As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ramblings and Tidbits

I'm going to take my cue from my son James and just ramble on about anything that comes to mind tonght.

What a week, you know what it's like, you're off for a week, and you have a months worth of work to catch up on.......all of the paving on the Deerfoot is driving me nuts, I can't wait until the speed limit goes back from 80km to 110km........weird weather today. 30 degrees Monday, 25 yesterday and only 12 today. Brrrrrr..........I'm glad I was at my office at the Children's Village today. It was quiet, no crises........back in Ontario, when a group of cows lie down, they say it's going to rain. That doesn't happen here, they're always standing.........Kevin & Wanda are back from their trip to Newfie. Sounds like they had a wonderful time. I have to give them a call.......Bruce has been sick since Monday. It's a cold that has settled in his head and chest. It's not like him to be sick so long.......I like watching the cloud formations here. They are huge, and at times it seems like you can reach up and touch them.......I have to call Liz over the next couple of days. I really miss her.......called James this morning. I really miss him........Bruce talked to Kevin today. He's been working the graveyard shift. I need to call Jenn too.........talked to Mom today. She and Dad are probably coming out for the month of November. Bruce & I will get to spend some quality time with them. I'm going to take another week off while they are here.......I think I'll save the rest of my holidays (about 3 days) and tack it onto Christmas. I actually have not had time off at Christmas in about 9 years. It will be year I'll take a solid 2 weeks off at once. I haven't done that in along year's major holiday will be wrapped around Jason & Alyson's wedding........the long weekend is coming up. I should be able to get some quality time on my research.......oh, did I forget to tell you Jason and Alyson are engaged (gotcha!). He called last night. He proposed Monday night......they are both at Nationals right now, which is where they met 3 years ago. He wanted to propose someplace significant for both of them......he shared with me when they were here that he was going to propose. If he has his way, they will be married very shortly after their graduations......they will need to sit down and look at everything however and talk things over with her parents. When we have details, we will let you know......yes we are good with this. Alyson is good for Jason. She keeps him grounded, yet lets him be who he is.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Been & Gone

Wow, it's hard to believe one week has come and gone. Jason and Alyson arrived last Sunday, they were here until Saturday and have now returned to Ontario for Nationals. We had a great week, very active with things to do every day. On Monday, Bruce & Jason went golfing (Jason beat Bruce by 1 stroke...........Jason was happy, Bruce wasn't....haha!). Alyson and I went to Bragg Creek, a little town on the edge of the Kananaskis Mountains. We had coffee at a cute little coffee shop, did some shop hopping, then went hiking for a bit along the Bow River in the provinicial park. Tuesday we all went to Heritage Park. Even Bruce enjoyed it. We are going to go back again for their Christmas celebrations. On Wednesday we went white water rafting. On Thursday, Bruce & Jason went golfing again, this time Bruce won..............payback. On Friday we went to Banff for the day and on Friday night we dropped into see Stephen & Gayle & the kids. Here are some of the pictures. There is one more film to come back with the Heritage Park and Banff pictures.

Now we've had 2 of our kids out to stay for a bit, all we have to do is wait for James to return from Korea..............we miss you James!

PS: for those who are wondering, I made it all week without a call to or from work. I did go into my email, BUT only to check and see if James emailed me (at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Bruce doing what he does best when family is around (Yummy!)

Alyson sitting along the Bow River in Bragg Creek Provincial Park

Kicking Hrose River in BC where we went rafting. The river was really low. When we went with Jenn & Kevin in May, the river was so high that all the rapids had been upgraded to a higher level. The third portion of the river was closed, as it was to dangerous. In May, the grassy area in the middle of the picture was totally submerged. This time, we did the portage to the third portion so we could get to the bigger rapids like we experienced last time. We had all types of weather, clouds, rain, mist and sun. It was cool seeing the clouds part way up the mountains as in this picture.

Jason & Alyson on the river. There was one point where they were in the river. There is a spot where anyone who wanted to swim the upcoming rapids could jump out. I think Alyson & Jason were the first ones to do so. Bruce & I stayed in the boat to be the designated "pull everyone into the boat" people.

Taking a break before the second leg (I know, we look gorgeous in those suits don't we!)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Three Sisters

This is The Three Sisters. It is a mountain located in the town of Canmore, which is about an hour to the west of Calgary. On a clear day, I can see its outline from my office window. Yesterday, we drove by it on our way to Golden BC. Every time I see this mountain, it reminds me of my sisters, who we are, who we have become and our relationship with each other.

This is The Three Sears Sisters. Cathy is at the back, I am in the middle, and Barb is in front. We are close in age. I am 1 1/2 years older than Cathy and Cathy is 2 years older than Barb (Mom had two more in there as well, one older than me and one in between Cathy & Barb................busy, or should I say, crazy lady!).

