#BixbyFifty #Day05 – Tolerance & Middle Ground

I am grateful for my own views of tolerance and inclusion. I am thankful that my world view is one of peaceful cohabitation. Today’s entry in the gratitude journey is going to wade into the murky waters of beliefs and extremes. Careful, you may not like what you read.

Gratitude-05POLITICS
Are you right? Are you left? In the end, are you so stuck to an ideology that it blinds you or clouds your judgement? These are provocative questions. Am I trying to incite a conflict? Heavens no. I have people in my life that span the whole spectrum of political beliefs. The far right hard line conservative to the leftist leaning hippie. (Note, I am not placing a value judgement on those labels). For me, the whole thing gets frustrating when someone buys into the entirety of one side or the other. These are the people that discount any idea or initiative if it happens to be endorsed by the opposite ideology. Wow. Really? Does that mean what is good in our society is a Venn diagram where the two circles have NO OVERLAP at all. To me that is ludicrous. This deep entrenchment in either the right or the left precludes a phenomenal amount of unexplored middle ground. It is sometimes painful for me to engage in conversation with either extreme due to all of the blanket judgements that have to be overcome before you can even have a meaningful discourse on the subject. My own political beliefs have spent time exploring the far right and the left. There are some great ideas on both sides of the polarized spectrum, trouble is that they will have a hard time gaining traction by the other side. Many times the best course of action is held hostage to maintaining a hard line stance on an ideology where compromise or movement would be construed as weakness or a failing of their cause.

RELIGION
This is another touchy subject. I want to make this perfectly clear. I respect everyone’s right to choose and follow and practice their beliefs. That is important. I also include atheists and agnostics. There is room for all views and all beliefs. I do not think I need to say this, but I will anyways. I do not include people who engage in destructive or extreme practices in the “name of” their belief system. They are just fanatics trying to rationalize their own despicable behaviour by hitching to a cause.

My spiritual beliefs are very unique. I never feel the need to broadcast them to the world as they are personal to me. However, if you are truly curious, feel free to ask me. I am not opposed to discussing my beliefs. Here is the rub though… most people only want to know what you believe so they can construct arguments to dismantle your beliefs. They want to do this to “convert” you to their beliefs. That is where I lose respect for people quite quickly. I think I am okay, I do not need to be “fixed”.

“I have most respect for the person who is so confident with what they believe that they do not feel a need to convert others. They have a path of private conviction that allows them to interact with the world more respectfully.”

Over the years I have met religious zealots and over-zealous atheists alike. I do not need to be converted. I do not need to be educated. If I am curious, I will ask. Mine is a path of tolerance. In all sincerity, I am more interested in the conduct of the person I am interacting with, not their beliefs. In the last few years, I have to say that the most annoying are the atheists who are passionately trying to dismantle or refute the belief systems of others. I am an advocate of science and the scientific method, I am all for the progression of our collective understanding of the universe, but I do not understand the need to dismantle someone’s belief system to progress. And some of the arguments about the harm of religion are getting old. Yes, we all understand their were very bad things done by people of various institutions. The same could be said of any demographic or organization though. Religious organizations do not hold a monopoly in this regard. Just for the record and by way of disclosure, I never attended church growing up and I do not attend church now. That does not mean I cannot see the value in it. On another note, I am the event chair person for an annual charity that feeds those in need. They happen to be a faith based charity. I have had a few people take issue with supporting a Christian charity. Really? They are feeding those in need. I judge the organization based on what it DOES not by what it BELIEVES. They are doing good in the community and that is the yardstick by which I measure things.

In the name of tolerance, let us quietly, with grace and confidence, walk a path of our own beliefs while allowing others to do the same. Each person should feel free to own and practice their beliefs without the fear of persecution.

PHILOSOPHY
This is a bit more esoteric for me, but is closely linked to the other two sections I wrote above. Live and let live. Be who you are and allow others the same courtesy. I cherish the variety of views, knowledge, beliefs, ideas, cultures, and values of others. They all provide opportunities to learn and grow. My views are largely an amalgamation of the bits I have borrowed from the world around me, ergo, the more tolerant and open I am to that world, the more I can continue to shape and mold myself.

 

My gratitude today goes to all of the people I have connected with over the years, you have all helped shape me. Tolerance leads to understanding, learning, and growth.

