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 My Sunday morning coffee/writing/soul rejuvenation hour has been replaced by coffee/yawning/soul freezing at the most ungodly of hours.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.


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

Living the Dream

Some believe in dreams, I believe in those who dream.

I've been pretty busy lately...

I've been sitting in freezing arenas at ungodly hours and standing around bon fires in ungodly temperatures. Last week I was standing in the middle of the road while Michael weaved around on his motorcycle. Yesterday I was standing in my friend's kitchen congratulating her hard work and success. I've been washing favourite shirts and driving around the world. I smell like dog and bad air freshener. I've been baking cookies, writing stories, listening and talking, asking questions and looking for answers. My house is a mess. My van needs to be cleaned, my floors need to be mopped.

and my dreams are coming true. I get to encourage people to reach for thier joy, I get to help, I get to tell people that they can. I get to wipe tears and hand out high-fives. I get to celebrate and hold the rope. I get to see success and pride up close.

Gratitude today for everyone who stands behind me in my dreams. The people who know that nothing brings me more joy than encouraging others to be grateful, joyful and in full pursuit of their passion all the time.