Friday, December 29, 2017

My Big Dream Begins

"Can I go with you to heaven?"

"No you can't!  You need to stay here and give hugs and kisses from Nana, so our grandchildren will remember me", she replied.

While I was frustrated and wanting to run away I went to visit a friend in the hospice and asked her that question.  Her response was immediate.  She didn't question me on such an impossible request.  

Today was the celebration of her life.  My friend passed away after 9 months of cancer.  What a celebration it was.  The family sharing so many stories of days gone by and memories from brothers, sisters, her children and friends.  It was a time to remember who she was and what gave her the most joy.  Her family shared her life story through pictures and video's and their final memories they created for her.  It was amazing to see her 5 children (between 30-38 years of age) come together and support their mother especially in the last year of her life.

Her family will now have to live on without her but her love will live on within her loved ones.

The dying are still very much alive.  Let death be what takes them.  Not the lack of imagination or inspiration.  It would be very encouraging and uplifting to the family to help them through the many difficult days as they prepare for their loved ones end of life by creating memories of  "Living"  "Loving" and "Laughing" before death takes them to Heaven.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6   

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Before she died the name of the place came to mind and before I go to heaven my big dream is to have a place where women can run away for a day.  The name of this place will be:  Shirley Goodness and Mary.  In memory of my mother Shirley and my daughter's mother in law Mary.  

Thanks be to My Big G who will make this happen in a way beyond my understanding. 

Much love, 

Mrs. Encouragement.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Escape from YYC Ends

Hospital Outing

We made our way to see the surgeon at the hospital.  Long story, short.  Everything stays the same for another 10 days.

Concussion seems to be getting worse though.  Possibly that's part of healing.  Feeling worse before it gets better.  Light, noise and dizziness are on the menu.  Feel depression setting in.  Husband is frustrated and discouraged.  He's had to leave the room and go lay down when the grandchildren are having too much fun.  As I help him to his room and get him comfortable I can't help but think about the time I had to excuse myself from the drama at a friends house only a few months ago.  I just left the room and went to lay down and listen to a meditation session on my iPhone for 20 minutes then I returned.

I was criticized for doing so.  WHY?

Since having cancer I have become less passive in standing up for my needs.  It is fear that I face each time I decline to do what the group is doing.  Is it worth listening to the belittling?  Is it worth listening to the verbal diarrhea?  Is it worth the hassle?  Sometimes yes.  Sometimes no.

In the last blog I mentioned the holiday that went from sweet to sour.  It went sour because I failed to respect the needs of my body by saying I need to stay quietly alone for the day.  My body paid a high price with a diabetic reaction.

I came home wanting to run away from my life.  My entire being wanted to die and go to heaven.  I have no energy to plan an escape.  Now I must care for the needs of another.

I told our daughter my needs are at the bottom of the list again.  So she suggested I make a list of what I need to do for myself and slowly make them happen.  I really appreciated her advise.  I really wanted to go for my vitamin IV at the Naturopath's office.  That was on the top of the list.  I called our son and asked him to spend a few hours with his Pa so I could go to my appointment.  I called one daughter to spend a few hours with us.  Another daughter to be available so I can drop off her Pa and spend a few hours with a friend.

That is of encouragement to myself. 

What's on your list?  It's up to you to make it happen.  If you don't, chances are no one else will make it happen for you.  What will you do to encourage yourself?  What will you do to move forward?

Visiting the Psych Ward.

The day before my husbands accident we were helping a family friend in need.  He ended up in the hospital.  I asked my husband if he was OK after seeing the surgeon that we go see our friend.  He agreed.  We were lucky to get in as they have special visiting hours.

It was a quick visit.  Well appreciated.  As I listened to our friends concerns I thought about mankind in general.  We all want our freedom.  We don't want anyone to control our lives.  We have fears.  We want to be reassured.  We want to be loved.  We want to be heard and understood.

A lot of people have a difficult person to deal with or are living under a dictatorship.  When someone is controlling us or our fears control us.  And we no longer have the freedom of  choice.  We shut down.  We all shut down in different ways.

How does one escape from their situation?  There is no escape.  Our friend can't escape the hospital and I can't escape from YYC.  The only thing we have control over is our thoughts and how we're going to handle our emotions during our situation.

How about we run away just for a day.  Visit -  On the menu bar, under My Big G is My Big Dream.  There you'll see what I did to help myself through my thoughts of escaping.

Much Love,
Mrs. Encouragement

p.s. Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and just go where your heart takes you.  My heart takes me around Alberta.  My province in Canada.  Encouraging women just for a day.  A weekend.  Creating a lifetime of happy times with happy wives spreading happiness to their unhappily retired husbands.  Are you with me?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Escape from YYC Begins

Where?  How?  When? 

How to plan a runaway.

We came home from a sweet holiday that went sour.  The Italians have a saying: La Dolce Vita.  Which means the sweet life.  With all the economic situation in Italy the way it is, the saying has changed to:  La Dolce Vita e Finita.  The sweet life is over!

When life gets tough the tough get going.  Where are they going to go?  So . . . .

I started planning my run away and so did my Italian husband.  I would plan on leaving my empty nest.  Questions I asked myself:  Where would I go?  How would I get there?  When would I leave?  What would I take?  How long would I stay?  How much money would I need?  What do I really really want?

Planning a trip for a holiday is one thing.  Planning a runaway for an extended period of time, totally different.

Where would I go?  How much would it cost?

  • Divorce - That was my first option.  Take half the money and get the heck out of here.  So I started my research.  Living in a condo - you need to pay condo fees.  I had no income.  Getting my Canada Pension Plan  in a couple of years wouldn't cover food, shelter and transportation.  So I'd have to give up my car.  Which lead to me look for a condo on (YYC-Calgary) Calgary's C Train line (public transportation). 
  • Volunteer - To teach English.  Over a couple of weeks I read what I could and came across a reputable company.  When I filled out their questionnaire about where to volunteer.  I was shocked at the place it chose for me due to my age, likes and qualities.  Naples Italy!  That's where my husband is from.  Really, why not.  That's the best place I could be.  I understand Neapolitan a bit.  I love Italy.  Let's see what happens.  But that's only for a few weeks.  Hence I could leave for a couple of weeks to a month.  (Funny movie I've watched in the past:  Shirley Valentine - she ran away to Greece for 2 weeks)
  • Snowbird - I could become a snowbird for a month in Arizona.  That would cost a minimum of $2000.00 a month plus car rental, food and entertainment.  Live in Mexico for 3 months.  Not sure how much that would cost.  For more than a month without family around that wouldn't be fun.
  • Amica Retirement Center - $3500.00 a month for a studio suite.  All meals and recreation included.  Salt water pool, private kitchen for cooking, entertaining & feeding 12 friends. A movie theatre.  Located in 32 locations in Alberta, BC, and Ontario.  You can go on a staycation for under $150.00 a night.  ie:  run away for a couple of days, relax be fed and entertained  Now that's a cool run away for a few days or recovering from surgery.  
  • Ask husband to buy me an apartment.  Pay the bills.  Come for weekend visits.  I thought that was the best idea of the list.  He didn't go for it. 
  • Final idea:  Buy an apartment on a cruise ship and travel the world- only requirement is your net worth must be $5Million.   

But for now my time is limited on what activities I can and can not do with my time AS I'M stuck here looking after a man who thinks he's invincible.  A man who is very impatient.  That man is my Neapolitan husband.

