Shabby Miss Jenn

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Mat My Mantra

      (Photo of friends in Bucharest Romania, 1983)

It seems like I've known my friend Carrie forever. 
She came into my life when I lived in Bucharest Romania 
and we were in the same classes.
I have wonderful fun filled memories of us together.
 (Our friend Midori, Carrie and myself ,1983)

After I moved back to Canada, Carrie and I stayed in touch
 with decades worth of letters and Christmas cards.
I loved learning where she was living and what she 
was doing in her life. She shared big cities,small towns, 
traveling, family tales, marriage and children. 

Over the years,life happens and time started to drift longer 
lapses of time between our contact.
Facebook came into our life and we
connected once again.

That is how I happened to stumble upon her latest venture.

My Mat My Mantra

Now anyone that knows ME, knows how much I love yoga.
It has been an amazing way for me to ground myself and help deal with my depression.
(Guilty in that I don't do it anywhere near as much as I'd really like but am working on that.)
Going thru the motions and just feeling the shift in my soul always helps calm the chaos.

In my news feed, I saw Carrie mention "My Mat My Mantra" and so I was
 over the moon with excitement to learn that she and a friend had
started this business. Contacted her and told her I was greatly interested
 in some Mantra Spots and that I was going to spread the word.

Next thing I knew I was getting an envelope in the mail with
her familiar handwriting and sweet messages.
I knew I was loving the concept but when I actually
 saw the Mantra Spots.... I was thrilled!
One of my yoga mats that now sports a Mantra Spot! ♥

They have a wonderful array of sayings to choose from
and always seem to be adding more.
Beyond an amazing price!!!

So simple to attach to your mat.
A reminder to yourself while doing yoga.

Messages of calm to your heart.
Messages of love to your soul.
You can contact my friend Carrie about
 getting your very own Mantra Spots.
Make sure you tell her that
 you learned all about them from me ;)

(Go *like* their fanpage and tell them I sent you over to peek!)

Send them an email and order your mantra today!!! :

On Instagram


(It is under construction at
 the moment but bookmark it!)

I wish nothing but incredible joy and love to my friend
 in this amazing journey she has embarked on.
The concept is simple and yet soul touching.
I love it!
I know that MANY others are going to love it as well.

Namaste my friend. Namaste

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

She was my Light

I thought I was ready for today to arrive.
It's not possible for me to have been more wrong in that judgement.
Woke to tears already happening.
It was like my soul couldn't wait for me to wake before beginning to deeply mourn all over again.

Standing in front of my bedroom window watching the soft rain fall and the fog roll across the back field, I thought it fitting for today. No sunshine. No brightness. I closed my eyes and let myself drift. Allowed myself a moment of reflecting on how deep my sorrow was. How dark the edge was around me.
As I stood there with the tears falling, I heard you.
That soft Irish lilt that I teased you about when we spoke on the phone.

Today is the day.
Tell our story.
You promised.

So here I now sit. Where do I even begin?
How do I tell this tale?
I stared at the notes I've scribbled into my journals over this past year.
Things I didn't want to let time take from my memory.
The computer screen blank.
Tears flowing none stop.

I can't do this.
It's too hard.
Piles of wet kleenex are tossed around the desk.
The words aren't flowing right. My thoughts are jumbled.

Taking a deep breath, I get up from my desk and walk around my art studio.
That is where I have scattered pieces of Ry's heart, the most.
Gathering beach glass and her amethyst, I place them next to my computer.

 Over to my jewelry box, finding the small box tied with red string, I carefully take out her ring.
She created it with her husband and wore it every day until she slipped it into the box to send to me.
I slip it onto my finger.I can feel a surge of her energy wash over me. My heart weeps.
Closing my eyes again, I allow myself to see the message she is sending me.
The green hills of Ireland.
I can hear laughter and know it's her and I.
She whispers to me .... you are ready. Tell our story.

This is Rydonna.
I've known her longer in death then I did while she was alive.
We were not friends for many decades.
We were not friends for even a few years.
We met online and within a few short months, she would be taken away from my soul.