#BixbyFifty #Day04 – Planning Events

I cannot help myself. I think it is an addiction. I love to plan events, and apparently I am fairly good at it. Where does this fit in with a journey of gratitude though? Let me tells ya…

Bringing people together is a joyous thing. Events are quite often a catalyst for new friendships and lasting memories.  If a gathering can create a legacy of friendship, then it is indeed a worthy pursuit. It is very rewarding to have a hand in that.

I host a couple of leagues at home. The BSOP (Bixby Series of Poker) and the BFD (Bixby’s Formula De League). The BSOP is an eight game series of Texas Hold’em Poker Games and the BFD is a 6 game series for a racing simulation boardgame. They are both replete with camaraderie, laughter and trash-talk. They are full of friends.

Additionally we host a number of gatherings in our backyard. The firepit is a magical thing. Everyone loves a fire. It is a center point for a host of other gatherings. Lobster boils, dart games, werewolf games, meals, or simple gatherings to sit and enjoy friends and while away the evening.

Then there are the host of boardgame events with SaskGames and the 24 Hours to Play with Your Food charity event. The list goes on…

There is a common theme to most of these events, they are centered around an activity. That makes sense when you consider that I am socially awkward. One of the things that surprises people about me is that I am an introvert. I am awkward when it comes to small talk or conversation. I struggle to connect to people. I enjoy talking with people, but my conversation skills are lacking when it comes to small talk. I tend to talk about abstract things, ideas, plans, and concepts. I also like to talk with people about matters of the heart. Deeper things such as what motivates them or brings them joy, what are their fears. What are their struggles, their triumphs? I call that “big” talk. Those are things that most people are not really comfortable discussing. When you consider that I am not good at small talk and big talk is generally something that is difficult to achieve in most social interactions, what is left?

…activities.

That is why events are magical. They can accommodate a broad spectrum of people and conversational styles. Introverts and extroverts alike can come together and co-mingle in an environment where the focus is on the activity. The activity provides a context for interaction. It is the catalyst that allows people to get to know each other in steps and on their own terms.

I watch very little TV, I do not watch many movies, I do not follow sports, I am not an armchair meteorologist. That leaves out a whole lot of conversational fodder. I can, however, plan an event where we come together to engage in some eccentric activity. Hopefully, in that space we establish some common bonds for friendship and maybe pave the way for some “big” talk. I am thankful for the opportunity this give me to get to know some very interesting people, some of whom I am honoured to have as friends.

#BixbyFifty #Day03 – The Wonderful Lady Lew

I owe so much gratitude to Kathy that it is really hard to know where to begin. Kathy and I have been together for a long time. We have shared a journey that has had many twists, turns, and speed bumps. We even spent a couple of years apart in the middle of our journey. We needed some time to grow and mature and needed a spell apart. Even when we were separated, in essences, we were together.

When we first met, the thing that struck me most poignantly about Kathy was her own growth path. She was doing some self-work as part of a personal rebirth. I knew that I was on the brink of such an effort myself and was very much intrigued with what she was doing. Being self aware is being self empowered. That is why I am committed to life long learning. We can always learn a bit more about ourselves and in doing so self actualize. I met Kathy at a very important point in my life and she helped me kick start my own efforts in that area.

Since those early days, we have both made a growth commitment, as individuals and as a couple. There are times when one of us falters and the other is there to offer support, insight, and encouragement. There are times when one of us needs to be carried for a spell by the other. Those are powerful times as they allow us to recognize and celebrate both strength and vulnerability.

Speaking more specifically about Kathy, she is a rock. She has physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. She is a strong role model. She is an empowered woman. She is successful in her career, she is active in sports, she has raced mountain bikes, hunted, hiked, camped, trekked, and embarked on epic canoe trips in Canada’s North. She is comfortable sipping a fine wine or drinking the hardiest of imperial stouts. She is a force of destruction on the paintball field. Her laughter fills a room and her tears tug at the heart. She is a formidable foe at the boardgame table. She is radiantly beautiful in a dress or in a set of camouflage fatigues. Her exploits at the poker table are legendary, (being a three time season champion). …but mostly, she is just an awesome human being.

I am very lucky to have her as my partner and equal in our relationship. She has and continues to enrich my life in a multitude of ways. I draw strength and inspiration from her every day. I am very glad she is coming home today from New Brunswick. I miss her.

I love you Kathy.