Like the Three Sisters mountain peaks, Cathy, Barb and I are different in many ways. I was the rebellious one, the one who always had to test my faith, was greatly influenced by my peers, took big risks, and at times was not the nicest of people. As such, I did many things that I am not proud of today, yet I learned a great deal from those mistakes. Cathy and Barb on the other hand always had a firm faith and set up supports for themselves for those times when their faith was shaken. They had the respect of their peers and the adults around them. I have always admired them for their ability to make it through their teenage years with such a firm faith.

With the three Sears Sisters, there are also three very distinctive personalities. I think Cathy wraps it up really well with the way we "embrace" the start and end of the day. Cathy has always been the one to jump out of bed early and says "Good Morning World". Barbara quietly rolls over, quietly gets out of bed and goes about her day. I roll over and look the world straight in the face and say "Go Away, Leave Me Alone!". At night however it is totally opposite. Cathy crashes and burns early, while Barb keeps going until she feels she's had enough then bids her goodbyes. For me, the night time is when I get my best work done. I often wonder where everyone has gone at night, after all, it's time to party isn't it?

Another way we are different is in how we have arrived at where we are today. Cathy always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was always going to be a teacher, which she now is. I remember day in and day out when we were little, when deciding what we wanted to play, Cathy always wanted to play "School", and always wanted to be the teacher. Barb on the other hand, was the one to quietly sit back and go along with the flow based on what she saw happenning around her. She would play school, and would always be the pupil. She carefully thought things through before a decision was made. After careful consideration, she obtained her college diploma to work with and advocate for those with developmental delays. She has been a stay at home mom for a many years now and those skills truly have come in handy. I was different in my own way. I wanted to be a teacher, no, I wanted to missionary, no, I wanted to be a Doctor, no, I wanted to be the boss of a corporation, no, I wanted to work with the developmentally challenged, get the gist of it. I have ended up bouncing around in my career somewhat as well, however as I look back in retrospect, each has lead to the next and to where I am now.

I have over the years come to greatly admire and respect both of my sisters for many reasons. Cathy, as I stated is a teacher, and I think I can say with complete objectivity that she is one of the best there is (I worked in the classroom as a behaviour specialist for over 8 years and have seen the best and the worst). She can mesmorize a group of kids and the drop of a hat with little effort. Kids see her as fun, and as a result learn easily, yet they always know there is a line you do not cross. I worked in the same Board as she did for many years, and everytime someone spoke of her, it was with the utmost respect and admiration for what she does and how she does it. She is also the favorite Aunt to all her many neices and nephews, and is a great support to each of them. My children have been truly blessed by the gift of her time and of herself.

Barbara is one of the best mothers I know. For those who have read her blog, she has had some challenges. She has three beautiful, wonderful, bright, mischeivous boys. She has ensured she is a very involved mother who is always there for each of her boys. Her oldest son has a non verbal learning disability, which affects his ability to interpret and react in social situations. This has lead to some difficult times, as he has been bullied and austricized by other children, and I am sad to say, at times, by some adults. Barb has been like a mother lion, defending her son when appropriate, all the while teaching him how to take responsibility for himself and his actions. She has ensured the schools are fully educated around the needs of children with this type of learning disability (yes children, she does not just think of her own son when doing this), has ensured her son has the supports he needs, and will hunt down supports for him when it appears non are available. I saw my nephew last month for the first time since I moved to Calgary last year. He is now 16. He has become a very mature and introspective young man with an incredibly kind heart. Without Barb as his mother, he would not be where he is today. In my work with behaviourally challenged children, over and over again I saw what happened when parents gave up or blamed everyone else for their child's difficulty. By the time they were my nephews age, many had been "written off" by teachers, family and society. Barb has ensured this has not and will not happen to her son. Although the journey has been a challenge, he is and will continue to be a success story. Barb is an example to me as a mother.

Although we are different in many ways, Cathy, Barb and I are also alike in many ways. We all love scrapbooking, and if I must say so myself, although we each have our own distinctive styles, we are all quite good at it. We all love music, especially brass. Each of us like sports of some sort. We each love to laugh, and each have a good sense of humour. Each of us also have a very deep faith in God which we rely on to guide us through life. That faith is at the very core of who we are. Along with our faith comes a very deep sense of family. We are not a "sit in your lap" type of family, but boy, when the chips are down, we are there for each other. I have a saying "do what you want to me, I can handle it.................BUT...............DON'T your dare touch my family!" It is also very evident when we are passionate about something. We will not give an inch, and we make sure people know where we stand. We are each competative in our own way, and none of us like to be "wrong". On the other hand, in many ways, each of us is somewhat shy, especially in situations that are new to us. Each of us is uncomfortable in new situations and take our time to assess and determine how we will fit it. This would surprise people who see us together and/or with the rest of our family, as we can be quite "boisterous" to say the least.