That message was one of the very first soul connections we made.
We both sent it to each other in an email one day.

We used to laugh because we could never recall exactly how it was we met online. We could narrow it down to, I belonged to a FB group and so did Ry. We laughed and always said it was the beginning of our souls finding each other. Our souls just reached out and sparked strong enough with a few words to connect us forever again in this lifetime.

She had been making some comments about how difficult things were in her life and she was struggling.
Others were responding to her message with love and support.
Something clicked inside me and I wrote her a private message.
We weren't friends on Facebook. We had no mutual friends. We were strangers.
I didn't know the backstory to her sorrow but I reached out.
She reached back and said reading my message had made her smile.
We became friends on Facebook and I watched her struggle. I was gathering bits and pieces of her story.
She was battling cancer. She had just made a move from somewhere back to Canada and to Alberta.
Our friendship was new and I didn't want to push and pry.

After only a few weeks of being friends online, she was gone. One morning, I got up and noticed her FB page had been shut off.She had sent me a private message saying she could be contacted at an email she shared.I sent off an email and it bounced back to me.
I was at a loss of words. Who do I contact? I so desperately wanted  to reach out to her that it took my focus off everything around me.I was in a daze. How could one person that I hardly knew be effecting me so strongly.

Walking out to a special section of my back field, I sat down on the large rock and just spoke to the Universe.The breeze rippled the golden wild grass around me. The leaves rustled. I watched a butterfly float from one wildflower to another. She had been brought into my life for a reason. Share that reason.
The cat and I shared a few more moments in the sun and then walked back to the farmhouse.

After supper when I went online, I had a message from Rydonna.

 She had gone into the hospital for surgery: Stage III, invasive ductal carcinoma and she'd had her breasts removed. She was making plans to start going for continued treatments of radiation and chemotherapy.
She had several moments of wanting to just give up and she said that the thought of doing that to me broke her heart. 

In one of the messages I had shared with her, I had sent along this photo and quote.

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet,
 regardless of time, place, or circumstances. 
The thread may stretch or tangle, 
but never break." 
- Ancient Chinese Proverb

She told me she had tied a red string around her wrist and thought of me each time she touched it.

Thus began our true journey of connecting our souls further and forever becoming one.

We wrote messages on FB constantly to each other.
Emails back and forth happened every day, numerous times.
She lived out west and I lived on the East coast. The time difference made things a wee bit more difficult but we worked around it. I'd write her a long email each evening just before going to bed. She'd read it before she went to bed and write me back. I'd read her email while sipping my morning coffee and knowing she was still sleeping.

We both knew she was fighting a very aggressive cancer. We didn't know how much time we had.
Both of us were beyond determined to share and know anything/everything there was to know about each other.

Silly little emails full of random thoughts happened.(Her fave food was mushy cornflakes and her fave color was purple)
Much more heartfelt stories were also shared with tears.

Rydonna on what she called the most amazing and happiest day of her life.
She married Miles.
He was the love of her life.
She'd only been in love twice in her life she told me.
The first time, she had actually been living in Nova Scotia (where I am from) and it had been an amazing 9 year courtship until that other person had passed away from cancer. She said it broke her heart and no one had been able to heal her sorrow until she met Miles.
She was older then Miles.
His family had a very difficult time with that. She didn't always get along with his family but said they were never mean. She said it was like she was always on the outside looking in.

She missed her parents.
Rydonna was from a small little village in Ireland. Her family had owned a very large sheep farm while she was growing up. They were extremely wealthy. She had come to Canada to further her education. She was a Chemical biologist.
Her mother had passed away from cancer.
Not long after, her father passed away from cancer as well.

One day while we were writing back and forth, I asked her about Miles.
I knew enough from her to know he was no longer in her life.
She went by her married name still though.
I didn't know if they were divorced or what.
I asked to learn more about him but only if she felt comfortable to share.

