-harm.

However, it is important that we acknowledge that we have no control on how others choose to behave and the only control we truly have is how we react to them.  It does not mean you don’t love them. Because loving someone is knowing the difference between caring and enabling.  Accepting that only they are responsible for their actions.  At the end of the day, they hold all the power to make the right choice.  I didn’t fully appreciate this concept until now.  #alcoholism #dependency #power #family

Day 18

I am grateful for a lazy weekend when I can take time for self-care. I gave my feet a mini detox soak.
Some very, very, warm water, Epsom salts, and lavender essential oil. Soaked for 30 minutes.  It did more than make my feet soft and pretty.  It also reduced stress, flushes toxins, and made me feel so relaxed.  When I was done, I applied coconut oil on my feet, put on warm socks, and settled into some reading. 

This was so good that I am going to do it more frequently. #Thankful #content #selfcare

Day 19

I am grateful for the friends who show up in my life. Like, Carol who always knows the exact thing to say to me when I am dealing with a situation.   I think she has a wisdom chess filled with the perfect tools for every situation whether it applies to humans or animals. 

What she said to me recently on family dynamics was insightful and I want to share it with you. I paraphrase.

When dealing with family, it is complicated. However, we should acknowledge that in spite of our concerns and angst, it is no accident that whatever a person is going through, it is exactly where they are meant to be in their infinite journey. It is their sacred gift yet to be revealed to them in a realization and reAwakening.  And it is our love for them that elevates them to their higher self as they travel through the Souls School lesson. 

Day 20

My aunt Marie
Nature has an abundance of natural remedies for almost all that ails us. Since an older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, I have been researching and teaching myself about holistic modalities. Starting with eating healthy whole foods and eliminating process foods from the diet.

I was raised in an environment that accessed nature’s medicines, which gave me a predisposition to instinctively know that this was the right path of Inquiry. I have opened my mind and my heart to listen for wisdom, and thankfully I don’t have to look further than my older sisters.
On one occasion, my beautiful sister-in-law Hazel, mentioned she had amazing results from a common weed, the dandelion. Apparently she and others she knew used dandelions to treat eczema. It also can be used for a number of other homeopathic purposes.

Normally, I don’t recommend things I have not tried myself but it in this instance I took my sister-in-law on her word. Over a year ago, I recommended it to a friend, her young children 3 and 5 years old at the time suffered from severe eczema. The doctor treated them with cortisone and steroid creams, but she was concern about its long-term effects. She said she would try using the dandelions because as she put it, she had nothing to lose and everything to gain if it worked. Yesterday, I asked her how the children were doing, and she was really excited to tell me that the dandelion treatment worked. She said she used it only three or four times over the course of a week. And since then her children have not had any recurrence of eczema.

I am grateful to have wise older women in my life who share their wisdom with me.#nature #homeopathic #sisters

Day 21

I am grateful to be able to find time in my day to enJoy tea.We should all have a happy place!

Drinking tea for me is a ritual, a ceremony, and it is also meditative. It is not to be drunk quickly but savored. When you are relaxed and sipping the tea you can appreciate the full spectrum of flavors and aromas of the tea.  If you are a tea lover like me, you know, I am talking about JOY. #rituals #mediation #JOY #happyplace 

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