A New Year, A Lifetime of Change

January 1, 2011 was the beginning of a New Year.  I did not realize that my ‘year’ would last three.

Today is January 1, 2014.  It is traditionally the beginning of a New Year.

Thoughts, discussions, intentions and commitments for change shared. Summaries spoken and written of the year gone by.  Sentiments of regret and thankfulness for the past year or for the start of a new one expressed.

The thought of taking one year out of my life, summarizing it as a huge event and determining what the sentiments of regrets and/or what I am thankful for seems like such a small measurement of time in the 44 years I have been on this earth.  My ‘year’ is defined as a stage as opposed to a calendar year.

My last ‘year’ began in 2011.  Many events and themes which I did not want and which I thought would never happen occurred.  These events and themes have been on the front lines of my life since 2011.

My Mom and Dad gave me this coffee cup for Christmas.  When I opened it I fell in love.  It will be my ‘go to’ cup for my new ‘year’ because since I was a little girl it is who I am.

In my ‘year’ I have experienced death of a marriage, loss of a six figure income job, multiple, costly court hearings, moving 3 times, unemployed with no income for 2 years, major illness, major surgery, a sick parent, new love, the purchase of 3 houses, selling 2 houses, new job, managing a rental property, becoming engaged, living with my fiancé, moving my daughter twice back and forth to Toronto, my daughter living out of province in a remote area that provided little communication for 8 months, my son’s up’s and down’s as 20 year olds do, ‘adopting’ another son, on-line harassment for the past 2 years by my fiancé’s ex, commuting 2 hours a day, acquiring a puppy and a 4-year-old kennel dog and finally, living with Type 1 diabetes for 38 years and being a Mom of a young adult living with Type 1 diabetes.

In my ‘year’ I cried, I cursed, I have been so angry and so sad that I said things to people I didn’t mean and regret.  I made decisions that I regret.  I beat myself up daily and wish I could say and do differently in certain situations.

Why do I write this and open myself to you?  I do believe that I need to share my experiences to help others.  I have decided this is the end of this ‘year’ of events.  I want to move on.  It’s time for a new stage in my life.

Even though I feel it is time to start a new year and celebrate this, based on the events and experiences of the past 3 years I have learned some very important lessons.

1.  Change is inevitable.  Despite posts and quotes online about the fact one CAN control their life and think themselves into the perfect life, I don’t.  I can plan all I want but my plans are not God’s.  That is different then having a cup half full attitude.

2.  Acceptance creates change.  Acceptance of what I can’t control allows for freedom to focus on what’s important and what I can change.

3.  Let go, selectively.  In my life, I have experienced 3 lives.  My childhood, my first marriage with my children as a family and my current life with my fiancé Steve and blended family.  Advice is abounding, telling us that if one doesn’t let go of the past and move forward then one will never grow.  I refuse to ‘forget’ my past and ‘move forward’.  If I did that I would be letting go of the experiences my children and I have had that are important to us, good and bad.  My past has made me and my children who we are today.  When I dwell on a moment and it creates an emotion, I have learned that it is time to decide why I am dwelling on it.  What is the lesson?  How can I use that moment for my present life?  I believe past and present are a marriage which promotes personal growth.

4.  Always know there is a Plan B.  I am a dreamer.  Dreams come true.  Dreams stay dreams.  When the dreams don’t come true, know there is another way or leave it as a dream.  Not all dreams come true.

5.  It is okay not to be spontaneous.  Spontaneity is fun and I will always be a spontaneous person.  BUT, I have learned that when I really think I have a brilliant idea I want to carry out NOW, it’s time to step back and give it 48 hours.  I have a team of people I trust that I consult with.  I get their thoughts which gives me a different perspective which allows me to make the right choice.

6.  Be thankful everyday.  After I think of all the people and ‘things’ in my life, I imagine all of those that are less fortunate than me.  Those that are lonely, abused, destitute, unloved, sick, dying and sad. I have met those living in such circumstances and they are thankful for what they have.  They have a ‘cup half full’ attitude.  I ask myself, what reason do I have to think my life is anything less than abundantly blessed?  What reason do I have to express less than a ‘cup half full’ attitude?

7.  Act on it.  What I have learned in my past ‘year’ is by delaying action on deadlines not only causes inconveniences for others but consequences for many levels of mine and my loved ones life.  I have learned in this ‘year’ that the stress I have caused over the years by choosing to delay the demands of life has been far more painful than acting on it right away.

8.  Move.  From 1992 to 2011 I have taken very good care of my body by moving.  Through various sports and activities I kept myself well and in good shape.  In this ‘year’ I have put that on hold.  I conjured up many excuses as to why it was okay not to keep the commitments I made to my body.  I am only blessed with one body.  I may think it feels good to sit around and relax after all of the stress is laid before me instead of moving but after a few years my body has sent me a very different message.  I am re-learning that if I move my face glows, I sleep better, my muscles ache from stressing them from movement, they become stronger, my thoughts flow easier, my mood is brighter, my motivations increases.

9.  Try to keep it simple.  Living in this day in age is so complex. I’m learning in this ‘year’ it’s okay to let go of what isn’t important.  It’s okay to do nothing.  It’s okay to not always be thinking about something.  It’s okay to turn off the radio in the car and have it silent.  It’s okay not to worry.

10.  Love.  Don’t let past experiences stop you from falling (in love) again.  It feels so good AND yes it hurts sometimes.  And some loves that are no longer will cause sadness to the end of time OR until you cross paths again.  Don’t hold grudges over past loves unless you are committed to change it, they don’t know you are.  It only takes up space in your mind and robs your energy.

