Monday, November 3, 2014

Finding Myself - Far Away

Here I sit, legs stretched out before me, cooled by the breeze blowing in from the open window writing a post to my blog on my faithful Surface. I am grateful for the WiFi that is supposedly included in our room charge; but that is mostly elusive.

I have to pinch myself. I am in the land of the red dusty roads, lavender blooming jacaranda trees and smiling, welcoming faces. In amongst the visiting, volunteering and exploring there has been time for reflection - something that was not in such abundance last year when I was here. And there is much to reflect upon. It makes me wonder if we must travel far to learn what is indeed inside us; to learn where we need most to go. Must we travel far to see ourselves as minuscule pieces of a whole?

When I travel here under the guise of volunteering, I am fully aware that this is really my post secondary education. I am learning much about this special place and the people who call it home, and I am learning so very much about myself and my place in it.

The people we eat our meals with at this bed and breakfast offer intelligent, stimulating conversation and we have covered the gamut of topics: ISIS, violence, war, social structures, religion and the role of the church, human rights and of course, sex.   New people come and go every day, people of different nationalities (Dutch, Belgium, German, Swedish, Italian, to name a few) and perspectives.

And today we are more than half way through our visit to Moshi. There are only a few days to finish up our projects with our respective groups and attempt to settle issues that can enable us to continue in a productive fashion when we return home.

I have many unresolved issues and unanswered questions... such as where do we international volunteers fit into the grand scheme of things; are we contributing to creating a culture of dependency and/or robbing Tanzanians of self direction; and how can we make sustainable differences and contributions to this spectacular country?

I don't mean to ramble. I guess I am realizing that we really aren't that special. But we are fortunate.

Friday, October 24, 2014


I always felt that I would return to Moshi but I didn't expect it to be so soon.

Yup - we're heading back to Tanzania. In just a few days Jill and I will once again be shrouded in the hot humid air of Moshi with the taste of burnt dust on our lips. And our hearts will open wide. Tanzania is like that; it opens its arms and cradles you; invites and welcomes you; changes you.

I struggled with my motive to return. I wasn't so naive to think that I was really needed, that life in Moshi wouldn't go on without me. I considered how better spent my airfare could be - the impact of $1200 on the tiny informal organization of Good Hope; the good it could do. I even thought how exciting it would be to use that money to bring someone from Good Hope here to Canada.

Jill announced she was going back to reconnect with her mamas at the women's empowerment group of Mkombozi. She didn't want too much time to pass without contact. We talked it over; debated the reasons to go, and not go. And in the end we couldn't resist.

 Good Hope doesn't need me. But I need Good Hope. I'm going back for a heart-full.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sowing Seeds

The 23 pound bird roasting in the oven is the star of the Thanksgiving pre-show, and is filling the house with anticipation. Butternut squash soup is bubbling in the crock pot, the apple crisp that I made last night is poised on the counter, tempting me to pull a piece of the well-baked "crisp" off the top for a nibble.  The family should be arriving momentarily, all 18 of them.

The joy and fun is in the preparation -- peeling, chopping, stirring, and seasoning my way to family love. We have a rule in our family regarding our famjams -- whoever can make it - great, however we don't lament those who are missing. We simply toast them and celebrate the gathering that is our family.

Hubby and I walked through the autumn splendour with our dog, inhaling in the fresh crisp air, chatting about all that is good in our lives. And there is alot of good.

I hear a knock at the door. Daughter one has arrived, and the good times are about to begin. Come to think of it, the good times have been with us all along,,, so I should probably say, let the good times continue!

I hope wherever you are in the world, that you have someone to share this day of Thanksgiving with and that you have much to be grateful for. I hope all is well in your world, as it is in mine.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mid Night Menagerie

I woke up with a start mid dream last night. I squinted hard to make out the 2:23 glowing from my clock radio. I remembered  that I hadn't finished my newsletter at work; I needed another article. Had I left a load in the washer? I needed to iron my blouse for tomorrow -- if it still fit, that is.

Closed my eyes and repeated left over meditations from a yoga class I took four years ago. I slowed my breathing and then images of Tanzania scrolled, reminding me that I had to renew my passport. And I still had a visa to apply for. And the Good Hope website needs an update...

