Sunday, December 23, 2012

Letter To Jesus

As I wind down in my preparations for Christmas I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my year. It has been a rough one in many firsts that I do not want to ever go through again. But through all the rough stuff I knew that I was never alone. And because at this time we are celebrating the birth of Christ, I thought I would put my thoughts into a letter to Him. I certainly do not mean any disrespect in my letter or what I say. These are just my thoughts.

Christ, you look different now then in the way I normally see you or think of you as being. This is Sally...but you already knew that. I guess no one can really hear me in my prayers except you and that is ok by me. Thank you for everything you have done for me this year. As long as I can remember you have been by my side. I will never forget how you stood by me this year when we thought we had lost Keith three times.

I have always been able to count on you when I have felt so dark inside you were there with me every time - even when I didn't feel good about myself I knew that you cared enough for me that you made me feel better. Like that time I got so mad at the world when my brother was diagnosed with cancer. I hollered, I hollered really loud in my head but then I got to thinking you love my brother just as much as I do.

I know I have talked to you about this many times this year - about losing my father in law, about Keith being so sick, being in and out of the hospitals, my brother so ill with his cancer - I continued to talk to you honestly - the way it seemed at times that I couldn't talk to anyone else. All our middle of the nights ramblings when no one else was around to talk to, you were always there willing and able to listen. I always came to you with a problem even sometimes knowing the answer, I still asked the questions just in case you had a different answer for me.

I love you - you are my closest and finest friend and that means I can always hold my head up high wherever I go and whatever I will need to face in the coming year. I may not like the circumstances that I will be in but I know that if I keep my faith in You and continue to believe in You that I will truly never be alone.

I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would be like without You by my side and I am so thankful each and every day to have that fulness inside of me. I know it may sound weird but I am thankful for the trials I face because it means I am growing even if no one else sees it. My prayer this Christmas is not for all the gifts I can hold, or for trips, vacations, new grandchildren etc. It is that each member of my family immediate and extended, know that you are there for them as well, that no matter what anyone has done with their lives or what trials they may face, that they may know that you died for us that we might live. I pray that we all remember why we celebrate this holiday and that through it all - you are never more then a prayer or a thought away.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy as Epicure!


I have re-entered the work field...but on my terms. I have been away from work for about 12 or so years because of my health but it has always been niggling at the back of my head that I could find a way to go back. I miss working. Well ok I miss money hehehe. I knew if I was patient I would be able to find a way to do both, work, make money yet take care of my health so I didn't over extend.

So I did find it or rather it found me. About 4 years ago on one of my many trips back home I was visiting with one of my cousins and noticed this beautiful spice shelf on her wall with these very unique spice jars that I had never seen before. I asked her about it and she was surprised I had never heard of the company as it is based out here. She opened up the spice jars so I could smell them.....oh know when you first smell tomatoes you just picked from the garden? Or when you shell fresh peas and eat them before they even hit the pot, eat the first crop of corn on the cob with butter dripping down your chin and you think "oh yahhh this is what food IS supposed to taste like. These spice jars I was smelling had the same effect. The jar of basil smelled like my pot of basil on my window sill for example.

She talked to me about them about how there are no fillers, the products are all grown locally, no preservatives, no chemicals added, just the herb period. I came home, contacted the company and said I want to hold a show. I don't think they get too many calls like this hehehe. That same day a woman called me to say the company called her about me. We met, I booked a show in my home, held it, got all this product for free, got to taste all these new ideas (now where else do you actually get to taste the stuff that has just been demonstrated??) and started my love with my purchases. My consultant moved away after a bit then found the wife of one of my old school friends sold it so I stocked up again but then after a while she had to leave the company so I was out of luck again.

