Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where I Find My Christmas

Very few moments of Christmas offer the peaceful quiet and tranquility regaled in that renowned Carol Silent Night. If you have children, especially, there is no such thing. The quietest moment you may experience in fact are those 12 seconds in the mall parking lot, right between turning off the engine and stepping out into the throng. That moment when the radio is silenced and you are entirely alone with your thoughts.
My thoughts generally consist of a desperation prayer… “Lord, protect my husband’s sanity as he manages and entertains our children for the next three hours. Help him to choose age appropriate Christmas programing, to remember that you can never appease a teenager and that high sugar snacks are not sleep inducing. Please guide my shopping adventure, that I may find the correct size, colour and label without migraine causing difficulty, grant me patience for line-ups, tolerance for the rudeness and forgiveness for any profanity that I might consider appropriate.”
A similar prayer lives in many a mother in December.
Those 12 seconds border on reverent, but to be truly honest, there is only one silent, peaceful and introspective moment that takes my breath away completely. Great peace and silence is provided in the glow of our loudest, most obnoxious, mismatched, tacky holiday symbol in our home; The Christmas Tree.
The adornments are a hodgepodge. Arguments and anxiety over tree selection are fierce. Decorating the darned thing demands a strong stomach. Each year I swear that I shall pack a bottle of Advil, a fifth of rye and a couple of shot glasses neatly away with the ornaments; a first aid kit for the following year. The lights do not match. There are white ones and coloured ones and two strings of dancing lights from conflicting manufactures, so they never dance to the same beat. This year the dancing lights bit the dust, (I admit to a little dance myself on the extinguished cords) There is guaranteed tension when tree day is announced and yet it is my favourite day of the holiday preparations.
We choose an evening when everyone is home, plan a bits and bites diner and turn on the Christmas music. Michael prepares mugs of cider then finds a comfy spot on the couch to nurse his patience. I plunk into my favourite chair with a dusty box of ornaments on my lap and prepare them for hanging. I straighten, untangle, repair as needed, and loop them on my fingers for pick up. The kids travel back and forth, transferring from fingers to branches. Each year I realize that they are older but as they work, bicker and delight I can only see them as ‘little kids’ and I remember those years...
The first year Lula decorated the tree; we enjoyed a single clustered patch of ornaments in a sea of green. When KJ came along and joined the decorating crew we enjoyed 2 patches in the same sea. As they grew taller the patches moved up the tree. When E-man was old enough to toddle to the tree the girls had begun developing artistic eyes and they coached him on ornament placement, as best as a 2 year old can be coached. Those were the years that the bottom half of the tree was fully decorated with a heavy presence in one quadrant. Fast forward 17 Christmases, they can all reach well up into the tree and the whole thing gets equal billing.
Little else changes…
They still debate ornament origin, ownership and placement. Michael refrains from refereeing; a wise move on his part. It was his bright idea after all, the first year we were married, to begin with one ornament and add something each year. I listen to the crush of noise and wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to have one of those all matching decorator trees that can be put in a closet from January through November.
The decorating foreperson emerges early in the process, this person’s capability is questioned relatively quickly by the self-appointed Quality Control manager. Guaranteed that one child will abandon the project by the half-way point. Voices get raised, laughter is spilled, we’ve had a year or two complete with tears but eventually the tree gets finished.
The kids go to bed and the time comes for Michael and I to turn in. As I reach to unplug the tree...the calm comes. Right then, right there is the silence. When the house is dark save for the Christmas tree lights. I pause and reflect upon our un-designer conflict inducing Christmas tree. I smile at the Popsicle stick reindeers and the beaded candy canes crafted by my kids though the years. I gaze at pretty pewter and glass ornaments given to our family by friends in Christmases past. I smile at the paper butterfly made by the hospital auxiliary the year Michael was in hospital just days before Christmas. I reach out and turn around a tiny ceramic bell or a one armed nutcracker that came to our tree from my grandmother the year she lost her independence. They came from her grandmother and one day will hang on the trees of my own children and grandchildren. The single ornament that Michael hangs on the tree is the one from our very first Christmas together , a delicate Precious Moments porcelain wedding bell that I imagined has survived our 20 years much the same way our marriage has; with resilience, care and the grace of god. I turn off the 3 individually lit angel ornaments and smile at the three baby soothers that hang near the tree top, one for each of my three babies.
Our tree… it shouts and hollers, it sings and laughs, it cries and it rejoices, that is its’ story. In that story lies the silence, the peace, the magic, the meaning of Christmas; that we are blessed, each of us with our own stories with our own challenges, accomplishments, struggles and successes and that each of us owes our story to the love of a father who gave to us his son.  Celebration is, at Christmas, the sincerest expression of our immeasurable gratitude for that gift.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 15 Second Makeover

5 steps... 3 seconds a step = 15 seconds to a new you. Try it!

Clench your jaw. Is it already clenched?
Unclench it.

Stiffen your shoulders. Are they already stiff?
Loosen them

Make your hands into fists. Are they fists already?
Shake them loose

Curl your toes. Are they curled up already?
Stretch them out.

Make a smile. Smiling already?
Keep smiling

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where my Blog Design Went?

Who knows? My lovely picture of Raindrops has disappeared from my header and can not be re-installed, maybe after Christmas I'll find time to wrangle the solution - until then we'll just apply a Christmasy Colour theme and pretend that was the intention!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In You To Give - Blood & Gratitude

Warning this post contains references to blood, needles and giving.

Tuesday I adopted the mantra "I can make that happen" I repeated it to myself from the time my feet hit the floor until the minute I plopped my butt into the blood bank donation chair.

The mantra was a lame attempt to psych myself up for the eventuality of giving blood. (background; I hate blood, I hate needles, I hate pain...hate is a serious word for me) Right after the made up Mantra line I secretly added "but why the heck do you want to make this happen?" The answer quite simply put...because you were asked, because your friend needs blood to battle her cancer, because she faces needles and worse everyday, because by comparison 1/2 a litre of blood and a needle is a cake walk, because you have it in you to give, because you said you would.