I watched the minutes tick by and my 5:30 am wake up time draw closer. RELAX I ordered myself.
Then images of turkey and stuffing crept into my head. I debated the virtues of home made cranberry sauce versus the convenience of the canned jellied variety.

I reasoned that if I overslept, I could always skip washing my hair. I silently begged for SLEEP.

A motor cycle wailed by and a rhythmic bass pulsed from a car stopped at the corner beneath our window. I wondered if anyone ever slept anymore... Sleep resides at the cottage; it's the only reprieve from the distant hum of highway traffic and city noises. Sounds of silence. I'd kill for it. I reviewed the pro's and con's of country living... my eyelids got heavy.

Note to self: I should keep a pen and paper beside my bed. I should also refrain from drinking tea right before bedtime.

Clock was screaming 4:25. Almost time to get up. And suddenly I could feel drowsiness creeping in. Of course!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Path Less Travelled

It was intended to be a long walk in the fresh air down our cottage road. In mid September, the cottage season is all but ended and we stubbornly cling to the last precious remnants. It had rained relentlessly through the night before, leaving the ground spongy and muddy. We trampled along with Fritz the yappy schnauzer, accompanied by the chorus of song from far away tree tops.

We made a left turn up a gravel road leading to the other lake and followed it until it ended at a private property - "no trespassing" - and a pathway veering off into the woods.

With nothing but chill and damp waiting for us back at the cabin, we plunged into the forest, carefully picking our way over fallen branches and pools of rainwater. The weeks of moisture had rendered the foliage of the forest  a brilliant sheen of green, and shocks of colour poked through the bed of crispy brown leaves.

For more than an hour we navigated the roughly marked trails, changing direction on a whim, exploring where our curiosity led us, eventually crawling under a locked metal gate to find ourselves on the road to our camp.

It's incredible what you notice when left without distraction to the quiet and tranquility of nature; what exquisite beauty is there for discovery - and adventure - when you choose the path less traveled.

We both agreed; it is a path we are going to choose more often.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Body and Soul

I walk briskly down the sidewalk, quickening my pace with every step. I start to run, picking a telephone pole at the end of the block as my target. I'm alone with my thoughts and the rhythm of my runners pounding the pavement. I'm out of shape. First clue - the heaving of my chest and private negotiations with self to stop running before I reach the pole.

I alternate between brisk walking and running -- and sometimes a geriatric jog. I return the comments from the cast of characters that line the route with breathless smiles and pants. I reach the path in the park and disappear into the thick fringe of greenery. My shoulders immediately drop and relaxation creeps in. My body switches to autopilot and my mind soars. No earbuds here... I soak up every sound - birds singing, the train rolling by on the other side of the chain link fence, a dog barking in the distance, me humming John Denver tunes. It's the natural soundtrack that I prefer but I've probably caused a bird a wince or two.

It's special - this noon hour time I carve out for myself to break free of my office and move my body. I replay memory gems, reflect on challenges I'm facing in my job, release that over which I have no control, dream endless dreams, and give silent prayers of gratitude.

Lunchtime nourishment for my body and soul.

Monday, September 8, 2014


She's my beautiful little sister. And today is her birthday.

She came into our world smiling and was easy to love. From sharing a bedroom, an apartment and later, a house -- to living down the street from one another, I've shared my life with this special woman. She is a giver, an advocate and a survivor. She embodies intelligence, strength and inner beauty and has never stopped growing and achieving...

So today, on her fiftieth birthday, I can say with full confidence, that the best is yet to be. She is poised for something exquisite.  And lucky me - I'll be there to share it all with her.

Happy birthday Glenda.

Mystical Meanderings

Car packed, we took our hopes for good weather and headed north. A stack of black nasty clouds did not deter and we pushed through one of the most spectacular lightning storms I've ever experienced. Waiting for us on the other side was perfection; a simply perfect fall weekend at the lake.

We ate our lunch on the deck immersed in nature as crispy brown leaves floated gently down around us. The eagle soared high in the sky and chubby little chipmunks scurried about nervously, stashing last chance stores.