He has a concussion.  Both wrists broken.  One had to be reset.  Two types of casts.  One plaster and one fiberglass.  Going to see a surgeon to see if he'll need surgery as he crushed a few bones on the wrist of the arm he uses to work with.  To stop the impact of hitting his head on a brick wall playing indoor soccer he's stuck on this new healing journey AT HOME.

Just before this happened, he was planning his running away too!!  Now he's stuck with me.  No driving for 2 months.  He needs me for just about everything.

Happy husband, happy home, happy wife oh what a wonderful life!!

Do you think My Big G is trying to tell us something!  Our daughter said to us "You two are meant to stay together.  Pa, when the Dr tells you to be kind to your wife, take it seriously.  If that's all you learn from this situation let that be your lesson!"  

Last November he was pulling up my pants after breast cancer surgery.  This year I am pulling up his pants.  Who is wearing the pants in this family?  My Big G is telling us to be kind and take care of each other.

I hope you gain insight into your life as you read the details of my life.  I will continue to blog further updates.

We are thankful for two broken wrists as that saved my husband from severe brain injury.  We'll focus on being grateful as we missed the Canadian Thanksgiving while on holiday in Italy.  

Much love, 

Mrs. Encouragement  
p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Courage in Croatia

Espresso, Gelato and Courageous Women!

We were on a cruise.  Rome to Venice.  To begin our day in Zadar Croatia.  The stop before Venice. We found our selves on a bus with 2 new friends from our evening dinner table and the friends we were travelling with.  The bus which was provided by the cruise ship at no cost was the only form of transportation.  It was a long drive into the old town center.  It would have been too long of a walk to get there.  Never saw a taxi along the way or any tour guides like in Valletta - Malta, or Kotor- Montenegro.

We walked around for quite some time enjoying the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the area.  We ladies noticed that the men could not walk and talk.  One of the men requested that we sit down to enjoy the view and have a drink.  We were sitting outside in the sun. 

I needed something to eat and get out of the sun!  A drink would have sent me over board. 

I'm Type 2 Diabetic so drinking water and having many snacks keeps me going.  Yet I feel so uncomfortable being the only one eating in a group setting.  

I did order a salad which would have satisfied a mouse.  I was still not feeling like myself.  So I went to the bathroom to look into my grab bag of snackies.  I was about ready to open up my foil pouch, but in walked two other women.  When they left in walked another one.  So I went into the inner dining area where the servers were coming and going.  No one said anything as I quickly swallowed the chicken and quinoa in the baby food foil pouch.  

I then went for a short walk down the path and got something else out of my bag to sustain by blood sugar.

By then my husband came over to tell me the others noticed I wasn't doing well.  I assured him I'd be OK soon and I'd join them again.

As I made my way to the table our friends were ready to go go go again!  I asked who paid and said thank you.  We made our way around another part of the old town.  We came across a gelato and espresso bar.  Wonderful.  We loved espresso and our friends loved gelato.  As we enjoyed our espresso one of our friends was talking up a storm with a couple of the clients who were enjoying their gelato.

With this being a new business in the area of only 3 months, our friend did a survey to see what the customers would enjoy with their espresso or gelato.  I believe the consensus was 'cinnamon buns'.  The aroma would bring in more customers.

One of the customers was at the table next to ours.  Turns out she was visiting her friend who was the owner of the espresso/gelato bar.  The owner over heard me talking to my daughter on the phone.  She understood English and said "You're so lucky you'll be seeing your daughter soon!  I will not be able to see my mother as she passed away a year ago from Cancer.  I left home when I was 17 and only saw her once a year.
Now I have time to visit with my mother and she's gone.  My friend had breast cancer this year and has come to visit me!"  

What could I do but bring out my 'Courage' sign!  So that's just what I did.  I told her the cancer stories of our group.  We shared a few tears then took a photo and began the walk back to the bus.  That is the story of Courage in Croatia.

Where does Courage show up in your life?  

Much love,
Mrs. Encouragement

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Courage Courage Courage

Her name is Martina.  She is a courageous young woman of 19 years.

I sat beside Martina on flight from Rome to Amsterdam.  She was on her way for a job interview as a Nanny.  We were on our way home from a European vacation.

Martina was from Naples Italy.  This was her first step towards her dream.  Her dream to be a movie director.  She had to leave Italy because, as I understood.  It was a reason for family and friends to laugh at her rather than support her and her dream.  

I encouraged her to continue to believe in herself and her dream.  She would be making $3000 Euro a month working 4 days a week as a Nanny.  I was shocked.  I had just met a lady from the Ukraine who was looking after my husbands Zia (Aunt) in Italy.  She was making only $800 Euro a month, working 6 days a week.  As my husband conversed with his Zia I opened a conversation with her care giver.  

Her name Nina.  She had been 8 years in Italy.  Her husband died at 33 years of age.  She was the only one working to support her 2 married children.  She had not met her grandchildren.

Unlike Martina, who was able to leave the country and begin the journey towards her dream Nina was not.  If she left Italy she would not be able to re enter hence loose her income.  She lives with my husbands Zia in a very small area of a home which was once her own.  Her sons have divided it into 4 homes.  One for each of the three sons and a very small one bedroom for their mother with a tiny bathroom and a very tiny kitchen which consists of a sink and 2 burner electric cook top on the counter.

My husbands Zia pointed out that the care giver sleeps in a folding cot bed as her bed was only for her and her husband.  Now that he's past away it is only for her alone.  We all had a chuckle.

My mother in law passed away 4 years ago.  Her care giver was from Bulgaria.  She also slept in a separate bed in the same home as my mother in law.  It was a full size apartment so quite comfortable.  Her caregiver was Nellie.  In 2009 we took the two of them to Positano.  It was quite a challenge to get my mother in law around in a wheel chair.  Italy is a country not suited for those with disabilities.  But no matter where we went someone would help us. 


This photo is in Positano this year.  Taken with a friend, our daughter and two nieces and a great niece.  

I recall another Zia who lived in Naples.  She was not able to do stairs and lived on the second floor of a building.  It was a very steep set of stairs that was difficult for us to climb back in the 90's.  She would put her money in a basket and lower it to the street below so that the veggie or fruit vendor would put her grocery list of items and her change into the basket and she would pull it back up through her bedroom window. 

The street vendor would travel town to town on a three wheeled type of motor cycle to sell his goods.

I've had quite a life knowing two cultures.  It takes a lot of courage to be yourself as it is easy to get lost living in the expectations of another culture. 

What is your dream?  Courage lives within you.  Stir it up and make your dreams come true.

Much Love,
Mrs. Encouragement

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How Did They Know?

True or False?

I'm a Christian and I'm not dead.  I am alive.

Today I'm going to share with you two discoveries.  To my surprise the computer knows a lot about me and a lot about you.

Discovery #1.  A Christian Promotional Company found out I'm a Christian and sent me an email about an upcoming Christian movie.

How did their computer know I was a Christian?  I got curious so I read to the end to find a contact.

I did find the contact person and sent an email to ask how they got my email address.  My inquiry went deeper than that.  I believe in ASK and you shall receive.

They sent my email to their department head because I went and checked out their website.

This company sends out books to churches.  SO I asked for some books too.

Guess what?  They sent 2 books to me for a special occasion we were having.  I was impressed.  I called to thank them for going out of their way to send those books and I also asked them to pray for the special occasion we were having.