She sent me this photo.
It was taken in Ireland.
She told me the date.
The date matched a time frame of when she had gone off Facebook for awhile.
I came to learn her true battle beyond cancer.

She and Miles had gone to Ireland for a family visit.
I say family visit as she, Miles and their twin baby boys all went.
She had family there. He had a sister living in Ireland as well.
This photo was taken of she and Miles while having a wonderful vacation.

A few days later, her life would forever change.
There was a car accident.
I didn't need more details explaining where or how.
She spent many weeks recovering in the hospital.
Her heart was never to recover.
Miles and their twin boys had been killed in the car accident.

Her grief was deep. Her sadness was strong.
I couldn't imagine her pain.
She fought thoughts of joining them.
She felt guilt at not having died with them.
She had no support system to lean on since her family was gone.
His family had already held her at arms length and now were grieving the loss of their son and brother.
Their grandsons and nephews. She felt very alone.

We pushed thru.
She said reading my messages and having laughter brought back into her life meant so much to her.
A light was being shone again in her life.
She wasn't a religious person but was very strongly connected to the belief that the universe has things written out for us in the stars. That we are souls that pass time and time again. Connecting and learning.
We greatly bonded on that shared concept. Our souls were connected.
So many thoughts, comments and feelings were the same.

She shared photos of her life.....

 Her being silly and getting ready for something fancy. She laughed as when she sent this, she had lost all her hair from chemo and just had a very short pixie cut. She missed her curling iron and using hairspray.
 She sent this photo of her livin groom with two glasses set up for us. We were going to sit together some evening and talk about all the different books we both loved to bury our nose in. I shared that I too have old trunks in my home and how much I loved them. She also laughed when I said I hated wicker cause it always left those horrible marks on my legs and butt.
 We both loved photography. Endless hours and emails about what kind of cameras we dreamed of having. Where we daydreamed of taking photos. Which of my photos she loved and would have bought to hang in her home to look at and smile.
This is my favorite photo she ever sent me.I can't even see her face and yet I can totally feel her soul smile.

 She loved reading outside. She had wind chimes hung around her home. She and Miles had made wooden blocks and written messages to each other. They were tucked up in trees all around their property. She ended up sending them to me with new messages written to me on them to place around my own home.
 This was her favorite photo of herself. It was taken in Calgary.
Come to find out I was actually living in Calgary at the same time.
Our souls weren't speaking loudly enough to find each other back then.
 We shared photos from our childhood. This was her at Disney celebrating one of her birthdays.
This was one of her homes.
She had always said she lived in a cabin on a lake.
I teased her and said I had a much more "rustic" image happening in my head when she'd talked about it.
One of the most amazing things she did was instead of selling this home once she found out the chemo hadn't worked and her cancer was growing rapidly thru her body........she went to her lawyer and left this home and another to Miles' nieces and nephews. With enough money to always have it looked after so that for many years to come, they would have a place to visit on a lake and enjoy life.
She had such a great heart.

Her time was getting closer.
The hospital team had spoken with her and her treatments weren't working.
She was going to need to move closer to a hospice.
Our emails were constant.
She called me one evening.
She had gone to a neighbors to use their phone.
She wanted to hear my voice at least once.
We cried. We laughed so hard. We cried more.
She said she was scared. She said she had always just wanted to be with Miles.
Then I had been brought into her life and now she just wanted more time with me.
I told her that we had been brought together. The universe had written it in the stars.
Whatever amount of time we had was ours to use wisely. To know each other inside and out.

We both took a deep breath and at the same time said..... we are soul mates.
She told me she loved me.
That she'd only ever had 2 loves in her life.
Then I had come into her life and she knew the number of true loves in her life had actually been 3.

She had been going around her home and gathering things she was going to send me.
That she had spoken to the staff at the hospice and that it would all be sent to me after she was gone.
More tears and I told her she didn't need to be using her energy on such thoughts. She told me she loved me again and wanted me to have piece of her always.