So I followed through, handling the affair with the scared to death humor that has become my greatest coping mechanism.
  • First they check your iron to make sure you have adequate stores to give some away. I passed.
  • Next you are asked a series of questions about your lifestyle, work and travel. I did okay with this until I got to the question inquiring as to my recent work with monkeys. To the best of my knowledge I do not work with monkeys but I questioned the handling of monkeys in my personal life. Thank you Lorraine for receiving my outward expression of laughter in good stride, how did you know it was the Monkey question?
  • On to screening hurdle #3 (the confessional as Lorraine called it) I was invited into a private room to answer what the nurse referred to as - highly personal questions. They were highly personal, but have simplified the round of 20 questions in store for the next boy who steps over the threshold to date one of my daughters. One Question "Can you pass the Canadian Blood Donor Screen?"
  • Questions aside; my arms where checked, my temperature was checked, my blood pressure was checked. My blood pressure was 144/85 not to bad - cool as a cucumber right? Unless you know that normal for me is 112/69. I asked the nurse if I looked nervous.
  • I got to have my cookies and juice before I got stuck with the needle. Apparently I didn't eat enough before arriving. That's something I don't often hear. Beyond my comfy spot at the juice and cookie table was my turn at the needle. I swear no one can eat a cookie slower than I.
  • Eventually they prodded me along. I confirmed to the 5th person that I was indeed the same person who entered the building. That I had passed the 3 gateways to the inner sanctum of blood donation and was still on board - because I said I would.
  • The actual event of giving blood was lack luster in comparison to the mental image I had worked up in my brain throughout the day. They clean your arm, poke your vein, siphon out 1/2 a litre of blood, clean up, give you a band aid and a juice box and send you on your way back to the cookie table to recover before leaving. They record your time too, like a marathoner crossing the 10km gate. I gave my 1/2 litre in 7 minutes which compared to the pace set by the guy 4 beds over was embarrassing especially when they handed me a sqeezy bag to help coax the blood from my arm.
  • Next time I will consume vast quantities of water in the days prior, this helps they say. Next time I will improve my blood letting pace. Oh, and there will be a next time. That is the second question they ask right after how are you today? Would you like to set up your next appointment while I have you up on the screen? Clever people, they ask before you give, then  you have to come back because you said you would.
Gratitude today for the ability to give. Like spreading smiles and positive energy. The life you change might not be your own. Although I believe mine was the one most changed.

Extreme gratitude as well to the lovely, patient nurses and volunteers who took my nervous humor in stride and to the co-workers unfortunate enough to share my time slot...gratitude for your blind-eye.

Today is Thursday and I always ask "What's your Gratitude?" Today I'm asking what are you grateful for? As well as asking you to consider a blood donation, you really can change a life

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday... Your Turn @ The Table

This morning I got up to let the dog out and like every other morning this week I was greeted by the glow of Christmas Lights. Ours, the ones we neglect to turn off before retiring to bed for the night. Yes, we are THAT house, the only one lit up like a Christmas tree at 3 am. Go figure.

Gratitude today for the LED innovation! The technology that keeps our hydro bill low enough to afford the rest of the celebrations despite our negligence.

Thursday and Your Turn @ The Table...What are you Grateful for today? Share a comment, change your status, send an email, post, tweet, tell a friend, thank the Drive Thru server, Hold a door. Share.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Season of Giving - The Charity Choosing

Social causes – ribbons and charities abound in our world. One can hardly round a corner without being reminded by the side of a bus or the side of a milk carton that poverty exists and that the need for childhood help phones is sadly required. At every turn there are people collecting money, asking for support, spreading awareness and looking for air time in the valuable name of their cause. Every day I receive messages, letters, mail, links through friends, facebook, twitter and email to causes that need recognition and support. There is no doubt that each is worthy, deserving of every penny they acquire, each snippet of publicity they garner and every message requesting support. Social and humanitarian aid is the emotional factor that draws us together, providing commonality of circumstance. It is the thing that says “we are on the same team”
With so much need and so many agencies, programs, research and awareness campaigns vying for attention how do you choose?
Some people choose because they have $5 in their pocket when the canvasser knocks on the door. Others choose by way of group consensus; collections at the office, church or school.  There are folks who make their choice by the opportunity to profit through prize pools, houses, cars and other luxuries.  An increasing portion of the population is choosing based on fashion, causes that are trending among social circles.
I find myself more and more, upon receiving appeals, from friends, family, acquaintances and social suggestion, wondering about the rationale behind the messages. What was the deciding factor, Why this charity, with a slew to choose from…why this one? I wonder if people think the same thing when they receive a request attached to my name or avatar.
Here is my take (and perhaps a little insight as to why I never forwarded your appeal to my entire contacts list, friends list or followers).
I have a way of choosing the charities I support; I want to believe that it is the same method used by the social majority in their personal selection process. I choose with my heart.
I Support the Food Bank because they filled my stomach during some dark days of childhood and have fuelled the tummies of other family members too in the years since.
I support the Heart and Stoke Foundation because their research saves lives including those of my father, grandfather, uncle and friend.
When I spread awareness to end Domestic & Family Violence, I do so in memory of my very good friend who didn’t need for her life to end this way.
If you get a message from me about Suicide Prevention and Depression, know that I do it in honour of a young man who couldn’t hang on and a family member who by the grace of God is learning that there is much to hang on to and out for, and who I pray every day doesn’t ever forget.
The request of support for Sick kids Hospitals is my way of saying thank you to them for saving the lives of 3 tiny relatives (more than once) and easing the fear in our own immediate family.
The Cancer Society receives my support in memory of friends who have lost their battles, grandmothers and brothers who didn’t and friends who are still waiting to see which ending their story will get.
I ask you to dig in your pocket to help out Homeless Teens because my children have asked us to share our home with their friends on the brink of circumstance and I witness adults that I knew in those same circumstances as a teenager. Some have better lives, some do not.
When I send out an appeal for understanding on Mental Health, know that anxiety ruled every aspect of my life for much much longer than it had a right to – that message comes to you in celebration of triumph and in hope for those still suffering.
The Canadian Diabetes Association has the power to aid my Stepfather greater today than it did my Grandmother 30 years ago through ongoing research and support. They have mine.
The Canadian Legion represents my family’s Uncles, Grandfathers and Brothers. The Legion is a comfort and support for my father and was a cause supported with passion by my Grandmother.
I will always forward pieces about Anti-Bullying, because my kids and hundreds like them need to know that there is someone in their corner.
I wish that I could support every charity, share the message of every cause that crossed my inbox or landed in my social feed. Truthfully there are just too many, a reality which by its very existence is saddening.  So I choose, I choose with my heart and I don’t forward or make appeals on behalf of any cause that does not fit my selection criteria. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps, but I believe in granting weight to my words. If you receive a forward, follow, link, or support request attached to my name be assured that it comes from my heart it is born of gratitude; gratitude for Help, for hope for healing.
While you look for places to bestow those year-end charitable giving dollars, when your inbox fills up with awareness appeals, as you select charity gifts for people on your list, choose with your heart. It is easy to throw money at something, quick to like a status, pass along cause awareness or click to share a link. Do it with your heart, with gratitude.
To the thousands of worthy charities not on my list, I pray you never land on it but you can expect the same commitment should it happen.
Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Make Your Bed?

A lot of life is about setting yourself up for success. Let's face it there are no guarantees what a day has in store or how successfully you will navigate and surmount the challenges that appear in the space between morning java and bedtime tea.

