With Remembrance and Gratitude

I’m sitting here on my couch, sipping a glass of red wine, all snug and cozy with the fireplace lit next to me.  My kids are tucked in bed, warm and dry, and my husband is getting us an evening snack.

As I sit here with my feet up, I realize I am so very fortunate.  And if you live in freedom, you are fortunate too.  We don’t have bombs going off around our heads.  We are able to speak our minds (for the most part) without persecution.  We may wear what we choose, make our own spiritual choices and educate our children regardless of their gender.

These things, which may seem commonplace to many of us, are privileges not enjoyed everywhere.

And freedom comes at a heavy cost.  Veterans have witnessed and experienced the unspeakable, often in horrific conditions, their eyes shadowed with events they will carry with them forever.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are free to go about our day-to-day lives, sipping lattes in “blissful ignorance” (an awful generalization, I know) at the local café.

If you have a loved one in the military or are in the armed forces yourself, I can only imagine what you must experience – the fear, anxiety and uncertainty, mixed with pride, love and the complete spectrum of emotions – when you or your loved one is called to serve.  And all I can say is, thank you.

So in honour of our Armed Forces and their loved ones, I’d like to share this tribute that I found on YouTube:

And on this Remembrance Day / Veterans Day, when we remember those who fought – or fought and died – to preserve freedom, let us say a HUGE THANK YOU to our armed forces, past and present, for:

– serving our country and defending the freedom of others
– peacekeeping when possible
– bearing an unspeakable burden in the hopes that future generations wouldn’t have to
– pushing through fear to help countless others
– Courage. Love. Patriotism. Strength.

Thank you doesn’t seem quite enough, does it?  So in future, may we honour our veterans through our own actions, by supporting peace whenever possible.

Posted in Children, Inspiration, Life, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Purpose, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday, Brighter Side! 5 Highlights from the Past Year

It’s hard for me to believe it was a year ago that I published my first blog post.  When I hit the “publish” button for In the Moment, The Brighter Side of Life was born.  To be honest, I didn’t really know what my blog’s focus would be – just that I needed to write, and the writing needed to reflect my “glass half full” perspective on life.

What’s kind of funny is that it felt like a big “reveal” for me… publicly acknowledging I’m a positive person, and actually writing from that perspective.  The reason it’s funny is that anyone who knows me knows that I generally look on the brighter side of things – but I think for years I’d been afraid to come across as a Pollyanna.  (See my blogger friend Dawn’s great post “Not Just A Pollyanna!” on her wonderful blog, Choosing the Better Life – I know she can relate to how I feel on this!).

So here it is, folks: like Dawn, I’m not a Pollyanna.  Seeing the brighter side is a choice.  I’m not in denial about difficult, heart-wrenching days/situations/relationships in life.  Instead, I choose to look for the good in people and situations whenever possible.  And it’s always there – sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

(Mind you, it’s tougher on some days than others.  Today I felt very “off” and cried and ranted for no apparent reason.  But I digress).

Happy Birthday to The Brighter Side of Life!!!

This blog has turned out to be my little bit of sanity in the chaos of life – so I’m grateful for it and am taking the opportunity to wish it a very happy birthday!  And now, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who’ve been following my blog for the past year – or the past few moments.  It’s meant a lot to have you on this journey with me as I sort out all the stuff in my head.  And though I’ve recently started a parenting-focused blog, The Brighter Side of Parenting, stay tuned – I’ll still be posting lots on The Brighter Side of Life.

And now, here’s a brief highlight of five of my most popular posts from the past year, in no particular order.  Enjoy!

Popular Posts

The Small Stuff Challenge (Part 1)

In the busyness of life, sometimes it’s hard to be ‘in the moment’ and enjoy the small stuff.  But it’s often the smallest things that are most rewarding, reminding us that life is not meant to be lived on auto-pilot. I challenge you to take a few moments to celebrate the small stuff.

