365 Days.

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There were Mondays, hump days, sunny days and stormy days. There were Red Wine Fridays, birthdays, holidays and vacation days. There were Saturday shopping days, lunching with the ladies days, sun tanning days, gardening days, sewing Sundays and absolutely do nothing days. There were good hair days and fat days; feeling hot and sexy days, as well as hot flashing menopausing monster days. There were kill the TTC days and crap I forgot my umbrella days just as there were oh the kindness of strangers and listening to the birds sing days. There were days I celebrated the air that I breathe with bliss-filled joy. There were also days I struggled, worried and was angry. There were play days, sick days and mental health days. There were workdays, not quite enough, but there were workdays. There were days I was awestruck, grateful and deeply moved. Days where the moon was bigger, the stars brighter and love bountiful. There were days spent with friends, kids, critters, Kampersluts and alone. Days in nature, in the river, in the woods, in my magic place. There were days a toad attacked me, I got a tattoo, my book got published and I went back to blonde. There were days where I lost my way, my voice, my mind and heart. There were days I was a warrior princess, strong, fierce and brave. There were days I wanted to scream so loud and days I loved even louder. There were days that didn’t make any sense until later days to come. There sad days when I lost Fiend and Angus. And the happy days I found Charlie and Sadie. There were days where people surprised me – both beautifully generous and shockingly hurtful. There were days I laughed my ass off and days I cried till the well was dry. Some of the days were filled with elated joy, excitement and hope, while others teetered on anxiety, loss and heartache.  Some days were just a day.

365 Days.  A little older, a lot wiser. A little heavier, but less giving a shit. Absolutely more Awesome Sauce, creative, self-expressive and self-assured. Consciously more grateful, kind, authentic and calm.

365 Days. Lucky to have lived each and every one of them. Grateful for the lessons and the love. So excited for the magic I know is coming – so here’s to the next 365 days.  Choose to live them with awe, adventure, appreciation and joy!  Happy New Day!

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Tradition.

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Twis the week before Christmas and yes I have been scurrying around like a mad mouse. The stockings are hung in the kitchen with care and cat nip. All the gifts are wrapped, cards sent, fudge made and I have sipped, dipped, danced and pranced with all my favourite peeps until I can’t cram another gingerbread man in my mouth. Twenty days into December and it’s been an enormously jammed-packed month of non-stop festivities, over indulgence, social butterflying to the max and red wine everydays, and truthfully, I’m ready for Santa to come, go and let me recover! But not before my most favourite night of the holiday season.

I love Christmas Eve. Sure there was the whole miracle of trekking the dessert guided by a bright star looking for a place to have a baby and making friends with a donkey in a manger which is an awesome sauce story, just as much as the magic of Santa flying with his eight reindeers delivering toys worldwide with the heart-felt hope and anticipation of believing being realized on Christmas morning. But for me it was all about being together with my family on a night resonant in tradition. It always started with a dinner that Mum would only make on Christmas Eve. I waited all year for this dinner and it is to this day my favourite meal of all – Gifilte fish, perogies and potato pancakes. We would gorge ourselves on them trying to break last year’s record for number of potato pancakes eaten and I always managed to win that contest. After Dad would do the dishes, we’d head downstairs for the annual Lowry sing song. I’d play the piano while Dad bolted out his top tunes from Good King Wenceslas and God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen to Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells; and Susan always did her Monotone Angle solo. Mum sipped Drambuie; Dad his G&T, while we nibbled on a tray of homemade sugar cookies, Gingerbread boys, Jam thumbprints and Mum’s famous lace cookies. Mum and Sue would cuddle up on the couch, while Dad would scratch my back and we were all happy. Anxious for Christmas morning to arrive, the evening would always come to an end with my solo of Silent Night. We left cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph. Sue & I always slept together on Christmas Eve talking, giggling and trying to stay awake to see if we could hear Santa arrive on the rooftop…but we never did catch him.

Christmas morning was always a rush of abundance, stockings, and gifts, Mum making the dressing, getting “the bird” ready – a cacophony of joyful chaos. But Christmas Eve was something special; soulful, close, loving and real. It was a Lowry family tradition. A silent night; a holy night, where all was calm and all was bright.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Hey Yule!

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I’m sitting in my den looking out the window and the snow is coming down. It finally feels like winter. The sky is battleship gray, with lethargic, heavy-hearted artic clouds sinking in to stay. The branches of my massive 70 foot pine tree are dusted with diamond flakes as the squirrels have now become frantic for the peanuts hidden under the newly fallen snow.