This is why I make my bed. Everyday.  Even on those days when I am brushing my teeth while applying eyeliner in a lame attempt to make up for time spent smashing my fist against the snooze bar. I stop and make the bed.

For 2 reasons...

Reason # 1
This way I begin each day with an accomplishment, and set a precedent for the balance of the day.

Reason # 2
I finish each day successfully. Even if I fouled up every thing I touched between leaving the house and pyjama time, I go to bed reminded I did at least 1 thing right. Some days that has to be enough.

Gratitude today that success is largely self regulated.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Friday, December 2, 2011

At it Again

Remember The Journey Begins with a Single Toothbrush? The post about my clever KJ and her gift of words? Well she's at it again!

I've begun using my ensuite mirror a bit like a command centre board for my ideas and thoughts. Weird? Maybe but the truth is that I do alot of thinking in the deadspace of drying hair and brushing teeth. I used to keep a pen and note pad in the drawer for quickly jotting down a 'remember too', inspirational thought or story idea. That worked really well except that once the thought was out of my head and in the notebook in my bathroom drawer, it stayed there. In a couple of days when I opened the drawer again I would be reminded of what I wanted to address or accomplish.

Now I write directly on the mirror with wipe off crayon.

I have a thought, I write it down, I think about it. If I still like the thought before I exit the bathroom I leave it, if not, I erase it. When I get ready for bed my thought is still there staring me in the face. If I like it, still intend to investigate it further...I leave it. If not I erase it.

On Wednesday night preparing for bed I found this taped to my Thought Board

Chinese Food is a very rare treat in our home. KJ's thought-full gifts are becoming a habit. One I will always appreciate.

Gratitude today for the treat of Chinese Food, the gift of words from my KJ and the gentle reinforcement that she has a point to be taken. When I opened my fortune cookie 5 minutes after finding her revealed the same words-o-wisdom.

Just like the message that is still elasticised to my toothbrush (long since retired - that may be the first toothbrush ever, that I kept after it's usefulness) This new message will remain stuck on my Thought Board.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

"Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn't mean their life is perfect, that smile is a symbol of hope & strength."
I stole that line from a Tweeter. Usually I am against theft but this line really touched me. There is a general suspicion about people who are happy, as though society finds it so impossible that someone can actually BE happy. The automatic assumption is that happy, smiling people are hiding something, that people with a positive approach are less than genuine.  
Ever come across someone in shock? Have you ever had to remind someone to breath? We do this with kids all the time. When they come in the house sobbing so hard that they can't get their words out to tell us what is wrong. We look them straight in the eye and calmly tell them to "breath." They breath, the story comes out and we can work on the solution.
Smiling is a kin to breathing, sometimes you have to be reminded to smile so that you can work on the solution. It's a take on the Chicken and the Egg theory, which came first; the happiness or the smile?
A smile is hope, a smile is strength. A smile gives you a place to start when you feel like its all over. Gratitude today for the power of a smile and to the tweeter who shared such a great message. Especially yesterday, when I found out that yet another friend has been handed the challenge of battling Cancer. I will think about strength and hope when I see her smile.
Thursday...Your turn @ the table.....What are you Grateful for today? Share your gratitude here, with your friends, change your status, tweet it around. The the day you change might not be your own.
:) Michelle

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Let the Paint Job Fool You

My Gran had this car when I was a little girl; on the outside it was big and green and shiny and Gran took very good care of it. Grandpa was a mechanic in the war so he kept the engine running very smoothly. On the outside it looked just like every other car in the city.

On the inside it STUNK! It stunk like the guy who tightened the last bolt on the assembly line crawled into the backseat for a nap and died! That's not even accurate, it smelled like my garage the year we left for 2 weeks holidays in July and forgot a bag of garbage, leaving it to fester in record breaking, stifling temperatures. The stench was powerful like running over a skunk, it followed you, burnt your nostrils and attached itself to your hair and clothes.

Today, one of my kids would have jumped into that car and cried out "HOLY COW! WHAT'S THAT SMELL?!?!?!?!!!!!!" But I was raised in the 'children seen not heard era' I held my breath for as long as I could, breathed through my nose when I was incapable of carrying on any longer, and leaped from my seat to the fresh air the instant the PRNDL hit park!

I worked up the nerve to ask one day about the smell. It seems that Gran was the victim of a leaky carton of milk from the Publix, that emptied completely into the carpet floor of her car while she nipped into the liquor store for Grandpa. It was July, in the days before Oxyclean and Febreeze.

The remarkable thing about my Gran's car was that for as great as it looked, there was a reality that couldn't be disguised. 
Gran's car taught me that just because something looks good to the outside world does not mean the people inside aren't suffering (even with a pine scented air freshener hanging on the rear view mirror). We would have suffered a lot less in that car if Gran had let us roll the windows down. We also would have been revealing our plight with the outside world so the windows stayed up.

The further I get on in life, the more people I am exposed to, the greater I understand that it's not just my Gran's car that stunk. Everybody has a stench they are coping with. Some houses stink and credit ratings stink, some jobs stink, and marriages, and family relationships, a lot of parenting stinks, health stinks and dependencies stink.

I am also learning that I have the greatest appreciation for people who drive around with their windows down and the music turned up. People who are not hiding that life is not perfect but are willing to make the best of the situation.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ the Table

It's Thursday...Your Turn @ the Table! What will you be GRATEFUL for today?

I am grateful for the people I encounter who restore my faith in the world, inspire me to push past my own fears and make me laugh. 

What are you Grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Motherload of Questions

Ever get one of those 1 million questions about me chain messages on facebook?

I wondered today what the Q&A would look like if my kids created the questions. It would have a theme, the theme would be....

Questions my kids ask that I don't want, or rather don't know how, to answer effectively without my ignorance showing, or offering incriminating knowledge to be used at a later date against me by a teenager hell bent on getting their own way.