When You Reach the Fork in the Road

Stuck at a fork in the road?  Often we push forward through life, making decisions without taking the time to listen to our inner wisdom.  But you don’t need to have everything figured out right now.  Take a single step forward.  The answers will come.

My Biggest Fear

As part of Jeff Goins’ 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge, I was challenged to take a public risk with my writing.  eeek!  So I exposed myself (no, not in the physically naked sense) and shared my biggest fear, the one I’ve struggled with my entire life.

Questions of a Scared Six-Year-Old

My son periodically stumps us with mind-bending questions.  This night was no exception as I scrambled to answer his concerns about natural disasters, God, angels, ghosts and the start of Earth.

The Best Day (part 1)

You know those rare, special moments when all seems right with the world?  When you feel absolute, pure happiness?  In the past I’ve encountered such wonderful, unexpected moments after intense personal challenges.  This particular moment came on the heels of one of the toughest and most rewarding challenges I’ve faced: backpacking the West Coast Trail.

(Parts 1 and 2, slightly condensed, also appear on Bucket List Publications: Stumbling Upon Bliss on the West Coast Trail).

Oh, and you know how I said I was highlighting five posts from the past year?  Hah!  Here’s a sixth, just for the heck of it!

Rekindle Your Childlike Wonder

Remember when you were a child, when using your imagination was a natural state of being?  When each day was filled with possibility?  Children don’t impose the limits on themselves that adults do.  What if we took some time to peel back the heavy layers we carry, and allowed ourselves to imagine what we’d do if there were no limits?

So… what is YOUR favourite post from The Brighter Side of Life?  What would you like to see more of?

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The Silly Stuff Challenge

It’s easy to take life – and ourselves – too seriously.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  My schedule has been busy and I’ve been focused on things that require deep, intense thought.  It’s all good, but I need to balance it by lightening things up a bit.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO……

It’s time for some fun, folks!  Are you ready to get your “silly” on?

Did you know that being silly can radically shift your mood?  It does wonders as a “reset” button on a tough day.

I challenge you to do something fun, odd and out-of-the-ordinary this week.  Big or little, it doesn’t matter.  As long as it’s outside your norm.

Take a few minutes to think about it… what could this look like for you?  This is so much fun!  Allow your imagination to run wild…

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Go out in public wearing a bra on the outside of your shirt.  You’re a man?  Even funnier!

Hmmm… too wacky?  Let’s see what else we can come up with…

  • Do a dance down the sidewalk
  • Serenade someone you don’t know, maybe in a grocery store.  Just don’t freak anyone out too much.
  • Find a crazy Hallowe’en wig and wear it out shopping (with regular clothes, not with a costume), acting as if nothing is strange.
  • Loudly sing Christmas carols in public – now, not in December.
  • At a restaurant or coffee shop, when the waiter/waitress asks what you’d like, make the strangest face you can muster.

You get the picture!

You’ll get some really strange looks, but also some smiles in the process.  And you know what?  You just may make someone’s day by resetting their mood as well.

A silly win-win.

So… tell me… what silly stuff will you try this week?

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I’m giving birth again!

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ André Gide

Last fall I felt strongly compelled to start The Brighter Side of Life.  I took a big (somewhat trembling) leap and published my first post on November 1st.

I firmly believe if you take a step forward – even if you can’t see the path ahead of you – the answers will come.

So… now a door has unexpectedly opened and I’m moving ahead in an exciting new direction.  I’ve created a new blog, The Brighter Side of Parenting.

I’m so excited about my “new baby*!”  It’s designed to give parents a bit of sanity and sunshine in their otherwise frantic day… (or maybe it’s just my household that feels chaotic)?!

With this blog I want to remind parents that we’re in this crazy, incredible, exhausting, scary and ultimately rewarding journey together.  No matter how frustrated, content, frazzled or phenomenal you feel as a parent, you’re not alone!

What will The Brighter Side of Parenting feature?
Great stuff!  It’ll be packed with goodies such as:

  • wacky, serious or informative posts on family, home and parenting, depending on my mood
  • guest posts and interviews
  • inspiring images/quotes to give you a kick (ummm… strong nudge) when you need it!
  • other stuff I’ve got up my sleeve.