I have come to realize over the past year that my sisters and I are like The Three Sisters mountain in Canmore. We are totally unique and distinct in our own right, just like the three peaks. We are however inseparable, just like those three peaks. We are tied together and will always be tied together not just by blood and a family line, but also by respect and by love. Although there is now a geographical distance, that love and respect will never change!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


This is what my day what my week this past my month this past month has been at work. All my deadlines for our Board of Directors are toast, as there have been so many crises that I've had to tend I haven't started any required reports, let alone address some of the other necessary paper work. Now, I am not stupid with stuff like this, I have asked that a request go through to get an extension of deadlines. I'm not about to spend 24 hrs a day working just so paper work can get done, AND as far as I'm concerned, crises with clients and staff MUST be prioritized. The only thing I do want to say about it all is VERY FUNNY GOD..............yes I know I can handle it, BUT.......enough's enough already!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for me at the end of this week however...................I am taking a week's holidays 'cause my son Jason and his girlfriend Alyson are coming to visit.............YEAH! Now, I have made a promise to myself, and to Bruce and Jason and Alyson, my cell phone will be off and I will NOT go into my work email. I have told everyone at work that I will be totally unreachable and have ensured they know who to call for what type of crisis. So, 1 more day, that's it (well, not quite, I am going in for a PR thing on Sat, but I will take time at the other end), then it's Joanne time with her family. I CAN'T WAIT!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


My brother David has recently done some postings on "gems" in his life. He has challenged each of his siblings to do the same. I have spent a great deal of time over the past week thinking on this. Although there are a some wonderful people I deem to be "gems" in the sense that my brother outlines, I would have to disagree with the statement that I might be surprised at the number of "gems" God has placed in my life. Quite the opposite, there are relatively few outside of my family (I see my family, husband, children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles & cousins to be my most precious gems of all). It's not that I am a negative person, quite the opposite, as I have posted in the past, I see everything in life from the "glass is half full" perspective. As a matter of fact, I am such an optomist, I drive many people in my life (especially my staff) a little crazy at times. I am however also a realist.

When I look back over my life, I see many situations where negative events have happened, and how they have shaped me to become a positive and very strong person. I believe that God, in his almighty wisdom, recognizes what an individual needs to shape and mold them into mature beings. I have always needed a "baseball bat to the head", and that's what God has provided me. Many circumstances I have shared with no one save Bruce, as I am loathe to ruin anyone's reputation or disrupt what was or is otherwise a good family. In most of these situations, the individual recognized what they had done was truly wrong and in their own way made amends. Don't get me wrong though, if I had EVER thought any of these individuals were a threat to someone else, I would have spoken out at the drop of a hat.

Some of the situations I can and am willing to share are as follows:

Although I always loved music camp at Jackson's Point, there were many years where I was bullied by other girls in the cabin (many times, I was "attacked" in my bed after dark, water thrown on me, full pop cans thrown at me etc). Any time I spoke up about it to counsellors, I was told things like "if you didn't act like a geek, it wouldn't happen." I remember as a 12 year old thinking to myself, that when I grew up, I would always listen when a child told me they were being bullied, and be their advocate.

It was one thing to be taunted by other children at school for being so thin, but it was another to be put down by adults at church week in and week out. Although every teenage girl looks at themself sometimes and sees themself as an ugly duckling, those put downs made me bound and determined to always like myself just for who I am, not based on what others say (thanks Mom, you were a good example of that for me).

While working at camp, I was cornered by a group of boys who began to grope me (don't ask me why, 'cause at that time there was nothing to grope!). I lashed out and scratched a few chests. I decided right then and there I would NEVER allow anyone, man or woman, to abuse me in any way shape or form and would always stand up for myself.

In my rebellious teenage years, I dreaded coming to the corps. This was because there was an individual who would "hunt" me down every time they saw me and say things like "You are a bad girl, look what you are doing to your parents" or "you need to get to that mercy seat right now and confess, you are a disgrace!" (funny, my parents never said or indicated anything of the sort, so why would someone else). My vow to myself was that I would NEVER call a child bad, only outline that their behaviour was inappropriate and then set an appropriate example for them. I also vowed that I would teach my own children (ya, as rebellious as I was, I wanted kids) that they needed to look at themselves and determine for themselves what their relationship with God needed to be, that no matter what they did, God would always love them and would be there waiting for them.

I do not feel mared in any way by these and other circumstances. I thank God for them, and for the ability to see how He has used these as my "baseball bats to the head" as I have learned life lessons. He has tempered them with the few "gems" who have been and some of whom are still in my life. Posts on them to come in the near future.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Picture Forthcoming

OK one and all....................due to all the questions about WHAT ARE HAIRY BALLS, I will get someone from the office to get a picture of these hairy balls hanging from my face some time next week and post it.