Why is the sky blue? because the grass already has green.
How many cookies can I have? one.
How many cookies did you have? 2 less than Daddy
How many did Daddy have? cookies?
No girlfriends, how many? more than he needed too.
How many did you have? girlfriends? none
No, boyfriends. How many? as many as it took to learn what I didn't want.
When did you start dating boys? 2 years before grandpa said I could
When can I start dating? 2 years after Grandpa says you can
Did you ever want to leave Daddy? once in a hardware store.
When did you have s-e-x? After I filled the prescription.
No how old were you? 10 years younger than grandpa wanted me to be.
No really, how old were you? old enough to know better.
You're not going to answer this question are you? nope.
Did you do drugs? no, do you do drugs?
How old were you when you moved out? the first time?
Did you ever steal anything? you're Father's go tell him that, he needs a laugh
You think you are pretty clever don't you? I used to before I had kids.
Were you good in school? average
How many classes did you skip in highschool? none, we called it baggin.
So how many classes did you 'bag'? not as many as your father.
Did you fail any classes? gym
How do you fail gym? baggin
Why would you bag gym? I couldn't run because I smoked too much
You smoked? not as much as your father.
How old were you when you started smoking? don't say older than your father. 14
Did Nanny know? when her cigarettes started disappearing.
Did she get mad? yes, cigarettes were expensive.
No,was she mad you smoked? not as mad as when I cracked the car.
You smashed the car? Not really I smashed a curb.
Bad? the curb was okay, the car needed a new wheel
Was Papa mad? only because I lost the hubcap
Were you drunk? when?
When you cracked the car? no
How'd you crack the car then? it was slippery
So you weren't drinking at the time? no
Did you ever drink? I'd like one now
No, back then? no
Really? yes
Yes, you didn't drink? right
Wait, I'm confused, you did or you didn't? exactly
You're not going to give me a straight answer are you? no but your father might
Did you ever get in a fight? once.
Who won? not me.
Were you drunk? no
Did you ever sneak out of the house? not if I wanted to keep living there.
What would you do if I snuck out of the house? try it find out.
Would you kill me? no the rest of the family needs me I can't afford jail time.
Have you been in jail? no
Juvenile detention? no
School detention? no
Really? no.
Which one? school detention.
So you never been in jail? no
What did you do for fun? read and knit.
Really? sometimes
Ever want to drop out of school? not as badly as your Dad
Why didn't you? because Nanny would have killed me, I don't think jail scared her.
What about Dad? what about him?
Did he drop out? no.
Why not? I think Grandma almost did kill him.
What would you do if I dropped out? buy you a can opener.
A can opener? yes for the cat food.
Ever have a boyfriend Nanny didn't know about? sure
Ever want to runaway? no, only to things
Ever had your heart broken? of course
Did you think you would never be happy again? I was wrong
What made you happy again? my friends
Who was your best friend? your Dad
Why did you marry your best friend? who else should you marry?
Were your parents happy about it? I was happy about it
How old were you when you got pregnant? 25
What would you do if I got pregnant? didn't we cover this?
No, what would you do? restrain your father.
Really? no
What would you do? buy you a stroller
A stroller? yes so you can get to daycare and school and your future.
You think you're pretty clever don't you? we covered that
When did you become an adult? when I stopped relying on my mother.
When was that? 10 years later that she was hoping for
Can I ask you anything? I hope you do
Why is the sky really blue? I don't know

A little creative answering will get you only so far. Eventually you have to be honest.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

At the End of My USB

I was all set to begin this morning. I had the energy from a well rested sleep, the solitary time to write (the singular advantage of waking at 5 am by rote on Saturday morning) and I had the story. Actually I started out with a brain clogged with words, stories, annoyances and refection.Writing is a pleasure that has been just out of arms reach for a little too long. I can see the top of the counter I simply can't reach the cookie jar!

Somewhere between making coffee and feeding the cat I decided that I wanted to share our recent bookstore adventure. Bookstore adventures always begin with a suggestion and end with  Michael tugging at my coat to extricate me from the store, as I grasp at books along the way to soak into memory before we are gone. I could quite easily be turned into a bookstore Gollem, left their long enough. I'm the one in the dark recesses cracking spines, sniffing pages and telepathically manipulating  others out of my bookstore bubble.  No excursion to the world of ink and words is ever quick, painless, or cheap.

So that is where I was going to start. As I assembled coffee filters, water and grounds I assembled my thoughts. I fed the cat and reached for the camera, wanting to take pictures of my bookstore bounty to accompany my words.

I reached and it wasn't there, which isn't really surprising given my challenges with domestic engineering and household management. I never panic, it's always lurking somewhere. Usually, the somewhere is under a teatowl or in the fruit bowl, but this morning my search netted me nothing. This lead me to believe that it could be in the bathroom (what is up with kids taking pictures of themselves? Remember the days when you took pictures of your friends and they took pictures of you. Remember when you used to get the pictures back from the developer and plan a meet- up to look at the pictures, share a cocoa, some laughs and your doubles?) searching the bathroom for my camera really makes me miss the good old days.

Absent from the usual haunts, I decided that perhaps Michael used the camera. That being the case, the camera would be put away, Michael always does this, a habit that annoys me to no end. If I want to find something I hate finding it in the exact place it's suppose to be, we have 3 kids, were something is suppose to be is never the first place I look. I searched but came up empty handed. I'm not sure where the camera has gone to, I am confident however, that it will surface eventually, like missing converters and underwear the dog drags into the livingroom when company is over.

I may not have located my camera but Lula's was handy so I snatched it up, took a couple quick shots and immediately panicked. Pictures are only as good as the USB that sends them to your computer .....And my story changed.

This is where I have to locate the cable....

Every person with a cell phone and a camera has one of these drawers (that's what I tell myself to cope) In a home with 5 people we have a drawer of relevant cords, a basket of possibles and a box of no longers. Cell phones, cameras, video cameras, personal gaming systems, computers they all have cords, charges or adaptors and the only thing universal about them is their ability to instantaneously tie a stress knot in my frontal lobe the size of a softball. I always go into the drawer with a positive mindset, foolish in the belief that if I expect the right cord is there, it will be. Like driving to the front of the parking lot because you know a space is waiting there for you. My frame of mind performs a quick 360 when I fail to match the first cord to my device. Worse yet is thinking you have a match because it fits the device only to find that the opposing end is rigged for a purpose other than your task. More than once I've matched a wall charger to a computer connecting device.

So I hovered over the drawer of wires with camera trapped pictures in one hand and a mess of wires in the other, wishing I had a third hand to apply pressure to the throbbing vein in my temple. I plugged and unplugged, tried to fit round pegs into square holes, cursed silently and decided that suddenly my bookstore story wasn't so relevant or relateable. In fact my little bookstore story seemed like a lame trip through candyland on the way to a thrash metal rock concert palooza.

When I finally located the cord to match Lula's camera I rewarded myself by taking a picture of my defeated opponent.

I also considered that perhaps after writing my frustration out of my brain, I should probably take a time out. Reflect on the power a drawer full of cords has over my Psyche, and find some peace.

Gratitude for the book that might just have the answer "God Never Blinks  50 lessons for life's little detours" This fabulous little book is filled with reality check stories and insight. Michael picked it up on our recent bookstore adventure. 

Funny how I've come back to that.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Bullies are Not Born, They are Raised.