Kathy - North Dakota Badlands

Kathy – North Dakota Badlands

#BixbyFifty #Day02 – Simplicity

There is a book by Edward de Bono that is worth a read. It is called Simplicity. The book is filled with small tidbits about the elegance of Simplicity. Simplicity in life brings richness and fulfillment, at least it does for me. To further explore that thought, I would like to explain that my needs are quite simple. With simple needs, it is much easier to be content.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I enjoy an evening of boardgames. I enjoy a pint of good beer. I enjoy a peaceful walk or hike in nature. These are all relatively simple things. They are not terribly expensive, they do not require much other than a desire to pursue and enjoy them.

One of the things I came to realize with my previous gratitude journey, is that the more I reflect on things that I am grateful for, the simpler my needs become. I do not yearn for unobtainable items to bring joy to my life; they are already in my life. That may sound cliche or like it came out of a hallmark card, but it is so deeply true for me.

Simplicity is another reason I left the professional world of Information Technology years ago. Too much of the industry values complexity and cumbersome bloated projects over the elegance of simplicity. The value proposition is backwards.

This even applies to possessions. They say the things we own end up owning us; I believe it. Earlier this year when we got rid of 1200 music CD’s it felt as if the weight of those CD’s was lifted from our shoulders. Our garage has much less clutter with some of the purging efforts in the last few years. Simple is good.

The richness of joy deepens with every step I take towards a simpler existence. Today, I am grateful for a journey that heightens gratitude and pursues simplicity, they are inexorably linked.

#BixbyFifty #Day01 – Importance of Role Models

The first leg of this gratitude journey needs to go to my brother Charlie. Actually, he is here now, visiting from Alberta. He called me up late last week and wondered what I was doing to commemorate my fiftieth birthday and that if I had no plans he would like to come for a visit.

Charlie has always been and continues to be a positive force in our family. During times of great family turmoil when I was younger, his was the voice of calm and reason. He has always shown a mastery of reason over emotion that has made him a rock of stability and consistency over the years. I drew a lot of strength from that when I was younger and today, I continue to be inspired by the conversations we have.

Charlie has worked hard over the years to bring siblings together in a way that honours and celebrates our unique differences. I give him credit for the cohesive love that ties us together as siblings in our adult years.

Many people perceive role models as something a child needs. Personally, I think our lives are a continuous learning journey and it is good to have role models for every stage of our life. As long as we are growing and learning, we are not dying. (At least that is how I view things). I want to give credit to a consistent and solid role model in my life over the years. Even now as we get together, our conversations explore ideas and values and always have a provocative quality that is quite uplifting. Today, I give thanks for my brother Charlie. I am so glad you thought to come to Regina to help usher in the spring. Now if you excuse me, I think we will go out and enjoy some of the nice weather we are having.

Choose your role models wisely.

Choose your role models wisely.

#BixbyFifty #Day00 – Starting Another Gratitude Journey

On March 7, 2011, I embarked on a journey of gratitude. It was transformational.

The idea behind my previous gratitude journey was to truly change my view of the world and in turn change my attitudes about the world. I do not think that I am am overly negative person, but I wanted to focus on the goodness around me. I ended up making 100 entries in that journey, (on this blog as a matter of fact). The first entry of that journey is located here: http://blogs.bixby.ca/?p=142

There are two factors that are prompting me to undergo this exercise:

Firstly, I am turning 50 years old in a few days. Birthdays and milestone birthdays have never really held any significance for me, but I have been asked so many times: “What are you doing to commemorate your fiftieth birthday?” that I felt I should do something. This journey of gratitude is what I am doing. 

Secondly, I see that hastag #100HappyDays cropping up on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It reminds me of how rich my gratitude exercise was a few years ago.

Gratitude

The start of another great journey.

I would like to explain a couple of things at this point. Mostly, because I have asked my immediate family to join me in this journey. Kathy, Krystal, & Teri have all agree to take a #BixbyFifty journey as well. That makes me very happy. 🙂

Why the Hashtag #BixbyFifty?
Well, it is unique. It will not get lost in the sea of social media. I did not create the hashtag out of vanity, I want it to stand out. I also want people to be curious and ask any of us on the journey what it means. When we explain to others what this means, it deepens the meaning for ourselves. Also, the idea of this is to be a bit more reflective than the current 100 days of happiness social media movement. I few sentences or a few paragraphs for each entry. I want to really engage in a deeper dive for this.