Then my cousin comes to my rescue once again as she had become a consultant by this time so every time I went back home I would stock up. This past May when I went back she talked to me about being a consultant and it grew from a planted seed in my brain (no pun intended) into a reality. As all of my friends and family know I work really hard at eating only healthy foods for the most part since I had lost all my weight and survived cancer. They also know I am a fanatic of sorts about the farm to table idea....buying foods locally as much as possible or at least within the 100 mile mark (except for bananas and avocadoes because you know there is always ONE exception to every rule hehehe) so for me this was a no brainer. What is the point of using fresh foods and then ruining it by using seasonings that are mostly filler and really have no taste?

I have 2 gardens that I stock with vegetables that I grow all year even in the dead of winter (one of the advantages of living on the west coast) and I love to be able to season these vegetables and the food that makes up the rest of the meal. I cannot even begin to describe the difference in taste when you use fresh products and seasonings.

But it took me several months after I had told my cousin I wanted to sign up till I actually signed up. I wanted this to be different.. I wanted to revolutionize the concept of "home shows". First of all I don't want to do these unless it is going to be very beneficial for me and for the people that would become my customers. I always feel that when a friend/family get that call of "Hey I booked a show with.... and would love for you to come. Don't worry about buying anything just come for a night of visiting". Yes I can see you nodding your head on that one! So you go over because you really do need something from them and then at the end of the evening when you hear the sales person say " Ok I am just going to go over to the table so anyone that is ready to order you can come on by." You just know you are going to get hit with" so when can I mark you down for your show?" ughhh I hated that part. I just hate doing shows in my home... I just hate having to call people and start the whole process all over again. And I know I am not alone in this.

Thus putting me in my dilemma. Until I came across a unique way of bypassing all that!! I am going to NOT do home shows, I will be doing my business almost completely online and once every quarter or so I will be doing my OWN home show to showcase the new products coming up for that next season. In my own life I like cooking by the seasons. We all know that you eat a lot of basic salads in the summer accompanied with whatever meat you happen to be barbecuing.. But what do you do with produce the rest of the year that are in season. Cabbage adds to coleslaw or cabbage rolls..but what else can you do with the do you benefit with fresh green beans or asparagus in the spring? I could go on for pages on this topic. Well now I can show you how.

We are linked to food much like our DNA. When we come together with family and friends we share not only conversation over the table but an enjoyment of the food that is before us. How many of our fond memories are tied to occasions where food was involved and are of helping put  a meal together?  To me what has made eating together even more special is the journey from idea to reality. It isn't about opening the fridge door and wondering for the bazillionth time what you are going to make for supper although I do have those days as well...but it is also the process of getting delicious creations to the table. I get very excited about planning a meal for guests that I know they will love and spending the time in my kitchen creating and cooking.

I try and capture that magic by using what is available that season. It is about cooking with fresh ingredients. It is the way our parents and grandparents before us cooked before modern conveniences made supper come from cartons and cans To cook with the seasons makes menu building simple since food that grows together goes together. When you buy food that is grown locally means buying food at its best meant to be eating right away without the need to add preservatives to keep it "fresh" while trucks drive thousands of miles at times to get it to you.

Where ever you live there are opportunities to source out local and seasonal ingredients. It isn't just about farmers markets. I hope to teach you how to use this knowledge of farm to table along with using the right seasonings to make. This is my "new" concept of home shows. It will take something I love to do, cooking, with something I am good at, talking, and combining them with a FANTASTIC product, Epicure Seasonings and together we will make it happen for each and everyone of you.

You can check out my website at Now this is a new venture for me so you will have to forgive me as I work with the website to make it better and easier for you to maneuver through it. If you have any questions please just ask away. I will be starting a new blog about my new venture so you can ask me questions about me, get recipe ideas, suggestions etc. I will be placing an order at the beginning of each month and will give everyone a heads up of when it is so if there is anything you are wanting to get you can let me know.