Furious amounts of emails continued to be written between us. I spent every moment possible on my computer sending her messages. I wanted her to see notes filled with love and laughter at any moment she was able to go online. We didn't allow ourselves to dwell on the sadness that edged around us at all times.
She was getting much weaker. She started messages to me with that she was just getting up from a nap.

She sent me this photo saying that I was right....... the sound of a cat purring brought her soul comfort and peace. She loved thinking that as she rested on her bed with this cat curled up and stroking it.....I too could be doing the same thing at my home.

I opened an email a few days later saying she was closing the house and moving into the hospice.
I felt the beginning of my heart start to shatter. This was too soon. We weren't ready
We still had so much more to say and share.

I asked her if she was going to still be able to get messages from me and she said she was bringing her laptop. That I was to write her every moment possible.

The last email I got from her said ... 
"I am now at a is days. I am scared to pieces to think about what is happening,  but know that deep in my heart you will whisper I'll be ok.

I will meet you in the softness of the winds...and the rain as it falls. 
I love you. "

This is the response I sent her back....

"Morning my light

I know you are scared. That only makes sense, silly one. It is the unknown that carries fear.
We got to meet this lifetime. Many soul mates search for each other and don't always have their paths cross.
I surround you with light. I fill your heart with all my love. We got to share silliness and laughter. We shared tears.

We know what to search for next path....a few more clues were placed deep within our hearts to guide us to each other quicker.
Both with striking shades of blue eyes that folks talk about.
A smile that draws a person closer. A light that burns in each of us bright enough, our darkness we share is never fully covering us in shadow.
I will search for the gal who seems at unease at being poor....... I'll know it's you xoxo

You'll be drawn to a piece of artwork hanging in a gallery window. The work will speak to your heart.
You'll want to know more about the artist.
You'll hear laughter in a marketplace and it will be a wee bit too loud.
She'll be me xoxox

Each and every time our paths cross, we'll spend more time together.
I love you Ry.
I will listen for your voice in the gentle breezes that caress my cheeks
I will feel your love and light on my skin when the sun kisses me
Your gentle touch will cover me when I stand outside in the rains

I will see your excitement for life in the Spring lambs I'll have at the farmhouse, frolicking in the green grass of the pasture. Secretly whispering their little Irish names into their ears while they nuzzle me.

You will be the sun burst in the photography I take that finally gets hung in a gallery showing. People will be drawn to that photo and talk about it and how it speaks to them.
You will be within me; guiding my paint brush with every stroke. I will finally be able to create pieces with light and not darkness attached. Your light will shine thru me.

I can no longer be called a lost soul.
I found my soul mate. You made me whole.
You made me feel love like no other in my life.
Happiness that flows out of me in all directions.

I will feel the freedom to write again. The whisper I have always listened to; that drew me to picking up a pen and placing the words whispered to my soul; now has a name.
The whisper is soft. The whisper speaks with an Irish accent. You will continue to whisper to me but I will know it's you. I will write more freely then ever before.
Maybe I'm meant to put pen to paper and write our story.

I love you with every breath I take
I love you with every fiber of my being.
Draw strength from me.
See my light around you.
You are beautiful
It is not possible for me to love anyone, more then I love you at this very moment in time

I love you Rydonna
You are me. I am you
We are soul mates.


I never heard from Rydonna again.
I was beside myself. I sent more emails. All went unanswered.
She'd never shared what hospice she was in. I had no one else to contact about how she was.
How was I going to know what happened? How was I going to find a level of peace in this chaos?
She'd told me that she'd set it up with her hospice worker to contact me. Was that really going to happen?

On September 11, 2012, I got an email.
It read that she worked at the hospice and had been with Rydonna at the very end.
Rydonna had passed away peacefully in her sleep in the wee hours of the morning.
She was to tell me she was wearing my red thread when she passed away.
A parcel would be heading my way from Rydonna.