The site is up and running, so head on over!  (right now maybe?)!  But be patient… it takes time to grow a baby…

For now, in addition to new stuff, you’ll find some of my parenting-related posts from The Brighter Side of Life like Questions of a Scared Six-Year-Old, so take a look for them!

I need your help!
Let’s build a community of like-minded parents who want to make this world a better, brighter place for their kids.  Give this baby some love – if you like what you see, please share with others.  And when you head on over, please submit your comments – I’d love to hear from you!  Thank you!

And on a side note, I should mention that The Brighter Side of Life is very near and dear to my heart and will continue on, of course!

*For those of you who know me and thought I was pregnant again… hah!  GOTCHA!

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Coming Back to Life

I spent many years sleepwalking. Figuratively, that is. And all was fine with that for the most part – I had great family and friends, a good job and clear expectations (largely self-imposed) of how I should live my life. But deep down there was something missing. A nagging sense kept surfacing, threatening to wake me up from my comfortable (numb?) existence: the sense that I needed more. I needed meaning.

I continued to sleepwalk for quite a while. It was easier that way. When you’re blindly pushing your way through your days, you don’t need to get your hands dirty by questioning what you’re meant to do with your life (what does that mean, anyway?) and what you really, truly need at a deep level. You just continue on with the responsibilities and activities of everyday life. You live life “on the surface.”

Then, a couple of years ago, the uncomfortable feeling came back – this time with a vengeance – and I could no longer ignore it. It was time to wake up. So I started working with a life coach who helped me uncover my purpose, and haven’t looked back since.

But I still have much to do in this area and the journey continues.   I’ve signed up for an Ecourse in October to deepen my inner work. The course, called Coming Back to Life, was developed by my friend Jodi Chapman, a wonderful inspirational writer that I am grateful to have connected with not so long ago. The Ecourse is designed to help wake you up from auto-pilot mode so you can embrace life and truly, fully live it.

I’m really excited to tell you about this course! Especially since many people go through life half alseep when there’s so much living to do.  And just so you know, I’m not affiliated with the course – I’m just really passionate about the content.

Coming Back to Life

Pull up a chair and get comfortable! In this interview with Jodi, you’ll learn about her incredible course and the inspiration behind it.

On a side note, check out Jodi’s blog, Soul Speak. Her beautiful wisdom and down-to-earth personality come through in every post.

Jodi, tell us about yourself!

If you’re just meeting me for the first time, I would love to start by saying hello. I’m grateful that our paths have crossed, and I look forward to getting to know you better!

I am an inspirational writer. (I still pinch myself when I write that because it’s such a dream come true). I am definitely evidence that our lives can change drastically once we make our minds up and begin to leap toward our dreams.

I write the blog Soul Speak. I also co-wrote (with my amazing husband, Dan Teck) the bestselling Soulful Journals series and am the author of the upcoming book, Coming Back to Life: How An Unlikely Friend Helped Me Reclaim My True Spirit, which is what my new ecourse is based on.

What inspired you to create the Coming Back to Life Ecourse?

I was given a helping hand when I needed it so desperately, and this course is my way of offering my own hand to anyone else who is stuck and needing to wake up to their own life.

Just two years ago, I was in a very different place. I definitely wasn’t awake. I was feeling lost and numb and completely disconnected from my soul and from all of life. Like so many of us, I was living my life on auto-pilot. I was alive in the sense that my body was functioning – my heart was beating, and I was getting up each day and going to work, but I wasn’t REALLY living. I was just going through the motions – sleepwalking through life – and I wasn’t even aware of it.