I also will let everyone know when I do my first big WELCOME TO MY WORLD show that you will all be invited to. And again you have no worry about being cornered at the sales table to be asked when you would like to book your show :)

If you live out of town you will still have the opportunity to "attend" each of these shows that I host and I will give you more information about that at a later date. Unfortunately though the people in actual attendance will have to eat your share of the food!!! Sorry :)

Enjoy yourselves and thank you very much for being a part of this new chapter in my life.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

I have been canning fruits and vegetables as long as I can remember. Even before I left home I worked at it side by side with my mom. People always tell me it is too hard and too time consuming. I don't think it is hard at all. And the joy you get when you open up a jar of garden tomatoes that you canned over the summer... well your palate and your family will love you!. I have given a step by step direction that anyone can follow :) Ready? Let's go can some tomatoes!
 First you get your tomatoes and make sure they are free from blemishes. And even if you got them from a herbal market still wash them in cold water.
 Next get your station ready so everything is in it's place. Once you get started is not the time to go running around looking for your tomato knife!! You will need a large canner or pot to boil water in. No we are not delivering any babies! You will then need another large pot or bowl and fill it with ice water. Last you will need a bowl or container for your skins that you will peel off. Have your jars open, clean and ready to fill
Make sure you pick tomatoes that are still a bit orangey red. If too red they are too ripe and will turn into mush in the jars. Keep the soft over ripe ones for the tomato sauce. 
 Get your first pot boiling
Add only a few tomatoes at a time otherwise the tomatoes will start the cooking process! Leave them in the boiling water for a count of 60...
Then immediately plunge them in the ice water to prevent them from continuing to cook. The skins will come off very easily. If they do not it is because they did not stay in the boiling water long enough.
 Start people those babies!!
 Who says you can't have fun canning? it is easier then peeling an orange!Make sure you take the stem part out of the tomatoes
 This is a canning funnel!. No you cannot just use your husband's funnel that he uses in the shop. You can get this particular set at Zellers, Walmart and most department stores. It is made for canning jars and fits all of them
 1/2 tsp salt in each jar then boiling water up to 1/2" from the top Wipe the lid off then place the ring and sealer on each jar and almost on the home stretch now!
 Here is the 2nd of the 3 doodads that I was telling you that come in the set. The top one is a air releaser. You place it in the side of the jar to release bubbles :)
 Last of the 3 items.. this is a jar lifter out of the canner. And kudos to you if you can lift the jars out without using it and without burning your fingers on the boiling water!!!

 Get the canner going as soon as you can enjoy dinner! You want to can in the water boil method which is to make sure they jars are covered with boiling water.
Place jars on lifter. All canners come equipped with one. You do not want to put the jars directly on the bottom of the pot as they will break. It also helps when you want to get the jars out.
 10 little jars sitting in a row, all canned stewed tomatoes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Canning and Gardening

Lately I have getting a lot of "flack" (although most were done with love).. there were some that came my way that when I post my accomplishments online it is to toot my own horn and to make others feel bad that I do more then they do and that I am making them feel quilt. Well first of all no one can make anyone else feel anything else. We are all in control of our own emotions and can change them at our will. No one can make you FEEL guilty. You and you alone are in control of how you feel.

Having said that, I just want to go onto my defense. There are three things that I love to do in my role as a homemaker. These things calm me, they zen me, when I do these things I go to a calm place in my mind... when I am stressed I will go to one or more of these three things to calm down.

These three things are ironing clothes, sewing clothes, canning and gardening. I love going into my closet and seeing our clothes all nicely ironed and hanging neatly, seeing things I have made; I love going into our pantry and seeing jars and jars of preserved foods. Our church leaders have always encouraged us to have a year's food storage in place for times of needs. I have been doing this since I can remember. and believe me when I tell over 30 years of being together we have had those time of need several times!

Most people do things that love when they want to a book...have a bubblebath, watch tv, sit in their hot tub, play games, etc etc..for me when I want to relax I iron, or I garden or I deal with the stuff from my garden and if it is in mid season, I work on planning my garden as I companion plant so I know which vegetables grow best with what vegetable.

