Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Takes a Pineapple Some Days to Raise a Family

Parenting met desperation Monday evening and to quote my 14 year old KJ "You can't even know" I swear you can't.

There is a saying in our home, "It's a short walk from laughter to tears" That phrase was coined for nights like this. It started innocently enough with the regular bantering and bickering around the supper table. The kids poking fun at one another, Dad getting in on the act. KJ spilling chicken noodle soup on her freshly self laundered shirt and pants.  A few ohhs and ahhs, a smart remark about karma and KJ was quickly to terms with her need to perform laundry duties again.

Best line of the night goes to Lula. Just after the soup incident she looked across the table at KJ "You have a Jabba The Hut on your shirt, You know... like how some people see Jesus in their toast? Like that, only it's Jabba"

I laughed so hard my sides hurt but I wasn't in tears, not yet. We arrived at tears less than a minute and a half post Jabba sighting.

It started with a chicken soup noodle which lead to a child covered in mustard. You don't really need me to expand in detail, suffice it to say the decibel level in our home reached heights attainable only by teenage girls furiously vieing for fairness, consequence, expressive contempt and the title of 'right'.

Insert tears, internal gut wrenching - I've had enough tears (mine mostly).

Welcome to Mom-rant.

I was already there waiting for everyone else to catch up with me. I ranted about personal respect, appropriate behaviour, clogged toilets, plungers, cellphones, dog pee, homework, laundry, vacuuming, chores, suitcases, blankets, pop cans and socks. By the time I got to maxi pads and backpacks I had 2 cell phones, an Ipod and the first born child of each one of my kids.

I also had a huge case of "who decided that I was capable of this doing this job?" That's a bad place for moms. It leads to one of two destinations; 'I'll show you' or 'My kids are doomed'. I turned left and march right into 'I'll show you.' I stood in the heart of the house and summoned all inhabitants back the table where the wheels fell off. I had some things to say. Mostly things like 'I've had enough' and 'there are going to be some changes around here'. I have some really great tools in the 'family tune-up' kit.

Nobody rushed to the table. For a few minutes I sat there alone organizing my thoughts, preparing my stance, outlining my strategy, starring at a pineapple. It took Mike a few minutes to herd every one to the conference. In those few minutes the pineapple had talked me down off my ledge.

Instead of launching into my speech when all seats were filled, I left the table to grab a cutting board, my chef's knife, a bowl and Mike's brand-new-never seen before-who knows if it works-pineapple slicer. I laid everything out in the middle of the table and sat back. Somebody was going to pay for the atmosphere in the house, it might as well be a pineapple.

Within a few minutes three kids began working together to figure out the gadget and produce a long curly spiral of pineapple and a nifty pineapple drinking glass. We weren't heading to 'This place sucks' anymore we were heading back to laughter with a gentle reminder that it as easy to spiral up as it is to spiral down you just need to change direction.

Gratitude today to Mike's gadget, the curiosity of children and a pineapple which sacrificed itself in the name of family intervention.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Attitude is Everything - a borrowed gratitude

Recently through the magic of social media, I connected with the lovely and positive minded Candace Derickx. We have a lot in common. We are Moms, we have a love of food and a love of writing and we believe in the power of gratitude. Candace is the resident creative genius of Pleasantville, she also writes for YummyMummyClub.ca and operates the ingenious Best Tools for Schools. 

I've borrowed some gratitude from her for today's post. I know you will love her writing, her wisdom and her wit. Please stop and look her up when you are in Pleasantville, a place I recommend visiting often.

Many thanks Candace for sharing...


Attitude Really Is Everything

By: Candace Derickx

I had a brief discussion with friends this weekend that centered around life lessons. Like most people, I've had a few. I can say without a doubt that I am not the same person I was twenty years ago and that I am only a shadow of the person I was ten years ago. I expect that in another ten years I may not identify with my current state. I'm not saying I'm not my "authentic" self, but rather that I'm an evolving individual. Changing, learning and adapting as I go. I think that if you are not doing those things, you're not living. Period.

So, what do I know for sure? Well, if I'm being honest, less than I though I did 20 years ago that's or sure. There is one thing though that I am as certain of as the rising sun, and that is, attitude is everything. Cliche, huh? That's it though. That is my golden piece of advice. It's what I tell my children every single day. It guides my in my personal life, in business and in friendship.