Have you ever taken the time to take the extra steps to figure something out?  Something that intrigued you?  Something you don't normally do?

Well nothing is normal in my life since the cancer diagnosis.  It's like I'm living each day as if it were my last.  And I'm finding I'm doing some silly and some crazy things VERY spontaneously I might add.

Well the extra mile I went this time turned into a double blessing.  I got the free books and they're also looking for people to read books and write comments after they've been read.  I enjoy reading so I just might sign up.

The special occasion we were having was a CELEBRATION of courage. The family whose loved one we were honoring on her cancer journey took the books and the memories of a lovely evening home with them.

Discovery #2  The world wide web knows more about me and more about you - than we think!

The Christian company went online and found my email address from a speakers directory.  So I went online and looked me up.  This time I was shocked !!!  Google thinks I'm dead.  Why does Google think that?  You're wondering, right?  There are people who go around taking photo's at cemeteries.  

If your name is on a tomb stone guess what?  They think you're dead.  It's called Billion Graves.  The worlds largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data!!  Now ya know it too!

I'd say most people get a tomb stone after their loved one dies.  After my father passed away we chose to buy a plot and a tomb stone so our children would not have to do that.  It is extremely overwhelming burying a loved one.  We thought we'd simplify things a bit for them.  They're not interested right now, but when the time comes they will appreciate what we did.

Google I'd just like you to know that I am more alive NOW than when i was dead - yet walking!!!!
Thanks be to the man who walked on water.  You've heard of him, right? His name is Jesus, I call him My Big G.  You can discover hope and healing at

Much Love,
Mrs. Encouragement

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What Goes with Espresso? Italians!!

After reading these 3 stories, you’ll believe everything happens for a reason.  

I’ve been paying attention to detail since looking back on recent encounters.  Usually the first encounter means there is more to follow > >

I saw them while in the security line up at the airport. Italians!!  They’re everywhere. 

You could tell they were from Italy.  They dressed the part.  They spoke Italian.  They looked like professionals.  I saw them holding their Italian passports.  They saw my Napoli carry on bag.  My husband being Italian overheard them talking about my bag.  I saw them again at our gate.  I wasn’t surprised when I saw them sit down in the aisle across from us on our Air Canada flight from Calgary to Victoria BC.   

The plane was full.  A lady was trying to fit in her luggage on the overhead compartment with no success.  I nudged my husband to ask the Italians if he could move their two small back packs over one compartment so she could easily fit her suitcase in the next section. 
He hesitantly agreed and spoke to the couple in their language.  They agreed.  He got up and moved their bags over.  That was the ice breaker.  You could see their demeanor change.  Like they had found a friend.  Dot & Vini (our nicknames) were about to become their friends.  Turns out they speak a little English too.  The hour flight was non-stop talking.  That’s what Italians are all about.  Communication!! 

We took a taxi together.  The 3 Italians sat in the back seat.  The quiet Canadian?  That’s me!  I sat in the front seat with the quiet foreign taxi driver.  Politely I told him.  They.  Those 3 Italians in the back seat would be talking Italian on our drive.  When we reached our destination we  had an espresso together.  It was a delight!  It had been 13 days without an authentic espresso since visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper.  Gabriella enjoyed the coffee and conversation.  Stefano not quite impressed by the coffee but by the conversation around food and travelling.  He was a travel agent in his younger years.  Now organizes tours in Italy.

They told us they wondered what the Italian connection was with me and my bag because my husband does not look like an authentic Italian.  According to Stefano.  The difference between Italians and Canadians in my opinion.  Italians think out loud, using their outside voice.  Canadians think and keep it all inside.  The Canadian might not be heard.  But the Italian.  Heard for sure.   
My husband has been here 43 years.  Stephano commented that Vini could pass as an Anglo Saxon.  Just like Stefano, not impressed with the espresso.  My husband was not impressed with the Anglo-Saxon comment!  He has blue eyes and fair skin compared to them but never considered himself Anglo-Saxon. 

We figured out how to add each other’s phone numbers to the ‘WhatsApp’ on our cell phones.  This is the test -  text message from Gabriella’s Italian cell phone. Ciao, grazie per il caffe.

The Italians were going to Ucuelet/Tofino for 3 days.  I encouraged them to stop at Coombs market on their drive for a good espresso.  That is exactly what they did!  On the way, there and on the way back.  They enjoyed their espresso and God’s creation.  They had hoped to see a bear but it didn’t happen on their trip to Canada.  Maybe next time. 
We had dinner together when they got back.  Stefano brought his own ground Italian coffee beans.  So, we made espresso for 4 with Caffe Vergnano.  A delicious coffee bean roasted in Torino.  From our guests, we learned about   When our coffee was finished we went to the car.  

Taking them on a tour of Victoria.  What impressed me the most about this Italian couple was their kindness towards each other.  When Gabriella was running out of energy on our tour of famous Butchart Gardens Stefano simply came to us and said “Gabriella is very tired.  IT would be best if we finished the garden tour within the hour.”  What a kind way of communicating the needs of his companion when travelling in a group.  

It was meant to happen.  Our encounter > > > >

At the last minute, they had cancelled a flight to Montreal.  Changed their destination to Victoria and explore the Island before heading back to Italy.  We accompanied them to the airport and said goodbye to our new Italian friends.  Guess what:  Gabriella & Stefano are going to be in Sorrento Italy the next time we are visiting there!  Ciao for now Italiani.  This is the text message when they left Victoria.  Not easy to find people so nice like you are!  Thanks again for everything and see you soon!  Ciao Stefano & Gabriella. 

Another story of encounter. 

My husband was wearing his Italian jacket on our way to have an espresso.  When we got to the coffee shop a lady stood up and said, “Bella Italia!”.  After she had reminded herself – OYM – open your mouth!!!!!  That gave her the courage to let go of her shy quiet demeanor.  That was all the Italian she knew.  She loves Italy.  We became besties, her and I since 2005.  Her name is Judi.  She is from Saskatchewan and lives in Victoria where we had planned on retiring. 

With 7 grandchildren in Calgary, we’ve chosen to run away to Victoria but always return home. 

Judi planned a 3-month holiday to Portugal and Italy to celebrate her 70th birthday this year.  I arranged for my brother in law and sister in law to pick her up in Sorrento.  They showed her around my husband’s home town and she got to meet the whole fam damily!  With our niece being the translator, she managed just fine.  They fed her well. 
It was meant to be that we met Judi in 2005 and Gabriella & Stefano in 2017.  The connection?  Italy and Espresso!  What makes you connect to others?

Now for the original encounter.  It wasn’t espresso that brought us together.  It was dancing!
In 1976 My Big G, God, knew I needed to learn how to ESPRESS myself.  I was sent to the dance floor at the Cabaret in Calgary where I met my future husband.  It’s a miracle that I found my voice within my being married to an Italian.  This Canadian girl, shy, quiet, polite, afraid to use her voice, girl. 

Boy have things changed around here!!  Not only did I find my voice, I know how to show up, stand up and ESPRESS myself where ever I go.  Using the language of Love.  Under the influence of CafĂ© LavAzza.