When I can or preserve my food it gives me a sense of peace, a sense that I am helping provide for my family even if it is just Keith and I here. It gives me a great sense of pride when I see our pantry shelves filled with food I grew. Is it a lot of work right now? Yup of course it is. That is because food grown all tend to be ready to be picked at the same time. Because of all the rain we had this spring the fruit is really late in being harvested so fruit I normally would have canned in July I am having to do now with the vegetables. But I don't care. When it is January and everyone is having to pay an arm and a leg to eat peaches I can open a jar and just sail away in the aroma of fresh Okanagan peaches.

I have been canning so long that I can do it in my sleep. I can do it with one hand tied behind my back. When I work on it I don't think of how tired I am, I don't think of how sore my back or my hips are, I don't think of Keith and his claim with the government or the fact that he has been off of work for over 2 years. I can vegetate (no pun intended) on what I am doing. I can't be worrying about what is going on in our lives because I have to concentrate on that I am doing...each canner has to be timed, jars have to come out at the exact moment or the food gets processed too long....if I am multitasking such as doing cucumbers in the sink and have peaches on the stove, and beets in the pressure canner I have to be able to concentrate on what I am doing so nothing gets wasted.

So you see....doing this really does relax me, it has a calming effect on me. If after reading my explanations here and still feel I am posting my accomplishments to show you how much more I do with my day then you do and you still feel guilty please feel free to take me off your friends list so I no longer have the power to annoy you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Run for the Cure 2013, Surrey, Me and Sadness

Everyone knows that Vancouver hosts the Run for the Cure each year and has done so since day 1. What you may not know is that starting next year Surrey (where I live) will be hosting its own run as well. How exciting!!!! 4-6 weeks ago an email went out to all runners letting them know of this new chapter and that they were looking for Co-Directors. My first thought was YES but then I thought of everything else on my plate and thought nah better not.. Then I got an email from them personally asking if I would be interested. I figured what the must be in the I said yes that I would send them my resume and an interview was set up weeks ago. A couple of days before my interview Keith had his accident so I postponed it till this morning. This whole week that still small voice kept niggling at the back of my brain telling me to rethink this but my inside voice kept saying shuuuushhh. This would be such an accomplishment!! Talk about groundbreaking processes. It is just as important of a job to be the Director of the Vancouver one (it is a 2 year position) but anyone stepping into the job already has half the work done although it is still such a huge undertaking...the site is already in place, the Vancouver sponsors are in place etc etc... to have it in Surrey means everything has to be started from scratch. You would co chair with another Director. One would be for logistics- finding the site, sponsors, security, equipment, tents, tables etc etc, the other would be for Fundraising and Staffing.With my experience of doing the Yard Sale for the Cure last year it was right up my alley I love being creative. I love taking challenges and turning them into a finished product where I can look at it and think I did that. Even if it is just canning my fruits and vegetables that I am surrounded with now..I like looking at my full shelves and know all my hard work paid off. I hate it when people tell me to slow down. Slow down to do what?Become a couch potato? Play computer games? Read books all day long? That may be ok for some people and I am not in any way pointing fingers at anyone who does this...this is about me and I choose not to be that way. I live with 2 disabilities and I know my limits. I know if I sit still my muscles seize, my spine seizes and then I am laid up for days. I know by remaining active I am living a comfortable life with my pain. All week as my interview got closer and closer (this morning) that still small voice got louder and more frequent. Last night I became physically sick in the middle of the night and I didn't even question it. I got online and emailed the person that I had been communicating with. I told her what had been going on with my husband and that right now my focus needed to be with him 100% and that if I took this job on I would not be able to do it. I asked that she forgive me for the lateness of letting them know and told her that I would love to help out in smaller ways. I thought for sure they would be angry with me, that they would think that they could have had someone else in place for the last month but she emailed me back this morning with a beautifully touching letter. She said she totally understood, that she had been one of the Vancouver Directors before and knows how time consuming it was and that she thanked me for telling her now and not next year when I became overwhelmed and had to back out at the last minute. She asked if it was ok if they put me on one of the committee's that would still be a part of the day to day detailing but to not the extent of the Director's position!! I was very happy with that. When I look back at my husband I think of all he has sacrificed for me over the years and it shouldn't even have been an issue in my head. I am thankful for that still small voice that guided me to make the right decision. I have family back home that are not doing well and when Keith is finally settled I want to go back and spend some time with them and I would not have been able to do that right now with this new job. So although I am sad somewhat about it, I am happy that I did listen (although it would be nice if that still small voice could be as loud as my inside voice!!). Keith is my whole life. Without him I have nothing. I will be crossing that finish line in Surrey in 2013 though and am looking forward to being a part of this huge excitement!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Conversation with a 2 year old