How often do you post and where?
The idea is to make a daily posting on Facebook. However, we all know that there will be days when we simply do not have time. With that in mind, each post will have a numeric hashtag of #Day1, #Day2, etc. In that manner, we will all make fifty postings on this journey. It may take us fifty days or one hundred days, no matter. A journey of gratitude will happen as it should. These postings will show up on Facebook. Actually, mine will be on this blog, but will get propagated to Facebook through my blog. I like writing on a public platform as it make my words more real. I feel like I have to be more accountable for what I say. That is a good thing, after all, this is not a superficial journey.

What if I am just not feeling grateful for anything, there are days I am in a dark mood?
This is even more reason to do the journey. It is by engaging in mindful reflection during dark periods where we gain insights. Dark moods are not bad, but it is important that we understand and own our emotions. This can be very empowering.

Can anyone engage in this journey?
Sure. The more the merrier. Attitudes of gratitude are contagious and help make our world a better place. 🙂

We need Tools to manage our Tools

OrgTools

Planning these days is made easier by the cornucopia of organizational tools at our disposal, right? Am I right? Sadly… no.

The trouble nowadays is that there is such a vast array of tools at our disposal that we end up being very fragmented in our approach to getting organized. This gets further compounded when we are trying to organize details as a group. Each member of a group will have their own pet tools and styles for how they want the group to rally and organize. Planning efforts can become extremely fragmented and you now need a tool to manage the tools. Ahhhhhhhhhh! *^&%#$@! There goes the neighbourhood.

I am in the middle of planning a trip to Europe with a couple of other family members and we are struggling to get focus on the basics of the What, When, Where, Who, and Why of the trip. I am not one of these OCD peeps that want to plan each minute of my vacation, just a basic outline so we can draft a rough itinerary. All three of us are compatible in this regard as well so planning should be simple, ‘n’est pas?

Last weekend I was trying to get a composite view of our trip and realized how fragmented our communications and planning had become. It made me realize that we live in a time of great opportunity to be organized, but that opportunity is often not capitalized. Here are the elements of our current trip plan:

  1. Paper notebook with ideas for the trip. This was supposed to be a single safe source for ideas and notes.
  2. A Paper map hanging on our wall with some stickers for possible locations to visit.
  3. Paper calendar for drafting a rough itinerary.
  4. Scraps of paper with note fragments.
  5. A discussion thread on http://forums.bixby.ca/ with collected notes and ideas.
  6. My email inbox
  7. Kathy’s email inbox
  8. A communication thread on Facebook between Kathy and I.
  9. A communication thread on Facebook between Krystal and I.
  10. A communication thread on Facebook between the three of us.
  11. A Google Doc on Google Drive with some collected notes.
  12. A Google Map with pin points and notes for the trip.
  13. A collection of notes and scribblings from various phone calls and Skype conversations.

This all may sound silly, but it is in fact a reality of the this day and age. Without a disciplined approach to focus on one or two planning tools, efforts can become very cumbersome and hard to manage. This is not a testament about the three of us, it is just a reminder that focus is our friend. All of the above notes and tools just evolved organically out of our excitement to plan a trip and each person was left to think and plan according to their vision of how to organize information. It is quite amusing when you step back and look at it with the detachment of looking at a crime of communication in which all parties are complicit.

Another important reminder for me that focus is needed from the very start on ventures such as these. In the end, it really does not matter what tool or tools you choose, but it is important to choose a couple and maintain your discipline to use them to their full potential.

There are LOTS of tools in the toolbox, but we only have TWO hands in which to wield them.

 

A case for Progressive Relaxation

I have never been fond of going to the dentist. When I was in my twenties I simply avoided going from an irrational fear that was spawned when I was an infant. We had a family dentist that was akin to Steve Martin in the following clip…

Yesterday, I went for a post and crown and spent about an hour and a half in the Dentist’s chair. I use some progressive relaxation techniques to go to sleep at night. I am not fond of needles nor the sound or feeling of a drill in my mouth, so I thought that the dentist’s office would be as good a location as any to deploy those techniques. Apparently, I fell asleep for a brief period during the procedure. 🙂 Dr. Reed was quite surprised and was flattered that someone could be so relaxed during a dental procedure. I will say that he is quite competent and puts many of my old fears at ease.

So there you have it, Progressive Relaxation has been stress tested and it works.

Hardest thing I have ever had to write

Mom

Evelyn Robertson

September 18, 1931 – December 28, 2011

 

Evelyn Robertson Eulogy

This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write. How do you wrap words around such a remarkable person? How do you honour someone with words when you are overwhelmed with how much they meant to you?