May memories of past encounters excite you to smile, say hello and invite a stranger into your home.  You just might be entertaining an Angel.

p.s. When my Mother-in-law came to Calgary for a visit in the middle of winter in 1984 she compared us to caged chickens.  White skin because we didn’t go outside.  It was TOO cold.  Those Italians must be free run chickens then.  What about chickens that used to be caged and now are called free run.  Do they leave their coops? 

p.p.s. In Victoria, the city of newly weds and nearly dead’s the traffic is crazy with all the free run chickens trying to get where ever they are going.  It’s too cold out east so the chickens are heading west for retirement.  Tired from shovelling the snow and being cooped up inside.  Ready to add a little color to their skin when the winter grey sky gives permission to the sunshine to occasionally show up. 

With Much Love
Mrs. Encouragement

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Week of Memories

It's been a year this week since I had my mammogram which detected a tumor in my breast.

Dr. M called and left a message on my answering machine one day this week.

I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon the next day so when I received the message I was a little confused.

I called Dr. M's secretary and asked who Dr. M was.  She said Dr. L had made a referral.  Well I'm going to see Dr. L tomorrow does it have anything to do with that appointment", I asked?

Now she was confused so she read me the referral notes.  I said, "Oh, Dr. M is a plastic surgeon. And when did he get this referral", I said?  "In October", she replied.  "In October!!! and now it's August. I could be dead by now, but I'm not - thank goodness and by the way, I kept my breasts".

"That's great so I'll give your appointment to someone else.  Ten months is a normal wait for a specialist", she replied!

The next day I went to see Dr. L my surgeon, who performed the lumpectomy/partial mastectomy in November last year. He's also the surgeon who removed my gallbladder 24 years ago.  In and out of his office in 5 minutes - leaving with a requisition for a mammogram in Sept.  I gave him a thank you card which read:  Dear Dr. L - I chose you to be my surgeon.  I'm glad I did.  Word got out from my gallbladder to my breasts that you were the best!

He did such a great job - no damage to any nerve endings.  He is known to be meticulous.  Thanks be to God.

After that I went to get my breast prosthesis and a new bra.  I feel well balanced now.  Guess what? Our health care pays for 70% of the cost of the prosthesis and private insurance pays for mastectomy bras. Wow, am I lucky or what??  While I was there a lady was inquiring about a prosthesis for her sister.  SO I asked my fitting specialist "How can she buy one for someone else?"

"It is possible for a full mastectomy.  And this happens quite a bit in this office, as these are not available in all countries", she replied.

The other memory is recalling the birth of my first child who just turned 40!!!!  We had a back yard BBQ pizza party for her and her friends.  It was a blast.  By the end of the night, I was more tired than I was in giving birth to this bouncing baby girl at 8 lbs 7 oz.

May memories of your past fill you with gratitude and give you the courage to face your future.

Much Love,
Mrs. Encouragement
Dorothy Sessa



Friday, August 11, 2017

Little Instructions for Happiness

I got a card in the mail today signed:  Your Secret Friend.

This is the first time I've received a card from a secret friend.

This is how it reads > > > > 
Little Instructions for Happiness
Stay loose - learn to watch snails.
Make little signs that say "yes".
Make friends with freedom and uncertainty.
Cry during movies.
Giggle with children.
Swing as high as you can go.
Do it for love.
Take lots of naps.
Laugh a lot.
Hug trees.
Write letters.
Celebrate every gorgeous moment.
Read every day.
Do it now.
Listen to those older than you are.
Entertain your inner child.
Believe in magic.  > > >  John C. Fitts 

Inside it reads:  Wishing you lots of perfect little moments and out-of-the-blue reasons to smile.
Signed > > > Your secret friend!!

Well thank you SO much secret friend - whoever you are!!

May you be SO inspired to send a friend a card and sign it from a secret friend too!!

Much love,
Mrs. Encouragement

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Wish I was Never Born!

Out of the mouth of a child!  

She was only 5 years old.  I was very surprised to hear her say that. Actually I was shocked!  I had just said, to her mother "I'd like to go to heaven with Jane".  And she said "I'm right behind you!"  Shocked again! Jane is her friend with terminal cancer.

I'm 63 it's OK for me to go.  But not a woman half my age!  When I met her again I mentioned being surprised by her daughters comment.  "Where would she come up with that" I asked?  "Too much TV, I guess!"  As we discussed life's circumstances it was easy to talk about heaven. 

How's your life going?  Are you wishing you could go to heaven sooner than later?  

Here is a link from an album I used to play for my kids about heaven -

Not only do I want to go there, especially when my life is challenging.  I know I'm going there. That's where I'll be when I'm not here.  I've thought a lot about death and heaven over the years.  Since my Nana passed away in 1985.  She was a special lady.  My best friend.  My encourager.  

Although I'm looking forward to heaven, I know it's not my time yet.  It's up to me how I choose to handle this day.  When my day is filled with a toxic negative way of behavior either from myself or some one else.  I get to choose how to be.  I get to choose to serve Christ or serve my emotions.  I get to choose if I allow another persons out of control emotions to manipulate me or not!! It's not a pretty picture when our emotions are out of control.

Have you got a person in your life who doesn't know how to shut up? Maybe  a person who doesn't know how to speak up!  Either way the emotions are out of control - verbal or silent it's no secret, it shows! Just take a look around.

When my day is filled with guilt, shame, past failures, circumstances and being pushed around by fear, it's when I'm tired of being pushed around by these bullies and living - based on should haves - that I can grace my life with my presence.  I am able to show up, stand up and speak up to those bullies.  

For it is through the death of Jesus Christ that all those bullies can be stopped.  For freedom has entered into my being through the love of Christ.  

I run towards my circumstances and grace them with my presence.  My life is overflowing with favor, love, forgiveness, grace and mercy.  I am not afraid of my circumstances.  My circumstances are afraid of me.   My circumstances do not determine my victories, God does.  My God won't cause me to look at my circumstances.  The enemy does though.  There is an enemy in all of our lives. The enemy can't cause me to miss what God is doing in my life.  The enemy will never have my permission to enter my mind.  The enemy wants submission and for me to give up on my life.  

This is impossible.  Impossible for me to give up on my life because through Christ all things are possible.  It is possible to stand when status quo is falling down.  Jesus said "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world!" 

What are the troubling circumstances in your life today?  Is today going to be your 'Enough is Enough' day?  Are you a man being bullied by the female in your life with her emotions.  Are you a woman being bullied by the male in your life with his emotions?  Take a deep breath.  Take a stand and say 'enough is enough'.  

Tell yourself things are about to change around here.  Take your stand.  Get off the fence.  Be the man, be the woman, full of more than enough love to love yourself enough to take a stand.  More than enough courage to be who you were created to be.  Say enough is enough to all the bullies in your life. 

I am happy that I was born.  I appreciate that life has been tough on me. For when the going gets tough the tough get going!  It's helped me to know there is a God in whom I can trust.  May your life be full of great happiness in serving Christ.

With much love,
Mrs. Encouragement 

Prayer to give your life to Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus, it's me! Today I proclaim, enough is enough.  I take my stand with you beside me and for me. You can have my life and whatever you want to do, you can do it.  I receive the gift of salvation.  I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord.  I will not live in fear. I will not be broken.  I will not be ashamed.  What I did was in the past.  My present and my future are yours.  Your blood and death has cleansed me pure, as white as snow!  Thank You Jesus.  AMEN


Thursday, July 20, 2017

When you change the way you l oo k at things!

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!

Quote from Wayne Dyer.

How do you look at your spouse, friend, sibling, child, neighbor, in-laws? If it's in a negative way of judging I encourage you to change your point of view.  See what happens.  How do you look at yourself, what does your self image look like?  If it's not good it's time to change!