One of our sons was over with his family today and his family comes equipped with a very vocal 2 year old. I just happened to ask him how his day was and if he went to Nursery (where children from 18 months to 3 years of age go at our church kind of like pre-school sort of). And this was his answer..sometimes it's just better to not ask heehee Hey Pumpkin how was your day did you go to Nursery today? Yup but Auntie Lala no there (his Auntie Lareta is one of the nursery leaders) I sad but I had treats What did you have for treats? uh uh uh messy berries uh uh uh lots of them (Strawberries Mommy tells me according to the red stains on his white shirt) Did you have play time in Nursery? Yup but no Auntie Lala I sad Did you have story time and singing time in Nursery? Yup but no Auntie Lala I sad ( I think I figured that already ) So what did you do yesterday? I go baseball game and had big BOOM BOOM and La Lean scared but I no scared I big boy and BOOM BOOM (said quite emphatically in case I didn't hear how loud it was the other time he told me)and big slide and Dadda no picture big slide Nana and cucumber man and apples and I throw apples but Mama said no but Dadda throw apples but Momma said no then cucumber man then Nana I got beet Nana a beet I got a beet Did you get some beets in the garden yesterday? Yes a beet and a cucumber man and big BOOMBOOM but I no scared I get you an apple no bugs on apples Nana I get apples and big BOOMBOOM (as he gets me an apple from the bag they brought over for me) Do you want me to cut an apple for you Conall? Yup but no bugs on apple Nana..ok no bugs Conall I hep Nana I need chair I hep Nana No it's ok Sweetheart Nana is all done peeling your apple I get nudder apple Nana (as he hurries to the bag and brings me another one for me) Nana no bugs in apples (Obviously parents must have been talking about making sure they did not pick apples that had worm holes through them) So what else did you do yesterday? (as we munch on the apples) I go baseball game and go down the slide and big BOOMBOOM (fireworks) It was dark and I go nite nite then go to church and sing song and have bread and water and play with cars then I go to Nursery with Nana but Auntie Lala not there I sad..Auntee Lala all gone! She'll be back soon she is gone camping in a tent.. yeaaaa we camping... uhhhh no just Auntie Lareta went camping and Kloie and baby Jazymm? Yes and Senthia and Britnee and latitia and Darien and Miranda and Uncle Curt but not Conall and Lelean? (Rosaleen) No just Auntie Lareta's family Auntie Lala not there I sad I think he misses his Auntie Lareta :-D

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Windshield Wipers and Washing Machines