Having a child is the nursery school equivalent of being handed a hunk of plasticine, a pencil and a toothbrush and being told to make something fabulous. There are no clear parameters, you may or may not have the right tools for the job, the beauty and integrity of the finished piece is open to interpretation and at any given moment someone can come along and squish what you have been working so hard to accomplish. But the plasticine is yours and you get to do whatever you want with it.
This week is Peace Week. On Thursday, kids will wear pink in support of anti-bullying. Boys, girls, teachers all wearing pink in an effort to reshape the pieces being moulded by parents who fail to grasp the concept that they have a responsibility to raise healthy well rounded children with respect for society, compassion for their fellow human beings and tolerance.
Think I'm on a soap box? I am! My son gets bullied, he gets bullied by a boy who is half his size, who recruits other kids in a 'hate on for E-man' campaign, He gets bullied because he refuses to play the games that taunt other children, stands up to the kids who do, and asks for help from parents and teachers to put an end to it. The bully lives two houses down the street and so the troubles persist at home, during street hockey and basketball games, on bicycles, skateboards and walks with the dog.
I know that there are 3 reasons people say hurtful things...fear, jealousy, and negative self-worth. I know that two wrongs don't make a right and that the high road is the one less travelled. I also know what it feels like to be a victim, the shame, the sadness, the hurt.
I also understand that it is my responsibility to mould my hunk of plasticine into a well-rounded productive member of society who treats people fairly, with compassion and tolerance.
Lord help me, I get it. I also want lay a great big dose of "in your face" on the bully's father, who threatened my son yesterday and told him to shut the F*#@ up!  Yes, help me because I have to handle things like an adult SHOULD handle things, I have to hold our actions up to our son as an example. I have to hug him and tell him to ignore it, to walk away and pray for this person's healing. I have to explain that the only actions we can control are our own, that bad people will be present in his life from now until forever and that the best he can do is to develop a frame of mind, a personal way to cope. As the words are coming out of my mouth a conflict is raging inside my chest.
Yes, help me, because we are dealing with the situation, empowering our son, talking to the adults, preparing to involve authorities if needed to protect our 9 year old. Help me because I feel like a vein might just burst out of my temple while I suppress my anger so that we can demonstrate civility, compassion and diplomacy to our son and to his bully, who by the shear misfortune of parental neglect of duty doesn't know any better.
People are hurtful for 3 reasons
Negative self-worth

Raise your kids to be confident, content, tolerant and loved...

You are creating the future.

 Gratitude today, that while kids are moulded they are also re-mouldable. Gratitude to all those adults showing kids a better way. Gratitude, to everyone who will wear a pink shirt on Thursday, to all the kids who stand up against bullying, gratitude to the bullied who don't pay the torture forward.
Gratitude, to my son who will wear a pink t-shirt to school. Mostly because he likes the colour pink and understands that incredibly cool boys can wear pink with confidence, he understands this concept so well that he requested pink laces for his hockey skates. He understands too, that pink stands for something, hope, strength and in the case of his t-shirt this week… acceptance. He's going to wear the pink t-shirt to bring awareness to bullying; he will wear it to show a shoulder to shoulder resolve with his peers to put an end to school yard teasing, taunting and aggression.  
And I know that he will hope secretly that he will be spreading a personal message "please leave me alone."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Borrowed Gratitude - Remembrance Day

I received this beautiful story on Remembrance Day from a cousin...I just had to share her story. Thanks Barb for lending it to us!

Thanks for the Rememberance Day blog...

Aunt Betty had a brother killed in the war...

Her father had died within days of her being born... and her oldest brother, Jim, became her father figure in her young life...

He died in February of 1945.... He was 23 years old. Mom was 11. She took his death very hard. My childhood memory of rememberance day, is either of freezing at the cenataph, or, of participating in the service (Brownies/Guides)... or, if we couldn't get there, we would be in front of the tv, watching the service... mom always spent the day in tears....

Not long after Uncle Bud died, Mom and I went on a trip to Europe. After 10 years of caring for dad, and 3 months of difficult home care before he died... my husband suggested the she and I just "get out of here" for a bit.... so we did.

Other than the obvious tourist stops of Paris and Rome, mom's biggest wish for our trip was to visit the grave site of her brother - the uncle I'd never met. Our tour guide was very accomodating, and arrangements were made.

It was one of the most moving, epiphony days of my life.

I would have said that given my experience with Rememberance Day... and, as I grew to an adult, my understanding of facts figures etc giving the day a better sense of reality... I would have said that I had a terriffic grasp of "rememberance"....

That was untill I visited my uncle's grave site about 30 km outsite of Munich....

Visiting ANY war grave site in Europe is ... well... truly mind boggling! The pictures that you see on tv... rows and rows and rows of white tomb stones... they aren't taking pictures of one site... there are hundreds!

My uncle's cemetary was small... with just under 3000 graves... but it looked massive to me! We spent about a half an hour there... took a rubbing of the stone, put a poppy banner on Uncle Jim's grave, as well as a small Canadian flag...As we stood there, I realized that Jim had been buried with 3 other members of his flight crew... we put Canada flags on thier graves too ... we were there on July 1st, and I had stuck some flags in my luggage, in case we could celebrate... I decided that the flags left for the "boys" would be a far greater celebration than anything our tour guide would come up with!
Mom and I were the first (and probbly only) visitors to Uncle Jim's grave site. It was good for mom... she was already grieving for Bud...and now, she could finally say good bye to a brother that she had been grieving for for over 60 years.

For me.... Rememberance Day will never quite be the same... that same fall, Nov 11th found me watching the service from Ottawa, on tv... tears falling the whole time. Even though I had watched mom all those years.... now the men were "real"... and there were thousands and thousands of them...all who gave thier lives to stop a world terror....

there's no point to this email... other than to share... and... suggest... someday, when your kids are grown and you are able to travel a bit.... if ever you go to Europe... take a few minutes of one day, and visit a war grave...Even if you don't know anyone... it makes it far more personal than any Rememberance Day you'll ever experience here!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day

When the kids catch a glimpse of the clock at 11 minutes past 11 they always say "11:11 make a wish" and you know that secretly even if you don't subscribe to superstition everyone in ear shot is making a wish. Some one is wishing for that special boy to notice them or for a really great mark on a math test, someone is wishing for that promotion at work or for a family member to regain their good health. Everyone has a desire to wish for.

There has been a lot of talk about this year's Remembrance Day being on 11/11/11. Each time I hear the reference my mind automatically jumps to 'make a wish'

11/11/11 make a wish.... and I wonder what the wishes around me would be.

Parents wishing for their sons and daughter back
Children wishing they had know their Fathers
Husbands and Wives wishing that the person they said good bye to was the same person who returned to them.
Families wishing for the safety of their sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brother, sisters, aunts and uncles.
Those are big wishes

The Veterans who are wishing they never had to go, never had to pick up a gun, never had to kill.
Veterans who wish they weren't haunted by the horrors of war.
Veterans who wish they didn't have to leave their families behind to travel to a place where they would leave their friends behind.
Veterans who wish for those years back when they should have been building and enjoying their young lives instead of defending our freedoms.