As I look at the difficult people in my life and my circumstances.  I see that's what it took for me to be me today.  My struggle has been a lack of communication.  I didn't believe in myself enough to be a strong communicator.  In dealing with what I call a difficult personality.  Difficult because I couldn't see clearly that it was me that needed to change not the other person!  I was acting as if I was God.  I called the shots on who should do what!!!  That puts a lot of stress on relationships.  

I was creating the most difficult life for myself as I looked through the eyes of judgement.  Not through the eyes of love.  God is good everyday.  God is love.  God got my attention through His Love.  His love changes everything for the good.    

In realizing I am loved.  I am worth being loved.  I believe I can get what I want living in the desires of my heart through God who put them there. 

If I'm not getting what I want, then I'm not communicating clearly.  Just to clear things up so there are not any questions that come to your mind.This is in regards to wanting to get the other person on board with an idea. Once I'm able to see clearly exactly what it is that I want to do I must think about how I'm going to present myself and my idea.  

To be able to present an idea I must believe in me so that I can face all opposition.  Believe me I've had more than enough opposition.  

When I didn't know what to do with my emotions and had no sense of self worth to even open up my mouth to ask for what I wanted I hid under the bed and cried.  I was a depressed, young mother of three children. That's pretty sad - it's not a pretty picture.  Now when I don't know what to do the first thing I do is pray for the words to say.  I create a healthy boundary on my emotions and do not allow another persons out of control emotions leave me in shreds.  When that person is calm I approach the same situation in another way.  In a way that they will see value in what I am bringing into the conversation.  

I believe the world is so broken and hurting because love is missing. When love touches your heart hatred melts.  Love helps you to see the whole picture through God's eyes.  When love is present you are able to accept yourself and others just as you are; without judgement or criticism.  You are able to be yourself as well.  Because you know who you are.  You know your true identity.  No one can take that away from you.  The enemy can not find you and fill you with doubt.  There is no room for doubt.   

It's no secret how much you love yourself, it shows.  May you change the way you see yourself so you can stand up, show up and speak up in the game called 'This is Your Life'.  See what a difference it will make living with a smile on your face.  And see the change in others because they feel loved by you.

With Love and Encouragement, 
Dorothy Sessa 

Mrs Encouragement -

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pretending is Exhausting

Once upon a time a long time ago when I was asked "How are you?"

My response was, "Fine and how are you?"

Inside I was Frustrated.  Insecure.  Neurotic.  Exhausted!!  Afraid to tell the truth.

Pretending is exhausting.  Trying to be someone you're not is frustrating. Blaming complaining defending and justifying our behavior is because of our insecurities.  Being obsessive about life causes one to be neurotic.  I feel exhausted just thinking about it!!

Now when someone asks me how I am I tell them.  If I'm tired or hungry I speak up.  If I'm happy, I show it.  If I'm angry about something I stand up and say what's bothering me.

Today I was thinking about how much my life has changed being on a cancer journey.  I was thinking about coming up with a philosophy.  This is my philosophy.  I am what I eat, drink, think, read and believe.  Believe? That was new.  Having dealt with Type 2 Diabetes for 20 years I knew for sure I am what I eat, and drink.  I know why my blood sugar is too high after I've eaten something that I should not have eaten.  My body pays the price and so does my mind.

In dealing with cancer I've learned that we are what we think.  All those toxic negative thoughts built up inside of us cause disease.  So I've changed those thoughts around.   What about read.  I read a lot. I take life pretty serious.  When I feel I'm out of balance I'll watch comedians on YouTube to bring out the brighter side of me.  But the believe part.  I hadn't thought of that before.  As surprised as I was when I said my philosophy out loud, I looked in the mirror and smiled.  I said "I believe I am healed."

That felt wonderful.  I was smiling.  I was happy.  If someone asked me today how I was.  I'd say I'm doing great, I'm healthy and happy to be me. I am thrilled to realize I'm also what I say I am.  A self fulfilling prophesy!! Say it and believe it, what a difference a day makes.  It's great to be aware of what's true and what's false.

This summer, I'm going to expand my philosophy to include a list of ABC's.

May you be encouraged to come up with a philosophy for your amazing life this summer.

With Love and Encouragement,
D o r o t h y

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Live Happy Die Happy

Today is July 11, 2017 – I awoke with a dream.  

I was at a funeral.  Handout was black, a photo on the cover, of people in dark clothes.  A daughter and her Godmother I recognized in the cover photo.  I was dressed in a grey pant suit.  In my dream, I just woke up from a nap.  My husband didn’t like how I was dressed.  I wondered why nobody asked me for input on the handout.  I tried to find my way upstairs to change.  I hadn’t yet bought any clothes that fit the skinny me.  The place was full of people.  It was all dark.  Before I could change my clothes, I wondered why no one asked me to speak.  I wanted to speak.  Then the thought came to mind about my Nana’s funeral.  I couldn’t speak about her then.  Also thinking who I am today in Christ is because of her.  This is my Jesus story.  I can show up, stand up and speak up thanks to being loved by my Jesus, my Nana and now myself.  When I die I want a celebration-everyone to be dressed in white.  I want to be dressed in a Victorian white bridal dress.  As I am the bride of Christ going to meet my bridegroom. 

I say Thank You Nana.  You see I loved her.  She loved me.  When I was a teenager she gave me a booklet about why I was here and where I was going.  I wasn’t ready to consider it.  I kept it though as it was from my Nana.  When I got married my Nana suggested I not wear a white dress because I lived with my boyfriend before we got married in 1976.  I chose a blue dress with flowers!!!  Why? Only God knows!!  I could have chosen an ivory dress.  I'm thinking I already had issues!!!  I made that blue dress mean:  I'm not good enough!! 

 My Nana encouraged me to watch Billy Graham several times.  This time I did.  I was 24.  I watched the TV Evangelist on the couch with my husband.  When it came time for the invitation we both sat there then turned off the TV. That night at bedtime on my knees alone beside my bed I responded to the RSVP.  I invited Jesus into my heart.  My journey from ‘worthless to priceless’ began then.  It was Spring 1978.  I had a desire to read the bible.  I had not opened a bible before that.  I attended a bible study at my neighbor’s home.  When they prayed I left the room?  I was afraid.  

I heard them say “Thank You Jesus for dying on Calgary’s cross”.  Calgary’s cross?  I didn’t know Jesus died in Calgary.  That’s where I was born.  I soon realized it was Calvary's cross not Calgary's cross!  

Soon I opened my home to a Friendship Bible Study Class.  My neighbor looked after the children.    

Because of my desire to know Jesus I wanted everyone to know Him too.  I was on fire for Jesus.  I recall talking about Jesus to those who had cancer.  Or writing them a letter.  Eventually I shied away from talking about Him.  There was no response, just rejection.

Then my Nana died.  It was 1985.  I was devastated.  That’s when my journey with depression began.  She was my best friend.  I was lost without her.  She was my encourager!  I always ran to her with my ‘poor me’ stories.  She’d encourage me by pointing out something wonderful about the person I was complaining about.

I did the same thing last night just before bed!!!  I encouraged a friend who doesn’t know Jesus and who was deeply distraught by another person’s way of being.  On our walk I mentioned that as far as the East is from the West God does not remember our behavior, He just loves us.  Loves us unconditionally.  Jesus gave me those words to say.  I didn’t think about what to say, I just said it.