And it’s not like this numbing out happened overnight – it happened gradually over a period of many years. Throughout my life, when something or someone hurt me, it felt like a little part of me left. I’ve always been a sensitive soul, and sometimes it was just easier to retreat rather than feel the pain. I also have lived most of my life feeling afraid and stepping back rather than leaping when I was called to take a chance. Also, I had spent several years in survival mode – struggling to get by financially, and I if I did realize that I was numb and needed to wake up and start living, I would’ve seen this as frivolous and not a great way to make sure all the bills were paid. So all of these pains and fears and struggles piled up on top of each other – creating a dark cloud over my heart. It was just easier to go to sleep and not think about it or feel any of it.

Two years ago, all of the struggles in my life came to a head – my husband and I had to move under very stressful and surprising circumstances, we were having a hard time staying passionate about our struggling gift business, we were drowning in bills with no light that we could see at the end of the tunnel, and we had just lost two people who meant a lot to us. So we were grieving and trying to put our life back together at the same time. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed, pull the covers up, and wake up when everything was better again. I didn’t know how I was going to keep going.

That’s when the helping hand came. My loved one who had just died began communicating with me from the other side. He was my childhood sweetheart, and we hadn’t spoken in almost 20 years. I was definitely not open to this sort of thing at all, so it took an entire year of him sending me signs and me asking for more signs and on and on before we finally could get to work. And once we did, my entire world opened up. He helped me see that being here on Earth is such a beautiful gift – a gift that we have chosen to be a part of. He helped me see that I wasn’t really living. And he helped me wake up and step back into my life again.

Our journey together has been life-changing for me. Everything changed – all because I now saw things through a different lens. I now know that my time here is precious, and I can choose to come back to life. We all can.

That’s why I created this course. I was given this beautiful gift, and I didn’t want to keep it all to myself. I want to be the helping hand for anyone who wanted to start living again and wasn’t sure how to do it.

Can you tell us about the Coming Back to Life Ecourse and who it’s designed for?

I would be happy to!

The Coming Back to Life Ecourse begins on 10/1 and lasts for 6 weeks. It’s a helping hand, a set of concrete tools, and a loving support system all wrapped up into one heartfelt course!

This course is for those of us who have ever felt disconnected from life – from our soul. It’s for those of us who have felt our light dimming. It’s for those of us who know that there is more to life than simply getting through the day. It’s for those of us who are ready – truly ready – to start living fully.

What does the course include?

Over 150 pages of love – including weekly lessons + soulful activities. This is where you get to show up for yourself. This is where you get to reconnect with your soul and discover who you are deep down at your wisest, most loving core.

Heartfelt Videos. This course contains over 30 soulful videos! Each week includes at least one video from me sharing that week’s message, one from an inspirational soul sharing their story, and one designed to teach, inspire, and offer concrete tools that you can apply to your own life.

Guided Meditations. Each week contains a guided meditation that is specific to that week’s message. They are grounding and calming, and I find them to be so helpful.

Beautiful offerings from over 35 soulful friends who are also on this journey of self discovery.

These friends have been on a similar journey and are brave enough to share their experiences with you. Whether they share their stories and inspirational messages through video, audio, artwork, or writing – they all serve the same purpose: to help lift you up and see that you are not alone. We have all experienced the darkness, and we have all opened up to the light.

A complete list of the 35+ contributors can be seen here .

A private Facebook community. In this community, we can all join to support each other in our journeys, ask questions, and share our experiences. This community will be available to you even after the course ends.

Weekly chat sessions. This will be a space where we can go deeper into the material, truly support each other at the soul level, and really create a tribe filled with love and nurturing energy. I will commit to spending at least one hour each week there to talk in real time with you!

My guidance/story. Throughout my life, I have found that I like to have things modeled for me – it helps me retain what I’m learning if I can see how someone else implements it in their own life. With that in mind, each week includes my own experiences and what I have learned along the way.

Soul Art. I have designed printable posters to go with each week’s message. Perfect for hanging up around your sacred space and filling your soul with love each time you see it!

Surprises. Who doesn’t love surprises? I have a few fun things up my sleeve that I’ll be sprinkling throughout the course – gifts of love that I can’t wait to share with you!