Veterans who wish that their sacrifices, the sacrifice of lives, the sacrifice of their families is not forgotten.

11/11/11 make a wish...

...come true, Thank a Veteran, pause to reflect on their sacrifice...REMEMBER

Sincere gratitude today to the Men, Women, and Families of service past and present who have sacrificed so many wishes of their own to afford us the lives and freedoms we enjoy today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ the Table

Happy Thursday!

Today I am Grateful for...

The Canadian Legion
Naturally occurring life lessons
Community volunteers
An extra hour sleep
Lunch already made in the fridge
Grass not Snow
Quiet rooms

Share your's Thursday your turn @ the table.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fill In the BlahBlahBla Blanks

75% of parenting is logic, knowledge, research and innate. The other 25% is dumb luck, playing the odds, process of elimination and flat out guess work.

When they are babies, you guess while they won't stop crying, and what is causing excess gas and sleeplessness. Toddlers present mysteries surrounding fears, rational and irrational, along with that fantastic game...'guess what it was and guess where I put it?'

By the time your precious bundles of joy hit middle school parental confidence is cresting high. The mere fact that they, and you, have survived that ambiguous 25% 'could go either way' factor for 12 or 13 years is a huge confidence boost! I for one believed that I had acquired the insight of the Mentalist and the instinct of Colombo.

... and Blahblahblah...
Then yesterday we had this conversation around the dinner table. I say conversation but really we were an audience to KJ's monologue that went something like this.....

"....and then Mrs. M was like "Katelin, pick up your work and move to that other station and blahblahblah." So then I did and Marcus unplugged my keyboard and plugged his in and ya, so every time I tried to do something he hit the back button on me or searched a new page and I was like stop and blahblahblah. And then at lunch Dillon took my Arizona and ran away and I was like get back here cause that's not even my drink and Suzy was like ya and blahblahblah.

I won't prolong the torture, that's enough to get the jist across. All those 'likes' and blahblahblahs are ACTUAL WORDS used as part of the conversation, not fillers I put in to get to the end faster.No, she really said them, like the rest of us are on the receiving end of some live reality twitter feed meant to guess the words that round out the story.

I haven't understood a conversation in our home in 3 months, not since Blahblahblah became the catch all phrase. I'm not going to complain though I might not have a clue what they are saying but the teenagers are still talking! I'm grateful for that!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ the Table

Good Morning! Time to get around the table and share some Gratitude.

Today I am grateful that it is National Men Cook Dinner Day. Mike says there are too many 'National Days of.....whatever." I think restaurants are grateful it is National Men Cook Dinner Day too!

Your Turn.... What are you Grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

Go ahead tell me this bowl of candy isn't for Mike and I. It has our initials all over it!

Much gratitude to our Lego man for all of his hard work and cuteness to collect such a fabulous treat for Mom and Dad. I'll put in a good word with Santa for you.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

Thank you for all of the Great Gratitudes that were mailed, posted and tweeted last week. The table was huge and people were Grateful for everything from Coffee Mate and Late Buses to Cancer Treatments and Homeless Shelters. I can't wait to hear what people are Grateful for this week.

To get us started this Thursday...a Gratitude from Lula...

  • "I am Grateful that the art teacher missed recording a whole assignment. That's the fastest I've ever gone from a 60 to a 90! I feel better now."

Your turn @ the table....What are you Grateful for today?

Update your facebook status, post a comment, send an e-mail, and Tweet your Gratitude!

  • I am Grateful for Italian food & Champagne and sisters who know how to make your day :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

Halloween is this weekend and every year I join the hoards of people who spooky up their homes in honour of the festivities. I adorn my porch with severed limbs and rats, I hang spider webs and ghosts. In an attempt to validate all of those dollars spent on design school, I also bring the horror inside and spooky up the house a little too.

I put together a little display on the dining room table this year. It was cute but didn't really achieve the horror I was going for.

Gratitude to the person you added the finishing touch to my display.

This is the real horror in our home...nomadic piles of junk!

Wait until you see what I can achieve at Christmas.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Induction to HockeyMomDom

Have you noticed I've been away? I have, I miss this place. My Sunday morning coffee/writing/soul rejuvenation hour has been replaced by coffee/yawning/soul freezing at the most ungodly of hours.

Did you know that the little kids get the early hours at the rink? and that at 6:30am a hockey arena is only slightly warmer than Winnipeg on a crisp January morn? How about that the early morning shift at Timmie's are not all bright eyed, bushy tailed and eager to please, and that their order success ratio is only 50%? Did you know that?  I didn't, but I am learning.

I am also learning that it is not every player's job to dig into the corner for the puck and shouting "get on HIM!" is generally frowned upon in minor house league. I am learning about fashion too, in so much as; I need a vest and a pair of matching mittens and a toque (preferably with a tassel of sorts) This week I learned that the 7am practice is one of those "my week" "your week" tasks. Last week I sat with the Dads, this week it was Moms. I am learning that offside does not mean that the puck has gone over the boards and that the dressing room is NOT a place for Moms. That's not to say we are unwelcome, I've just learned that it is testosterone zone better left to the testosterone generators.

There is a reciprocation of learning too. My son has learned that while Mom has talked a good game about hockey fan-dom and cheers right alongside for his beloved Pittsburgh Penguins, I really have no clue. Mike has always know this but we were keeping it from the little guy, an omission for the better good, I need all the Mom worshiping points I can get! Mike has learned that we need to arrive early so that I can get my spot under a heater, on the off chance they get turned on. KJ has learned that I can in fact inflict greater humiliation than she ever imagined. E-man has learned the KJ will not be attending anymore of his games.

I'm not sure that I've taught my fellow hockey parents anything yet (most of them know everything already anyway) I'm sure that they will learn in time that the best place to sit is away from #15's Mom, unless of course they crave heat (I do own the heater after all) They will quickly learn that I do not handle competition well. I do a remarkable job keeping my mouth shut and my comments to myself, but I fidget and physically react like I need my child to. Weird I know, but its involuntary and the harder I try to supress it, the worse it gets. I'm like a voodoo hexed Momma on crack and the voodoo doll is my child. I know this will happen. It has been going on for 16 years; at dance recitals, school plays, runway shows, graduation ceremonies, streetball games and at the skateboard park.

I have been an official Hockey Mom for 4 weeks and the learning curve is steep, but if the girl who makes my coffee can get it right half of the time and Mike can explain the rules and E-man can figure out where all that equipment belongs, I can surely learn to wear the title with pride and earn my hockey mom stripes.