There is a story that I love to tell, because I think it defines most peoples approach to life perfectly. Unfortunately, I can not remember where I first heard this fable, so I'll have to paraphrase to the best of my ability.

A traveller was walking down a road and ran in to an old man. he asked the old man how the people were in the town up ahead. The old man paused and asked him how he found the people in the town he just came from. The traveller could barely contain himself. "They were awful", he said. "Rude, mean and terrible to deal with". The old man shook his head and said, "Then, I'm afraid you'll find them much the same up ahead." The traveller continued upon his way, miserable and dreading his visit to the new town. A short time later another traveller came along the same road and saw the old man. "Excuse me sir, how are the people in the town up ahead?" The old man asked the same question to this traveller. "How did you find them in the last town?" "Oh, they were wonderful. Kind and generous.. No better people to be found." The old man paused and said, "Then you will find them much the same up ahead."

I love this story and in life, most people are planted firmly in one camp or the other. Either you're racing toward life's next adventure with anticipation or dread. Make no mistake though, I believe that it's a choice you make. Before you inundate me with comments on clinical depression, I am fully aware there are exceptions to the rule. There always are. That being said, I believe most people are masters of their own destiny.

There are days, to be sure, that I just don't have it in me. I feel the pull and weight of negativity on me and I am tempted to be the surly traveller. It's unrealistic to expect that anyone can be happy 24/7. Negative or sad emotions are part of life, but it is up to me to say when enough is enough.

So here's another cliche for your. Life is short. Which traveller will you be on the journey?

Gratitude, hope and smile are meant to be shared - Thanks for sharing Candace!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chain Reaction Shopping

We made 3 major purchases this past weekend.

We had to breakdown and purchase some new cutlery.
We had our old set for 20 years, that's pretty good.
Most of the spoons now reside in the cafeteria garbage, consequently
I was eating yogurt with a camping spork last week. I have even borrowed
spoons from the neighbour recently to have company for chili Saturday.

Everyone is going to be happy with this purchase!

I bought underwear. Perhaps the biggest purchase over the 3 days of shopping.
I don't buy underwear. Having to do so makes me irate actually. I needed some however and I had a gift card so I hit the mall. Don't let the teeny tiny bag fool you. There is some serious underwear inside.

Our first 2 purchases led to this purchase. I can't help but think that if I avoided purchase #1 I would not be so discouraged by purchase #2.  None the less #3 might be the most important purchase. I used to walk an hour everyday, I used to do a job that had me on my feet burning 1200 calories. Now I walk to the car - from the car to my desk where I collect calories not expend them.

Gratitude today to Michael who got fed up with eating cereal with a fork, believes in new underwear and has faith in my commitment to improving my health. (or my guilt -time will tell)

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are meant to be shared.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your Turn @ The Table

Gratitude today that a Cancer diagnosis is not always a death sentence. Sometimes it's just a wake up call. Grateful my friend that you received good news from the Doctor :)

Thursday....Your Turn @ The Table.... What are you GRATEFUL for today? share, comment tweet #gratitudethursday, update your status, text a friend,  tell the world...inspire hopefulness

Gratitude, Hope & Smiles are meant to be shared

Monday, January 16, 2012

You Said You Would Go, Now Do it Gracefully

Another 'my mother used to say' catch phrase, only this time I don't really despise it like the majority things my mother said through my childhood. This one I kind of appreciate. I have even used it on my own children, without that terror that usually presses down on me when I find myself sounding like my mother.

I remember the first time I heard her say it, she was sitting on the edge of her bed staring into the mirror, brushing her hair or putting on mascara. We were getting ready for an old lady party.The kind where they serve cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and everybody smells like lilacs. I was 13 or 14 and I really, REALLY did not want to spend my Sunday afternoon sipping tea and eating gerchins. I was complaining profusely. (I know that now because I have a 14 year old, that's how they complain) At some point in my objection my mother put down what she was doing, looked me straight in the eye and said it "You said you would go, now do it gracefully." She had me and I hated her for it. There was no rebuttal that could knock that line off it's podium. I had said I would go. I was locked in for the afternoon.

