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Loving Life

What does loving life mean to you? I believe that loving life has an individual meaning for everyone. My hope is that we all find and create the life that makes us feel fulfilled and whole. Well balanced comes to mind along with complete and utter joy in our hearts.

I am loving life more now than I ever have in all of my 54 plus years. I have a husband, best friend, lover and personal cheering squad all rolled into one individual. I believe this to be a rare creature and a special find. Lucky me! It almost seems mystical or fictional at times and yet he is real. I know ’cause I pinch him every now and then and he yells. Lol

I think it is a fantasy that we all grow up dreaming about. To have that special someone who fills your heart so full it almost feels like it’s not real. Like it is some kind of dream that you don’t want to wake from. If this is a dream for me, then I never want to wake up. I know this sounds kind of mushy, but after everything I have been through, I feel like I am truly blessed to have come out on top for once.

I live in one of, if not the most beautiful places on earth. The changes of the seasons are breathtaking to say the least.
Our winter snow storms have a beauty all their own. Especially when one is curled up around the wood stove, while listening to the crackling of the wood as it burns and watching the color of the dancing flames. Maybe with your companions, reading a great article or listening to your favorite piece of music while the snow falls outside the window creating a blanket of the purest white you will ever see. The spring brings with it the sweet nectar from the maple trees as they wake from their long sleep. As the sap runs up the trees to nourish, the frozen tree starts to thaw and grow beautiful green leaves that will shade you from the hot summer sun. Summer brings an abundance of new fruits and vegetables as well as the beautiful sunsets over the farmer’s fields and the many beaches and lakes that surround us. Fall, which is my absolute favorite time of year brings a bright palette portrait of bright orange, reds, and yellows mixed with a little green to complete it. The cooler temperatures bring on harvest and a welcomed reprieve from the heat of the summer.

As the seasons change it is a good reminder that all living things have a cycle. I watch these cycles progress in a much more appreciative manner now, knowing that I too have a cycle and that I can now enjoy watching as my own seasons change. I look in the mirror and see someone who has seen many seasons, and it shows. My past seasons have left many scars like an old maple tree that has lost a branch or two in a winter storm. The tree healed and keeps growing in spite of the reminding mark that the wound left behind, and so shall I. I have had many blessings in my life some of which brought to me by some very wonderful people and animals alike.

In addition to my many blessings, there have also been some undesired actions or situations from people. All of which taught me many great lessons, which I am grateful for. After all, to live is to learn.

I have been told that my life most likely will not last as long as someone who is in better health than I am. But, who knows, I have beat slim odds before. That said however, I feel blessed to have had the time to build and grow a truly loving family. One that I have chosen for myself. If I were to meet my last season, I would go into my long sleep happily.

Jam, Jelly, Berry and Missy are my cat family and I could not have asked for more loyal, loving, beautiful beings to share life with. They make me smile, laugh and most of all feel loved.

Hank, our 14 week old mastiff puppy has made me feel more alive with his active, loving and protective manner than I have felt in a long while. He is sassy, stubborn, smart, persistent, and very handsome. All qualities that I absolutely love about him. He is an amazing young dog and my hope is that I get to watch him grow and blossom into full adulthood. He is catching on to his training very quickly which is a good thing because he is already over 35lbs.

Miss Waffles our laying hen and Hank the puppy have become the best of friends. I couldn’t shake the feeling however, that in the evenings when it was time for her to go to sleep on her roost, that she was still feeling lonely. I have been on the hunt to find Waffles a couple of hen friends to keep her company especially as the cold winter weather approaches.
My search lead me to a couple of 3 year old laying hens that a good friend of mine had. She decided that because she only had two hens left that she would re-home them an no longer keep hens in her barn. This lead to them coming to live with us on our homestead. I am very pleased to announce that we now have the two girls to keep Waffles company. I have named them Juno and Pixie. They all seem to be getting along well and though it is still very new for them, they seem to love our clean barn, loads of land to hunt for tasty morsels and of course the odd treat from the kitchen. Hank the puppy, on the other hand, they still aren’t sure what to make of.

Waffles still comes to hang out with Hank and I when we’re doing our yard work, from time to time and even though Juno and Pixie are still settling in, I am sure they will come to love this place as much as I do.