I just hope that the other hockey parents learn as quickly as the boxing parents did. Those poor people didn't know what they were in for once Lula stepped into the ring!

Gratitude for patient husbands, ski jackets, hockey coaches, and that Hockey Mom who will hopefully garner more attention than I, and make me look like a seasoned pro at Hockey Momming.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

Welcome to Thursday!

I am Grateful for support...from family, friends, co-workers, teachers...we all need it sometimes. Gratitude to my life support team today.

and umbrellas, I am Grateful for umbrellas. and coffee.

Thursday...your turn @ the table. What are you Grateful for today? share a comment, send an message, post a tweet

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lessons From the Cereal Drawer

Sometimes I go about life in our home and I wonder "Are all families like this?" "Do all kids have an aversion to refilling the toilet paper? Are all mom's digging through laundry baskets of clean clothes for matching socks? Surely, there are other homes where dogs occasionally poop on the floor, people leave milk out of the fridge and homework gets done at 11:30pm."

Sometimes it feels like the only thing I have done with any certainty of success is to grow mould and explanations.

When my children have more dishes in their room then I have in the kitchen and sock balls litter the living room, on those days when there are melted marshmallows in the freezer and my husband is hunting creatures with snakedrains, that's when I wonder....Is this really how normal families are?

The question struck me again this morning. I opened the cereal drawer, and was impressed that 3 days post grocery day, such a variety still remained. When I realized that the boxes were a ruse, that what actually remained was the sum total of a box of All Bran and half a bowl of Oatmeal Crisp, I asked the question out loud..."Is this normal? Do all families store a drawer full of cereal crumbs? Do all moms get the bottom of the box? Will I ever be that Mom who gets a bowl of Mini Wheats that still have a frosted side as opposed to a bowel full of Shredded Wheat crumbs?"

I sighed, reached for the fullest box that most closely matched my cereal preference. I poured the cereal, impressed to find that just enough remained to qualify as a 'bowl of cereal'

I had to look twice. I might wonder sometimes if our family operates like most 'normal' families, I might question if we, as parents, are doing anything right, but I think today I will remember that even in a drawer full of empty cereal boxes you can come up with something wonderful...

That last bowl in the bottom of the box is where all the nuts are! and that's enough for me.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Did this post brighten your day? make you smile? If so I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it on Facebook or Twitter. Someone else might be in need of a smile - Thanks

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

It's Thursday, my favourite day of the week in The Space Between Raindrops! This Thursday is particularly special though...TSBR is 1 year old! My family has been participating in my imposed gratitude rule for almost 2 years and I have been recording the last year (or most of it anyway) here in our gratitude blog. I say our because, while I do the writing bit the material and inspiration is all them; their gratitudes, their trials, the trials they provide me, their courageous moments and their challenges.

I talk alot about how the simple practice of gratitude can change a life or at the very least your outlook on it (which is an energy that perpetuates it's own rewards). In the year that I have been indulging my spirit on this Blog, I've received many kind words of encouragement and gratitude. It doesn't take more than those messages and living the shift in my own family to prove to me that gratitude is powerful.

Today, to celebrate the 1 year Anniversary of The Space Between Raindrops, I invite you to pick a post at random for the archives (hopefully you get a well written piece composed while I was not in a fog of motherhood mayhem) read it and share it with your friends. My mission today is to spread as many smiles as possible - and I am grateful for your help!

My gratitude today is for The Space Between Raindrops (the cheapest and most effective form of personal and family therapy I've encountered)

and....It is Thursday...Your Turn @ The TableWhat are you grateful for today? share a comment, send an message, post a tweet

You get one life, live it gratefully, 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

When you have children you quickly learn that nothing is really 'YOURS' anymore. They will help themselves to your favourite cereal, pilfer your earrings, scam hair bobbles, squander your tools. You will never, ever again be able to say "here, use my pen." You will never have another pen at your disposal, the best you will be able to offer is a crayon (half of a green one actually.) All my phone notes are written in green crayon on the backs of hydro bills.

Eventually you will learn to accept this loss of personal possession and teach your kids that some things are sacred. They will learn that Mom's dark chocolate, liquor cabinet and sock drawer are not public domain. You can teach this, I promise, and when that day comes, and your children learn that not everything is fair game, you will breath a sigh of autonomy.

Then you let your guard down, and the cat will lick all the jam off your toast when you turn your back

Gratitude today for the calories now available for lunch.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Did this post brighten your day? make you smile? If so I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it on Facebook or Twitter. Someone else might be in need of a smile - Thanks

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvesting Hope, Giving Thanks

We had a very big table to get around last night for gratitude sharing. I was very glad that we decided to load our plates first and share while dining. You would expect gratitude for 21 people to take some time, it took us about 20 minutes. Thank you to the person who decided we should share in chronological order of age, forcing us all to not only ponder our gratitude but also our cognitive skills.

Eventually, we got all the way around the table (oldest to youngest, with only a couple slip ups) and some fabulous gratitude was shared...There was plenty of gratitude for good food, good company and good weather, There were a few comedic gratitudes. KJ was grateful that Uncle Rob didn't eat all the green goop, and for the best turkey of life. Mike's mom was grateful that she wasn't as old as Poppa.

Some of the most telling gratitudes came from the youngest members of our dining party. Trooper was grateful for his house, E-man was grateful for pumpkin pie, Tippy-Toes was grateful that his Mom & Dad were nice.

I spent a great deal of time reflecting on gratitude while busy preparing for thanksgiving in the preceding days. Gratitude is a very personal element to my life and I wondered of all the things I have been grateful for in this past year what is the one item that I am most Grateful for? When it came to my turn at the table I shared 'Hope'

'Hope'  has been the emotion behind a great many of my gratitudes over the past year after all, and I think it is probably time to acknowledge it.

Hope is a driving force. Hope makes my daughters' smile when they get texts from those special boys they don't want anyone to know about. Hope glints in my son's eyes when he steps onto the ice for his first year of hockey. Hope brings my boys together for some bonding as they cheer on their team. When my sister updates her status that 'tomorrow will be a better day', hope does that. When friends share support and hugs with one another they are sharing hope. Hope got the turkey to the table. Hope keeps the lights on even when the job that pays the bills no longer fulfills your spirit. Hope gives me the strength to be patient when my patiences have been tested past their reasonable limits, that same hope keeps my children from a bottomless grounding. Hope has gotten families through illness and surgeries. Hope brings people home from the hospital and will send a group of co-workers to donate blood to help a friend battle cancer. Hope fills the food bank, rebuilds a town, provides warmth, quiets fear and gives people a reason to try one more time.

