After my walk today...

Typically, December, especially when I am not spending Christmas in Alberta, is not the easiest part of my year.

Tonight, Ashby is working extra, extra late, and I have had an emotionally rough couple of days. So I put on one of my grandfather's favorite songs, loud, and listened to the music. 

"You Raise Me Up", by Josh Groban, filled the first floor. I closed my eyes for a bit, but then looked around.

On one big armchair, sits our two schnauzers. Sleepy, but actually waiting for their "papa" to come home. On the floor, next to the fire place, on a giant dog bed, lays little Maggie, sneaking in this opportunity to spread out by the fire on the schnauzers' bed. 

                                                                              (just a few dog photos!!)

I love our little house. I love the character that three, four-legged creatures bring it. 

Earlier tonight, I went for my powerwalk, which I haven't done in a bit, somehow my routine has fallen out of place, and all of my "lake walking" has fallen to the side, and been replaced by sleep, sadness, and solemness. Winter, less sunlight, the weird routine that comes with studying, the "Christmas break" where all my social activities at the gym and Homework Help stop, plus missing my family, get me down. seems that missing my grandfather starts around the 15th or so of December. I seem to do pretty good throughout the year, and then the 15th hits, and I'm hit with all kinds of emotions...all overwhelming. 

So today, I started back my walking routine and I got out in the morning (in my opinion, the best thing to make your day productive is wake up, put on your warm clothes and go for a shorter walk. It really sets the day) and in the evening (my most favorite time to walk - I even have flashing gloves and some safety shoes) - because yesterday I decided it was time to come back to me again. Let's have some fun again. 

I celebrated Christmas with the Ashbys, which was very wonderful and enjoyable, but, with the exception of when I was with them, I had a hard time letting go of the idea that ALL CHRISTMASES MUST BE CELEBRATED IN THE SAME MANNER THAT MY FAMILY CELEBRATES CHRISTMASES. I don't often feel like I'm tied to an I'm not quite sure what happened there....'s over now and I can just continue to celebrate the season

I sometimes compare this time last year versus this year....and there is just no comparison. This year, I live near the lake, with our dogs, all three of them, a man that would (and sometimes does, without even knowing it) give me the world. I'm not exactly where I want to be (studying isn't all that glamorous), I don't always have my wits about me (winter depression, blah), I don't always understand how I got here (one of my biggest faults - trying to understand instead of just accepting the present gifts), but I have a loving biological family, and now an extremely loving set of in-laws, especially my mother and father-in-law, that consistently go out of their way to make me feel special and loved. 

And this year, most importantly, two loved ones are cancer free. My aunt - somehow - I almost still can't believe it - is cancer free. This time last year, I was was so shocked by her gaunt appearance....that I cried all night after I saw her....even thought she was fighting hard. She is CANCER FREE. Not in remission. CANCER FREE. She had multiple surgeries, infections, a hundred other problems....but she is cancer free, and I thank God. 
My step-father is also on that path. He received his first few screenings that his cancer is gone...and I am so grateful. My mom are celebrating this Christmas in Scotland (where he's from) since he is now able to travel. 

So apart from little old me, there is plenty in this world to be grateful for. I just have to take some time, listen to some music, and reflect from time to time.