Mom, you have been a very special person to many people. You have touched many lives. I want to take this opportunity to recall some of your journey. This is a journey that explored the High C’s. Not seas as in oceans. The High C’s refer to many values you lived by that demonstrated your high moral code. The High C’s of your journey showed Courage, Compassion, Conviction, Community, Charity, Creativity, and Comical Adventures. I would like to take a few moments to explore each of these.

 

Courage

Those that knew Mom knew that she was not afraid of life. She embraced all that life had to offer, including hardship. She brought dignity to any challenge that faced her and always dealt with these challenges head on. I have drawn a tremendous amount of inspiration by observing how Mom looked an obstacle in the eye and in her own way, said “bring it on”. Her spirit was not daunted by any of these instances, she would merely decide on a course of action, and do it. I remember moving to Halifax. She had very little to her name and was faced with entering the work force right away to make ends meet. Completely unfamiliar with the city, or what would be required, she reviewed classifieds, zoned in on a job, and started that leg of her journey without hesitation or fear.

 

Another fine example of her courageous nature had her riding in a trailer being pulled by a lawn tractor. Blake was driving the tractor and had an encounter with bees. He jumped from the tractor to escape the bees and mom found herself on a moving, driverless tractor & trailer. In true action movie style, she crawled from the trailer over the hitch and climbed into the seat of the tractor and safely stopped the vehicle. Danger averted; the brave save the day. This was typical of her approach to situations. It is a theme that prevailed throughout her life, including her fight with illness and cancer these past couple of years. She did not feel sorry for herself and would not accept any pity from others. Along with her courage, no matter what came her way, she would always count her blessings for which she was deeply grateful.

Compassion

Mom was a care-giver. She was forever concerned with doing for others. Her own needs were always secondary to those around her. She would make sure everyone was well fed and tended to before considering herself. She made the world a better place with her volunteerism and deep regard for everyone she met. There are many wayward pets that have found their way to Mom’s door. They were brought in from the cold, given food, shelter and love. She was proud of her work with the Women’s Institute along with the Food Bank. Growing up, mom created a haven for many gatherings and events and would always make sure we were well cared for. Mom’s compassion knew no bounds or limitations. She held no grudges or resentment to anyone who may have wronged her. Her ability to overlook misdeeds and focus on love and forgiveness is a trait I greatly admire.

 

Conviction

Mom was a woman that created her own opportunities. She did not sit idle waiting for life to hand her a roadmap, she forged her own path. There were many sources of discouragement through the years, however, she refused to believe in those words and instead chose to believe in herself. Mom worked hard to get her grade XII GED and her driver’s license. Those were symbols of her ability to achieve her goals and dreams. She was proud of those accomplishments, but she was particularly pleased that she received her Interprovincial Chef’s papers, a goal she worked very hard to achieve. There are few that could rival her wizardry in the kitchen or in the garden. She tackled her pursuits with dedication and love and accomplished wonderful things in the process. To further illustrate the deep reserve of conviction, a few years ago on a trip to PEI with Charlie, Karen, Justin, & Garrett, mom twisted her ankle. She did not wish to impose, so she remained silent about her pain and opted to take an Advil. Upon returning home, she decided to go to the Doctor to get it checked out only to find out she had broken her ankle. She was small, but mighty, treating many of life’s adversities or pain as a minor annoyance that she would not let impede her task at hand.

Community

Mom had a very strong sense of community. It was not enough for her to care for her friends and family, she felt a compelling need to give her time and energy to the community. She spoke fondly of the events and functions she was involved with while she lived in East Gore, Nova Scotia. I know she felt a great sense of satisfaction from efforts. Not only did she embrace her community, but she was well embraced by it. The lives she touched, touched her back.

 

Charity

Giving was part of Mom’s nature. She always felt blessed to be able to share with others. The food bank was very important to mom. She wanted to feed the world. In the last few months, she was very proud to contribute to rescue missions in both Regina and Lethbridge. Over the years, there were numerous other organizations and events mom would donate to. Mom’s legacy of giving has inspired many. Her values and generosity live on in the people she inspired.

 

Creativity

Mom was an absolute artist in the kitchen. Her exploits are legendary. She could look in the fridge, see a handful of leftovers, and turn them into a meal fit for royalty. We were constantly amazed how a left over baked potato, piece of steak and single cob of corn could turn into a four course meal to feed eight people. This creativity extended to her gardening as well. Her yard in east Gore, was often referred to as the “Garden of Eve”. She knew how to nurture and grow plants of a variety of styles and blended them all together in a wonderful, peaceful landscape.