I can hardly believe it has been 6 months since I wrote in here!! Where has the time flown?? There has been so much happening this past while I can hardly keep up with it all. And I will play catch up but what I wanted to write about now was a memory that I had today. I was driving home and it was raining... it went from downpour to drizzling and just about everything in between. I kept changing the speed of the windshield wiper and it finally settled into the right speed. Ever have a smell or sound or something that whips you right back into childhood?? Well that was what happened to me. I was just driving in silence, didn't even have the radio on, and the sound of the wipers reminded me of the sound of my mom's wringer washer. Now if you don't know what that is, you obviously have never had the pleasure of having your fingers and or hands caught between the rollers!!! Anyway in a matter of a minute or so, I was transported to Mondays growing up. Every Monday was mom's wash day, and soup day and baking day. We used to have this small back porch attached to the house and this was where the washer and dryer was held. Not that the dryer was used very much even in the dead of winter. They weren't very energy efficient in those days so Mom only used them to barely dry them they would hang them on the clothesline and then would bring them in still damp (and frozen stiff in winters) to hang them on doorways, backs of chairs and these portable clothes lines that were everywhere. You could smell the bleach, home made detergent, the Sunlight bar soaps used to clean the colors of white shirts etc.. as well as the cold from the laundry as they thawed and finished drying in the house. I loved that scent of wash day.... and it wasn't just the detergent either... All week Mom would save all the leftovers in a container in the fridge. Sunday dinners were always a HUGE deal, a roast of some kind, beef, chicken, pork, ham etc with potatoes and several vegetables, salad, AND dessert.. always dessert.. we hardly ever got dessert so Sunday lunch was anticipated all week long. Monday morning Mom would take whatever the bone was from the roasted meet and start it simmering on the stove, just before it was ready she would add all the leftovers from the week adding some rice or pasta sometimes till it was nice and thick... So there was the scent of clean laundry....and the soup.... And the bread....oh....that was the best...they didn't have quick-rise yeast in those days so it would take all day long. I took over the job of making the bread when I got older so I know there were 15 bread pans and 8 bun pans that got filled with dough. Mom always made more then would fill the pans because for our lunch with the soup was "petit-pains"..... oh was the only time we raced home for lunch on school days....the dough would have just finished the first rising and Mom would be just taking chunks of the dough out of the bread bowl to twist into log shapes before dropping them into hot oil. It would just take a couple of minutes to fry into a golden brown..just long enough for us to race into the house and get to the table.... the soup was ready and hot and the little bread doughs were piling on the plate in the middle of the table along with all sorts of things to go on them...fresh churned butter, different home made jams, peanut butter, syrup etc... we would eat till we had to roll out from our chairs we were so full...oh but they were so goooooooooooooood! So there was the scent of clean laundry...and the soap...and the petit-pains....and then after school... The bread would just be coming out of the oven when we got home and although we couldn't touch the bread we could the buns and we would take them out of the pans while they were still so hot we had to do a "hot potato" with them in our hands trying to keep from burning our fingers...but we finally would get them smeared with anything we could get our hands on and would fill up on mom made the BEST bread and buns... ever...still does.... I don't know how on earth we ever had room in our stomachs for Monday suppers but we did.. So that was where I went today on my way home in the rain listening to the windshield wipers.... to my Moms for Monday lunch..

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 in review

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year!!

We can hardly believe it is that time of the year already! Where on earth did the time go? I remember many many years ago when I was still living at home I overheard my mom talking with some of my aunts who were over visiting, how fast time was going. All I could think of was how SLOW time was moving and how I couldn’t wait till I was done school so that I could get out in the real world to LIVE. Now I would like to be back there where our biggest problems were passing our math test and if someone was going to ask us to the school dance 

It has been a roller coaster of a year with many ups and downs through it all. But if we did not have these challenges we would never know if we were growing or not. Although I have to admit some days I would just like to pull up the blankets over my head and stay there!

Our extended family has had many blows this year. Between the two of us we have had 6 deaths due to cancer and still we have 3 more members struggling valiantly to hang on through their battle. Although we know death is a part of life in our heads our hearts aren’t always on the same page and we struggle with our grief. To top that we have had our parents being hospitalized twice each and living this far away from them has really made us feel at times we live on the other end of the planet. We ended up making 3 trips back to Sask this year which was a struggle for us both financially and physically but you do what you have to.