In the Bible, it says not to worry about what to say, the Lord will give us the words.

Then at bed time I sent a text to encourage finding one thing to acknowledge that person for.  As well as mentioning  This organization promotes blue ribbons with 'Who I am makes a difference'. 

I know this will make a difference.  Because the person she had to deal with was depressed.  I could feel the depression and understand it.  On our walk, together that day I shared briefly about the journey of ‘poor me’ depression/suicide, not accepting love and not feeling worth being loved.  If that person does not accept love or love themselves they will stay in the pit and there is nothing that she could do to change that person.
But then at bedtime the thought came and the text message was sent . . .  from heaven!!  From the heart of the Father.

Getting back to the blue dress!  The heart of the Father knew there was a missing link in my life due to my 'worthless' beliefs which only He could change to 'priceless' beliefs.  In 2012 I showed up for a speaking engagement dressed in a white simple bridal gown. I had no idea when I planned that event that it would make such a difference in my life.  God showed me that I am His bride.  It's been transforming to my spirit to believe I am His beloved for 5 years now.

Isn’t God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit amazing.  I think that’s amazing.  Here it is 39 years of getting to know Jesus.  When someone uses His name in vain.  I have no problem responding.  I never know what’s going to come out of my mouth.  If I'm afraid to say anything at the time.  I ask for courage for the next time.  My spirit soars like an eagle and words of love, acknowledgement of who Jesus is for me on my tour with cancer come out encouraging the person to be aware of how they use His name.  His name is above all names.

I love and trust Jesus.  Now people are commenting about seeing a change in me.  I am at Peace even dealing with the changes and challenges in life.  Even after breast cancer.  Not once did I even think about suicide or being mad at God.  I've wasted a lot of time being angry in my lifetime!!  Not anymore.  That is a miracle!  I believe in Miracles!!  Do you?  

Let the celebration begin:  Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong.  They are weak but He is strong.  YES, Jesus LOVES me.  Yes, Jesus loves ME.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  The BIBLE tells me SO.
Thank You Nana for standing up for Jesus.  Thank You Billy Graham for speaking up for Jesus.  Thank You Dorothy for showing up for Jesus.

Thank you cancer, now I live happy and will die happy! 

May you be blessed as you look at your life and see how Big God is and how He is constantly pursuing and loving you so you too can give all the Glory to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit through all your circumstances.  Just Believe!

Mrs. Encouragement – Dorothy Sessa – Mamma D Butterfly 

I encourage you to read:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Why I'm in Canada, eh!

150   Happy Birthday Canada   150
I am Canadian! 

My grandparents came here in 1929 from Hungary.  They came over on a ship and landed in Halifax. My father was the baby in the family and the only one to marry a Canadian.  The rest of his siblings married Hungarians. My husband came here in 1974 from Italy.  He arrived on an airplane.  

My grandparents came here for freedom.  My husband stayed here for a better future for his family. Me?  Well I was born here!  I am Canadian, eh!

My husband didn't want to come here but his parents insisted that he come to keep an eye on his sister.  She had just got married at 17 to her finance who ended up living and working here for a few years after the engagement. Her Papa said to her fiance of three years - "If you don't come back and marry my daughter, the engagement is off."  So he came back to marry her and off they went to Canada!!  Her Papa was shocked, and very sad that his daughter left.  I guess he didn't realize that's what would happen.

When my husband went to the consulate in Rome to get approval to be a landed immigrant.  He told them he didn't want to leave his country.  He was a bum.  Didn't want to work etc etc.  His plan was to not get their approval.

Guess what they gave him his landed immigrant status anyway!!  The Italian family started to dream. Their dream was to all come to Canada work hard and then build a villa in Italy and live happily ever after.  It didn't quite work out that way.  Papa came for a year, another son came for six months. I came into the picture after 6 months.  By the time we applied for the others to come, they had girlfriends and didn't want to come to Canada either.  So the family was split.  Two children here and four in Italy.  My husbands sister ended up staying only 10 years then went back to Italy.  So now my husband is here on his own.  The parents are now gone and we all have created dreams of our own.

When we got engaged all the family were here for their first Canadian Christmas.  What a shock to experience a Canadian winter with its snow and cold winds.  Papa was not happy about our engagement because I was a foreigner!!  How could I be the foreigner, I was Canadian and living in Canada?  Mamma on the other hand encouraged it because we lived together before we got married. That was unheard of back then in a small town in Italy.

We did get married and learned to accept each other speaking the LOUD and romantic language of love.  We had 3 bambino's (babies), who are now married and each have bambino's of their own. What a wonderful life we have in Canada.  Believe me my husband paid a HUGE price by staying here. He missed his family SO much.  Canadian culture is so different than the Italian culture.

I feel blessed knowing two cultures.  It has been a difficult journey raising a multicultural family. Traditions we have created on our own.  Our children are creating traditions of their own.  Thank You Canada for a wonderful life.  I'd like to say Thank You to my husband Vincenzo for choosing to stay in Canada which created a strong and free life for our children.

May your memories of loved ones and days gone by bring a smile to your face for Canada Day.

With Love and Encouragement,
Mamma D Butterfly
Dorothy Sessa
I am Cdn.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Change of Heart

From cursing cancer to being grateful for cancer!

Thank You Cancer - my experience with you is beyond measure.

I've seen SO many different fonts and sizes of cursing cancer on t-shirts and signs on vehicles. I've listened to SO many stories.

Having spoken from a heart half empty yet overflowing with anxious thoughts I bumped into depression and filled my spirit with sorrow and found myself attracted to the f**k cancer phrase when I was angry.  I didn't like being stuck there so I knew a change of heart was necessary.

My Big G - God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit would not use that word with me so why would I entertain that thought, I thought! So I changed my thoughts.  To hell with cancer where you belong! I was till anxious and found my emotions out of control.  I changed them again!

My story goes like this:  I turned my back on cancer to follow the path of gratitude. Following a path of gratitude one finds a unique way of giving thanks for what has transpired since the story began.

The page has now turned - a new story begins, a ministry of healing.  A healing of the minds!

Choosing to conquer my emotions on this amazing tour with cancer I find that speaking from a heart full of gratitude; a flower in full bloom has opened within me and has turned depression into inspiration.  I feel strong.  I feel strong enough to help others on their tour with cancer.  I feel free. Free from the bondage of toxic negative emotions.  Cancer helped me believe in me and catapulted me to live a life of abundance.  No more victim mentality.  I feel so happy to be me, set free!

May you be inspired and your spirit renewed as you become the tour guide through your life circumstances.

With Love and Encouragement,

D o r o t h y

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Complaint Avenue to Thanksgiving Blvd

Face to Face with a Suicidal Death

Everything I have above nothing, God gave it to me!  The least I can do is say so!

I know where a sick woman can get well.  A good woman can be made better.  A dead woman can be made alive.  As we let go of killing ourselves trying to live, drinking our way to pleasure, smoking our way to settle our nerves; we can also be still and know God and listen to His voice.

When we listen to the voice of God our complaints stop and a journey of gratitude begins.

As I looked back on my past journey on Complaint Avenue in dealing with 'poor me' and looking at who I am today on my journey on Thanksgiving Blvd I asked God a couple of questions.

Thinking about a funeral I was going to go to the next day, these are the questions I asked God.