 

Comical Adventures

Where to start? Mom was always up for new experiences and adventures. She loved to laugh. Many times when telling a story, she had to stop and regain her composure; her eyes streaming with tears of joy. Her laughter was pure and her joy was infectious. She continued to enjoy life and explore new opportunities right up to the end. Her zest for life, made her one of the youngest people I knew. When Phil, Roberta, and kids would travel east, mom would join them on various travels around the Maritimes. This included digging clams on a beach or riding on a large gunny-sack slide with her dress blown up above her head. In recent years she participated in the Lethbridge YMCA 5k fun run with Charlie, Karen and the boys. On a family trip to Waterton Park a few years ago, she insisted on hiking the steep Bear’s hump with the rest of the family.

 

She played many different board games and card games with our group of friends. In Regina, Mom was a favourite in our Texas Hold’em Poker League. I can personally vouch for her poker exploits as I was often eliminated from the game by the shrewd stylings of “Poker Mom”.

Mom would work hard, but also knew how to play. She was one of the gang.

 

In Closing

We are not saying goodbye today. We are recognizing and celebrating the life of someone I truly admire. Mom’s lessons were many; not by her words, but by her deeds. She would not want us to mourn her passing, she would want us to love each other deeply and perhaps draw a page or two from her lessons in life.

 

Seize the adventures that life presents you with sincere zest and zeal. Look around at the people in your family, circle of friends, and your community. See and celebrate the good in them and overlook their misgivings. Place both hands on the sternwheeler of your ship as you sail the High C’s. Be steadfast in the storms and be grateful for the calm waters. May mom’s life serve as an enduring lighthouse from which we all draw inspiration.

Love you mom.

Gratitude – Day 100 (Phil)

Phillip Myles

Goodbye Phil. Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace.

I woke up this morning knowing that I was going to resume my blogging ritual. I took a week off after learning of Phil’s passing. It was my time to reflect and let my mind wander through the past memories of Phil and our various gatherings in the past. I woke this morning knowing that I would blog, but not knowing how I would write and what words I would say. I do not want to Eulogize Phil in this post, as I do not think I have the words or talent to do the task the honour it deserves. I think I will just let some words flow as they come into consciousness.

The loss of a sibling is hard to describe. Phil’s health had been deteriorating for years and his quality of life was not very good. It is good that he is no longer suffering. It is good that he may now rest. I am sad that he is gone.

Phil had a tremendous love of family and family gatherings and family bonds were very important to him. His work on the family genealogy and family reunions brought many distant relatives together. I have to admit, that without Phil’s efforts, I would probably not have any connections to many of my cousins. Growing up in Eastern Canada, I was thousands of miles away from most of my relatives. As a young man growing up, I would not have pursued those relationships, were it not for Phil’s dedication to family and heritage. In the end, Phil provided the family with one more gathering; his funeral. Even in death the crazy bugger still manages to bring us all together.

Phil & Bert at Waterton Park

Gathering at his place before the funeral we spent time with Roberta and Phil’s family. We saw many pictures that brought back laughs, tears, old stories, and much more. It was heartwarming to see the pictures and hear the tales of past deeds. I owe much of my sense and definition of family to Phil. His efforts to strengthen family bonds were noble and fruitful. Thank you Phil.

I really value the times when family gathers. I really value the bonds that grow and strengthen between siblings, cousins, uncles, nephews, nieces, parents, children, and grand-children. As I grow older, these things mean even more to me. I will not take these things for granted.

Siblings Take a Dip

 

Bonnie - Brittanie - Austin - Carmen

 

Silly Moment at the Swimming Hole

 

One of my last memories of Phil was from a few year’s ago when he and his wife Roberta came to Regina for a visit. It was a sunny fall day. We harvested the apples off of our apple trees, put a fire in the fire pit, and played cribbage outside. Cribbage is a game synonymous with our family. It was been played by at least 5 generations in our family. I look back at that autumn day very fondly.

Phil & Matt Playing Crib

So Phil, I will once again say thank you for highlighting the value of family connections and heritage. Goodbye Phil. Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace.

Your spirit soars from the valley floor
To the mountains high you reach the sky
You ride the breeze on land and seas
You’ll walk beside me for evermore