I was shattered. I knew it was coming and yet nothing that had ever happened in my life before that moment prepared me for the level of darkness that I would fall into. Grief, sadness,anger and madness washed over me in waves. Rydonna had been in my life less then 3 months.
We had connected on so many levels. She effected my life and thoughts in too many ways in such a short period of time. What she and I shared went beyond a friendship. We shared deeply with each other. We shared strongly and with all of our hearts. We kept no secrets. We shared as much possible in the time frame we were blessed with. She forever altered my life.

A number of weeks later, a parcel arrived for me.
I knew it was from her. She had talked about walking around her home gathering items she wanted me to have. She had never shared what they were. She had wrapped each in tissue paper and written me notes on everything.
I was seeing her handwriting for the first time.
Even in her pain, and with all the other stuff happening in her last moments, she had done this for me.
Here is a small sampling of some of the items ..............

 A whispering bell to hang someplace at the farmhouse. Her message on the box read "" I will meet you in the softness of the winds and the rain as it falls. I love you"

 Beach glass, stones and amethyst that she had collected while she lived in Nova Scotia. She said it must of been her soul searching for mine.

Clock pieces to create something with in my art.
She said they have no hands because time stands still for us now that we had found each other.

Wooden signs that she and Miles had created together. His messages to her are underneath the messages she wrote to me. They are hidden in special places around the farmhouse that I go to.

 We had shared the love of gardens and cut flowers in our homes. She sent me these tulip bulbs to plant so that I would be reminded of her every year when they bloomed.
They were the most amazing tulips I have ever seen. HUGE blooms the most amazing shade of purple and they lasted for a very long time. I loved watching them come alive and will cherish them always in my garden.

One of the most amazing things that Rydonna sent me was a journal.
She'd never kept one before. It was filled with messages and love.
She'd printed off our emails and written comments. She shared her heart and soul within these pages.

A small sampling for you of some of her heart......

 Little paintings she had done and wanted me to have..... red string connecting everything.

 She loved cornflakes and sent me the top from her last box of them A silly list of Irish names for sheep that someday I was going to have at the farmhouse. She had laughed about that so much.
 Some of our emails written back and forth with comments now written by her hand.
 A red string connecting the stars to the grains of sand in a photo of mine that she said had been her favorite.
 I'd always teased her about being rich and I was a poor country mouse. This was my favorite page in the book.

One of the last pages of the journal is that last email I sent to her. She was too weak to respond to it. She had asked it to be printed out and she glued it into the book. She wrote messages of deep love to me. She wrote "please finish our story for me".

One of her greatest fears about dying was that no one would remember her or mourn her passing. Her parents, Miles and her boys; and others she'd loved were already waiting on the other side. I'd told her that I would tell our story and folks would know her thru my words. They would be able to feel my deep level of sorrow. That she would be remembered. I would share our love and friendship.
I would share how we were soul mates.
That even in the short number of days we had with each other, that a level of love, understanding and intense connection could be felt.

My heart shattered the day I lost Rydonna.
She effected the energy I carry with me and put out every day.
I can still hear her voice.
I carry her love in my heart.
She walks in my dreams.
She speaks to me in the wind.
She kisses me with raindrops.
I didn't know my soul had been missing her until we found each other again.

In the very beginning, after she was gone, my darkness was all consuming.
It took a long time to even want to crawl out from underneath.
Some days are better then others.
Some days I allow myself to have sorrow wash over me like a waterfall and take my breath away.
Most days I can go about my business and have a smile on my face.
My heart is once again happy and I can find reasons to smile and move forward.
This all happens with my soul weeping in the background, waiting for that moment that Rydonna and I find each other again.

I love you Ry.
I loved you then
I love you now
I will love and miss you forever

You have my soul!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Something Finally Clicked In My Head

I'm going to do the hard part first and share some photos of myself.
They range from around 2008 to 2011 or so.

I'm smiling in every one of these photos and yet on the inside crying and hating myself.
It was a horrible vicious circle for me. I would spend time with friends and family; knowing that photos were going to be taken to help capture the moments. I'd smile for the camera. I'd be putting on a happy face.
I'd then spend the evening alone up in my room devouring everything I could get my hands on.
Each day repeating itself.
My clothes were not fitting. I wasn't able to hide the rolls and double chins.
I was having back issues. I was having knee issues.