March saw my 3rd year of being cancer free and we celebrated once again by getting together with our children and grandchildren for a pink party! We had all these pink balloons where everyone wrote a message on it and at the right time (the time that I had the surgery) we released them in the air. Many of our family members and friends across Canada and USA did the same release where they lived at the same time frame in their zone and that meant so much to me. Then we had this big food spread that was all pink or variations of pink 

In May I did have to go back for surgery once again which was not expected. But I continue to do what I need to so I can survive. It was supposed to be a simple in and out the same day but I started hemorrhaging in the recovery room a couple of hours after the surgery and the surgeon had to be called back in to find out what was going on so had to go back into the OR. The simple became a 3 day stay.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation contacted me at the beginning of the year asking me if I would be willing to host the first Western Canada community size fund raiser Yard Sale for the Cure for them in May. I jumped at the chance to do work for them. Of course that was before I knew the extent of the work and how time consuming it was. But it was for an amazing cause and worth every second. The news stations ended up covering the event and we were very successful. We had live entertainment, live auction as well as silent auction, celebrities and of course the yard sale. It definitely was worth every sleepless night leading up to that moment!From January to October I worked hard at their events, raising money, raising awareness, standing on corners at events distributing fliers, being in the July 1st Canada Day parade, volunteer at CBCF booths throughout the year at different socials and events. It was so worthwhile and I loved every second and every pain.

In May we also had our 16th grandchild born to our family. Jazmynn Aimee Kamille. She is such a cutie! We thought for sure that would be the last baby in our family for awhile but a couple of months ago we found out our son Kim and daughter in law Mary will be expecting their next baby in the spring! We are ecstatic to say the least! We sure love being grandparents!

In August we went for our family camping trip for 10 days. It was nice to get away and just relax. We had gotten rid of our trailer last year and were back to tenting so that took getting used to. The bending to zip and unzip was getting to my lower back until Keith figured out how to do it. He is such a McGiver when it comes to inventing things. Thank goodness!

In October I did my 4th 5K Run for the Cure to raise money for the CBCF again. Keith was unable to race with me this year as he still has casts on his feet but I pushed him in a wheelchair and he was still able to complete the race with me. Did wonders for my biceps let me tell you lol.Together we did the run along with 2 very special friends Leo and Maria. I was emotionally, mentally and physically drained when we got home that day. With every step I take I see all the pink tshirts (the survivors)but I also see all the signs and people there running for those that did not survive. It always reminds me of how fragile my life is of how short it is. But through it all it reminds me of how much more I can do.

But a few days later I get an email from someone who tells me that my "exuberance" in what I had accomplished was a slap in the face in their family because a female member of their family had not survived her cancer. Talk about being brought back into reality! It tore right through me that people would think that because I was happy I was still alive and able to do the work I do I was putting others down that had not survived. Keith tried telling me to ignore it that it was their problem and what exactly had that family done in honour of that family member? I knew he was right but it was still enough for me to cancel the rest of my commitments for the rest of the year.

That month was also our 16th Annual Finding Your Roots Genealogical Seminar at our Family History Centre which I am the Director of. We had over 350 in attendance that day and workshops ranging from Beginners to Advanced Research and how to search countries from all over the world. Family history is my passion (next to my grandkids) and I thoroughly enjoy helping other people find their ancestors. I am still the Director of the Family History Centre and have been here for 5 years now.
I will be glad when this year ends though.

We went to Alberta to our son Kim’s for Christmas this year as we have not been there for 4 years. They came down 2 years ago so our turn to return the favour. We really miss being with them and their children and so we try our best to get together a couple of times a year.It was a wonderful time and it put me back on track emotionally.