Motherhood has taught me that my Mother didn't want to go either. However, she said she would so she was going to do it gracefully. Her survival technique was to drag me along with her. (why should she suffer alone)

While at the time I shot daggers at my mom for so skillfully putting me in my place, this really is a line that has gotten me through (and to) a great deal in my life. For someone who suffered immobilizing anxiety for most of her life, getting to things is challenging, getting through things is critical. Even now that I've over come 90% of my anxiety issues I lean on this line for those social engagements that I'm still working to overcome. But conquering mental illness is a story for another day.

For today I am grateful that "You said you would, now do it gracefully" got me through the weekend. The reverberating line got me through dog sitting (well, this line,a bottle of Prosolve and a healthy dose of Advil). 'You said you would' got me to the ice rink for a skate with my son and my husband. 'Do it gracefully' prevented broken bones. 'You said you would' is getting me dressed for the office today when I would much rather be curled up with a hot coffee, my thoughts and my keyboard. 'You said you would' got a less than great feeling Lula to work on Sunday, 'Do it gracefully' got her to the end of her shift with a smile on her face. 'You said you would' kept KJ on task catching up with her studies and studying for exams. 'You said you would' got the dog for a walk and the laundry done. 'Do it gracefully' got me through a stranger encounter this weekend and will coach me through the death claim calls I will have to make this week.

Of all of the things my mother has given to me in my life, this line may be the most valuable. I'm grateful for that.

Gratitude, Hope & Smiles are meant to be shared.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

Time to get GRATEFUL!

My gratitude today is for my new computer, the opportunity to be portable without being at the mercy of my children and for my dear husband, who, through diligence and clever holiday shopping managed to put it in my hands for less than $100!

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table.... What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are meant to be shared.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

First of all, I Stopped numbering Wednesday's Bliss posts, for a couple of reasons...1) I lost track 2) It highlights how infrequently I get that post up and 3) Is anyone else keeping track?

Every year I haul the cardboard banana boxes and dollarstore banker boxes out of the basement and we decorate for the holidays. Every year I struggle to identify the correct cardboard cartons, sometimes I bring up Michael's 'Box o Bachleorhood' in error or the 'carton of crap' that used to be the toddler craft box. My basement is a mecca of corrugated surprises. So this year when it came time to pack up Christmas I decided that I would try my hand at Martha Stewart-esk organization.

I went to the store, I bought some fabulous bins, I packed up Christmas and here they are...

Sitting in the livingroom right were I packed them up. If I take them downstairs they are going to be the beauty queen at the ogre's banquet. That's assuming I can find them a place to live in  boxboard haven.

Advance gratitude today for my lovely husband and his patient diligence this coming weekend, as we sift through the sea of boxes, bringing order and organization to the storage quarters in the basement.

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are yours to share.

