Saturday, December 16, 2017

The calm before the storm

Hey, you've retired or you are thinking of retiring?  It's OK. Everything is fine. You've always been guided. Friends and family are watching you and you are still adored. You've made great stuff happen when you were working,  and you will make more great stuff happen again in retirement. 

You've changed lives. You've changed your own. You've moved mountains and done the impossible. You've been scared and you overcame. You've been knocked down and you rose back up. And you've been lost, or so you thought, only to discover it was just the calm before another storm of creativity, love, and fun.

The decision to retire is the calm before the storm, enjoy as another storm of creativity, love and fun descends on you.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Life is precious but fleeting.

I am on Facebook and belong to a group of people who graduated with me many years ago. Every now and then they post pictures and now updates on those who have left us and their loved ones. I just read a post that surprised me and I am not sure what to think.  The blog started "it is with sad news that I must tell everyone that has been a part of our lives, that I have now decided to join my mom in heaven may my experience with everyone be my eternal gratitude and please give my condolences to" and goes on to talk about the celebration of life planned for this person

In Canada assisted death is legal and has been for a while, and there have been stories in the paper and I have read and thought about the people and the tough decisions they had to make to end their life. All of these people have been strangers to me, this person and their story are closer to home. I went to school with this person from grade four to grade twelve and then I left and lost contact them and most, if not all, of my high school cohort. I still remember them as they were in high school. I, of course, was surprised when I saw the same people at our high school reunions.

I read the obituary and found out that this person had been in palliative care for a while and that they had a full and wonderful life. Their motto of life reflected the person that I remembered from elementary and junior high school. "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift" Another favourite saying was: "Stop worrying so much. Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy."

I don't know all of this person's story in the last few years of their life, but I understand their decision to die. I do understand and empathize with those who feel that the battle is too great and that the only way out of their suffering is to end their life. I do sense from the obituary and the comments that this person had many friends and loved ones who will miss her, but agree with her decision.

I will not be attending the Celebration of Life as it conflicts with another on the same date, but I do send my sympathy to this person and their family and loved ones in this time of grief.

My friends and I talked about the announcement coming out on Facebook and our only hope is that we do not see more of these special announcements. Life is precious but fleeting.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Do you believe in Santa?

My grandson is approaching the age where many children start to doubt that Santa is real. It is a tough time for any child who has been told all his/her life that Santa is a real person. Our belief system function to keep us sane, if not safe. Our parents tell us that Santa is real, and we trust and believe our parents. Yet, as we start to expand our sense of the world, and create and gain new friends, some older then we are, we learn new things. One of the things we learn from our ever-widening circle of friends is that some of them do not believe Santa is real. Our friends in an effort to help us understand the world tell us that Santa is not real and Santa is really our parents.
But our belief system is strong, and we know our parents can be trusted to tell us the truth and so when we ask we are told that, yes Santa is real.
My grandson came home and said to his mom, "I have three friends that tell me they don't believe in Santa, but they believe in God. What the heck is up with that?  I told them that I believe in Santa, but I don't believe in God."
His Mom asked, "Why?"
His response, "When we were in Canada, we went to Grouse Mountain, and I saw the real Santa. Also, Santa brings me presents, and I have never seen God, and God has never given me a present." Seven-year-old logic.
My grandson had been to Canada a few times and when he was five, we had gone to the Xmas celebration at the top of Grouse Mountain called The Peak of Christmas as part of that experience, we went for a sleigh ride, and visited Santa's workshop in the snow, and he got to see Santa in his workshop. It was a magical experience for all of us, and he still believes he saw the real Santa in his workshop.
My grandson lives in Australia and Xmas is usually pretty hot, we were there one year and it was 40 degrees Celsius (104 for my American friends) on Xmas day. Seeing Santa in his workshop and walking through the snow to get to the workshop, makes Santa more believable. One day he will catch up to his friends and lose the belief that Santa is real, but my hope is that he keeps the spirit of Xmas. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when people give freely to others and to those in need. This giving is part of the Xmas spirit which sadly only comes on some at this time of year but should be with us all year. Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Support your local Food Bank

When I was a  Director of SHARE FAMILY SERVICES I was and I still am proud of the work the organization is -doing in the Tri-Cities and would like to share the following with you. When I was on the Board, my goal was to eliminate our funding of the FoodBank but the demand just kept growing. This year is no different,  I was hoping that this year the demand for our food bank would be less than in previous years, it is not, the demand is higher. We need your help and support to continue. Please help

SHARE FAMILY SERVICES is well into its seasonal funding raising drive.  So I want to get the word out that the people who use this services need your support.  If you live in another area of the lower mainland or the country, and you can contribute to your local Food Bank and your local charities, I would encourage you to do so.

I plan to continue to contribute this year through monthly payments.  You can also choose to make a one-time donation to the food bank, to purchase a Christmas hamper or to fund other items for families in need.  Thank you in advance for supporting your neighbours who need your support.

For many of us, December is a month of festive events, fond childhood memories, happy get-togethers and warm feelings. But for over 2,200 children and their families in the Tri-Cities area, December is a time of year that is filled with disappointment and sadness because they can’t put food on the table and don’t have the resources to enjoy the season. 

Thanks to generous donors, SHARE has been able to help families in need enjoy the holiday season since 1972. Last year alone over 1,773 families received Christmas hampers, 1,722 children received toys through the Toy Bank, and throughout the year 2,859 families were fed through the Food Bank. This is a reminder that we still need your help and hope you will consider being even more generous than in the past as we try to keep pace with increasing needs in the Tri-cities.

As you read this message consider your own community and those who need your help and if you can support the food bank in your town or city.

Every year, the foodbank count on fundraising and food raising in December to help us get through until the spring. While we will not have final numbers for the amount of food and funds that we have raised until January, we know that our efforts have simply not been able to keep up with the demand that we have been seeing. 

Even though we reduced the size of our Christmas hampers this year, we are still far short of the food and funds we need to put food on the shelves of the Food Bank in January. As most of you know, our Food Banks do not receive government funding…we are able to deliver these services only through the generous donations we receive from the Tri-cities community and the thousands of hours of volunteer time we receive from hundreds of caring people.

We need to generate significantly more donations in the next few days. At this point, donations of funds are preferred to donations of food, as funds allow us to act quickly to make appropriate food purchases. I would appreciate it if you would consider a donation and forward this message to others who might also be willing to help the children and families we serve with our food bank. 

For those of you who have already made a donation, please forgive this appeal and accept our sincere thanks. If you could forward this message to others who might be able to help, we would sincerely appreciate it.

SHARE has a long history of finding a way to help when and where help is needed the most and this is certainly one of those times.

Thank you for your consideration and help at this time of year.