In the wee early hours in the morning I grabbed my camera and headed down the steep pathway to the dock. The mist was rolling off the lake. Everything was blanketed in morning dew and brilliant sunshine illuminated the intricate laceworks of the dock spiders. Mystical morning, and for a fleeting moment I was a solitary soul amongst the breathtaking. I inhaled deeply and leaning back on my hands, tilted my head upwards to feel the kiss of morning light on my face.

The quaint country fair with fiddle music, goats and hand cut fries rounded out the weekend.

Precious time spent with the one I love, in a heavenly setting; nature's cathedral, and for this respite, I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No Straight Lines

Look up directions on Google maps and you are served up a suggested route as well as other options; different ways to get to the same place. Some - more timely and direct, others involve a toll, while others may include a scenic route.

Not so different when we are living our life, making plans. From my vantage of mother and aunt I have an aerial view of the paths being forged by my daughters and nieces and nephews. I witness their anxiety and excitement  and toil and trepidation as they struggle with choices and decisions.

So much potential and infinite possibilities. So many routes to the same destination. Some more direct than others and some fraught with detours and roadblocks.

I have learned that life is not necessarily a straight line, and in fact, it can be far more interesting when it isn't. And if we choose a scenic route, the secret is enjoying the texture and colour along the way. And if we encounter dead ends and roadblocks, recognise them as gentle nudges to try a different direction. Switch it up.

I was taught, and I tried to pass it along to my girls, that there is no one right path -- just different paths, with different outcomes.  And that the important part is to choose one,  commit to it, and make it be the right path.

We all end up somewhere eventually. Somewhere good, if we have clear intentions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reasons to Celebrate

Nine years ago hubby and I were married in a ceremony surrounded by our family and closest friends. It was a very special day for us. And to make it even more special, we celebrated Doris' eighty-eighth birthday with a cake at our reception. 

Nine years later, our beautiful grand lady is turning ninety-seven. And as everyone will tell  you, she is simply lovely -- healthy, good-natured and full of love and light. Today she told us that she is planning to be here for her 100th. No doubt! 

She is an inspiration to all of us - and especially for me and hubby on our anniversary.  I look over at the smooth, gentle face of my husband and say a silent prayer that we too may live well, and grow old together; that I may hold tight the hands of my beloved, until they are withered and weary with age. And that after a lifetime together, when asked, he would take my hand and with a smile, tell me he would do it all again.

If we can be so lucky.

Happy birthday Doris.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summertime Send Off

It's officially September; unofficially the end of summer. Lots of living. And I didn't write a word.
It isn't that there wasn't anything worthy of writing about, or that I didn't have anything to say. I chose another way, is all.

There was much to celebrate: Kidlet's graduation, many family birthdays, sister's epic achievement, a visit from my Kenya trip gal pals, sister times and weekends at the cottage. The long, lazy weeks of heat, sun and humidity that were the hallmarks of our childhood were not to be this year. Summer showed up on occasion, rarely for more than a day or two at stretch, and the leisurely pace and vacation feel was clearly absent. I longed to feel sunshine on my face...

I was immersed in my new job, eating and sleeping the possibilities and formulating success for my team. Hubby was on a September deadline so at least we were on the same page.

I lived in the moment, committing special moments to memory, etching precious images into my mind, reflecting and remembering, but not writing. I had a two month conversation with myself.

Good times and bad, life is indeed rich; challenging, teaching us, taking us beyond the ordinary if we let it. And it did and does.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


When people ask me on Monday mornings how my weekend was, I always respond that it was great; that I've never met a weekend I didn't like! What's not to love -- two full days of something in front of Friday, my favourite day of the week. We cram alot of good stuff into these two days... and in the summer that usually includes some cottage time. However we still manage to weave in celebrations and precious family time.

A long anticipated birthday, Adventure Girl FINALLY turned 50 last weekend and Kidlet was my date for the elegant shindig. As each person stood to confess tell their Elysia tale, I couldn't help but think how special it was that she was hearing these sentiments and expressions of love and affection - too often reserved for eulogies expressed after someone has passed. With her dear old dad by her side, she laughed heartily along with everyone even as the evening took on a roast-like flavour. Her beaming face told the story - she thoroughly enjoyed herself and was moved by the love that filled the room.