Monday, January 9, 2012

An Openish Letter of Explaination & Apology to the Twitterverse

I try really hard as a parent to keep current. The radio in my van is tuned to the top 40 station, I Facebook, and watch YouTube videos that get jammed in my face or land in my inbox. My texting skills are pretty ok for a person who has to hold her phone at arm’s length to read the screen. Relating to my kids I find, is easier with more common ground and more common knowledge. Granted I have to keep an urban dictionary bookmarked and I am never totally sure if a status update is actually a song lyric or a reason to panic. Perhaps I am missing the mark but one thing is certain; if I am not trading information equally with my kids at the very least my lameness gives them something to laugh at. 
Regardless of my prowess I muck along and to be quite truthful I really enjoy the electronic age and it’s social network sites.
I have a Facebook social circle that exists separately and parallel to my intention of creeping my children’s pages. I am partially ‘Linked-in’ and I don’t just send text messages, I receive them as well. I have not one but two Blogs, that’s pretty 2012!
A few months back, in an effort to expand and update my pulse on social networking, I joined up with Twitter. That took some getting used to, just the act of ‘Tweeting’, ‘following’, ‘Re-Tweeting’ and ‘Replying’. To date I have amassed 2000 tweets; messages that have flown out into the social atmosphere for everyone or no one to read, as the case may be. At first I was intimidated and I am sure I broke a lot of ‘rules’. Then I got comfortable and I’m sure I broke even more ‘rules’. I am still trying to figure out how to choose who one follows and how to break those followers into manageable lists. Lists I am sure are why most of my tweets gratefully fly under the radar, because I’m not on lists (public ones anyway) So I’ve not lost much sleep worrying about who might be watching me bumble around and figure this whole thing out.
Then I started seeing big players tweet about personal branding, selling your social presence, and personal mission positioning. WOW! A moment to rethink this twitter thing please, have I jumped into the wrong sandbox again? I thought we were all just having fun. I didn’t know that I should be tracking my Klout and delivering only valuable information. I should have done some research. Now I’m finding out that there are deadly social mistakes you can make that will kill your social networking reputation and damage your feed. Frig, I just wanted to bitch cleverly about my pet peeves, share a laugh with others in the throng of everyday and spread some positive perspective. More and more I’m learning however that there is this other side to a social network life.
So for clarification, just in case someone wants an expanded Bio…I’m offering this as an overview of my tweeting position.
My Brand is whatever happens to be on sale.
My Goal is happiness – my own. Fortunately for my friends and family they get to come along for the ride because my road to happiness is solely dependent on helping others achieve peace and their dreams.
What I’m flogging; hope mostly, because I am usually hoping like hell that people care enough about something to change their world.
The message I’m sharing; be grateful that you are on the green side of the sod.
What I tweet; the upside, the glass half full and the occasional personal reflection on how my children, pets and husband are systematically investing in my future emotional instability. I pass on good deed info and appeals for help. Oh and if I think I know the answer I will stick up my hand and blurt it out.
My Value; I am a smart ass know it all with a propensity for sticking my nose into conversations it wasn’t invited to. I don’t grasp social convention fully or care about mistakes – mostly because I am alive to enjoy myself and mistakes (or trying to correct them) have lead me to some of my greatest joys and accomplishments.
Follow me – I might follow back. Although, I hate to disappoint you; I’m not here to impress anyone or impress upon anyone. I am only here to have fun, survive the adolescence of my children and participate in the occasional good deed.  I can’t even pretend to know what I’m doing. It’s highly unlikely that following me will increase your Klout and I can’t promise that I won’t irritate you with positive comments, blog post sharing or pictures of my dog. But my lameness is at the very least, good for a laugh – Just ask my kids.
The handle you want to warn your friends about is @micheskitchen oh, and if I have pushed your follow button and you have no patience for lameness, feel free to block my view. I probably won’t know the difference.
Gratitude today that I don’t have a clue how to market myself, I never have to worry about breaking my brand or about forgetting who I am.

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles should never be kept to yourself,

Sunday, January 8, 2012

When the Wheels Fall Off

The freakin dishwasher is at it again! I hate to talk badly of it because I really love my dishwasher. Without it I would be hopelessly strapped to a sink of suds, channeling Madge the Palmolive lady, trying to make it seem like a spa treatment... "Your soaking in it!" If the ladies of my mother's generation had been less trusting they would have realized that Madge had them all standing knee deep in... well you know, shovelling more onto the pile. I can make my hands just as soft with a tube of lovely scented hand cream and my feet up on the coffee table.

However, somebody must have been keen enough through the domestic whitewash of the sixties to realise that the role of domestic goddess was overrated, that perhaps there was more to life than making things sparkle and squeak. Somebody promoted the modern day appliance the dishwasher. That person has my undying admiration.

This, our most used appliance has been a trooper, washing hundreds if not thousands of loads with only a tiny hiccup a few months back. (Thank goodness for handy husbands) but the poor thing is starting to get tired. Recently the wheels have been falling off. Not all the wheels, just the very important ones that support the back end of the bottom rack. This is aggravating because it doesn't happen with any consistency and you don't know you've fallen victim until a full rack of dishes crashes off of the track.

The crash is loud, nerve jarring and brings forth a person's rudimentary nature. That very moment of derailment can speak volumes about how each of us deals with life.

5 people live in our home (most use the dishwasher some even voluntarily) - 5 reactions when the wheels fall off...