Bonus gifts. When you register for this course, you’ll received instant access to over $150 in amazing bonus gifts!

When you register, you’ll immediately have access to the private Facebook Group, where we are already getting to know each other! You’ll also be able to download all of the bonus gifts and start going through them right away.

What can someone expect to learn from this course, and how will it change their life?

I do want to mention that this course can’t change your life unless you are willing to change the way you are living your life. You have to be open to it and you have to be willing to put in the work. That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. I have read tons of self-help books throughout my life and was always disappointed when nothing changed. Well, it was because I simply read the book but didn’t apply any of the teachings to my own life. I read them like I would read a novel – simply for enjoyment rather than to learn and REALLY change and grow.

If you sign up for this course and simply watch the videos and read through the workbook but don’t apply any of the exercises to your own life, I’m sure you will enjoy everything but I would bet that nothing in your life will change. You have to make the choice to take action. You have to be so fed up with your current way of living that you are honestly ready to make a change. And if you are, then this course really can help you. It’s based on what I went through in my own life, so I know that it works.

You’ve invited an incredible group of contributors – why did you choose to invite so many?

Part of my own coming back to life story was realizing that I didn’t have to go through life alone. I used to pride myself on being a solo act – never needing to ask for help – and doing everything myself. Once I opened up and allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest and realize that I could really use some help, my entire world changed. And that’s why I asked so many other beautiful souls to contribute to this course. We each are sharing the same core message in so many different ways, and each way is equally important. And what I love about everyone’s contribution is that each one is a direct reflection of who that person is – who they are at their core. My videos are pretty quiet and reflective, whereas others are more buoyant and lively. Some have concrete exercises and lessons, while others share heartfelt stories that pull you in even though you may just be meeting them for the first time. We all have so much to share with each other, and this course is such a great representation of how beautiful our world is when we open up and collaborate with each other.

What do you hope that people will take away after completing the course?

I want them to see that there is another way to live. I want them to really know that we have a choice – we truly don’t have to go through life simply going through the motions and just getting through the day. There is an entire universe out there that we are only just beginning to tap into. Our soul is connected to such a beautiful world – and waking up is the key to experiencing this way of life.

Where can people find out more?

Please go to the Coming Back to Life page where you’ll learn all about the course, including each week’s content and a detailed description of all that you’ll receive in the course.

I would be thrilled if you joined us. This amazing ecourse begins on 10/1 – I hope you’ll choose to come back to life!

Jodi, thank you for so openly sharing your heart and soul.  I look forward to the Ecourse – it’s going to be amazing! 

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What I Believe

Until I started blogging, I always held my thoughts fairly close to me.  In fact it took me quite awhile to start The Brighter Side of Life.  Even though I really wanted to do it, I wasn’t sure I was comfortable putting my voice “out there.”

But we learn, grow and change.  Through this blog and your heartfelt comments, I’ve come to realize we’re not alone in our thoughts, feelings and experiences.  And I’m so grateful for that.

So in the spirit of putting our hearts on our sleeves, I’m sharing some of the things I believe:

You have unlimited potential.  Yes, you!  We all do.  In some cases we forget that when we grow up.  (Maybe it’s time to think like a child again).

Each of us can make this world a better place through the simplest actions.  In fact, you can make your own day brighter by doing something for someone who can’t repay the kindness to you.  We may never know the impact of a little act of kindness, but that impact can ripple out farther than we ever imagined.

It’s the small stuff – the daily stuff we don’t usually notice – that means the most.

We’re all connected in one way or another on this crazy journey of life.

We’re part of something much, much bigger than ourselves.

No matter how successful people are from a business or financial perspective, everyone still has dreams to fulfil.

Everyone has insecurities to overcome – everyone.

If you listen to your inner wisdom, it won’t lead you astray.  Your logical mind may question a decision that is intuition-based, but your gut knows.  And if you don’t listen to it, you’ll be shutting down an important part of yourself.

Our perceived limits are just that: perceived.  Give yourself a challenge to rise to, and see the amazing things you can accomplish.

