My Family at Christmas (Dec 1994)

Season’s Greetings…winter always reminds me of family portrait time. Also a time to reconnect with family and friends. Since publishing ISSUES and writing this monthly column I do better than just a Christmas letter. Every month, I put my thoughts on paper and share them with anyone who is interested.

Mother always arranged for a family photograph that she sent out every year. I still remember the first year at Rosswood when mother bought some fancy processing paper and developed the prints in the kitchen. She then wrote in white ink ‘The Brousseaus,’ drew a small mistletoe on top of the photograph, and quickly popped them into the oven for few minutes to dry. I got the job of removing them from the oven. It was quite a busy and tiring evening, but mother seemed driven to get those cards out.

When I got married, I decided to make home-made cards. I usually wrote a poem about the past years’ journey of the family and enclosed photographs of the boys. Soon my sisters in-law were doing the same thing for we enjoyed using our talents to create that special touch. Looking at the old cards brings back many memories and reminds me how subtly I got programmed. Until now I did not think of connecting my childhood Christmas cards with the ones I sent as an adult, for mine were so different… but really they weren’t. Making the connection as to why I am the way I am is very important to me, so I shall continue writing.

The front cover photo was taken in 1962 in front of the fireplace of our basement home at Rosswood, BC. Since so many of you have met most of my family individually as I reminisced about my family snap shots in previous ISSUES, I thought this would be a great chance to see what we looked like as a group. So I will start with the back row, with Grandad sitting in the chair, then Mom and myself, then Phillip, David, Chuck (Grandad’s nephew) and Dad. In the front row is Target, our dog, being held by Paul, then Bill, Mike and Don. I have noticed that in most of our portraits we are in order of the oldest to the youngest.

My father died many years ago and Mother lives with Mike in Terrace, who has eight children so far and expects more since their faith believes that having children is an important contribution to mankind. He also prays for my soul as he does not agree with my belief in yoga and the Oriental healing systems. Philip disowned the family and moved back to the United States. David lives in Grand Forks and has two children; he thinks it is great that I am doing what I enjoy and gives me credit for having created my own job. Paul is married with one child and now lives in the states. Billy died as a young adult and Donald died just after his second child was conceived. All of my brothers are roofing or siding contractors and enjoy construction as did Dad and his Dad. My being a health nut since I was twenty years old created challenges in our communications as did my unorthodox views on ways of healing. My believing in angel guides and reincarnation kept our conversations fairly unique. My immediate family mostly respect my knowledge but certainly don’t agree with all of my beliefs. My Mom and three boys support me ninety-eight percent and my ex-husband just let me do my own thing and was open-minded, but he didn’t have the enthusiasm for self-responsibility and change that I thrive on.

I am told that all of us have many different families. The front cover photo is my family of origin. My children are my family of creation. My extended family includes relatives and friends. My spiritual family are chosen strangers that I have come to know that support my belief systems.

My spiritual family includes the Spring Festival Crew and you will get to meet them in the February ISSUES when the Spring Festival Program is announced. Jan Stickney, is the Spring Festival Registration Coordinator for the past four years and the driving force to make the Holistic Healing Centre a reality. Her strength and knowingness that it was time to manifest our vision gave me the assurance that I can count on her to make sure the doors stay open, even when the hours are long or the phones get busy. She walks her talk and I am honoured to have her as a friend and co-creator. Mike is her significant other and handyman for the Centre. He is also switcher for my TV show ‘The Holistic Networker’ and helps with the cooking and dishwashing. Since he likes to drive, he is taking over the delivery of ISSUES to Kamloops doing Salmon Arm on the way and is learning the Kootenay route. Nywyn, is a local art designer who produces a line of T-Shirts called Sidhe Effects. She looks after all the plants that people have given us and nurtures me as well with her Es’scent’ual massages.

My hope for the Centre is two fold: firstly that it becomes an education facility for those searching to understand the pain or dis-ease brought about by emotional causes and/or to find natural ways of improving their energy and feeling of well-being. Secondly, as a resource and social activity centre for folks who are on ‘the path’, so that like-minded souls can connect and share. Enlightenment means to lighten the load and that can be done physically, emotionally, mentally and of course, spiritually.