My husband and I just had a lovely two weeks staycation together. We did some day trips in the truck and took our sidekick Hank along. We had a road trip to pick up a “new to us” wood cook stove for our off grid camp. I have already baked a batch of bread in it and I’m happy to say that it works beautifully! We also started to build a wood shed on the back of the camp. Which is something that we have wanted to do for some time. It is always a work in progress, but it’s definitely a labor of love! We also cleaned up and burnt some brush while milling some logs into boards for the wood shed roof and other building projects, over the past two weeks. We also went out on our ATV’s a couple of times and had a picnic at the river with a little fire to roast some locally made sausages. Which we served with open fire toasted homemade buns. One day, we took Hank to the beach to see if he liked the salt water but he didn’t seem very interested in the sand. I don’t think he liked the taste of it. I think he is a fresh water boy and will like the river much more!

Most of all we spent quality time on our homestead with our little family and made it a priority to be present in each moment and enjoy some time to rest.

Who could love life more, when it looks like all of this, I ask?

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Piece of my Puzzle

I will start by saying that this summer has been the best summer of my life. It was full of fun, peace, love, and joy. What more could a kind soul ask for?

I made a choice at the beginning of the summer to relax and not put as much pressure on myself to be productive to the point of exhaustion. I decided to set and work toward small attainable goals. But, first and foremost I decided to enjoy and really be present in everything that I attempted.

I tried a new way of gardening this year which didn’t yield an abundance of food but I chalked it up to a learning experience. That said, I am very happy to have an easy and relaxed harvest season this year. The items that I did harvest will help out nicely with our winter food needs and grocery bill, in the long months of our Maritime winter. With my harvest duties and time requirements being a little lighter this year, I will have more time to enjoy the fall season. Which is my absolute favorite time of year!

We had more rain than usual this year in our portion of New Brunswick. Which had a contributing effect on the growth and yield in my gardens. I will not complain however. It seems to me that other parts of our Country and the world had far more devastating weather patterns to deal and live with. In my opinion, we are fortunate to have only had a rainy summer. Some parts of our Country had historic fires to cope with.

I made the most of the days that were sunny and beautiful and spent a great deal of time outdoors enjoying every second. It is amazing how much one’s degree of presence can improve one’s view on life.

I learned some new songs this year and in doing so pushed myself a few steps outside my comfort zone. Some of them really stretched my abilities and I am extremely pleased with the outcome. With my new songs, I attended some music gigs, outdoor parties and jams with the band and had a blast!

As I mentioned in my last post, I checked off some of the items on my bucket list this summer. In addition to those events, I also spent a fair amount of time out on my ATV enjoying nature and our wonderful New Brunswick trails with my husband and some great friends. Now that we are getting into the fall months, we have decided to make the most of the beauty of autumn here in our neck of the woods by planning some off-road day trips and excursions on our ATV’s and truck. This year, for the second year in a row, my husband is going to take two consecutive weeks of fall vacation to spend with me and our growing animal family.

Speaking of our growing animal family, I have a big announcement to make. After a lot of discussion, we have decided to get a puppy. We have been without a dog for the last few years, since my heart attack. This is mostly because I had it stuck in my head that we should not have any more dogs due to my health and mobility issues. This along with being told by my doctors that I most likely will not live as long as someone who has fully functioning heart, played on me. That said however, after the summer I have just had and how good I have been feeling, my outlook is now a little different. I have changed my thought patterns and done my best to look after both my physical and emotional health. I have decided to free myself from the good opinions of other people and do and experience the things that make me happy. Having a puppy makes me happy! It makes me extremely happy, in fact! I have sooooo missed having a dog friend in my life. Dogs have played a huge roll in my life ever since I was born and not having that kind of friendship over, the last few years, has always felt like something was missing. It was like putting a puzzle together only to get to the last spot and find that the final piece is missing… I just put the last piece into my puzzle and it is now complete.

My new little boy is a Mastiff. I have recently come to learn that there are 14 different types in the mastiff breed. My Hank has lineage from the Canary, Italian and Neapolitan mastiff blood lines. In my opinion, with the traits and characteristics of these three breeds combined in him, he makes the perfect boy for me. He was born on July 19th of this year and he has been with me for two weeks now. He is a sweet, goofy, silly, clumsy and loving little boy. I’m in total love with him and though my husband would not want me to say this or tell anyone about his soft side, he has grown quite fond of him as well. The family that I have chosen finally feels complete.