It’s a special time of year; besides it being Christmas; for me, my Winter Solstice is near.  Next Wednesday, December 21st an “astronomical phenomenon” will occur marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. “Solstice” originates from two Latin words: sol meaning “sun” and sister meaning “to stand still”. This longest night of the year, is followed by a renewal of the sun.  It’s a cosmic sciencey thing that I can’t properly explain, but what I am happy to express is the magic that comes from this.

Midwinter’s eve is a magical time of ritual, reflection and renewal.  It’s a time of quietude, a time to plant our dream seeds and let them germinate in the frozen earth. It’s a time of stillness, when our rivers slow down and remind us to ponder our pace to one of repose. We step into an abundant cave of darkness, a safe place to rest, to replenish and incubate our desires. A time to cuddle up under winter’s blanket and let ourselves fall into a deep and beautiful sleep. A soul-searching time to foster and befriend our creativity, to be gentle in our thoughts, and authentic with our hearts. Winter Solstice presents a time of courage along with lessons for the need to withdrawal, be silent, be contemplative all with the purpose of renewal.

Ahh doesn’t that sound nice?  I invite you to join me in welcoming the Winter Solstice.  Consider marking this special day and celebrating a new tradition. A ritual that ignites our spirit founded in the love of nature and respect for the renewing cycles of life. You can simply say thanks to the wonder of winter or if you want to try something a little more magical – traditional rituals of respect for Mother Nature include ringing bells at sunrise and sunset, offering seeds to winter birds and of course peanuts to the squirrels and creating a circle of candlelight, blowing them out and sitting in the darkness for a few moments expressing your gratitude, wishes and prayers.

Make Peace on Earth, Make Peace Within
At the Sun’s Rebirth & ‘Round the Wheel Again.                
Blessed be.

HO HO NO.

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Well it’s that wonderful time of year…AGAIN. December…so suddenly upon us…festively fueled by the elation-infused Yuletide anticipation of sugar plum faeries trolloping amongst figgy pudding while candy cane carolers chortle carols of glee.  Happy happy, joy joy…feeling oh so festive…NOT.

I know…suck it up snowflake and get in the fricking spirit…but honestly this is not my favourite time of year.  While everyone else seems to be decking the halls, trimming the tree and stringing stockings over the fireplace – I find myself a little maudlin, a little more sentimental, a heck of a lot more exhausted and crushingly more contemplative of the past 340 days.  Trust me… it’s a weight worse than the sack of stolen Whoville Christmas presents on top of mount Crumpet…(cue the Grinch).

It’s a tough month. Not just for people like me who feel overwhelmed by the reflection of the year gone by – my accomplishments, mistakes, lessons and wishes; as well as the countdown to the New Year, pondering what’s to come and how to make it better.  It’s a tough month for those without family, for those feeling alone or lonely and not fitting into the Hallmark card.  It’s tough for people on a budget trying to make ends meet. It’s tough for people who are struggling with their health and loss. It’s tough for those craving cranberry and dressing without a turkey in sight.  It’s a tough month. How’s that for a lump of coal in your stocking?

Well fear not my little elves and elvettes, I’ve decided to shift my snowdrift and not hold the holidays hostage this year…and in true Lowry tradition, celebrate the shit out of this season! Because…I have a choice.

I’m saying yes to Christmas.  Yes to gingerbread boys AND men, holiday markets, Christmas concerts, eggnog, tinsel and Turtles (the chewy caramel ones). I’m moving the New Year to next April.  No reflections or resolutions till then. I’m making merry with as many of my peeps as possible and singing Christmas carols every day of December (don’t you dare shhh me.) I’m wearing reindeer antlers on the bus. I’m making stockings for my kittens because it’s their first Christmas and there’s nothing more hysterical than putting cat nip in the toes of a stocking and hanging it out of reach. I’m investing in an ugly Christmas sweater, Christmas lights and I’m going to be naughty and nice! I’m not counting down to the end of the year…I’m counting my blessing every day of this year. I’m looking forward to what 2017 WILL bring.  I’m going to prance around like a sugar plum faerie on mulled wine spreading JOY and creating peace on earth and goodwill to all eligible men, humans and animals.  And if that isn’t enough…I’m giving myself an awesome sauce present – a trip to Bali!  Not to shabby Santa!

So choose to find your spirit – however small or large; let it out, celebrate it, cherish it and share it – because remember Santa’s watching!

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!

And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
And the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!