Our Christmas at home the week before had had some off moments. Some family members did not attend for their reasons, others were cranky and ended up having to take a time out in their car. It put a damper on the celebrations to be sure. Keith and I had a long talk on the drive to AB. deciding if we want to continue having big family dinners and celebrations. we thought of letting our children have family dinners at THEIR house, we can show up in time to eat, visit for a short time and as soon as it is time to clean up we can leave to go home. Either that or have one family at a time. Or we can just go away by ourselves but that idea did not go over well. I am just too family oriented to be away. But there certainly has to be some changes. Sometimes a mom just likes to hear thank you, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into a family celebration.

We got back on the 27th just in time for me to go for my next surgery on the 28th. A nodule was found in my right thyroid gland. They did a biopsy a few months back and the pathology came back showing abnormal cells. They could not say for certain that the cancer has come back but because they are abnormal we are not willing to take the chance. They removed the right thyroid as well as the nodule as it was quite meshed in with the gland and they could not take the chance of accidentally nicking the nodule and letting the cells get into the blood stream if it is cancerous. This was my 10th surgery in 4 years and I tire of it. But when I think of what my alternative is I guess it is the lesser of the 2 evils.

Keith is still fighting with WCB for his work injury! It now has been 18 months since the original injury at work and a year since his knee surgery. He had another scan on the opposite knee a couple of months ago and it is showing tears in the ligaments as well. He now only has a cast on one foot but walking with one cast and one shoe puts him at a bad angle and his hip and knee on that leg really aches by end of the day. Middle age really sucks! He has filed an appeal with the court and they called a couple of days ago stating it can take up to 6 months before they decide whether or not to accept the 2nd leg injury (broken bones in foot and tears in the knee ligaments) as part of the original claim. In the meantime we have had to pay for the 2nd cast and costs etc out of our pockets. They will reimburse if they accept the claim but it does not help for now.

Our children are all well and doing pretty good. Doug is busy opening up new branches with his company which pays well but makes it hard to be home to spend time with Dallas. Eugene has just started working at one of the branches. Kim has gone back to University to get his Masters which is not always easy when you have a family. Lareta is busy being a full time mom. Jody has switched roles with his wife and is now a stay at home daddy.

All in all we are blessed in our lives. There are hiccups at times but we just see those as opportunities to grow. Keith and I are both ordinance workers at our new temple and that reminds us constantly that Christ is in charge and that it isn’t enough to have faith in Him but we need to have faith in His timing as well.

Last year I chose the song "Today I'm Going to Try and Change the World" as my "theme" for the year. The words represented how I tried to live each and every day. Treat my neighbour as I would want to be treated, tell my children I love them, live each day to the fullest. I think I did pretty good. The virtue I worked on was patience. That tested my patience no pun intended but even if I was not completely successful with it 24/7 I am better then I was the year before and will continue to use it to work through this year.

This year the song I am going to use for my theme is "Where Your Road Leads" Here are the lyrics:

I believe in miracles
I believe in signs
And I believe that mountains move
One prayer at a time

If I could be an angel
I'd make your every wish come true
But I am only human
Just a woman loving you

Where your road leads
I will follow
When your heart bleeds
I'll be there for you
When your night grows dark
And you can't find your tomorrow
Then you can follow me

Someday we'll look back and see
Our footprints in the sand
Sometimes you would carry me
And sometimes you'd be in my hands

If we can love forever
That won't be long enough for me
I want to hold you tender
Be your shelter all you need

Oh, we can be each other's guiding light
Through this long and winding life

Where your road leads
I will follow
When your heart bleeds
I'll be there for you
When your night grows dark
And you can't find your tomorrow
When you've lost sight of your dreams
Then you can follow me"

The virtue I am going to take as mine this year although it really is not a virtue at all is HOPE. I will hope that we will not lose any more family members this year; I will hope that my family dynamics can mend; I will hope that I will not need any more surgeries; I will hope that my children will set an example to their children; I will hope my grandchildren will remain strong in their faith and beliefs; I will hope that I will be a good friend to many, hope I will always be there in their time of need; I will continue to hope to be a daughter of God who is always proud of my choices.

That is my plan for 2012.