Monday Night Get Togethers With Friends

We regularly get together on Mondays at two of our favourite restaurants – Symposium Cafe and the Olive Press.  Recently we met up at both places on different Mondays and here are the pics! Be sure to register on meet up for Monday October 16th’s dinner at The Olive Press!

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Do You Have Post Traumatic Growth Syndrome?

Dave Sanderson survived the plane crash on the Hudson River in 2009.  In the video below, he talks about surviving the crash, the lessons he learned about himself and life, and post traumatic growth – finding new positive life-changing shifts in thinking and relating to the world, after a traumatic event.

Surviving and then learning to live again after trauma and loss is something everyone is faced with at one time or another. How you manage and how you continue moving on in a positive way is resilience, a topic members of Widowed Friends know very well.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about bouncing back and resilience, so we can share your advice  with others who may be struggling with loss or feeling alone or sad. How did you manage in the early days of loss; how do you manage now? What advice do you wish you’d received?

If you’d like to offer some thoughts, please feel free to enter them in the comments section here or email them to Dorothy, Stephanie or Lesley and we’ll put them together in another blog post. Together, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience which might help others find hope and strength as they move forward.

Let us know how you like the video!
 

 

October Reads And…. A Little Watching

Now the weather has cooled, it’s a great time to settle in with a cup of tea and a few good reads.  We have a few suggestions for you as well as a video that might be of interest to you.

The first article may resonate with you if you’ve had a lot of people say “I know how you feel” following loss.  In this article, author Celeste Headley reminds us listening is the most important tool when having a chat with someone, especially if they are in crisis.

Bouncing back in the face of adversity – resilience – is a key tool for recovery following a crisis or loss.  In this recent article from Monika Thaker, she lists the 3 things you need to practice to ensure you are managing through crises, including accepting the situation, practicing self-care and reframing the situation to find the opportunities for growth.

And for another take on bouncing back, here’s Sherrie Campbell discussing the 8 Magical Benefits of Resilience, with the number one tip being, be a part of a community!  That’s what we’re all about at Widowed Friends – building a supportive community for individuals who’ve experienced the loss of a spouse.  Together, we give each other strength and hope.

Finally here’s a TedTalk video -Nature, Beauty, Gratitude.  An inspiring look at all we have to be grateful for in our lives, especially the last half of the video at around the 4:10 mark.  Let us know if you like these articles and this video and if they have value to you by writing to us in the comments box. Enjoy!

Where Are You?

Look who is reading the blog!

As we reach the end of September we are delighted to report that this site has been viewed over 80,000 times in the past year and a half.  As you can see from the chart on the left, for the month of September, the website has been accessed by people in Canada and around the world.

We hope you have found some interesting things on the site. We’d like the opportunity to get to know you better and would really like to hear from you.

Are you a widow or widower looking for support in Canada or elsewhere?  Are you local to us i.e. in Halton, south central Ontario or located somewhere else?  Is there something you’d be interested in reading about that we can add to the site?

Please let us know your location in the comments section and if there is something specific you’d like us to talk about.

Thanks for being there!

 

September Heat……And Pizza Too!

With the humidex approaching 40C,  it was a warm crowd that met up at Stephanie’s for another great pizza evening.  Escaping to the garden didn’t offer much relief as the humidity made the outdoors a bit swampy, but a group braved the heat to enjoy the last of the summer outside.  Another group stayed inside to enjoy a little air-conditioning  and chatting. Everyone enjoyed hor d’oeuvre, Stephanie’s home-made sangria, a little wine, a little beer, some salads, pizza and desserts.

Thanks to all the food contributors as well as all the helpers.  Special thanks to Stephanie for opening her house to the crowd. Here are some pics from the event:

Strikes, Spares & Misses

Yes, it’s bowling time again!  We’ve started back at Burlington Bowl for another season of bowling fun. As you can see from the pictures, a crowd turned out to enjoy the evening with friends.  The next bowling event is on September 27th, so be sure to sign up on meet up to join the group. Many thanks to Phil for taking the pics.

Thinking about Buying, Selling or Renting? Here’s Some Expert Advice!