One person will ignore the problem. This individual will pretend the dishwasher is suppose to crash and clang the dishes. They will load the rack and lift it back into place and shut the door. This is a bandaid solution, the wheels are still on the floor of the dishwasher, things look ok, but the problem just got passed along to the next person. Who actually will have a more difficult time because the rack won't even roll out to fall apart. This individual is however free to deal with more urgent matters. How important to the overall picture is a dishwasher anyway?

One person will quit. The rack will crash and this individual will walk away. This is not their problem, Not their solution to work out. The constant breakdown and frustration prevents them from performing their designated task. Seconds after the crash this person can be found in another room furthering their own interests waiting for the responsible party to deal with the issue.

One person will try to fix the problem. Bless this persons heart. When the wheels fall off they will stop what they are doing and immediately give 110% to putting them back on. They will reattach them sideways and finish filling the rack. When the rack won't roll back in and the door can't be closed they will throw their hands in the air and proclaim "At least I tried." Then they will take another stab at it.

One person will analyse the problem and make a plan to fix it. This person knows the problem exists. They have been observing and analysing the best solution. They have the best chance of putting the wheels back on with a permanent solution, they just need to find the time or wait until the problem reaches the top of the priority list.

One person will wonder why the wheels are still falling off and why no one has fixed the problem already. This individual knows the problem exists and curses every time the wheels fall off. This person, while perhaps fully capable of fixing the problem, believes that they are not the best person for the job. They are willing to keep putting the wheels back on temporarily and reminding their delegate that they have what it takes.

5 reactions and none of them are wrong. Wrong for this particular problem perhaps, but swap the problem and you have the right reaction

  • Sometimes we all need to remember that not every problem deserves our attention.
  • Depending on the problem quiting might just be the right solution.
  • Sometimes we need to be inspired to just keep trying.
  • On occasion a problem is best solved by consulting the person with the best knowledge and ability.
  • Sometimes you just have to keep putting the wheels back on temporarily while the person best suited for the job fixes the problem permanently.

Gratitude today that when the wheels fall of the dishwasher or something bigger there are people each of us can turn to to help us with the right reaction for the problem - Gratitude to the people I look to. Gratitude to the people who look to me.

Oh and gratitude again to the individual who persued the dishwasher idea and to the person who is going to fix mine.

Gratitude, hope and smiles should never be kept to yourself!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday...Your Turn @ The Table

The first Thursday of 2012, the first Your Turn @ The Table of a brand new year. A quick explanation in case you are new to visiting The Space; We share Gratitude around our table everyday in our home, (The Backstory) Thursdays are the day we like to get around the table in TSBR and ask you to share your Gratitude. You can post a comment with your Gratitude, tweet your gratitude (hashtag #YourTurn@TheTable) Some people email their Gratitude or change their facebook status to one of Gratitude. The important thing is to share, how you want to do it is up to you.

Let's get started!

Today I am Grateful for the 'Housecoat Fairy' Every morning I wake up, reach into the closet and put on my housecoat. Every morning it is hanging there, despite my leaving it in the bathroom the day before. (or on the bedroom floor or flung over the rocking chair) I probably don't say thank-you enough for the everyday 'little things' so today 'Housecoat Fairy' you are my Gratitude.

Your Turn.....What is your Gratitude?

Share it however you like then pass the turn to someone else - ask them to share.

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles should never be kept to yourself.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Motherhood Glories of Winter

Winter has arrived and I am ecstatic! Not because I love snow and ice, bone chilling winds or plummeting down a mountain side on highly engineered planks and a prayer, none of those things thrill me. I prefer my winter from the fireplace side of the window. Michael often teases that when we retire we will be a couple for 6 months of glorious weather then meet again after the spring thaw. He will traverse the landscape on his snowmobile to ice fishing destinations no bombardier could access. I, will curl up with tea and my thoughts, penning stories for our grandchildren and memories of toasty July evenings. That gives me winters to look forward to years into the future (I profess to not be nearly as old as my children would have you believe)

The future is a very long way off and there are many winters between my dreams and my fireside. None the less the final arrival of winter does bring me great joy. For the next 4 or so months (winter really is late this year) I carry immense power for the chilly weeks ahead. I am the keeper of the warm things.

