Grandma’s Family Roots

My Grandma Dicke is an amazing woman. In May, she celebrated 94 years!

She’s kind, gracious, and extremely generous. She gives more than she takes (in fact, she rarely takes), and takes care of other’s needs before her own. She’s always been that way. She has a talent for knitting, and she lays out hand-made mittens and washcloths for our family to choose from at family functions…just because. She’s an incredible role-model for our large family.  We are blessed to have Grandma as the matriarch of our family.

I was thinking today that she must have learned so much about life in her 94 amazing years, so I decided to call her and ask her a few questions.

Chrissy (as she calls me): What is your earliest childhood memory?

Grandma: “Walking to school at 6 years old. I also remember driving the team of horses. I rode horseback to the school and the church which was on the corner. The church yard had a barn where we put the horses.  It was 2.5 miles from home. As soon as were big enough to sit up, we rode horseback.  “Freda” was my horse’s name.”

C: What did you do for fun as a young girl?

G: “We played ball at school: soft ball and foot ball. We had a swing, I loved to swing.”

C: What chores did you do on the farm?

G: “I  milked cows and drove horses. One year we had 4 horses, and another year we had 6 horses and a cultivator.  We worked hard, but we still seemed to have time to play. We had a big loft and Mom would send us out there to play so she had some time to herself.”

C: What was life like when you were raising a family in the early years?

G: “Things were pretty tough, we didn’t have much money. We had a lot of second-hand clothes given to us.”

C: Was it hard raising 6 kids?

G: “Yes, I was always tired! I worked hard in the field.”

C: Can you share an important life lesson you’ve learned through your life experiences?

G: “To be responsible for your actions.”

 C: What was life like during the depression?

G: “During the depression, it was pretty hard getting food.  We had a beef ring and we took turns once a week taking in beef. The butcher would cut it up and separated it into bags for us and we would pick it up on Saturday morning.”

C: What’s a Beef Ring Grandma?

G: “A beef ring is when you each raise beef and when it gets to be a certain size, you would take it in to get butchered and we would split it up amongst us. There was 20 of us neighbors that did this. Some people would have poor beef and you wouldn’t get much beef one week, and then sometimes a neighbour would have one with lots of fat, so we had lots of meat.

Life now is pretty different living in one-room. I read through my bible once a year and that keeps me strong.”

And then she laughed. The from-the-belly kind of laugh that works into your heart and mind and then lingers there for a while like a melody.

2010: Looking over old photographs at the 100 yr celebration of the farm

My Grandma and 4 of 6 of her Children at the 100 year celebration of the farm...The same farm land Grandma helped work.

I could tell she was growing tired, so I thanked her for all the interesting life stories, and we said our good-byes.  My Grandma continues to teach me so much today. I have no idea how fortunate and spoiled I am. I have all the modern-day conveniences which I take for granted.

As I was listening to my Grandma recall memories of her childhood, I realized something. The reason she’s such an incredible woman today is because of all she went through in her life. The good and the bad both form character, and Grandma’s character is something to aspire to.

I also realized how important it is to find out about one’s history ~ rich in knowledge, tradition, and wisdom. If we don’t ask questions and learn from our elders, that history can’t be passed down. Thank you for sharing with me Grandma. I love you!

From my heart to yours,

Chrissy

on Hope

My facebook status today:

Dad’s last day of kicking cancer’s ass is today…the final radiation treatment. So proud of his outlook on life: full of strength and positivity. Will be celebrating with him at the lake in a few days. I’m having a “Life is great” moment!

As I pressed enter on the keyboard, my phone rang. I didn’t have to look at the number. I intuitively knew it was my Dad calling from the road as he travelled the last of the daily trips into Edmonton for radiation. Rather than the customary “Hello”, I answered the phone with  “Congratulations on your last treatment.” He replied “Yes, it’s the last one!”

And then we talked about the series of bad storms in our area, his work schedule to get ready to go to the lake, and where everyone was going to park their trailers at the lake lot.  It’s tricky planning for 4 trailers, a couple of boats, and numerous vehicles that accompany our large family at the lake. “We will make it work!” he chimed in.

As we talked about normal everyday life events, my mind wandered to the phone call we had just months earlier when Dad learned he had cancer.  Many questions and the great unknown was dropped onto his lap….and now, cancer has become a part of life. We talk about Radiation appointments like we talk about the weather.