In another of our series on financial and real estate advice, we spoke with Carissa Turnbull of C&C Real Estate Group about the current real estate market and trends for the future. She kindly offered to provide us with some advice and knowledge in an informal Q&A. If you’d like to chat in more detail with Carissa, she can be reached at carissa@royallepage.ca

Q. The real estate market seems to be slowing down – is it a good time to sell or should we wait a while?  Have new government rules changed the market?

A. The real estate market has slowed down when we consider the activity in the first quarter of 2017.  The number of sales as well as the average sale price has decreased over the last few months, however, if we look at the number of sales as well as the average price, we are currently still slightly higher than compared to one year ago.  The new government rules have affected certain neighbourhoods targeted by foreign buyers, but the numbers speak for themselves, we are still higher than last year even when we remove foreign buyers from the market.  The first quarter of 2017 was not a sustainable real estate market.  Returning to a more balanced market is better for both buyers and sellers.  As we start to see interest rates increasing, we might see more of a downturn in prices if there is a major increase to interest rates.  It’s still a good time to sell since interest rates are expected to continue to rise.

Q. Downsizing is an issue for many of us. Do you have thoughts on when to downsize and how to do it?

A. Having helped many people downsize into a more manageable property the best advice we can give is “you will know when the time is right.”  Everyone is different and everyone has different motivators to downsize.  We have heard comments such as “I feel like all I do is clean my home,” “I used to enjoy taking care of the gardens, now they feel more like work than pleasure,” “Taking care of my property is cutting into my social life,” “I want to lock the door and travel,” “I want to spend all my time with my grandkids.” When you start to feel the home is more burden than pleasure than it may be time to start thinking of downsizing.

Q. Leaving a house and moving to a condo is a big step.  Some of us wonder if we’d be happy living in a condo after many years in a house.  What are your thoughts on making the transition to condo living?

A. Condo living does not always mean living in a tall, small, condo apartment.  There are condo bungalows, condo townhouses and large condo apartments; all of which include outdoor maintenance like windows, roofs, gardening and snow removal, etc.  Not to mention, there are workout rooms, pools, clubs, social activities included in your condo fees.  Condo living is a lifestyle adjustment, but when you don’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance and property upkeep, your time is your own.

Q. Lease vs Rent vs Buy?  There are so many ideas about which is the best option – how do you help clients decide which one is right for them?

A. Tried, tested and true.  Real Estate is your home as well as a great investment.  Without knowing each person’s specific financial situation, it is tough to say which is the best option.  We are well versed in “working the numbers” on a monthly or annually basis for rentals or property purchases, so we can help you work things out. As a preliminary guide however, here are some things to take into account:

  • what are monthly costs of each option?
  • are utilities included?
  • how much are the property taxes?

Working through the expenses of each Lease, Rent or Buy scenario depends on the individual’s specific circumstances.  Start with our basic questions above to determine what might be the best fit for you. We are happy to help you work out the details of each option to find the right fit for you.

Q. There are many more mortgage options than there used to be – what are the best options today?

A. Variable Mortgage, Fixed Rate Mortgage, Home Equity Line of Credit, Reverse Mortgage, Money for Life Annuity Products.  Sounds confusing.  A mortgage broker/financial advisor should be consulted for your specific situational needs.  We have contact info for trusted advisors to provide information on all of these mortgage products to help you make an informed decision.

Carissa is happy to answer any questions you might have. No question is too small, so feel free to email Carissa at carissa@royallepage.ca

Burger Night at Symposium

We had another great evening at one of our favourite restaurants, Symposium Cafe in Oakville!  Twenty-eight people came out for burger night and enjoyed the menu specials and good friends.

It was a rainy night so thanks to Robert who came prepared with a big umbrella and kindly escorted many to their cars during the passing storms.  Here are some pics from the event – just click on any pic to open the slideshow.

Labour Day Sunday at Edna’s

A huge thanks to Edna for opening her lovely home to a Widowed Friends group on Sunday.  Great weather made for a wonderful outdoor get together in Edna’s beautiful garden.

The menu included schnitzel and cabbage rolls prepared by Edna – they were delicious – as well as many other tasty dishes contributed by attendees.

Many thanks to our team of wonderful volunteers, Steph, Dorothy and Anita serving, Kathy F replenishing platters as needed, Glenda and Penny working to ensure everyone was served and Donna making sure everyone had what they needed.

A big thanks to chief kitchen organizer Glenda, and to Leslee and Penny for ensuring everyone had name tags, as well as to our fantastic, efficient clean up crew including Sharon, Kathy, Penny, Anita and Ursula.

A wonderful way to spend a long weekend afternoon!

August Social at Hampton’s

August’s Sunday Social drew a big crowd to Hampton’s Restaurant for a great afternoon of socializing and schmoozing with old friends and new ones!  Following  “happy hour,” a buffet dinner gathered everyone together in the dining room for more conversations and laughs.

Many thanks to everyone who turned out and congratulations to raffle winner Ken who won a large basket of goodies!  Check out the pics below – just click on any picture to open the slideshow!

 

 

 

 

Another Great Afternoon at Food for Life

Many thanks to the volunteers who came out to help at the Food For Life warehouse last week.  As a team we were able to sort through 3300 pounds of food including a lot of veggie sorting and boxing of canned beans.  This doesn’t include the 90 pounds contributed by the Widowed Friends team who brought food with them to the warehouse.  Congratulations team!

If you’d like to participate in a Food For Life food sort, we’ll be back to help out again soon!  In the meantime, Food For Life is also holding its only fundraiser of the year called Ride To Provide in October.  This is an indoor stationary cycling event where riders take turns cycling in a relay.  If you would like to participate, they are looking for riders!  It just takes 4 people to form a team so if you’d like to cycle with a Widowed Friends team, let us know!   If you would prefer to sponsor a rider or team, just go to the Riders List and pick a rider to sponsor.  The Food For Life Team is made up of Sarah Wolf (who always works with us in the warehouse) Brenda Hadju and Donna Slater.

Here’s a video of our afternoon in the warehouse and some pics below as well. Thanks again to the team!

Help Build Kindness in the World

With so many bad things going on in the world, it can seem like kindness is in short supply.

Yet an understanding listener or a word of encouragement can create waves of kindness that ripple throughout peoples’ lives, their families and the whole community.

It’s up to all of us to make sure we’re building kindness in the world around us, and Acclaim Health is providing an opportunity for you to make it happen in our communities through a variety of volunteer opportunities.

  • Volunteer at Acclaim Health – you’ll join an amazing team of wonderful, caring people working hard to make the world a better place.
  • Share this info with someone you think would make a great volunteer.
  • Attend an upcoming training session or choose another one of their other current volunteer opportunities

The two upcoming training sessions are free – check out the times and dates below:

Hospice Visiting Volunteer Training

One of the most meaningful volunteer experiences you’ll ever have.

Learn to companion a person with a life-threatening illness by listening, supporting and being present.

Next training session:

Thursday evenings from September 28 – November 30, 2017

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Acclaim Health, 2370 Speers Rd., Oakville

More Information | Apply Online

Bereavement Peer Support Volunteer Training

Have you experienced grief yourself and are now strong enough to help someone else move forward? Are you a caring and compassionate listener?

Help another through the grieving process by becoming a Bereavement Peer Support volunteer.

Next training session:

Monday afternoons from October 16 – December 4, 2017

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Church of the Nazarene, 320 Bronte Rd., Oakville

More Information | Apply Online

If you have questions about any of the volunteer opportunities, contact Dee Kearns at 905-827-8800 x2313  for more information.

Aloha From Donna’s Backyard

It was a perfect day for a Hawaiian themed pig roast, and Donna’s lovely backyard was the perfect venue for 50+ attendees to enjoy the weather, the bar-b-q and the great company.

It was also a surprise birthday celebration for Donna, Shirley K and Henny who all turned 39 -what a coincidence!  Check out the pics here – just click on any picture to open the slideshow.

 

Mad for Meatballs

If it’s Monday it must be meatballs!  Members get together at the Olive Press a couple of times a month to take advantage of the Monday special – delicious meatballs and spaghetti.  As you can see from the pictures, a big Widowed Friends crowd turned up to enjoy the dinner and each other’s company.  The next event is Monday August 28th, so be sure to sign up and join the crowd.

Lazy, Hazy, Reading Days of Summer

Hard to believe it is mid August already!  Have you taken some time to rest and relax and enjoy the summer days?  What’s been your favourite thing to do this summer? Where have you been?  Did you take a vacation?  Let us know in the comment section – we’d love to see your pictures and post a few holiday snaps for everyone to see. You can email Lesley, Steph or Dorothy with your pics!

In the meantime, if you are looking for a few summer reading ideas, here’s a few that  that we thought our community might be interested in checking out.

The Globe and Mail recently published an opinion piece called How to Save Yourself From the Abyss . Writer Mitch Landell writes that sometimes there is nothing we can do about our circumstances, but there are active things we can do ourselves to improve how we feel. If you are feeling a bit down, take a read and tell us what you think.

And then there’s that tricky issue about dating as a widow/widower.  Here’s one take on it from the website Sixty and Me.  The article is Are We Too Old For Boyfriends in Our Sixties?  What do you think, do you agree or disagree?

Another favourite is the website One Fit Widow by author Michelle Steinke-Baumgard. Michelle recently wrote a great article called 14 Ways To Get Lucky in Life.  Her premise is similar to our first article – life is what you make it – but it has a few different ideas in it that you might find interesting.

And on a completely different note, if you need a bit of a summer giggle, check out British comedian Michael McIntyre’s take on the challenges of losing weight.

Burger Night at Symposium Cafe!

A great turnout this week at Symposium Cafe  for burger night! Symposium is one of Widowed Friends sponsors, so we are thrilled that so many came out to enjoy each other’s company at this great, friendly spot!  It was $5 burger night – a great deal for everyone. Check out the pics from the evening!

Saturday Night At Dominic’s Ristorante

It was a great pasta event on Saturday as a big crowd turned out at Dominic’s house for dinner.  Lots of salad, pasta and wine were served and everyone enjoyed getting together over the long weekend.  Many thanks to Dominic for hosting and cooking.  Check out the pics here:

You’ve Been Snapped…..

If you attended last month’s Sunday Social at Hamptons, then you’ve been Snapd!  Snapd is a publication that covers many local events in Halton.

We were thrilled to have Snapd’s Mary Dilly attend our Sunday event and take some pictures of our members enjoying each other’s company.  The article is live online now so check it out and see if your pic is on Snapd!  Many thanks to Snapd and Mary for covering our event!

Here’s the link to the article!

It’s Not Too Late To Build Resilience……

No matter how old you are or what your life circumstances might be, we can all still build resilience as we face life’s ups and downs.

Resilience is a speciality of management and psychology professor Dr. Adam Grant who co-wrote Option B with Sheryl Sandberg. He was recently  interviewed in the New York Times regarding resilience building in mid-life. The good news is he thinks that it’s never too late to develop those skills that will help see you through life’s peaks and valleys.

You can read the article in more detail but his main points include:

  • Practice optimism – consider being a glass half full kind of person instead of a glass half empty and surround yourselves with similar optimistic people ( like Widowed Friends!) and you’ll feel more optimistic.
  • Rewrite Your Own Story – focus on the opportunities you have in life and not on the things that have happened and that you can’t change. It takes a bit of time to reframe your thoughts, but with practice you can learn to find that silver lining in the dark cloud
  • Don’t personalize setbacks – everyone has moments of misfortune or reversals – remember to focus on what you can do going forward in a positive way
  • Remember your own “comebacks” – we all have a tendency to focus on what we haven’t done well, but it helps to take some time to think about what we also have succeeded at in our lives.
  • Support others – this is the core principle of Widowed Friends! We get together to support each other and to provide strength and caring to help us all move forward positively with our lives.
  • Take a stress break – ensure that you are doing the things you enjoy, so your mind and body get a chance to recuperate from life’s stresses
  • Get out of your comfort zone – for many of us that might be attending a first Widowed Friends event, or going on a vacation or trying something new.  Each time you try something new, you build confidence in your abilities which helps build resilience.

Do you think you’ve re-built resilience following loss?  What tips can you share for people who are looking for ways to become stronger and happier? Share your tips in the comments section and we’ll post them.