1.  Why is this person gone and I'm not?  2.  What can I do to help as I live a purpose filled life?

I relived my suicide attempts laying in bed thinking about why I was still here.  On one attempt, I failed.  On the next attempt I heard the voice of God interrupt me.  I obeyed and followed His suggestion.  On the third and final panic attack to take my life, God suggested who I call for help. The help came in asking myself two questions that I had learned in a seminar at a Landmark Education class.  1. What are you feeling?  2.  When did you first feel like that?

The answers which were the truth about my emotional state of mind at that very moment saved my life.  I could let go of believing the lies in my head.

The answers set me free to be 'true me'.  I no longer needed to travel on Complaint Avenue. That's when my journey began on Thanksgiving Blvd.

There is a miracle about to happen in your life.  It's just around the corner.  

. . . . BELIEVE . . . .  BELIEVE  . . . .  BELIEVE . . . .  BELIEVE . . . . 

If I would have followed through on my final panic I would not have witnessed the miracle of birth of my first grandson in 2005.  And now I have 7 little g's.  Seven precious grandchildren.

Share with others the miracles that are happening with awe and wonder so they too can point others to the love and forgiveness of the only God that is ALIVE.

Now back to my story:  My heart began racing as God brought to mind what would help.  I could feel the pull of Courage.  I got up and wrote down the ideas that came to my heart.  May your heart be encouraged as you find the courage to follow through with your ideas.

With Love and Encouragement, 

Dorothy/Mamma D Butterfly 

Friday, June 2, 2017

It's all about love

Love is what it's all about

I went to see my family Dr. two days ago.  I asked for a requisition for blood work.  The test I asked for was for a cancer marker.  I wanted to see where I'm at after 9 months of dealing with breast cancer.  

My appointment was at 9:15 then I had two other places to be as well, so it was a bit rushy and I didn't have time to have a shower and especially to wash my hair.  I walked into the waiting room just on time, sat down.  I was called in immediately.  I got up and quickly followed the receptionist. Speaking out loud, "Good thing I'm taking good care of myself so I can keep up to you!" as I followed her to the room.  She was walking VERY fast down the long hallway.  When I got into the room to wait, my inside thoughts were:  I must look terrible today!!!!!

Then I did something I've never done before.  I turned on my phone and positioned the camera for a selfie.  I looked at myself on the screen.  Then I said, "Heck no, you look great Dorothy."  I smiled at myself then turned off the phone!

I had no idea what that would do or why I did that.  I'm going to say it was from all the soaking I do while listening to Graham Cooke on YouTube. My Big G is very KIND to me and I'm beginning to be KIND to myself too.

A few minutes later the Dr walked in.  We had not seen each other since she gave me the requisition for the mammogram.  She went on maternity leave a few months after I met her for the first time.  It had been 10 months since we met.  She was a new family Dr. for me.  

I stood up shook her hand and congratulated her on being a MoM.  Then she shared how wonderful it was to be a mom and enjoy her baby boy.

Then she looked at me and said, "It's been quite a difficult year for you though!"

I proceeded to tell her about my 'hell to heaven' journey with such passion and enthusiasm.  Because when the train stopped in hell I didn't get off, I kept going!!  I think we were both impressed with my story.  I gave her my new business card for  She asked for it.  She wondered if I was going to be a counselor.  I responded with, "heck no, I'm no counselor, I'm a Speaker, I'm going to encourage women through life and death."  She was surprised.  "Not all cancer survivors can turn it around like that," she said.

Turns out the requisition blood work I asked for would only be done if cancer had gone to another part of the body and you needed to go for a CT Scan.  So I left with out a requisition.  It was a great encounter.  She encouraged me to go see the surgeon for a follow up.  Which I will do in August. Which will be one year after my mammogram.

As I left her office and walked to my car.  I was tickled pink that I had first taken a look at myself. Complimented myself.  I showed up, stood up in Spirit, and spoke up like I had never done before. I was me.  I spoke from the heart.  It was the best elevator speech one could have prepared.  I was on the elevator to heaven, a longer lift than normal.

My Big God has taught me so many wonderful things about who He is and who I am to Him these past 9 months.  My Dr. gave birth to a baby and I gave birth to a Healing Ministry.  How God could use such a broken vessel like me is beyond me.

The next day I picked up my photo's from Costco.  I printed off 35 photo's of  'Courage'.  Getting ready for my next mail out to family and friends.  I prayed about what the message would be on the back.  I spent most of the day thinking and creating what I thought would satisfy me then I get my daughter to help me edit.  She always asks important questions so that clarity comes to me in creating the message.  Thanks to the cell phone moment in the Dr.'s office the result is a revelation.

May you be encouraged as well with my message of courage.  On the back it reads:

My Story Goes Like This:
It Took Courage, to know my Identity 
To let go of a life controlled by emotions.  
I turned my back on cancer, fear and depression. 
To follow the path of gratitude.
It Took Confidence, to be Courageous 
When my emotions tried to fool me.  I turned my ears towards the whispers of Love.  To assure myself that the journey with cancer would create a Ministry of Healing.

It took Love to be Committed - To look in the mirror,  
smile at the woman I am.  I love her.
What does your story look like when Love produces Courage?

I believe when we all know how much My Big G loves us.  We in turn will love ourselves as much. There will be no mental illness, no suicides, no murder, etc.  Why?  Because all we need is Love. Love is all we need.

This is my Story.  This is my Song.  Blessed Assurance

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

OYM Open Your Mouth OYM

From Italy to Canada   From Canada to Italy

A decade ago my husband and I were walking the streets of Victoria BC Canada.  

My husband was wearing his Italian hoodie.  We walked into a coffee shop.  As soon as we walked in we heard 'Bella Italia'.  We looked around and standing there was a beautiful woman admiring my husbands hoodie. She let go of her fear thinking to herself, 'OYM' - open your mouth.

Open her mouth, she did.  We became friends.  I gave her this butterfly to take with her on her trip.  Today she is in Florence Italy.  She planned a 3 month holiday to celebrate her 70th birthday.  She spent one month in Portugal and two months in Italy.  She back packed in Italy in the past.  Soon she will be in Sorrento. Today I talked to two of my brother in laws who met her when they were on a trip to visit with us and our family five and seven years ago.

They are going to pick her up and take her to their home town to meet the rest of my husbands siblings.  She will see the true Italian culture and their customs.  I asked one brother in law to be sure to take a photo of her in front of Bar Sessa.  This bar is located next door to my mother in laws home. My mother in law passed away four years ago.

My Italian is fairly broken, but my brother in law understood how much it would be appreciated.  My friend had hosted both my brother and sister in laws for dinner when they came to visit us in Victoria. Our favorite runaway place.  

One of the brother in laws came to visit us 36 years after his first visit here.  He was held in custody at the airport in Toronto.  Why, you might ask?  Thirty six years ago he overstayed his welcome.  So they had a record of his time in Canada.  Turns out while in custody he was asked 4 questions.  He had to open his mouth and speak his truth.  Over the phone my husband was asked the same 4 questions.  IF the answers were the same they would allow him to come to Victoria but they'd have to shorten their visit.  My husband opened his mouth and the answers were the same.  That paved the way for my brother in law and his wife to fly to Victoria to spend some time with us.  We did have to scramble for new flight tickets though.  So our drive from Victoria to Calgary turned out to be only a 3 day visit upon arriving in my home town, Calgary. It was originally planned to spend 3 weeks in Victoria and 1 week in Calgary. They came for our sons wedding which was in Victoria.  Our son married a girl from the Island.  My brother in law had just finished his journey with cancer treatments.  We were grateful he overcame cancer and now he understands our journey with cancer.

