A personal story about how learning these skills enabled me to heal from the effects of a toxic childhood.

My breaking point came on Mother’s Day in 2015. I had invited my mother for lunch, to which she wholeheartedly accepted. I cleaned the house, bought food to accommodate her fussy preferences, and picked out a potted flower arrangement in her favourite colours. I wrote, “I’m so glad you are in my life again” on the card. We had been lumping along for nearly a year in what I thought was a mutual desire to rebuild our broken relationship.

Yet, as I cooked lunch, then set the table, then waited for her arrival, then checked the clock every twenty minutes…


Short story

Brandon leaned back in his seat, now in the upright position, touching his beard with one hand, his other thumb caressing a notebook on his lap. Deep in thought about the past year's events, he blocked out his surroundings until he felt a light touch on his right shoulder. He looked up into the eyes of the uniformed woman he had been flirting with most of the three-hour flight.

“Sir, you have to fasten your seatbelt. We’re about to descend,” she said.

Her smile was warm like she had enjoyed their short interlude at forty-thousand feet, but her official mannerism…


Evaluating how the lockdowns have improved life at home.

It would be redundant to point out that life in 2019 looked very different from how life looks now. Overnight, we lost so very much, perhaps the hardest loss being our autonomy. It still feels like there are very few options with the ever-evolving health mandates over a year later. No one can say for sure how long it will take to get back to pre-pandemic life. Many of us are not even sure that it will.

Too much change has occurred too quickly to bounce back to normal, even if it did end as quickly as it began.

One…


It’s never too late to find freedom from debt

My husband I were hiding in the bathroom of our home, whispering so that the two salesmen in our kitchen wouldn’t hear us. We had excused ourselves to talk over the possible large purchase.

I had accepted a cold call offering a demonstration of an air purifier. You would think I would have learned from other demos. At least this time, we weren’t going to have to threaten to call the police. (That happened when a vacuum salesman told his trainee that they weren’t going to leave until they had a sale despite our firm refusal to purchase. They finally…


Why the difficulty of getting into debt in the '90s was a gift.

When I was growing up in the 1980s, talking about money was a taboo subject. Asking someone how much they made was up there with sex, religion, and home life. There were questions you didn’t ask and things you didn’t tell anyone, not even your best friends.

Instead, the adults would shake hands and ask, “so, what do you do?” and at once, their eyes would glaze over as they searched the recesses of their minds for a time when they may have heard how much income the stranger’s line of work generated. …


Downsizing mental inventory

I have been entertaining the idea of Minimalism. Not the ‘no furniture, white space void of any possessions’ style, but rather a form of owning less or being owned by less.

I have finally concluded that every material possession in my home requires time and commitment that I would rather be giving to something more important-like my family, my writing, and my relationships.

I like to listen to YouTube videos on minimalism while I clean. A message that struck me recently was this:

As women, moms, wives; whether we have careers or work at home, we are…


And other interesting facts about them that aren’t common knowledge

In 2006, my husband and I dared to start a new venture by purchasing a forty-acre hobby farm that came complete with a small herd of alpacas. When we first saw the realtor listing, we searched online to find out what an alpaca even looked like. Neither of us even heard of this creature.

The sellers gave us a crash course on caring for the beasts and drove away grateful (and probably laughing) that they no longer had to shoulder the burden. Saying that shearing alpacas is labour intensive is an understatement.

The joy that they brought our family outweighed…


Her caramel-brown eyes stared into my soul as she determined if I was a threat to her family

There was a shallow coulee on my childhood land where I would go when I didn’t want to be seen. As the oldest of four children, nature was the only place to be alone with my thoughts. In my teen years, I needed solitude for deeper reasons. Nature was where I found healing.

Part of the Qu’Appelle Valley, in Saskatchewan, Canada, the trees and vegetation in the coulee were fed by underground springs. The tightly packed greenery kept the sun from reaching the forest floor, making the area a few degrees cooler. …


A tale of magic and hope

Liam ran across the ocean terrace, a bucket in one hand, a shovel in the other. His mother trotted a few feet behind, her yellow wellingtons slapping the wet sand.

“Hurry up, Ma,” Liam called.

The wind carried away her complaints about the weight of the metal pail and her blasted boots. But Liam was right. The tide was coming in, and the skies were turning grey. They wouldn’t have much time for digging.

“Do ya see anything, Liam?” she called when she reached the water’s edge where he had started digging.

“There’s a…


How a farm dog helped me embrace city living

We found Sasha at a farm auction. We raised goats and were there to add to our herd. We weren’t planning to get a puppy, but my heart melted when they brought her into the auction ring. She was a tiny ball of white fluff when we got her, but she instinctively knew what her purpose was and (mostly) did a good job keeping predators out of the yard.

Great Pyrenees females will grow to 85 lbs and stand 25–29 inches tall.

They are big, and they are strong, but they are gentle with children and have Zen-like dispositions, making…

Crystal Garrett

Writing about life lessons learned from nature, adventures, and mistakes. https://lifeinwritingca.wordpress.com

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