Gifts From The Heart

This year I tried something different for Christmas. Everyone felt the need to work a tighter budget than usual. This provided an opportunity to get creative. It was important to me that everyone’s gifts were personal, memorable, and heartfelt. There are 3 gifts I was exceptionally proud of. I couldn’t wait for them to be unwrapped and received. I’d like to share these gifts with you.

For my sister, I wanted to gift her with a reminder of just how awesome she truly is. I purchased a beautiful, deep, white cup from the dollar store and wrote all over it with a black Sharpie. I wrote things that would make her laugh, things that would touch her heart, I wrote about the things that make her so perfectly her. Then I baked it at 350 for half an hour. I let it cool and filled it with kisses.

She loved it πŸ™‚

My husband chose my sister-in-law in our gift exchange draw. We came up with two great gift ideas for her. She loves outdoorsy decor. Curtis cut a tree branch the size of coasters. He sanded them down, varnished them, and Voila! We had a beautiful set of wooden coasters!

She also had suffered a loss, there was someone she loved dearly who was spending their Christmas in Heaven. I tracked down a picture of her loved one, printed it on tissue paper and glued it to a candle. It was beautiful but missing something. I placed the candle into a vase and filled the bottom of that vase with episome salts. To add a little bling, I added small shiny Christmas ornaments into the vase. Nothing overpowering. Simplicity was key. I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out.Β 

And I couldn’t have been happier with the result. She loved it. It touched her heart ❀

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…” Dr Seuss

Β 

Welcome to our Winter Wonderland!

Every year my husband turns our backyard into a Winter Wonderland. A place where people get lost in the beauty of winter. A little winter paradise. At least that’s how it feels for me πŸ™‚ Allow me to take you on a little tour…

Our home is surrounded by trees. Our backyard is a miniature forest. The ground slopes from one side to the other. This makes a near perfect sliding hill. Because of it’s length, it’s a great ride – not too short, not too long. The trail on one side was made to wind a bit so the walk up is perfect. Walking up a steep hill is a chore. This walk feels more like a stroll. At night, the length of the hill is lit up with Christmas lights. It’s enchanting….there’s no other word. At the top of the hill, there are benches surrounding a fire pit. When you sit on the benches, you feel the warmth of fire, bask in the beauty of the snow, and all you can hear is children laughing and shouting as they slide. All you can hear is the sound of kids being kids.

A short stroll from the bottom of the hill is where you would find my husbands work shed. Inside the shed is a wood stove that is always just a little too warm and at the same time just right on a cold winter’s night. Hot chocolate, warm pot luck meals, cookies, and sweets are often found there too. Let us not forget the music!

This is the place we like to spend our winter evenings. This is the place where memories are created. It is the place where I feel most at home because there is no “real world” out there. It is a place that is so easy to lose myself in. Everyone loses their sense of time. Everyone is a kid on the hill.

There is no where else in the world I’d rather be than right there, with my friends, my family, all the children, and our dog, River.

I don’t know that my husband knows exactly what it is he creates or how much it really means to me. I know he knows it makes me happy πŸ™‚

Here’s to another season of memories πŸ™‚ May your winter be filled with love, laughter, good friends and good times πŸ™‚

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – Forgiveness

Featuring artwork by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Featuring artwork by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Dearest Love,

Forgiveness is one of life’s most difficult lessons. Unfortunately, it also happens to be a lesson you will probably continue learning throughout your entire life.

I’ve struggled with this lesson for a long time. This is what I’ve learned about forgiveness; forgiveness isn’t about forgetting. It doesn’t even have to be about reconciling. Forgiveness is simply letting go of your hurt, your anger or your resentment toward another. Forgiveness sets you free.

Holding on to bitterness and resentment may eventually result in dis-ease. You owe it to yourself and those you love to forgive. Don’t get discouraged. This lesson takes a lot of practice. Once you get the hang of it, you will feel your soul smile. You have my word.

Keep in mind that sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself.

You make my soul smile.

Love Mom xo

Tomorrow, June 26th 2013 is the official launch date for Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo, Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer. For more information and a list of gifts offered, or to place your order please visit the Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo website.

Thank you so much for sharing in this journey with me. As readers, you are the reason that I continue to write. ❀ Love, Sandy

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – Embrace Your Uniqueness

Image

Featuring art by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Dear Love,

You were born with special qualities and traits. It’s so important to love and accept every part of yourself as a valuable contribution to what makes you so wonderfully you. No one else can be you better than you can!

You were born exactly the way you are to learn the lessons and achieve the miracles that only you can.

Embrace your uniqueness!

Loving you just as you are, forever.

Love Mom xo

On June 26th, Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo will celebrate it’s official launch. Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer.

In honor of this most exciting event, I will be sharing with you a letter from Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo every day from now until then. If what you read touches your heart, I encourage you to please share it with others ❀

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – The First Letter

On June 26th, Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo will celebrate it’s official launch. Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer.

In honor of this most exciting event, I will be sharing with you a letter from Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo every day from now until then. If what you read touches your heart, I encourage you to please share it with others ❀

Heart Painter

My Dear Child,

I want you to know that your life has made a remarkable difference in mine.

You’ve touched my life in ways that I can’t explain. I’ve learned more from you than I’ve learned from anyone or anything else in this world. You are a true gift.

Make no mistake; I am not the only one who feels this way. I’m proud to say I’ve seen you touch many people’s lives in many different ways and you’ve been doing it since the day you were born.

I am honored to call you my child.