Acknowledging your fears and anxieties, particularly to yourself, is freeing.  And it allows you to push through those fears.  I’ve learned recently that you are strong, not weak, when you can bring them to light.

Harbouring ill-will towards others holds you prisoner, not them, and saps your precious energy.

There are always at least two sides to the story, no matter how right you think you are.

It’s important to honour yourself through positive relationships, and let go of negative ones as gracefully as possible.

On the toughest days (and the great ones too), you are much less alone than you realize.

A vocal, unrelenting toddler holds significant power over an exhausted parent. *sigh*

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.  It means so much!

Posted in Children, Inspiration, Life, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Purpose, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Inspiring Quotes on Change

Ah, September.  A time for new beginnings.

I’ve been feeling the winds of change, as I always do this time of year.  Cooler air, a fresh start, and that “back to school” feeling – even though I haven’t been back to school for years.

Since I’m feeling a bit unsettled these days, albeit in a good way, I decided to do a post of quotes on change.  Here are 25 that I find inspiring.  You may find some gems in here as well.

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – André Gide

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” – Tony Robbins

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

“Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness
to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has
happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait.
Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide
whether or not to accept our destiny.” – Paulo Coelho

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzy

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t… It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” – James Gordon

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

“Let him who would move the world first move himself.” – Socrates

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” – Madonna

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. When you change for the better, the people around you will be inspired to change also….but only after doing their best to make you stop. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop.” – Steve Maraboli

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Two other posts I’ve written on quotes:

25 Inspiring Quotes
Another 25 Inspiring Quotes

What about you? Do you have a favourite quote about change?

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Purging to Make Room

It’s hard to believe the end of summer is almost upon us.

September always feels like a new start for me.  Although I’ve been out of school for many years, the end of August still brings a flood of back-to-school feelings – excitement and anticipation, mingled with the uncertainty of what’s ahead.  (Not to mention the strange desire to buy pens, pencils and binders.  But I digress).

This fall is no exception and some changes are ahead.  I’m now more focused on living on purpose than in the past, and as part of that, I’m embarking on some new experiences that really excite me.  More on that in a future post.

My 6-year-old, J, is also heading into some changes.  He’s starting grade one and is going into French Immersion.  Since the program isn’t offered at the school where he was, he’s switching schools.  And although he’s putting on a brave face, I know he feels pangs of concern about leaving the friends he made in junior and senior kindergarten, and uneasy – yet kind of excited – about the changes ahead.

So, it’s time for us to make room.  For what?  For positive new experiences, challenges and friendships that stretch and complement who we are.

In a recent post, Betsy at The Zen Mama’s Blog talks beautifully about the power of letting go.  She suggests we become weighed down in life by the things we thought we needed but that don’t actually serve us (I’m paraphrasing).

To prepare ourselves for the changes this fall brings, we’re starting to purge.  Purging is such a great process.  We give away what we’re not using so others can make use of it (why simply store something to collect dust?) and recycle or throw away what isn’t usable.  Then we breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s as if a huge weight is lifted from our shoulders.

For our son, we helped him organize and declutter his piles of toys and artwork, then banished the dust bunnies.  Then we moved his furniture around for the first time in over two years.  It was amazing: since we involved him in the process and got his opinion on where he’d like things, he felt like such a ‘big boy.’  He really embraced the whole thing and was proud of his new space.  We set up a table in his room for him to do artwork/ homework and he spent a couple of hours up there unprompted, enjoying his realm and creating art.

Now, it’s my turn to get organized.  It’s been awhile.  I’ll be purging stuff like:

– clutter (it’s so distracting, pulling my focus from where I want it to be)
– stale, limiting beliefs about who I am and what I can and can’t do (this part will be the bigger effort, since these dust bunnies have accumulated over decades).

If you’re starting something new, try letting go of something old that’s no longer serving you.  Purging makes room for new adventures.  You’ll be amazed at the great things that come into your life when you’ve created the space for it.