From now until May I can remind my children to "take their mittens" and they have mittens; Canada Red Mittens, expensive designer mittens, mittens with monsters on them, fancy ski gloves, twittens (special mittens that allow for texting and tweeting). I have baskets of magic stretchy mittens, mittens in the car, my pockets, stashed in backpacks and purses, I even have a bin of mismatched mittens for emergencies!

Then there are hats. Hats that match mittens, coats, snowsuits and nothing at all. Hats with built in scarves, ear flaps, designer labels and nostalgic significance.

I also have snowpants, boots, hoods, scarves, turtlenecks, longjohns, extra coats, wind pants, mufflers, dickies, fleece vests, flannel shirts, balaclavas and earmuffs. I have been a Canadian all my life after all and a mother for long enough to know...

There is reward in little victories of 'right'!

If you have everything possible to keep your family warm, at their disposal and even hidden on their person, you are very well within your right to laugh at each and every child who walks through the front door with their arms hunched up the sleeves of their wide open jacket, with ears the colour of cream soda and snot running down their nose. You can snicker as they attempt to remove their running shoes with the laces iced together utilizing fingers too cold to do the job.

You can laugh and you can ask quietly, sincerely and compassionately "Where are your mittens?" On the inside you can give yourself a big old pat on the back of satisfaction, you can laugh hysterically at their coolness and they have no rebuttal, no position...for the next 4 months, on at least one topic, you will be right...and they KNOW IT!

Gratitude today that Mother Nature is a Mother too. :)

Gratitude, hope and smiles should never be kept to yourself!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Maybe today

Maybe today I will get done the things on my to do list, I will get the laundry folded, the floors washed and the basement organized.

Maybe today will be the day that I improve my health through exercise and rebalancing my diet, or improve my finances by rebalancing my cheque book.

Maybe today I will heal a strained relationship or reach out to that person who has shut the world out.

Maybe today I will get rid of the clutter that is holding me to the past. There is a lot of past I love to hold on to but equally as much I need to let go of. Maybe today is the day I will free up that real estate for new memories.

Maybe today I will solve a problem, learn something new, share some knowledge.

Maybe today I will stop leaving 5 minutes later than intended, drive 5 kilometres slower than usual and arrive with 5 minutes to spare.

Maybe today I will have more patience with my children, my husband my dog. Maybe I will spend more time listening than talking and make 'in a minute' - 'this minute'.

Maybe today I will buy coffee for a stranger or smile at a passer by, perhaps I will leave someone with a smile and a brighter outlook for the day.

Maybe today I won't be shy about asking for what I want and telling people how I feel.

Maybe today I will write. For myself, for someone else, for a larger audience.

Maybe today I will ask someone else to believe in me.

Maybe today I will get the driveway paved or the paint the bathroom, maybe I will organize the laundry room or buy a new dining set.

Maybe today I will attend an event full of strangers without anxiety, fear or self consciousness. Maybe I will smile, meet new people, make new friends.

Maybe today I will worry less about what people think and worry more about how I make them feel.

Maybe today I will take my kids shopping or to a movie or on a vacation.

Maybe today I will get noticed or do the thing that puts me in front of the people I want to notice me.

Maybe today I will take note of the things that bring me joy and do more to nurture them.

Today is a day of infinite possibilities, the first day of a New Year, a brand new chance to get it right. Anything is possible but nothing; not love, or happiness, not success, personal satisfaction or laundry folding is attainable without intention.

Today is the day of realization that the Great Life is not going to fall out of the sky. Change requires planning, goal setting, personal inspection. Today is the day.

Today is the day to stick a post-it-note on the bathroom mirror that says "Maybe today..."

Today is the day to answer that question and make a plan to fulfil the goal.

Today is the day to change the screen saver from cute kittens to "Maybe today..." to put a note on the fridge, in the car, in a lunch bag, wallet, coat pocket, desk drawer... "Maybe today..."

The opportunity exists as equally with the rising of the sun each morning as it does with the strike of Midnight each year. Every day is another opportunity to ask the question "what are the Maybes?" What are the actions that will create the reality desired.

Today is the day to take the steps, move the mountains and follow the next right choice.

Today is the day to be grateful for the lessons of the past, the promise of the future and the ability to design your life.

Best wishes for a New Year filled with New Days and New Opportunities