Hope has provided me so much to be grateful for in this year of celebrating gratitude. As we shared around the table it was easy to see that hope is the seed from which most gratitude sprouts.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, live in hope, acknowledge your gratitude and share it. A grateful heart can change a life.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Celebrating Pay-It-Forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday...Have you participated?

It started out as an idea to brighten someone's day by paying for the person behind you in the drive thru coffee line. If you have been a random recipient are you still smiling? Have you returned the favour and Paid it Forward? If you were the person who Paid, are you still feeling great?

I love Pay it Forward Friday! Thank you to Neil Hedley for giving it a #PIFF for tweeters (that's right, right? or is it Twits? I swear I'll never fully understand the media) The tag challenges one another to #PIFF.

One way I like to Pay it Forward (beyond the intention of the movement is to list all the great ways I have seen people in the community doing good, paying it forward and making little differences in everyday life.

This week...

  • 50 Teens 4 Christmas, Food Love & The $5 Project join forces (a special thanks to my friends who are helping with our contribution to this fabulous event)
  • Gibson's Sound & Vision is recycling e-waste for Habitat for Humanity
  • Uptown Waterloo Oktoberfest & Kix 106 Oktoberfest breakfast is collecting for the Waterloo Region Food Bank. Along with area school, Firehalls, grocery stores, and the Parade.
  • United Way fundraisers are happening all over the Region
  • An entire office has a Blood Donation clinic booked in support of a co-worker battling Cancer
  • Temperatures are dropping,  people are collecting coats, hats & mitts
  • STIMMA is collecting basic medial and personal items for an upcoming mission

I am sure there are 100 other projects of community do-good going on. If I missed your event, if you know of something that deserves a mention please let me know!

Have a great Friday everyone. Support the efforts of community do-gooding and do some good yourself. Pay it forward in that drive thru line, hold a door, stick you change in the donation can, let someone have your parking spot, give a stranger I promise that warm fuzzy feeling will follow you all day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, Your Turn @ The Table

Welcome to Thursday, one day closer to Friday and one of my very favourite days of the week. Let's get around the table and find out what everyone is grateful for today! I received some really great ones last week. I know we try to be very light hearted around here (humor keeps my raft above the water line) but there have been some very serious gratitudes as well. Gratitudes centered on health and hardships, friendships and community spirit. I love that we can be grateful for snooze-bars, blood transfusion and grey hair all at the same time.

There will be a lot of Gratitude sharing this weekend - it is entire holiday in honour of gratitude...How pumped an I?...Quick name my favourite holiday! Thanksgiving is my Gratitude today, that for a few days everyone will be pausing to reflect on the things they have to be grateful for.

Your turn @ the table....What are you Grateful for today? send me a message, post a comment, or tweet  me your gratitude then ask someone else to do the honour of Thanksgiving lets put a leaf in the table!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

I'm home this morning. It's still another few days before I make the official move to full-time advisor's assistant and my new office.

Being home revives so many great memories of when I was home all day - everyday, my SAHM years all 13 of them.

This morning I am baking cakes and planning festivities, I'm catching up with friends and filling backpacks with food drive donations. I'm solving problems, washing dishes, folding laundry, answering the phone, finding bobby pins, rescuing shoes and feeding the pets.

One thing I have discovered that I am not doing is drinking coffee. Not because I don't want to...clearly I do, I've made 2 pots already. Somewhere however, between making the coffee and drinking the coffee, I get sidelined by thawing turkey, matching socks or sending the dog out to pee.

Maybe subconsciously I just want to smell the coffee? An memory triggering olfactory sense that reminds me of why I loved those stay @ home years so much!

Gratitude today that unlike the coffee shop I don't have to dump the pot after 20 minutes and gratitude that thankfully that aged coffee that actually gets to my cup will grow cold before I drink it all. No body needs a admin assistant fueled for the afternoon by 2 full pots of coffee!

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Did this post brighten your day? make you smile? If so I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it on Facebook or Twitter. Someone else might be in need of a smile - Thanks

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Thing That Won't Go Away

3 things signify the official arrival of fall.
  • The kids go back to school
  • apples are ready for picking
  • One of the kids will bring a nightmare home from school.
Nightmares come in many forms; coupon booklets, magazine sales, frozen meat, muffin batter, garbage bags, calendars, saran wrap, greeting cards, candles and plants. Each one of these nightmares comes with its own unique brand of horror. There is the imposition on family and friends. The back-log of unused coupon books from school years past that lurk in closets and junk drawers. My mother just recently used the last of a roll of saran wrap purchased 12 years ago. (that's a one-time sale) You can buy those greeting cards but I guarantee that you will forget you have them. Somebody has to lug all of those buckets of muffin batter around and shelp a van load of frozen chicken breast to people willing to pay exorbitantly to appease a child.

In recent years I have actually just opted out of the fundraiser and written a cheque to the school. 30 seconds to fundraising. I wish that schools would just be up front and outwardly suggest that they hope every family can fundraise $50 for the school in any given year. This way we could just all write our cheques and avoid the window dressing. This would make me very happy.

Instead we get this...

No other fundraiser regardless of its urban legend has the power to paralyse me faster than the dreaded Chocolate Bar flog.

I have 3 kids; there have been years when our house had 90 chocolate bars to unload! That should be enough to turn anyone's mood sour but not the real reason I hate this sugary tradition.

I ran a chocolate bar fundraiser one year when the school council I chaired was saving for a new playground.
I still say a little prayer of forgiveness each night in repentance.

$23,000.00 in chocolate we sold. It was an accounting nightmare. The days of counting pennies, nickels and dimes. The hours of shuffling boxes and boxes of chocolate. Chasing families who ate their bars and never returned any money. What was promised to be a quick efficient 2 weeks was actually 30 days of (pardon my language) hell! We raised a heck of a lot of money, that's true, but I think everyone involved left a small piece of their soul in the counting room.

It's been a few years since one of our kid's schools choose chocolate for project funding and when I laid eyes on the box I have to admit that I felt my lower bowl loosen post-traumatic stress fashion.

Beyond the conjuring up of bad memories, beyond the irony of selling chocolate in a world where childhood obesity has reached epidemia, is the inevitable threat of consumption. It is a fact, I will eat these bars. They are my kryptonite, the one item that will trump all my efforts at healthy eating. I will dig in my purse for $3 toss it in the box time and again, and by the time the fundraising monies need to be returned to school I will have put on 7 lbs. I would have sent the box back to school unopened and uneaten with a cheque to cover our family fundraising contribution, but my son in his entrepreneurial nature began selling in the pursuit of an Xbox before I got my hands on the initiative.

You cannot even begin to comprehend how excited I was when I peeked inside the box tonight

I only have 2 1/2 more bars to go...this fundraiser is only going to cost me another $7.50!

Gratitude today the we only had to sell 1 box.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


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