11.  Own a hairy or furry pet that is not nocturnal.  I have always had dogs and cats in my life.  In February 2011 I had to leave my dog behind but took mine and my children’s 3 cats.  I thought that would be enough.  It was not the case.  In October 2012 we brought 8 week old Samson into our lives.  In May 2013 4 1/2 year old Belle became the newest addition to our Samoyed husky family.  With 4 cats & 2 dogs our home can be a hairy circus but the personalities and activities that entertain us every day keeps us laughing and counters the work involved.  I can feel the stress leave my body as I see their excited faces looking for me as I ascend the steps to enter through the door returning home.  As I walk into the house and see their ‘smiles’ I feel an overflow of joy swell up within me by their unconditional greetings.  As I pet or hug one of our pups any stress I have experienced melts.

This is my ‘year’ in summary.  These are the lessons I have learned.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.  I open my arms to the events that will unfold and the lessons that will be re-enforced as well as the new ones I will learn.

Happy New Year and Cheers to you and yours, Tracy

Home Away from Home


Home Away from Home

Everybody needs a holiday
Everybody needs a holiday
Everybody needs a holiday

Close your eyes
And hit the sack
While your asleep
I`ll watch your back
Grab a chair
Have a seat
I`ve got the wheel
Rest your feet

I`ll stand guard
And keep the wolves at bay
Watch the fire
While you dream away
Earned a rest
I know you worked all day
I know
And everybody needs a holiday

Take a break
Shake that frown
What`s going down
Spare a thought
While you sit
And admit

I`ll stand guard
And keep the wolves at bay
Watch the fire
While you dream away
Earned a rest
I know you worked all day
I know
And everybody needs a holiday….

(taken from the lyrics & song by B.a.d. Big Audio Dynamite – Everybody Needs A Holiday)

My home is everything I have dreamed of since I can remember. My home has the characteristics of another era, a history that is rich. We have considerately and lovingly decorated it to portray the past but accommodate for the present. Colours on the walls are thoughtfully placed and abundant.

Friends and family come into our home and comment how warm and cozy it is. They express that they become so relaxed once they sit down they don’t want to leave.

With the comforts and reprieve of our home are also the stresses of outside forces attempting to penetrate the walls of where we find peace. With social media now at our finger tips and its essential use to promote career, the loosening of boundaries as far as working from home and the blurred lines of when work begins or ends, taking a holiday is essential for health and well-being.

Blessings abound when it comes to vacation options. We have a dear friend who has a home 45 minutes from ours. The picture posted is a brief glimpse of his beautiful abode. This earthy, eclectic, rustic home sits on 200 acres with trails, pond, cabin and a lake. We are so blessed as we are welcome anytime.

This weekend we decided to go on a holiday. With food, drink, dog and warm clothes packed, we headed to our home away from home. We ate, drank, walked, snowmobile, gathered wood, took pictures, shared stories, ideas, laughs and learnings. We go there and we feel like we are worlds away. The stress melts.

We are returning this week for a few days. The sap will be flowing from the maple trees and its time to make syrup.

Although it was so good to walk in the front door of our home and take it all in, I look forward to staying at our home away from home again.

Parenting a Child/Teenager with Type 1 Diabetes


Parenting a Child/Teenager with Type 1 Diabetes

Throughout the years, I have half heartedly joked with my son, Kurtis, that he is fortunate he was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 7. I would kid that at least he had 2 more years living without diabetes than me. Sounds morbid, I know.

I liken my diabetes humour to the sense of humour nurses have. Those outside of the profession hear some of their jokes and furrow their brows wondering how it could be funny at all. Being a nurse and working in a variety of settings, one of them being Critical Care, I can say that the humour is a coping mechanism. My earlier tease with Kurtis is the same.

As with any parent who has raised a child with diabetes, I could write you a book on what has and hasn’t happened through the past 12 years. Throughout the book, there would be similar, repetitive phrases of how difficult it has been, how many times I have stood over my baby, watching him peacefully sleeping wishing, praying he never had diabetes or that at the least there was a cure.

The book would have chapters of trying to create a life as near to normal throughout his childhood, pre-teen and teen years. How daily he was told he could do anything he wanted to. There would be stories of his anger, temper tantrums, confusion…intermittent emotions every child has, but playing the sleuth, trying to determine whether he was just being Kurtis or his diabetes had set his emotions on roller coaster.

As you would read further it would speak to how hard it is to step back, take a breathe and know that at that moment this is not the child you know. Understanding that at that moment, I need to show him more love and compassion then what I thought were required of a parent. To acknowledge his feelings of being out of control while teaching him that these feelings and outbursts are a red flag to check in and see what needs to be looked after. To empower him to be able to look after it, some day independently.

One of the chapters would speak of setting the alarm every night for worry that he will go low in the night. The one night I take a break, needing one good night sleep, I find him the next morning unresponsive, lifeless. Hours later in the hospital I thank God that He kept him with me to care for a little while longer.

With many chapters yet to be written, I hope that Kurtis will finish this book with the happy ending of a cure.

In the meantime, I worry daily about Kurtis. He is 19. He thinks he knows what his blood sugar is by how he feels. He never tests. I am thankful he takes his insulin but not consistently. I wish he was younger. I want to tell him what to do and how to do it. I am terrified he will end up with complications or worse, not wake up one morning.

As I reflect on these past years, I have to remind myself that I did exactly what he did. I was a teen living with diabetes and thought the same way he does. Since his diagnosis I have taught him what he needs to know. There came a point in my life when I knew I had to shape up or pay the price. I pray that Kurtis comes to the point too. Sooner than later.