The way I look at it, even if something were to happen to me sooner rather than later, I have made the most of my opportunity to share happiness, love and life with such a beautiful creature. Hank already loves going for drives in our four wheel drive truck. He knows his name and is coming along nicely with his basic obedience commands. His is also doing very well with house training and adapting to our schedules and routines.

He already weighs almost 20 lbs and will end up weighing between 120 – 150 lbs once fully grown. We decided that a big dog would be best so that we can train him to be somewhat of a service dog for me. I fall a lot because of my mobility issues and he will be big enough to help me in my times of need. I still have bad days from time to time and having him here to help me will help to put my husband’s mind at ease, when he can’t be with me.

Hank is slowly gaining the trust of my girl Jam. She was used to dogs being around in her younger years and politely tells him when he is invading her space and comfort level. Jelly and Berry don’t really know what to make of him yet. They are cautious around him so I make sure that I carve out a little extra attention time for them both. I think this will help with the gradual association process nicely. Our outdoor friend Missy, who came from the farm across the road, is no stranger to the ways of dogs and puppies, as they too had dogs. Of course last but not least, Waffles the laying hen is standing her ground with him. Hank listens and responds well to me when we’re doing the chores in the morning, where she is concerned. This is especially good when he starts to get the zoomies and wants to play. Waffles starts to cluck and I tell him to leave her alone. He then will sit in front of her and almost hang his head in disappointment. It is really quite funny to watch. Waffles is the boss and puffs up to tell him when to back off. I am truly enjoying my life and the animal family that surrounds me.

I will keep you all posted on Hank and the rest of my little farm family. What I would like to ask all of you is this. Are there pieces of your puzzle missing? Which pieces are they? Have you ever thought about it? Or, do you have the right number of pieces, but some of them are just wedged into the wrong space. Maybe you have been working some pieces from a completely different puzzle? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

As always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Breaking The Cycle

I have learned many lessons throughout my 54 years and most of them the hard way. I suppose I will always continue to learn. But it seems that now, I lean a little more towards the path of least resistance. Learning, to me, means investing in the growth of one’s self. I believe that if we stop learning and stretching ourselves, we go from truly living to simply existing, and in my opinion, that is not living. I think I read this somewhere in my travels and it just seemed to make sense to me. Are we not here but to challenge and school ourselves? Our purpose is but to grow, and a human can not grow as an individual, unless we keep learning. That was a mouthful, but I think you get the point.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned, the hard way, is that hope can kill or make you seriously ill.

What I mean by hope can kill, is that hoping people will change to suit your wants or needs will never happen, and in my experience, the stress of that hoping can eventually kill you. Stress can literally cause physical illness. Hoping can cause stress, therefore enough stress, caused by hoping, can in fact kill. Well, at least I think that’s what it did to me. Especially after discovering Dr. Gabor Mate and studying his beliefs and teachings. There is more certainty in my mind now than ever before.

Dr. Mate has written several books on his theories and approach to healing, which are backed up by decades of science and research. If we do not stay true to ourselves, in the way of our wants and needs, it will manifest into some sort of illness. He also believes and has fact based research that would prove that a fetus inside a woman’s body can feel her stress and it can and will affect the fetus not only in the womb but also once the child is born. As well as later on in life.

I do not doubt for one second that my parents loved me. For me, the problem was the kind or type of love they were capable of giving. They were both so damaged, in many ways. It was these facts and my experience of life that led to my conscious decision to break the cycle.

I knew, deep down inside, that there could and most likely would be a good chance that, if I did have children, they too would be affected by the ripple effect of this cycle of damage. After all, how could I raise children if I could not even get my own shit together. I was a people pleaser and could never say “no”. To anyone. Ever. I ignored my own needs because I did not want to say no or disappoint anyone, with their wants or needs. I believe that the accumulative effects and damage from doing this actually killed me. Well, for thirty-five minutes. The first time. So, how could I, in good conscience, pass that on to another human??

I always said that my husband and I would love and do our best to raise children, if it ever happened. We both decided, however, that it was okay if it never did. I think that we both felt that it was just one of those things that was not meant to be. Or, did we??

Because we never had children, we were able to live a life together that not many people get to experience. I am grateful and very happy that we have had the opportunity, to build this life together.