Watching the number on the scale just keep climbing higher and higher.
Then something changed. I didn't even really see it coming which makes me laugh when I think about it.

I started seeing my ex husband.

Shocked? haha  You thought I was going to say I went on a diet, didn't you?! ;)

We had been divorced for MANY years. In part of my ongoing personal steps of moving forward with my life, I was contacting people from my past and letting go of the anger, angst, hurt or whatever issue it was that had me tethered to them. I contacted my ex husband. We started talking again. Some time passed and next thing I knew, we were becoming serious with each other again.

With that change to my life, came changes that I wasn't even considering that the time; that were going to alter me for the better.

He lived in the old farmhouse that had belonged to his parents. It needed lots of TLC and work to happen to it. Much more physical activity became part of my daily life. Old walls being torn down; new walls being put up in their place. Wood needing to be cut, hauled and stacked to keep the farmhouse warm during the cold weather. Gardens to be cleared out of years of neglect and brought back to life. Driveway that needed to be cleared of snow since I do happen to live in a place that gets snowfalls and having to do so with a shovel. In the warmer weather, reclaiming large portions of the yard and fields so mowing became part of my routine. I'm not talking a ride on either. Push mower and HUGE areas being reclaimed.

He loves to cook and eat.
He also loves fresh vegetables, spices and fresh herbs. Processed foods are few and far between for him. Eating out doesn't happen a lot. Fast food places are not where he likes to grab a bite of food.
I was introduced to food with whole new eyes.

"Just try it"..... was something I started hearing quite a bit.
Things that I'd somehow always rolled my eyes at and said no thanks to..... were somehow now on my fork and being eaten. WHOA....and I was LIKING IT!

Soon the combination of moving my body more and eating food differently started shifting something in my brain and with how my body looked. A few pounds were falling off here and there. Nothing drastic but noticeable to me. My clothing was fitting me differently. My body didn't ache in the ways it had. I had sore muscles from the work I was doing but it felt good. I was sleeping better then I had in years. Working around the farmhouse and being outside felt good.

The relationship for him and I was better then it had ever been. Working as a team on this home we were building. Spending time together in the kitchen, trying new recipes wasn't a chore. It was becoming quality time together that extended past the act of cooking a meal. We ate together and talked about our days and so much more. We were connecting again.

I started keeping track of my body changes.
Just writing down things I noticed into a small journal for my eyes only.
A smaller size pair of pants.
Being able to wear a belt for the first time.
Needing to buy a bra in a smaller size.
A drop in pounds here or there.
One of my double chins going away.
A roll of fat getting smaller.
Looking in the mirror and seeing my cheekbones again.

It didn't happen overnight. I've been working with this new mindset and game plan for a number of years now.It is something that I will have to work at for the rest of my life.
It's not a perfect game plan and there will be moments where it needs to be worked on.
I still have moments where I eat something off the not so good for me list.
Having finally got to a point in my mindset of not fretting about it and spiraling down into self hate and regret over it really makes such a difference.

I will never be a "skinny" person.
It's not in my makeup. I don't allow myself to become obsessed with the number I see on the scale.
By the standards of society, I will be considered a large woman. I think it's wrong, but I'm not going to fight to squeeze into a standard I don't believe should even exist.
I will carry stretch marks on my body.
My body will not be rock hard and firm and that is something I'm fine with.
It wasn't a goal or need that I was going for.

I wanted a body that didn't ache so much.
A body that I could feel comfortable in.
That I could see myself in a photo with friends and family and my first thought would be the moment of togetherness that had been captured instead of thinking horrible thoughts about myself.
That I could walk past a mirror and think you are doing pretty good.
That a smile would happen when I'd see my reflection.

This was the old me...... not happy on the inside and hiding her pain with her outside.

This is the new me.....

Happy with her life.
Happy with her body.