Always by your side,

Love Mom xo

Where it all began: The Making of A Book That Broke My Heart

Marriage Is No Fairytale

marriageI have been married for 14 years. Yes, to the same man! We were 23 years old on our wedding day. We were so in love, we couldn’t get enough of each other. He was my best friend, and I was his.

Truth: At 23 years old, I didn’t have a clue what a marriage really was…and at 37, I still find myself struggling to figure it out sometimes.

In the beginning, our marriage was bliss. Although we never went away on a honeymoon, every day felt like one πŸ™‚ And then reality set in. I don’t even know how it happened. As it turned out, the man who had the power to make my day with a simple smile also had the power to anger me to the point where I felt like a clip from the exorcist. And me, the woman who could jumpstart his heart with a look,Β  I had somehow learned to make his head spin a time or two as well. It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are both around today to tell the tale, there were days we could have happily killed each other.

It was a humbling lesson, but what I realized during the early years of our marriage was how very little I actually knew about myself and my husband. As I grew and changed, Curtis grew andΒ  changed. We once seemed to have so much in common, and then it felt like we had nothing in common. He drove me nuts and I drove him equally nuts. How we survived, I don’t know. Sometimes I felt like he didn’t know me at all, and yet there were still days when I felt like he knew me better than I knew myself.

Here’s what 14 years of marriage has taught me…

Marriage is not a fairytale. It’s an adventure, a journey, a true test of patience and love. Marriage is about constantly exploring and rediscovering each other. It’s about falling in love over and over again. It’s about learning to ride the waves of chaos together. It’s not about following rules in a book, or taking advice that worked for someone else, it’s about figuring out what works for us in our marriage. It’s about finding joy in and for each other as individuals as well as together as partners.

My being a dreamer drove my realist, grounded husband insane. The other day I asked him if he wouldn’t prefer to find someone more stable like him (someone he often begs me to be), he reflected, laughed and said “no, after being with you, that would be too boring”.

I used to look at his realist personality as restrictive, now I see that it’s this part of him that keeps me grounded. His stability also allows him to be the provider he is to this family.

I love my husband more deeply today than I ever have. This past year has been my favorite as husband and wife. We have learned to appreciate each other for all that we are; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We may finally have this whole marriage thing down to an art πŸ˜‰ Here’s to the next 14 years πŸ™‚

My Child is My Hero – His Journey With An Invisible Disease

cjI can’t tell you how much it hurts my heart when people judge what they clearly know nothing about. As many of you know, my son CJ was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis two years ago when he was only 9 years old. The journey with this disease hasn’t been easy, especially for CJ.

CJ is an active kid. He loves to run around, ride his bike, and push his limits every chance he gets. The kid’s a spitfire. He just doesn’t stop. When he first started complaining about pain, we didn’t take him seriously. “I can’t take out the garbage, my feet are too sore”, “I don’t want to go to school, my legs are sore”. When it came to “I don’t think I can go to Taekwondo tonight, my wrists are really sore” we started to wonder what was going on. I’m ashamed to admit “Oh CJ, you’re fine once you get there, suck it up and let’s get going” came out of my mouth more than once. He never complained when I said it, he showed up every time. I often wonder if there are other children and parents who go through the same thing without a single thought that something more serious than ‘laziness’ might be going on.

CJ’s likely had Arthritis his whole life, he’s just learned to live with the pain as ‘normal’. When he shows up and gives his 100% at school, in sports, and on outings, he does so in spite of the pain. As he says “my body might be hurting but I’d rather that than miss out on the fun”. Each day is different. Sometimes the pain is barely there, sometimes his joints just don’t work so well, and sometimes the pain is severe. When he has a flare up (as long as it’s not too severe), it will usually only last a few hours if he stays off his feet, doesn’t use his wrist or whatever joint is causing pain that day. Using his crutches helps with a speedier recovery. He won’t use his crutches anymore though. He suffers through the pain, even if it’s worsened and prolonged because he doesn’t get treated the same when he uses them. People aren’t so nice when he’s got his crutches. They aren’t so nice when he complains of pain. Arthritis is invisible and is therefore often misunderstood. The judgements just don’t come from the kids in school, a great many come from the adults in his life as well. “Big faker” gets tossed around a lot. “Milking it” does too. “He’s smiling, he’s fine” they say. “He only uses his crutches for a bit then leaves them behind to run with his friends and grab them again” Yes, that is exactly what he does. He uses the crutches to alleviate the pain and allow his joints to heal. When he sees his friends playing it hurts more to miss out on the fun. He plays through the pain knowing full well he will pay for it later. They call it faking. I call it perseverance and determination.

Imagine being 10 years old unable to get out of bed in the morning to go to the washroom, having to rely on your mom to carry you around. Imagine being the Mom who sees her sons tears knowing that this day, he will be too tired and too sore to move at all. Knowing that no matter she does this day, there is nothing she can do to relieve his pain. The Arthritis is not limited to CJ’s ankles, and wrists. He has Arthritis in his spine, his hips, even his jaw. Will it continue to get worse? What does his future hold? Will it ever be cured? Will he grow out of it? There just isn’t enough research available to answer the questions that rest in our minds all the time.

The Arthritis Society has given CJ the opportunity to be part of an elite group when he feels left out from the rest of the world. Since CJ’s diagnosis, he has raised over $5000 for the organization that gave him back his confidence and self-worth. This year, our family will be hosting a fundraiser to help raise funds for this exceptional organization and in an effort to get kids taking about this disease, we will be contacting schools in the area to see if they would be interested in putting a basket together to raffle off on our big day.

If you’d like to help CJ reach his goal this year, please share his story with others and visit his donation page.

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