On the other side of the coin, it is too late for us now. There are times when I day dream and wonder what it would have been like to experience having a child with my husband. I think he would have made an amazing Dad.

Not long after I start to day dream, however, reality sets in and I remember. I remember that even if I had been the best Mom ever and my husband was the best Dad, somehow that ripple effect would find my child. I don’t think after everything I have been through, I could live with myself if I thought for one second that my child would suffer even one moment of the life experience I have been through. So for me, it was a blessing. It was probably the one choice I truly made for myself.

We, as people, need to accept reality and change our life situations, according to our wants and desires, for ourselves. It is not right to try to change other people to suit you or your situation, regardless of the capacity. They are who they are and you are who you are. I think that we need to accept that if those two do not mesh, it cannot be forced or coaxed or even tortured into submission. Sure a person can play a role, for awhile, but in the end that role can only be played for so long before the true nature of the situation is revealed. Just simply hoping and wishing things were different, without taking action toward your desired results, will most often lead to disappointment and maybe even illness.

So, in my experience, I have learned that I need to accept people for who and what they are. Now with that in mind, if for one reason or another, that does not mesh well with my wants and desires, or my views, or moral compass. I must move on and continue searching for the company of those who do mesh with same the views and values that I feel are important. As an example, I do my best to live with intent and purpose that is meaningful to the betterment of all living beings. I can accept that there are beings in this world, that do not feel the same way. However, I choose not to form a close relationship with them, as our views differ, and that is okay. I can only do my part in the betterment of the world and giving energy to hoping that others will follow suit only takes away from my capacity to give.

In theory, if one was to spread love, then love is what will come back to one. I have felt this but only in the setting of a few like minded individuals.

Some people give by making music and what better feeling than to listen to a piece that you can totally relate to. Some people like to volunteer to help those in need. Some people like to create art and share in the joy of a beautiful piece. Some people like to write and spread their words of encouragement. Some people help nature to flourish. Whatever it is that calls to you, do it. Love will come back to you from all the right beings and those who can appreciate it. Spread the love it will heal you in ways you never thought imaginable. You will be doing your part to help human kind to heal this broken world and yourself at the same time. We may all be broken in some way and could use the healing power of love and a little empathy.

I understand why I feel so connected to animals. There is no second guessing how they feel about you. Animals either like you or they do not. Animals make no apologies for who or what they are. They are strong in there convictions and tell it the way it is. Animals do not play games with peoples emotions. They will give love freely if, they feel your energy and intentions are pure. If not, they will make every effort to remove themselves from the situation, quietly. Unless, of course, you pose a threat to them, their young or their survival.

I guess, in many ways, I have given life. Maybe not to my own offspring but to the idea of spreading love and compassion. Especially to those in need of it and especially to my animal friends.

Breaking the cycle of unwanted patterns may be hard. But I think it can be well worth it. Especially when you succeed in the end.

To me, these are some valuable lessons and observations.

Please be kind…

Love As Always,

Tanya Jean

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The Power of the Mind

the power of the mind

I have to be truly honest. My thoughts, this last week or so, have put me in a downward spiral. The power of our mind and what we tell ourselves, or allow others to impose upon us, can create havoc in our state of well being. Not to mention how this can affect those who are close to us.

Even my indoor feline friends could feel my upset, and, as a result, seemed extra attentive and vigilant in staying close to me with their calm and soothing energy.

I am still learning how to embrace my empath abilities. Sometimes I do not even realize how one little action, or reaction, can turn my whole world upside down for a week or more. Empaths are not the only ones who can self-sabotage. Anyone and everyone can, and at some point, will likely do this. In fact, it is more common than one would think. I think the trick is to be aware of what you are telling yourself and how you talk to yourself. Whether it be out loud or in silence, in the privacy of your own mind. Your mind hears and acts on it all. It can make the difference between sleeping well, or lying awake all night ruminating on a particular topic or situation. It could be an event that you attended and things you heard or saw, or it could be the words or actions of another individual you were recently in contact with. Or, maybe even you yourself have imposed a negative story and set free a destructive thought pattern. It could be as simple as trying to tell yourself that you are something or someone that you quite simply are not.