It served as a good reminder to share our feelings with the ones we care about. Let them know what they mean to us and how our world is better with them in it. Leave no positive feeling unexpressed! Adventure Girl - if you are listening -- my world is better with you in it!

Just a final note to self: have had enough cake in the last two weeks to last a lifetime, or at least to inspire a 25K walk each day. Cheeks are ever expanding...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summertime Celebration

We celebrated Kidlet's grad just as we do all birthdays and important milestones: with a famjam! And with everyone of significance gathered under a brilliant sunny summer's day, celebrate we did. There were toothy grins and hugs and, of course, picture posing between bites of ribs, chicken skewers and shrimp. It was the nicest day yet of the season. Good omen for Kidlet's launch into adulthood. And so it begins... a whole new chapter. And judging by the cast of characters she was born into and has collected, she is well accompanied and supported on her journey. I am filled with gratitude for the gift of my family and extended family, and with hope for her future. I hope she is too.

Me and my sisters - birth and chosen
A rare chance to have my besties all together!
Instant joy - just add baby!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


It's a textured weave, this life we live.
A juxtaposition of
good and bad,
happy and sad
served up daily
tasty and distasteful
celebration and grief
shock and surprise.

A graduation was celebrated
new beginnings
start of a grown-up life
across the world
a boy sixteen
lost his fight
a life was mourned.

There's no sense to make
it simply is
elation and devastation
unlikely cohabitants
we are left to
seek the gifts in

Sunday, June 15, 2014

If you are lucky

If you are lucky, you will have a father who stands tall, and stands up for what he believes in.

If you are lucky, you will be blessed with a father who is fearless, and not only makes you feel safe; but teaches you how to be safe.

If you are lucky, you will have a father who believes the best way to make the world better, is to make the world better.

If you are lucky you will have a father whose love is so large and unconditional, that it will encompass, shield and empower you.

If you are lucky, you will grow up to be neighbours, and if you are really fortunate, you will find yourselves friends.

Lucky me!

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad I could've ever have wished for.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Post Election Pride

I left work extra late Thursday and it was only when I was whipping down the highway that I remembered it was election day -- AND I ONLY HAD 40 MINUTES UNTIL THE POLLS CLOSED. I panicked. I knew I had to get there - every vote counts - absolutely. Never mind that I am addicted to the rush I get from exercising my democratic right.

I made it with minutes to spare, and then raced home to watch the results. The opinion polls had all three parties in a dead heat. But they were dead wrong. My progressive, inclusive province of Ontario elected the first woman premier in Ontario . And by the way, she's a married gay woman. Another first. And one of the reasons I love where I live; we are an inclusive society where the rainbow flag flies high, where diversity is celebrated and everyone is invited to the table.

Here's to democracy. Optimism is alive and well in Ontario and for that I am very grateful!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Photo courtesy of Kidlet
Her face was beaming as she grinned up at us from her second row pew. Her dad and foster dog guide Cadet sat behind my hubby and I, all of us perched up in the balcony with a bird's eye view of the graduation ceremony below.

A vintage home movie scrolled through my mind: flashes of Kidlet's first day on the ice in her hockey gear; dropping her off at nursery school and helping her find the cubby with her name taped above it; visions of a five-year old Kidlet in her rubber boots digging for earth worms; images of her belting out Seasons of Love at her grade eight grad... and a blurry mashup of scenes from our life.

Her childhood flashed before me in what seemed like moments. And today her dads and I came together, like so many times before, to witness her achievement of yet another milestone in her life and celebrate the woman she is becoming.

How is it then that the face gleaming up at us was that of my five-year old, innocent, fresh faced Kidlet?

The Chancellor's speech was riddled with advice for the new grads -- the best of which was "do something!" So Kidlet, I've had twenty-two years to dispense my advice, so no further required. You get it and have everything you need within yourself to create the life you want. And you have the love and support of your parents and sisters as well as your big, extended tribe. You once told me, as I tucked you into your bed, that you were happy you "picked" me. Well Kidlet, I'm glad you picked me too! It's a privilege to be your mother.