For a brief moment, a single question invaded my mind: What about tomorrow? I pushed tomorrow out, because Dad needs today.  We all need today. The last of the radiation.  It’s a day of celebration.

This past Christmas we gathered together to celebrate Dad’s recent surgery to remove the cancerous prostate, and now in a week we’ll gather together for our yearly family lake vacation and celebrate the end of the radiation treatments. We will huddle around a roaring campfire and talk over one another with fits of laughter sprinkled throughout.

So today marks a celebration of strength for my Dad. cancer can’t take that from him. There will be no room in my mind to worry about tomorrow.  That would be giving power over to the disease. We have today. Thank you God for today!

We as a family have been given a gift.  We have HOPE and we have come together in love and support.  I have to admit a fact that I’ve been avoiding for years.  My Father and I didn’t have the strongest of relationships in the past.  The hectic pace of life took over and we didn’t talk as often as I wanted. There was always somewhere to be, or some pressing matter of greater importance to attend to.

I have to tell you my friends what I’ve learned throughout this year:

~Family is everything.

~Time is precious.

~There isn’t a right time to say “I love you.”  I no longer say good-bye at the end of a conversation with Dad. We end our talks with “I love you.”

~Today is a gift.

~Happiness is a choice.

~Positivity is a choice.

~Forgiveness is a choice.

~Hope reins supreme.

~And a quote I read the other day that is blunt, but so true: “If you keep one foot in the past and one foot in the future… you’re probably pissing all over today.” ~ author unknown

Yesterday is just that…yesterday. It’s done and it’s in the past. There’s no point in worrying about tomorrow, because we have no control over tomorrow.  But guess what my friends, we have the gift of today.

The next time you are spending time with your family and the little annoyances of life take over…the kids are arguing, your vacation isn’t going as planned, the truck breaks down, the mosquitos are eating you alive, etc. ~ Just smile and shake it off. It’s not important. It’s just part of the adventure that is life!

The true joy of life lives within love and a heart full of gratitude.  I often say Life is Good; however, today I say Life is Great. Sometimes one just has to be reminded that it’s within our control whether we allow the beauty that is life to take over and permeate our soul.

From my grateful and happy heart to yours,

Christine 🙂

On Change, Drive, and Perseverance

For years I gave myself permission to give up. I resisted challenging myself. I fought against change. I scratched the surface of what I was truly capable of. I didn’t know what I was capable of because I never truly put in all of the effort I had to give.  I was cheating myself.  I recognize that now.

“Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” Andy Law – Creative Company

I have a memory that I will always hold on to. I was sitting in my car outside of my work, it was 8 years ago.  It’s a memory of a thought actually. I was desperate to lose the weight I had packed on in my teens and 20’s but I didn’t know how. I thought “If only I could pay someone to teach me how to lose it. A quick fix. I don’t know how to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. I don’t know how to work out. I just don’t know…I’m stuck here.”

The memory of the feeling attached to being “stuck” is something that I will never forget and I channel that memory every time I want to give up today.

Every time my legs scream to stop running ~ I remember, and I keep going.

Every time I want to skip a workout ~ I remember and I lace up my shoes.

Every time I believe I can’t reach a goal ~ I remember and I forge on.

That “stuck” feeling was so overpowering, that it’s the reason I won’t go back there. When I first started changing my lifestyle, I did feel like I was giving something up.  It was a way of life that I was comfortable with in many ways, even though it was destructive. It took awhile for the end picture to become visible to me, but I felt the benefits of exercise and changing my diet early on.  It’s funny how your tastes change, and they do change.

The prescription for change in regards to my lifestyle has transferred into other areas of my life that have required change.  One has to be able to give up something that they perceive as valuable.  The best part is, often down the road you realize that it wasn’t all that valuable in the first place and with healthy change comes healthy replacements carrying equal value.

I have a honeysuckle vine growing up the side of our deck.  This year it looked dead.  It was a sad mass of twisted & woven brown vine. I was surprised when I saw signs of new green growth from the bottom.  The new fresh vine has now woven its way into the dead.   I could have cut back the dead vine before the new vine made its way to the top, but I left it.  It’s symbolic. Never underestimate the power of new, the will to fight, and the drive to persevere when you think you have nothing left.  It’s within all life. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

From my heart to yours,

Christine