I used to tell myself I was not smart enough to learn basic computer skills and embrace technology, and yet, here I am, writing this post and sharing it with you, on my very own site. Mind you, I am still learning. But, isn’t that the point? To push beyond our comfort zones and challenge ourselves? I changed my mindset, and now, I am doing it and I love it!

In my case, I was slow to learn how to quickly identify and recognize what starts or triggers my mind into this self-sabbotaging mode. It’s something that my mind just loves to sink its teeth into, once that door has been opened.

Now however, it seems that, through simply observing what is happening in my mind, I am able to recognize and recover from these patterns a little quicker, each time it happens. I think the key component to my continued improvement has been the regular disciplined practice of applying these principles.

There have been times in my life when I was told that it did not look like things were going to turn out well for me. One good example would be after my heart attack, when my speech pathologist told me that there may have been permanent damage done to my vocal cords, as a result of having breathing tubes in for such a long period of time. She said that I may never regain my original speaking voice, let alone be able to sing again. When all of the tubes were finally removed, several weeks after having been put in, you could barely hear the whispered squeaks that came out of my mouth. I refused to accept these words as gospel, however. They were simply an opinion. An opinion based on a few pieces or bits of information that had been gathered and put together. Or, perhaps, were based on data and statistics gathered from the majority of similar cases. I simply refused to accept this and told myself that I would be able to talk and sing again! Just like I used to..

Even today, I continue to do the therapy exercises and it has helped me to make great progress. I can sing again!

So, I sing when I can and rest when I know I should to help with the ongoing healing process. I have not regained all of what I once had but I am singing again and it feels wonderful. Especially when I hit a note with the band that sounds like what I once had. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

So, I will continue to believe. I will continue to tell myself that I will continue to regain strength and tone in my voice. I will get back to where I once was.

What am I to you – Nora Jones “cover” @ Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

So why then, do I let the actions or the words of others, and occasionally myself, set the rules for the game at some times, and not at others? The only answer I can offer right now, is that I am human and I am far from perfect. But, I’m a whole lot better than I used to be.

I will say that being kind to yourself, especially if, or when you slip, will make it a lot easier to get back on your own personal cheering squad.

What we tell ourselves or let others tell us, whether it be positive or negative, is very powerful! It could be the difference between life and death, in some of our cases. Either way, the impact can be like being hit by a train or a soft pillow.

I truly believe in the power of the mind! So, tell yourself, repeatedly, what you want to be true. Focus your thoughts on what you desire and how you truly want things to be and it will happen.

Be very careful and aware of the negativity and negative energy that floats around, do not take it on to be your own. It is usually someone trying to get rid of their own heavy baggage and you could become the recipient, if you allow it. I made this mistake this past week and it felt awful! It has had a negative, ripple effect on everything I touched and did.

Once I recognized what had happened, and what was happening, I began taking the necessary steps to correct it and it has made a real difference.

The power is in me and you. Live your life free! Free of all limitations. You can live the life you desire! It is all about the power of your mind.

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Beautiful Blue

Beautiful Blue Jay

Good morning. Here is a pic of my latest piece. With this piece, I decided to use colored pencils. I chose this option for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because this amazing species has the most vibrant shades of blue in nature and I really wanted to challenge myself to capture it as my eyes do. We have many Jays who frequent our feeding station daily, at the this time of year.
Secondly, I decided to sketch rather than paint as I am still boiling sap and I can leave the piece at a moments notice in order to tend to my sugar making duties. Painting makes that a little more challenging. You see, I can sketch anywhere with very few tools.
I really wanted to create a piece with color and the feeding station has been busy with many feathered friends all singing there spring songs. Although the blue jays are not my favorite sounding feathered friend they sure are beautiful to watch. Spring is here and I can hardly wait for my gardens to start to bloom. They add such color and beauty to our little piece of heaven. Especially after a long and cold snowy winter.
Hope you all enjoy my “Beautiful Blue”.

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Sugar Making time

It is that time of year again! Spring has sprung and Maple syrup season is once again upon us. My husband and I decided to tap just a few trees this year. Going small is a lot easier to keep up with if mother nature decides to cooperate and the trees poduce a lot of sap. Which they certainly have done, so far this year.

Sugar making, which is what we call the process of making maple syrup, is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the warm spring weather. Which I so look forward to after the long cold and dark days of late winter, here in New Brunswick’s snow belt!