Kidlet's post-grad Facebook post:
I have to thank my mom for putting up with me for the last 4 years. She edited every single paper I have submitted ‪#‎truth‬. Sometimes at 11:45 pm when it was due at midnight. I appreciate all her time and energy and support. Love you mum.
Today is just one of those days in which I am reminded of the riches in my life; in which my heart is filled with pride and gratitude for the three precious treasures I have been blessed with. Life is indeed good.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Day

I got up nice and early to hit the ground running today. After a relaxing weekend up at the lake I was rested and ready to face what may come my way in my new job. I had that "first day of school" feeling churning in my stomach and the tingle I get when something good is about to happen.

What happened was alot of flowers! I was showered with floral love. My former boss sent me an exquisite arrangement to complement the orchids my daughter sent me Friday. And just when I thought I couldn't be more grateful, another vase from my gal pals arrived. The girls at reception were teasing me about the parade of deliveries.

You couldn't help but smile when you walked into my office. My office... my new space. Change feels good. It breaks any probability of boredom, stimulates the excitement centre and makes me feel alive.

And so on this day of change, I am filled with gratitude beyond words. I have be blessed with a kind and caring family, loyal caring friends, and the best work colleagues I could ask for. And the icing on the cake is a job of which I am passionate and that I love. Lucky me.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Doing (the) Charleston

Adventure Girl is turning 50 so you know what that means -- girls' trip! We chose Charleston for our five-day adventure for its heat, southern charm and history. The mojitos, fish tacos, and crab cakes were the added flavour - the bonus!

My two gal pals and I have been keeping a regular commitment of dinners, trips and socializing for more than twenty-five years now. We call ourselves the "dinner club" but we are so much more to one another -- sisters from other misters! We move together as an easy pack - we know one another's quirks and characteristics and solve our differences with playful banter.

Charleston is a wonderful city steeped in history and baked in exquisite cuisine, Yum! We ate our way across the region, taking a day to drive to Savannah with a pit stop in Hilton Head. Rather than write a travelogue here, I let my pictures speak for themselves.  Next milestone trip: 2018! Gotta start saving!!

Drayton Hall Plantation

Leave em rest - slave graveyard

Gas lanterns

Boot scrapers from the 1700's

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pay Day

My day started out a little rough yesterday. As I drove down my street a bird dropped from a tree above and I killed it with my car. I was heart sick all the way to work. The attendant at the drive through coffee shop tipped the cup as she handed it to me leaking little brown droplets all over the sleeve of my white jacket. And by the time I reached the front door of my office building to realize that I had left my security card in my other bag, I was starting to wonder what lesson I was supposed to be learning...

I'd had enough and decided to turn my day around. Or maybe it turned me around...

A few months back I tossed my name into the hat for the manager's position that had opened up with my boss's retirement. I debated the decision to attempt a return to management; part of me afraid of failure, the other part afraid of not trying. And so after three months and two intense interviews later and a few more weeks of waiting, I learned that I had won the competition. Monday I leave the comfort and safety of my cube and move my mess and disorder down the hallway to the stark and empty office that was my boss's. 

I have no illusions. It's not easy transitioning from peer to leader in a team, but I work with the best (some of them just don't know it). We'll go through it together, as a team.

And the tingles of fear and anticipation remind me that I am alive with much left to learn and more boundaries to challenge. I am also reminded of why it is important to keep dreaming...

What's that saying-- be careful what you wish for?  *smile*

Dreams really do come true.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Winding Down

It was better than expected.
Nature's soothing balm for the soul.
From brittle stark, fresh tender buds of brilliant green emerge, slowly unfurling to face the sun.
A simple reminder that life begins anew; opportunities abound.

Message received. And as this weekend, the first vacation of the season, slowly recoils and winds down, I also wind down, grateful for the rest, ready to face all that awaits. Another week of living fully, and in the moment.

And I whisper a quiet prayer of thanks.

Prelude to Summer

What a difference a week can make. When we were up at the cottage last weekend the landscape was dull and beige with not a hint of green in sight, nothing - with the exception of the evergreen trees. It was as though springtime was in hiding, camouflaged as November.