My other brother in law is a barber.  He was the first one to open his mouth and put a stop to smoking in his shop.  What a situation that was. He's never regretted it.  He has more clients than before.        

The dream of my mother and father in law in 1975 was to bring all the family to Canada for 10 years. Save lots of money and build a villa in Italy.  They had four sons, and two daughters.  The sons would work hard then they could go back and live like kings in their home town.  Creating a vibrant life. Didn't quite work out that way.  I got in the way and so did the dream of their first born son for a more prosperous life.  

My sister in law was the first to live in Canada at 17 years of age after she married an Italian man from the next town who had come to Canada for work with his brother.  With my father in law insisting that they get married (they were engaged since she was 14) because he was away for two years too long, not realizing that his daughter would be going to Canada as well after her marriage. SO what's a father to do?  He sent his oldest son (who became my husband) to go to Canada to protect his younger sister.

Are you confused yet?  

My husband did NOT want to come to Canada.  His parents pushed him to go for an interview in Rome to file for landed immigrant status.  Me opened his mouth and told the authorities that he was a bum, had no job, had no desire to work or to learn a new language!!  Guess what?  He got the stamp of approval.  When it was time to go, a neighbor gave him a $20 Canadian bill and off he went to the airport.  He flew in on Canadian Airlines. A couple of Italian brothers, who were painters called him to give him work after only 3 days.  He was never out of work.  When it was time to settle down and get married.  He asked God to send him a woman who would wake him up in the morning.  That's my job.  I've been doing it for 41 years now.  

My sister in law ended up living in Canada for only 12 years.  My mother in law was forever looking for a job for me so her son would also move back to Italy.  She thought I could work at the Nato base because I spoke English and could learn Italian.  Nato is the navy base in Naples Italy. When my husband was 40 he finally opened his mouth to tell his Mamma he would not be moving home.    

On one trip to Italy we were on the train going to Naples, with our three children for a shopping spree.  A group of high school kids got on.  They were complaining about their English teacher.  I understand simple Italian, but spoke little. When ever we are in Italy my husband asks me to be quiet so the vendors do not raise their prices while on a shopping spree. But this time, I had to speak up, so OYM is what i did.  Open your mouth!!  Open my mouth I did.  In English I said to them - "Excuse me, if you want to learn how to speak English, you must listen to your teacher!" Well if you could see the look on their faces.  I wish I had a camera!! 

I'd love for my husband to write a book about his life.  He is not willing to do that, so I write short snippets!

My father was a Hungarian immigrant who married my Canadian Mother.  I married an Italian immigrant.  I am SO blessed knowing two cultures.  I was a shy quiet Canadian girl.  God chose an outspoken Italian man for my husband.  The lessons learned would be through the language of love. I fell in love with this Italian immigrant and his Italian Romantic language. That's what it took to push out all of my fears to be the woman God created me to be.  I was SO afraid to be myself.  My life was filled with fear.  I didn't accept this new love language.  It was too loud and uncomfortable for me.  I built a wall of protection until I ran out of bricks (ideas of protecting myself). 

Now the wall has come tumbling down.  I am an outspoken woman.  I have learned the universal language of love.  It's not Italian.  It's a language from heaven.  Grace, Mercy, Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Humility, Joy, Kindness, from My Big G, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

My husband said to me just yesterday, "It's been over 40 years now,  trying to understand how your brain works, and I still don't get it!" "Wonderful, I said.  I hope you'll give up trying now!" 

Communication has always been a challenge for me because I didn't believe in myself and now I do.  

Now, I seem to do what needs to be done at any given moment.  I find myself being quite spontaneous.  No need to think about anything.  Just do it!  Just because I think it's a great idea!! My husband is getting used to living with this new 'after cancer' woman and who she is inspired to be. Herself!  

I am free to be me.  Mamma D Butterfly.  I am Canadian!  I speak two languages. English and broken Italian.  I took 8 years of French when I was in school and the only thing I remember is:  'Ferme ta bouche', which means close your mouth!!  What happened?  It took too many decades to open my mouth again.  Thank You Big G.

As you open your mouth, sharing your stories with family, friends and their circle of influence - know that sharing brings healing.  That's what I do, share and heal on this journey with 'healing the mind'. Encouraging multicultural butterflies to go to My Big G for help.

With Love and Encouragement, 

Dorothy  -   Mamma D Butterfly

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

From A Beautiful Mind

Permission Granted . . . .  

I sent an email to my cousin checking in with him as he's been so loving and attentive through my cancer journey.  I informed him that I was heading out to Saskatchewan to speak to a few women's groups there.  This was his beautiful response.  With his permission I share this with you.

Hi there Miss butterfly

  Happy to hear from you!
It’s super to know that you speak.
As a woman speaking to other women, well?
The message can be so relevant to their ears.
I am a man-child-boy and have grown up with women always.
I’ve seen the challenges and differences that women face all of their lives.
I’ve had the best care and guidance from women.
As a little baby boy, I survived to live today, now.
I think women know more meaning through their accomplishments.
Women can do it all, despite the hardships, abuse and they deserve to tell their story to all ears.
I like the statues on the Stephen avenue mall. The famous five.
They achieved the recognition of women to be regarded as persons.
It seems absurd that they had to fight just to be what they are.
Ha! As a male human, I know that men have more than one rib missing.
So I wonder what exactly was contained in that one rib.
I don’t understand much, but I know that women have the complete set.
They are the original edition of our lives.
They bring all to life.
It would be the truest vision if I could forever see the joy and love of my Mothers eyes when she delivered me to this world.
I can always know that everything she said to me, was truth.
Her stories filled my vision and coloured my world so much.
Listening to her showed me beauty in all things.
I’m so fortunate to see inside dark places and broken people.
Then I can see hope  lives there and is life and nourishment that rekindles my spirit.
I feel, very strongly that speaking to women is giving a gift of great worth to other women.
Life is relevant to all. Women matter and should always speak their minds freely.
It’s only what I think and believe. From a mans perspective.
I love you and I truly feel your message is always worth relating.
Thanks for a story well lived.
Blue Star Mama, Dorothy Sessa Butterfly

As for me, I have had to rely on using my cane to get around.
For the last 3 days, I’ve managed to get around the city on my own without the cane.
So I’m not cane, but I am able.  (get the pun- Cain and Able - Son's of Adam & Eve)
True to my personality and way of thinking, I simply cannot walk in a straight line.
So I look like I am drunk, and I have no doubt that I sound much like I am totally inebriated.
I find there are benefits.
Bus drivers lower the floor for me and they usually wait until I’m seated before stepping on the gas.
People give up their seats for me. (most often it’s a woman)
People actually open doors for me and hold them open and ask if I’m ok.
In both Starbucks and Tim Horton’s MY order is ready before I finish paying at the till.
Sometimes the staff will bring the food over to my table.
I like it!

So life is a lesson of hope in my dark place.
It’s like air conditioning for the soul.

It helps to walk and talk funny and look well lit.
Anyway cousin so happy for you.
Love every little bit of you.

A peace of heaven to you.

Love Rubes

From the beautiful mind of my cousin.  Thank You Cousin Rubes. 
What an inspiration for women from a man.

May we all be blessed with speaking the truth from our heart.

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y    M a m m a    D   B u t t e r f l y