Instead of using our camp on the back part of our wood lot, we decided to set up in the back yard this year. Our thought was to just tap a few trees near the house. Just a few mature maples that would be more easily accessed, considering how much snow has fallen this year. It is my thought that, after gathering and carrying the full buckets of sap back to the holding containers, it was the right call! Lol

We will get back to the camp and enjoy it, once most of the snow has melted. In the mean time, the back yard suits me just fine. The closer everything is, the better! Especially since, this year, in order to get around on our wood lot, we have had to be on our snow shoes more than we were off of them.

My neurologist is still quite surprised that I am able to use my snow shoes as well as I can, considering my physical challenges and disability. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I am determined to try my best! After my event, I decided that if I could live through a widow maker, I was no longer going to let anything stop me. I was going to give everything I tried my absolute best effort. That includes lacing up my snow shoes and breaking a trail in the fresh snow. Even if there’s 4 feet of it!! Lol

We decided that 14 trees should give us enough sap to produce a sufficient quantity of maple syrup to stock up our household reserves and maybe share a bottle or two. At the start of this year’s season, we were down to and using our last one litre mason jar of syrup.

This year’s weather has been very good on our little piece of heaven for sugar making so far. The sap’s sugar content seems to be nice and high, which has made for a super yummy first batch.

I love making homemade pancakes this time of year and topping them with strawberries, whip cream and our fresh warm maple syrup.

It really seems more like a dessert than a meal, but who doesn’t love dessert for lunch or maybe even supper, sometimes?? Well, I certainly do! Even my doctors agree that it is okay, in moderation, and of course it is good for heart health.

Every time I look at the plate, it warms my heart! Lol

Also, this year, our laying hens, Waffles and Tiny have enjoyed having some extra company outside with them on the warm sunny days.

And of course, we can’t forget about Missy, who enjoys overseeing the whole operation, from her directors chair. Lol

I wanted to share my homemade pancake batter recipe with you all. Maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to track down some fresh Maple Syrup and give them a try.

Tanya Jean’s Homemade Pancakes

This recipe makes approximately 10 regular size Pancakes

1 1/2 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt(optional)

1 egg beaten slightly

1 1/4 cup of cow’s milk or almond milk unsweetened

Combine all ingredients in order, in a large mixing bowl. Wisk or stir together until well blended but still somewhat lumpy. Pour 1 cup of batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle (a cast iron griddle, for best results). Cook until puffy and bubbles appear then flip over to brown on the other side and enjoy. This recipe can easily be doubled and will produce the same results.


This is how much Syrup we have bottled so far this year and based on how well the trees are producing so far, we will easily double this amount for our pantry reserves.


As Always,

Love Tanya Jean

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I Give Because I Love. I Love Deeply Because I Remember… I WILL NEVER FORGET!

To give, is better than to receive. A life lesson many of us became familiar with at a young age. It was a lesson and practice that was instilled in me very early on in childhood. “You are to give freely and always put the needs of others ahead of your own.” A statement that I heard regularly and was something that became an everyday practice, for me at least. It was a practice that would become a habit and a habit that would eventually become an obsession. Well maybe not…. well let me think, yup it became an obsession. One that would last about 50 years or so. Seems like a long time. A long time that seemed to pass by so very quickly. This post is about some of the things I learned on this part of my journey.

Giving can come at a cost, as we all know. Giving of what, you might ask? Giving how? In what context? The type of giving I am talking about giving of yourself. The practice of freely giving away love, care and understanding and compassion, or lending a physical helping hand, to those who would take and take until the tank is dry. Until a day comes when you find you have nothing left for yourself. It is the exhaustive type of giving that can become too much, long before you realize what is or has happened. The type of giving that could in fact cost you everything. Maybe even your life…

My start in life was very challenging to say the least and I simply did not have the tools that I needed to protect myself. I had safe havens that I could retreat to when possible. My grandparents always gave me a loving and safe space when they were available. I am thankful that I had them and my animal companions in my young life. I may not have made it in this world without them.

My immediate family taught me many valuable lessons with their ways and their philosophies on life and how to treat others. They taught me to do as they asked, regardless of how it made me feel, or, there would be consequences. The physical consequences were easier to heal from than the emotional ones I suffered. I was very young and was uneducated in the ways of mental warfare, at that time. It seemed that their feedback was negative no matter what I did. So, in trying to follow the one example that I truly valued, my Grandparents, I tried to fight back with kindness. If I’m being honest, I would say that there was the odd occasion when I was not so kind. These were actions that I would come to regret and paid the price for. I was far from perfect, but it would seem that those who mistreated me saw my attempts at kindness as weakness and as a result, I failed miserably in their ways of war.

It seems that for years, I have tried to give love, compassion and kindness and simply taken the cruel and abusive words and actions handed back to me by many. I think that this may have been because of my early and harsh teachings. I just held onto the hope that if I just keep trying harder and if I just give a little more, maybe it would be enough. It never was. I did my very best to treat them like I wanted to be treated. That’s the rule, right? So, if they in turn treat me the way they wanted to be treated, we truly were polar opposites. Because, I sure did not want to be treated that way. Not at all.. As a result of all this pushing and trying harder and harder, my health started to deteriorate. It was at little at a time at first and then slowly it progressed more and more, for some time. It is truly amazing what you can get used too. Eventually, and then drastically, it deteriorated to a point that now I am only a part of the person I used to be. The actions and words of these hurtful and abusive beings broke my heart. It started with little chips and small cracks, and now, there is literally a part of my heart that is dead and will never function again.. But that’s ok, I am tough and I will keep on going! They won’t beat me!!

In addition to my broken heart, I have many, many scars. The physical ones, some of which I will share in future posts, have been the easiest to heal from. The mental ones not so much. But I’m doing the work. I’m trying with all my might, everyday. Everyday I do the work in doing research and learning new skills that really seem to help me. This is why I want to share my findings with all of you. Maybe through sharing this information and the things I have learned, I or we can help someone else find their way through their darkness. As a result of some of the complications I have experienced and had to overcome, I now walk like I am wearing a large diaper. Not just a large diaper, but one that is full, if you get my meaning… This is because of a condition known as foot drop. It is neurological in nature and will not improve beyond the point that it is now. As a result of this condition, I now notice that people look at me weird because of the way I walk and maneuver, all the time. It hurts at times but that’s ok. My approach is to just make jokes about it and this seems to put them at ease. I can accept it, because there was a time when it was thought that I would never walk again. I can still see the look on my Doctor’s face when, during a follow up appointment, I told him I had recently been out snowshoeing with some friends. I can do it, you just watch me!!

I am all for giving to fellow beings that are in need and appreciate it. However, I have learned that one can easily give too much. Give to the point of complete depletion and there are some who will take all you are willing to give. They will take until there is nothing left but an empty shell of a person who has nothing left for their own care. There can sometimes be a fine line here and it can be hard to balance the act of giving to others and giving to yourself. I urge you to give to yourself first and foremost so that you feel whole, energized and are in good health before you look outward to those in need. You are Important! Your wants and needs are important! Be kind to yourself!!

In my lifetime, I have had the pleasure of knowing some of the most loving and caring beings on this earth. You know, the ones that just make you feel like nothing else matters in that moment except you and your feelings. My grandparents, my husband, a handful of really close friends, both human and animal, have done this for me. I am truly blessed to have had these experiences in my life and do my very best to return the same attention, love and kindness to them. Do any of you have these type of individuals in your life? Please show them your gratitude and let them know how important they are in your life! It will make a difference to them.

What I am desperately trying to do now is mend the part of my heart that can be fixed by helping others and staying true to who I am. My true self. I am still figuring that out but I’m getting there. I now know who I can turn to, in both the dark moments and the moments of great joy. It seems to me that knowing who you can share these times in your life with is a key factor in ones well being. Beware of recuring empty promises. Even if there were some great times with the abusive individuals in your life. Sometimes that’s what we do, we hold on to the good times, even if they were few and far between. We hold onto hope that the good times will become more frequent and things will improve. Hope is not reality, hope only lives in our minds. It is not a strategy and will not change fact. Remember the old saying, “a leopard does not change it spots”? If someone has repeatedly hurt you, regardless if it was mentally or physically, you must retreat to your safe and loving places and regroup. Regroup with those who lift you up. Those who will encourage and support you. Those who love and respect you for who and what you are. You are important! You matter!

Remembering and being realistic with my expectations is a key factor in what has helped me to survive. Develop a clear definition of what love is to you. Remember that time and life are precious and, for me, those who do not meet this criteria no longer have a place in my life. You have to have a safe place to share and be your true self.

These are some of the tools and techniques that have helped me. Maybe they could help you or someone you love.

With Love always,

Tanya Jean

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GROWING UP… Beautifully different by design,

At a very young age I could sense that I was different from everyone around me. I never felt understood. All of my immediate family thought they knew me, but they really never did. In fact, I still don’t feel that they really get me, to this day. I always kind of felt like, as the old saying goes, “a fish out of the water”.

I always preferred to play with my stuffed animals over dolls. In fact, I owned very few dolls but I had a collection of over 150 stuffed animals. I always felt comfortable when I was interacting with them. As a young girl, I would dress my stuffed animals up and have tea parties with them, rather than dolls.

In my heart, they were my family and friends. I talked to them. I took them for rides on my bike or in my wagon. As I made my bed in the morning, I would always arrange them in just the right way and in a very specific order on the bed. At night, I would alternate who got to sleep with me, as there were too many for all of us to be comfortable, you see. I did not want to leave anyone out, so this seemed like the best solution to me.

My stuffed animals gave me what I felt I didn’t have in my household. They gave me companionship and understanding. I looked after them in the way I wanted to be looked after. I loved them. I kept them clean, made sure that they were all comfortable and most of all, I made sure they were understood. I made up all kinds of stories about and with them. I took them on adventures. It was the family and friendship I longed for, and I found it in the safety of these little creatures. You know, like Tom Hanks and “Wilson” on that sandy, sunny beach. LOL

I did not have any friends that lived close by at a young age and my slightly older brother was not interested in playing with his unusual little sister. I felt that my parents were always very, very busy. They saw to it that I had the essentials to live but it seemed there was never time for anything extra for me.

Honestly, I believe that none of them understood me and maybe even thought that I was just a “problem child”. I think that’s what they called “different” back then. They certainly did not see me as being normal. Being an empath I could sense that. Though at the time, I didn’t know how or why I sensed these things. I just did…

I was a lonely child but my animal friends helped me to cope with that pain. Looking back now, I know that my family did not have the tools to recognize who and what I was. If they had, I believe my journey in life would have been much easier and happier. I used to spend hours with my stuffed animals. I would make sure they were comfortable while we were watching television or when they were watching me color in my books or even while I was doing my chores. I needed for them to know that their comfort was important to me. I needed them to know that I loved and appreciated them and that they were absolutely the most important things in my life. I needed them to know that they mattered to me! All of those things that I longed for, desperately….

I always spoke kindly to them and when the arguing in the house between my family members got loud, I would try to buffer the sound from their tiny little sensitive ears. After all, they were there for me when I was sad, or mad, or happy. I felt that I wanted to return the favor and be there for them. They were the family I had to create for myself, in order to survive. I believe that we are a species that needs companionship in some form and my stuffed animals were mine. At least until I got a little older and could start looking outside of the home I lived in.

I believe that I was born an empath and because I did not form a connection with the people in my household, I turned to animals. I really wish I had understood what was happening at the time and that my family had realized, or, at least, even seemed to care what was happening. Sometimes life gets busy. We’ve all heard people say that. I have said it myself, from time to time. However, I try not to say it anymore because it is no excuse. I urge you to make the time to try to understand the people in your life. Try to imagine, if you can, what things might look like from their perspective. Or, at least make an effort to let them know that they are seen. Just because we are not all the same, does not make us bad in some way. It is what makes life interesting and challenging. Being different is a blessing and should be treated as such.

The most intelligent, interesting and caring beings I know, are different. This is what I call BEAUTIFUL! Our creator did not want to make clones of everyone and have us all be exactly the same. Quite the opposite I think. Why then, I ask, do so many beings feel so lonely? I believe that most people have been taught to feel shame for being different… Is it because somewhere along the way, someone decided that being different was something to be feared? Could it be that beings or things that are different can be more difficult to understand? If so, I think that this is so wrong on so many levels. The shame is on those who cannot, or will not, embrace and celebrate being different and on those who criticize and ridicule.

My hope is that someday, those who fear, will try to understand and be kind to those they view as different! Here’s to a world where love and kindness is our collective first response to being different!

Go on then, Go and Be… Beautifully Different… by design!

Love always,

Tanya Jean,