With the first long weekend upon us, the weather forecast was not promising with very cool temperatures and high probability of rain expected. Hubby and I debated whether we should stay or go north to  the cottage. We both needed a respite from busytown and threw caution to the wind.

To our disbelief the highways, typically jammed on a Friday of the long weekend (or any Friday for that matter), were free and clear. We soared unencumbered to our place of peace.

The first night was a frosty 3 degrees Celsius - and that was inside! We plugged in the heater and stoked the fire and with the help of my wool socks and fleece, I finally got warmed up.

Saturday was a little cloudy and chilly but by late afternoon the sky cleared and it warmed up. Today was spectacular. The lake sparkled like a bedazzled blanket of blue and the sun shone all day high in the cloudless sky. Even the buds on the trees were coaxed out of hiding, and by the end of the day, you couldn't help but notice the greenery showing through. We ate our dinner out on our deck as the blue jays, chickadees and other birds and squirrels serenaded us. The lake was quiet, devoid of the usual cottagers.

Hubby and I took a drive into the nearby village of Magnetawan and gave Fritz a stroll. With the area having a harsh winter of frigid temps and over seven feet of snow, the water levels are high wherever we look. Rivers run freely over the dams crashing into already saturated lakes. Boat houses sit low in the water and trees stand in ponds. I snapped a few shots to share. Hopefully over the next month or two the water levels will reside and the trees can recover.

We are so fortunate to have this retreat, this chance to commune with nature and be inspired by its glory. All in all it was indeed a peaceful weekend and an exciting prelude to the summer ahead.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekend to Remember

Yesterday was "opening day" at the cottage. The residuals of an exceptionally long, bitterly cold winter were everywhere: heaps of tree branches and dead leaves on the deck, a few downed birch trees laid out like fallen soldiers, and shades of grey and beige draping the vistas. There wasn't a glimpse of green anywhere to be found... not a bud or hint of leaf.

Hubby dropped the water lines in and did battle with the pump to coax water into the taps and toilet. If that wasn't fun enough, Hubby wrestled with the dock and 300 lb ramp to get us afloat and the canoe nicely secured. The only thing missing to complete the picture were our red Muskoka chairs.

I dodged the cool grey of outside by making up the beds and restoring the coziness of our rustic little cabin. We wrapped up our mission to open our cottage in advance of the upcoming long weekend in short order and then headed home, up the stark laneway and down the highway to the city. Until next weekend...

Today was brilliant! The sun shone high in the blue skies and the girls came home to spend Mother's Day with me. They came wearing wide smiles and bearing baked goods. Nutrition and moderation went out the window as I "sampled".

Some Mother's Days have been better than others... sometimes I get mired in the missing of my own precious mother and I can barely muster a smile. But the past few years have been better. My love for and appreciation of my girls has been larger than my grief. And it feels good.

It's been a weekend to remember, as well as a good reminder of the riches in my life and the good things to come. I hope you all had some sunshine today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Strangers on a Plane

I didn't know her name. But this older lady with short hair - the gray peeking out from the bottled auburn colour - was sitting in seat 5C - my seat. The flight was packed with not a seat to spare. She moved over into the middle seat, repeating her apology in her sing-song Newfoundland lilt.

I didn't know her name. But this lady in the seat next to me, with her hands folded nervously in her lap was a grandma. Her son and his two kids were sitting ten rows back and they were all headed to Fort McMurray to visit her other son and his family. She doesn't travel much by plane -- just a trip or two to Toronto is all.

I didn't know her name. But I learned that the dusty rose hope-inscribed scarf around her neck was given to her by her daughter ten years ago -- after she passed the five year clear milestone for breast cancer. I learned she only had one breast left and that we shared the same neck scar from our thyroid surgeries.

I didn't know her name. But I know that she misses the husband she lost two years ago. And that she has nine sisters and eight brothers to visit when she gets lonely.

I didn't know her name but I held her hand as the plane landed and bounced to an eventual stop. I helped her find the sleeve to her coat. And I wished her safe travels as we departed.