Go forth and declutter!

Posted in Children, Inspiration, Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Purpose, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Feeling Cranky? Snap Out of It!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~ Robert Brault

You know those days where the least little thing annoys you?  Where it takes nothing to set you off?  That’s what my last week has been like, on and off.

Yes – I’ve been cranky lately.  Not hormonal, not particularly angry with anyone, just really grumpy.  And it’s weird, because I typically see the silver lining pretty easily.

But lately, grrrr….

So, it’s time for a reality check.  Instead of stewing about things that have been irritating me, it’s time to give my head a shake and look at the great stuff in my life.  And there’s so much of it.  I used to do this daily, but lost track of it over the past little while.

So here are some of the things I’m grateful for today:

– My six-year-old recently telling me he’d like to marry me
– Yesterday’s challenging yoga class
– Great neighbours
– Cooler weather the last couple of days
– The yummy juice my husband and I have been making.  Today: kale, parsley, carrots, lemon, apples, beet, cucumber.  (Thankfully, it tastes better than it sounds)!
– An upcoming family reunion where my boys will have the chance to meet lots of their relatives
– The recent chaos that my littlest one has been bringing to our days, because it means he’s active, inquisitive and healthy
– An upcoming collaboration I’m really excited about
– Our beautiful and affectionate cat, Bella

And many, many other things.

It’s amazing.  When I take the time to really think about things I’m grateful for – big or small – it snaps me out of a nasty mood and shifts my perspective.

Gratitude.  It’s an awesome thing.

And, importantly, thank YOU for taking the time to read this – it means so much!

What are YOU grateful for today?

Posted in Inspiration, Life, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Purpose, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Questions of a Scared Six-Year-Old

Last night our son approached us with a huge look of concern on his face.  He was suddenly terrified of tornadoes.  The questions spilled out of him, catching us off-guard as they have in the past.  We did our best to keep up.

[image source]

What happens if a tornado comes?
That would be very rare.  We don’t really get them here, so don’t worry, okay?

Could a tornado take our house down?
We have an old, strong house – it’d be fine.  Besides, we don’t get tornadoes here.

But where would we go if a tornado came?
Well, the weather experts would be able to tell us way ahead of time if a tornado were coming, and if it were, we could drive to safety or go down to the basement.

But if we were in the basement, what if the tornado took away the kitchen floor [the basement ceiling]?  Then it could get in!
[wasn’t sure how to answer that one, but that was okay because his questions kept flowing]

What if it came when we were sleeping?
Honey, the weather experts know really far ahead of time when storms are coming.  We’d have lots of warning, we’d know days ahead, and could travel to safety if needed.

But what if we were driving away and the storm came in the direction we were driving?
[ummm….]

What if someone only had wood walls and the storm came?  What would happen to them?
Well, they’d go to the basement.  But if they didn’t have a basement, they could drive somewhere or go to a neighbour’s house with a basement.

Then… the questions took on a more spiritual/religious/philosophical flavour.  *sigh*  My husband and I consider ourselves spiritual rather than religious, so we did our best to answer his mind-expanding questions on-the-fly, not having consulted with each other in advance.

When people die do they become angels, or are they just ghosts?
They become angels.  The good people become angels.

Do they help God?
Yes, they help God and they help the people here on Earth.

When I die I’m going to stop tornadoes.  I’m not going to help God with them.  Why does he make tornadoes?
[I was pretty perplexed at this point, so I’m not exactly sure how I answered that one.]

How did God begin?  How did the earth start?  When was it just space out there?  How long ago was it that nothing was alive on Earth?
[Kid, people spend their entire lives exploring questions like this.  How the heck would I know? – Okay, I didn’t really say that, but seriously?!]

I’ve decided that nothing – no education, no experience – fully prepares you to answer (well) questions like these from a concerned six-year-old.

By the time I tucked J into bed, he thankfully (though strangely) felt much calmer and fell quickly into a deep sleep.  My mind, on the other hand, was reeling…

Posted in Life, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments