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Showing posts from 2014

My wish for you this holiday season

Joy to appreciate the everyday Strength to accept the truth Friends to bring you comfort Patience to persevere Sunsets to renew your passion Gratitude to find peace And Love to fill your heart.

How I know I've changed

Each passing year brings with it new journeys and discoveries. Situations that push limits and teach you about yourself and the world, and that change you in some way. They can build on previous realizations or bring entirely new ones. You seldom know when these changes are actually taking place, but down the road in often everyday situations you know you're different. 

Precious time

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent. - Barbara Bush

The holiday season can be a bittersweet time for many.  It inspires people to reflect on the events and accomplishments of the past year, on those they love and those they've lost. A few realizations crystallize in the process – how quickly time passes and how precious it all is.

Holiday to do list

As you get ready for the holidays, consider this to do list instead.


Today is Giving Tuesday

On the heels of Black Friday, that day when people idealize the consumerist gods, comes a new public movement to donate and to volunteer in whatever way matters to you -- Giving Tuesday. A special reminder to all of us to think of others and our communities, Giving Tuesday is a global celebration; a time where charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for their favourite causes over a one month period beginning with this day.
So what can you do to get involved? Here are just a few things:
1. Donate to the charity of your choice and receive a tax receipt.
2. Use your social media channels to promote this movement. Click here for some sample social media messages to spread the word and follow @ givingtuesdayca today. 
3. Choose a volunteer cause that is right for you! 
4. Instead of a traditional gift, send a charity gift card to someone you love. 
5. Get inspired by learning what others are doing for Giving Tuesday.
So how about it? Don’t delay. Give today.

5 tips to more holiday fun

The holidays can be a crazy, stressful time for many people. In the whirlwind of preparation, it’s easy to lose sight of the essence of the season which is really about love and togetherness. So, how to focus on the fun instead of getting caught up in the stress?  Here are a few ideas:

What do you value?

Ever hear the expression “we are our own worst critics”? Life could be so much easier being are our own best friends. By that I mean, it’s tough enough without the pressures we put on ourselves to be more popular, more successful, more beautiful, more, more, more. A glass half-empty approach is like digging a hole in the sand – lots of effort for little result. These values never seemed more misaligned than when I was in Africa.

Loosen up

Followers of my blog may recall that I was a longtime Lance Armstrong fan. Since his grand debacle, I threw away all my Lance paraphernalia and any signs of having been a fan, the last vestige of which was following him on Twitter. Every now and again (though very rarely) in a moment of weakness, I check in on what he’s been up to, if only to roll my eyes. Thompson’s quote is what Lance cites in his Twitter bio.

Live your moments

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others' choices make us.” - Richie Norton
Life is too short.
Live life to the fullest.
Seize the day.

We bandy about these proclamations but how often do we really mean them? Consumed by the realities of our responsibilities, days, months and even years can pass before we even think to "live our best life".

I was reminded of the fragility of life reading the story of Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old woman who has chosen to die with dignity.  She is living her final weeks in the company of loved ones, fulfilling some of her life dreams and will pass away on November 1.

She is a reminder to all of us to wake up. This really could be your last day. Don't throw your moments away.


My thoughts are with Brittany and her family. I admire their strength and courage at this difficult time. I hope that they cherish these meaningful days and find peace.

Mother Nature's playground

My boyfriend and I try to get out of town as much as possible, exploring little corners of the planet as time allows. We’ve stayed in yurts, cabins, tents and RVs. Our easy-going nature means that all options are open.

Checking back in

It  has come to my attention that I'd made some promises to myself by way of a list etched here in the blogosphere. It took a while to trace it back but I finally found it. I can't believe it's been almost three years since, so I suppose it's long overdue to report back as to how I've fared.

A gift of the unexpected

Regardless of how much I love and appreciate my life and those around me, I enjoyed a break in routine when I was in Ghana. Each day brought with it something unknown or unpredictable - be it because of a new experience, encounter, conversation, or something else. The only constant in those days became a whole lot of love. Some days my heart overflowed.
Let me explain.

Ebola - How you can help today

Ebola is one of the world’s deadliest diseases on record and the outbreak is not the challenge of several countries or even that of one continent alone. It is an unparalleled epidemic ravaging West Africa necessitating global aid.  Half of the nearly 5,000 cases have occurred in the last three weeks, and officials said Tuesday that it's possible that as many as 20,000 could become infected before the outbreak is over.

So many people to hug

Since I was a kid I've always loved learning. Call me a geek if you want, you won't lesson my enthusiasm. Many of my trips have been fuelled by a desire to learn about new cultures, customs, ways of life, philosophies...and about myself too. My recent trip to Ghana was motivated by all of this as well as a desire to make a difference.
I remember watching weekend cartoons as a kid, which often coincided with fundraising telethons for underprivileged children. At the time I didn't realize the impact the images of these orphaned children would have on me. That would become clear later.

A dream fulfilled

My last post warned of an impending adventure. Now that it has come and gone, I'm excited to share the details of that great adventure with you. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to volunteer in an orphanage in Africa. I did not know when, how or exactly where I would do that, but it never left my mind as a priority and I was finally able to make this a reality.

When a new adventure awaits

Rejection is good

Let me tell you a secret

“Secrets could never be rushed. They had to come of their own accord, on their own schedule. That way, when they came, the offered themselves as a gift.” ― Donna Jo Napoli
I’ve never been a secret teller. By that I mean that you can be sure that when you share something with me in confidence, your secret will be safe forever. And because I take secrets seriously, I don’t share my own lightly.

Ordinarily extraordinary

A Facebook friend posted this excerpt and it gave me great pause. How much of life is focused on striving to "succeed" with little to no focus on the small stuff? Though there is great value in the dedication and effort associated to excellence, it shouldn’t come at the expense of appreciating the “ordinary”, the many fleeting moments and experiences that make life truly rich.

Size matters

To live small is to live mindfully, in every regard.

I recently watched an excellent documentary called Tiny House which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a couple building a 200 sq. ft. home. Builds like this are part of a downsizing movement inspired by people who are either financially fed up and/or who feel strongly about their impact as consumers on the world and the environment.

Uplifting others

I have a lot of good in my life right now. I am healthy. I have a great relationship, caring family, challenging career and a wonderful place to live. I’ve worked hard for what I have there is no doubt. But as we all know, some of what we experience is just due to timing, luck and circumstance so that our lot of ‘good’ ebbs and flows through life.

To the person who stole my bike...

A few days ago, I learned that my bike, together with that of my boyfriend, was stolen from an outdoor parking lot close to my condo. Imagining the planning that must have gone into the theft, it felt like a true invasion of privacy.


Sunny disposition

No one can deny the impact of weather on their mood. The term "sunny disposition" is no coincidence. Sunny days usually mean bright smiles. Dreary days, well, not as smiley.

Having said that of course, we each have different preferences. Imagine that some actually prefer the cold. Crazy, I know. Anyway, I love warm days filled with sun and blue skies. In fact, this past winter was especially long and bleak so that lovely days like today make me feel like I should be sleeping on the balcony for the next four months.


Eye to eye

My friends always laugh at me when I insist that we look straight in the eye when making a toast. Anything less to me, is insincere. Meaningful eye contact can be tough these days. I feel that people, now armed with smartphones, are less inclined to connect this way in lieu of texting their friends somewhere else.

I paused recently reading an article citing the perils of walking and texting. Apparently this has become such a problem that there are even neighbourhoods in London England, that have wrapped tree trunks in padding to prevent people from hurting themselves when they most eventually will walk into a tree!

10 Things I have learned from my loved ones

We each have our circle of friends and family - commonly a combination of people we've known perhaps since childhood and new relationships we've made over the years. Whether connected by  blood or not, the bonds we have, the experiences we share, the challenges we face, the joys we celebrate together, all bring new learning.

Returning to 2014

Over the last few years and increasingly frequently I find myself in conversations about technology, whether it be the good, the bad or the ugly. Innovations such as smartphones have impacted our day to day so much that we cannot imagine or remember what life was like without them. In fact, apparently over 40% of people worldwide own more than one, myself included. Who can remember a time when you actually memorized phone numbers?

Time flies...

Though the Urban Dictionary has their own take, an anniversary can be generally defined as "a date that is remembered or celebrated because a special or notable event occurred on that date in a previous year". As I am celebrating several anniversaries - a relationship anniversary, a move-in anniversary and a work anniversary - very soon, I have been reflecting on these milestones and what they mean to me.
But first, I am impressed by the speedy passage of time. I shouldn’t be surprised really. As the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”.

Beautiful dichotomies

I recently returned from another adventure that had me out discovering the world. This time in Japan. I have long since wanted to visit, and had in fact bought a guidebook when I thought a trip could be imminent. Imagine my surprise when I went searching for it and learned it was a 2004 edition.

Learning

My boyfriend and I visited the Ontario Science Centre. I hadn’t been for years and was excited by the prospect of seeing the many science fairs of my childhood come to life.
When we arrived, I was reminded how popular this attraction is, if the scarcity of parking can be an indication. Upon finally securing a spot well away from the entrance, we made our away across the vast lot and were welcomed with warm greetings by friendly staff as we entered the front doors.

Celebrating Women

"To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?"― Mahatma Gandhi
March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 in particular is International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of women in all their roles and achievements.

8 lessons I've learned while traveling

Travel teaches you so much about the world, life, people and yourself. Here are just a few of the many lessons I’ve picked up along the road…

Showing love free of charge

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. - Thich Nhat Hanh
That day is nearly here. The one where we celebrate everything to do with love. As so many of these  'special' days have been overtaken by commercialism, I wanted to share some tips on how you can celebrate with your significant other without spending a dime.  Regardless of whether you already have plans, hopefully you'll be inspired by some of these ideas to show how much you care regardless of the day.

Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

Spotlight On: The Street Store

I was on Twitter recently when a photo caught my eye. It was a photo of The Street Store, a pop-up clothing store for the poor originating in Cape Town, South Africa. Intrigued, I looked into it further and learned that this notion of a store made of posters and curated by the public was the brainchild of founders Kayli Vee Levitan and Maximilian Pazak. I spoke to them to know more about this initiative and their thoughts about helping others.

Your world view

Many, many years ago when I was in Australia, I recall my worldview being challenged. And by that I don’t mean my values or beliefs, but literally my view of the world map. Growing up in Canada, I had been exposed to maps giving North America the prominence that only seemed natural. I had never questioned that a map would look any different, nor had I considered maps as a way to tell a story.
Until Australia.

Light of Day Theory

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” 
- Julia Cameron

I was recently chatting with a colleague when he referenced what he calls the “Light of Day Theory”. He described a night in high school when he fell asleep as he was writing out a script for a play. He awoke several hours later to what seemed like really funny material. In the morning, he raced to write out his thoughts exactly as he recalled them. But as he did so, he realized the words, phrases and ideas had all lost their humour.

A lost art

With Valentine’s Day coming up next month, candy shops are stocking up on chocolates, flower boutiques are preparing their window displays and jewelry stores are bracing themselves for what is probably the busiest day of the year.
This year, why not skip the lines and show your better half how much you care with a truly heartfelt gift – a love letter. Love letter writing has existed for centuries as a way of expressing couples’ enduring passion for one another. Fortunately for the Internet, we can easily refer to some of the greatest love letters in history for inspiration.

Honest living

I recently had occasion to escape the urban jungle I love for a few days for a much-needed reprieve in the country. Winter can be tough, and there’s nothing like a cabin and a wood burning stove to bring renewed appreciation for Mother Nature in all her seasons.

I’ve always loved the outdoors and since I was a child dreamt of days spent in a log cabin far removed from life’s endless distractions. It was much to my surprise when I learned that I would be doing just that over the recent holiday season.

Old ways

As we embark on a new year, many people endeavor to change their ways, to improve themselves somehow - whether that be with a resolve to lose weight, spend more time with loves ones, save more money... - among the long list of possibilities.
This got me thinking about the success rate of these resolutions, or lack thereof. Without going into the research behind it all, let’s just say, those who stick to these promises in the long term to attain their goals are rare.