We met as strangers on a plane. I didn't know her name. But I wish I did.

Monday, April 28, 2014

No Restraint

Fear. It's a restraining order.

You dream big - bigger than you think you ought to.
You visualize it, internalize, put it out there and release it to the universe.

You fill with joy of what is possible and just when you feel it inflating you, lifting your weightlessness into the air, fear creeps in and drops you soundly down to earth.

Fear plants you in your place - if you let it.

We somehow believe that if we curb our enthusiasm and optimism, our disappointment will also be curbed if and when we don't realize our dreams. We think that if we don't dream or expect good things to happen, we will avoid disappointment.

Not true.

Disappointment and heartache - whether shared publicly or felt privately - never feel good, and will be experienced inevitably regardless if you invested your heart and soul.

I just contradicted my personal formula for happiness: that expectation less reality equals disappointment. That is, if you have huge expectations and the reality is that very little of them will be met, it could result in a big disappointment. However I use this formula pertaining more to attitude... you walk around with expectations of others, of circumstances as opposed to simply appreciating the now and what. For example, rather than enjoy the party you throw for your family - the ones who showed up, and the conversation and events that unfold - you size it up to the great expectations you had and lament those who weren't there and the "stuff" that didn't come off as you had intended. The reality doesn't meet the grand expectations you had and therefore delivers disappointment.

But I am not talking about that. I am referring to the vision, dreams and hopes we have for our life. If we attempt to preempt disappointment with restraint and limitation, we cheat ourselves of the hope and positive feelings that are generated - the best parts of the journey.

Of course if we fail to realize any version of our dreams, we could of course, find disappointment. However that wouldn't mitigate all of the good stuff we experience along the way. If you don't allow yourself to dream big, or dream at all, you may never be disappointed but you will have also robbed yourself of good feelings - purpose, joy, anticipation, and just plain old fun.

Shun the restraining order and issue yourself a new edict: Dream with wild abandon and move fearlessly in the direction of your dreams. Revel in the anticipation, planning, visualizing and creating. Enjoy the experience and the breathlessness of wondering "what if". It's worth the ride.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Famjam

As a child, Easter was a special occasion that ranked up there pretty close to Christmas for us. Not only did we get brand new crisp Sunday school hats with ribbon streamers, we got instant access to more chocolate and candy than we could comprehend. Free flowing candy was a rarity in our house and so we cherished the opportunity to gobble sugared Easter eggs and gnaw on solid chocolate bunnies. I would methodically break off ears and appendages and savour each piece of delicious, and try to make it last as long as possible. 

These days Easter is about family and less about chocolate -- although there was plenty of that too. To see the whole clan (missing one little soul) gathered in our home, engaged in conversation with one another, enjoying the energy and joy that is family, is the greatest, most satisfying experience I know. It fills my heart to overflowing and it astounds me - the goodness that has resulted from the love of two people. 

This Easter we had much to celebrate. Kidlet is graduating with her degree, my other daughter got accepted to teachers' college, my sister is just weeks away from earning her masters in leadership and her daughter chose our family event to announce her engagement! Loads of excitement ramped up the excitement level.

We are a family of communicators so you can only imagine how the walls reverberate with the sound of twenty plus of us all "communicating" simultaneously. We don't wait for others to finish their sentence -- we simply complete it for them and then continue on with barely a breath between. Doris, our 96 year old grand lady switched her hearing aides off. I swear my ears were still ringing the next day. 

Easter Sunday is always a  more peaceful at hubby's parents' house. The family is smaller and they are much less verbose. The highlight of any family occasion these days is our little niece. She has injected new life and excitement into the mix and is really the only one who can coax a special brand of happy from her Opa. 

And so, after much preparation and planning, another special family occasion has come and gone. The house is quiet; the dog is passed out on the couch but the springtime bouquets are in full bloom. There is the promise of possibility in the air. Springtime is like that... it delivers a fresh palette for us, and it is ours to create the life we so desire. 

And for that, and so much more, I am truly grateful. 

Almost the whole gang -- missing one!
Our beautiful grand lady Doris
Niece brings the magic to any occasion
Niece having an Easter photo shoot