Inspiring Quote of the Day

January 1, 2016

Strong Enough

I no longer listen to the silence.
It's just there.
I no longer wonder how long it will take time to pass.
I just question where it went.
I no longer fear that I will forget what I have lost.
It's memory warms my insides.

When I doubt the magnitude of my strength
I wrap myself in the thought that
Even at my weakest I am strong enough.

January 10, 2015

20 - one - five.

Today a new year was unleashed.

It's amazing the weight that is placed on one day as a marker of time passing.
A date that is literally waited for and its arrival counted down.
A marker of victories and of losses.

I lay writing this in a darkened room
My little boy asleep next to me.
A truly magnificent view from my window.
This is my first night of 2015.

The new year always brings with it reflections and the lists.
Personal lists of what to accomplish in order to believe life has some purpose.
Each item crossed off adding a little more worth to an otherwise dull existence.
In turn, each item remaining, leaving us questioning.
Seeking desperately in these items for inspiration, encouragement and meaning.

I stopped making lists some time ago.
When my true list became a simple, keep going.
Where each day was a marker of some tiny accomplishment
The inspiration, encouragement and meaning came from
Within me, the people around me and
With this incredible little boy asleep beside me.

Yet, once again I find myself turning to a list.
Its purpose not totally clear to me.
If not for the reasons above, then maybe for entertainment.
To fill in down time, for conversation starters,
Or maybe some deeper purpose that will become clear along the way.

Whatever the reason - here it is, in no particular order and with no expectations.

1. Write more.
2. Read again. Not sure why I stopped.
3. Spend time with the people who make me happy.
4. Go places I've never been.
5. Eat more green food.
6. Give more compliments.
7. Drink plenty of water.
8. Give my son beautiful memories.
9. Buy myself an amazing 40th birthday present - and leave the guilt at the checkout.
10. Let it Go.

June 23, 2014

Little Man

It astounds me how one tiny person can fill a heart...
Finding in me smiles I thought were lost.
With amazement I watch a baby turn into a little boy.

Sometimes life leaves you with a hole.
Surrounded by the most amazing support,
You accept that there will forever be an empty space beside you.
Eventually there is comfort in that emptiness,
Knowing its presence is always there, reminding you
Not only of a loss but understanding it's greater purpose.

Then comes the giggles of a little boy...
Everyday I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

We turned the garden into a construction zone.
Showered our tiny trucks with bubbles.
I watched fascinated eyes take in the sight of a plane above.
We exchanged what only we could understand to be a conversation.

Just when I think my heart is full,
There comes another blessed moment,
My heart swells and I fall a little deeper in love.

April 14, 2014

The Bed is Half Full

Tiptoeing through my days,
Holding my breath through my nights.
Leaving the fear to rest somewhere inside.

Each day is a tiny victory toward feeling whole,
Toward accepting the things I cannot change.
Inventing a normal, a usual, a now.
All five senses learning who this me is.

Slowly, the sounds of a house,
Become the sounds of a home.
Slowly, the day to day,
Becomes a life.

Eventually, an exhale, a step that turns into a stomp.
A bed that is half full.


February 18, 2014

The Next Season...

Sometimes I think of my life as a sitcom.
Every day a new episode.
Then there are those events that leave me watching the credits of my own season finale.
Good or bad, certain events just take enough energy out of you to warrant some time off. 
A break to give you time to contemplate, to wonder, to digest.
Until the moment comes when you feel that you need to carry on.
Get on to the next season, experience new drama, meet new characters, 
Allow yourself the understanding of movement in a forward direction.

Welcome to my next season... 

A season that gives ample respect to the past.
Sometimes I worry that time will be my enemy,
With it each memory will fade and somehow I will lose what I want to hold close to me.
But then the strangest thing happens, at the least predictable time.
The smell of coffee brewing will bring me back to an exact instant in my kitchen,
A conversation will repeat in my head, word for word, the voices clear and unobstructed.
A discussion about nothing, yet each word is now a rope pulling me into that moment.
Or on a day when I agonize that time has created a substantial distance between the old and the new,
A little boys crooked toe will remind me -
Time will forever move me forward, but those memories of the past will travel with me agelessly.

A season brimming with gratitude.
Appreciation for all that is here in this moment.
Every blessing fills a spot that would otherwise be emptiness.
Thankfulness is a priceless remedy for the soul.

A season that allows room to learn.
To discover who you can be by searching for who you are meant to become.
Believing always that each path is exactly where you are meant to be at the time.
Acknowledging and releasing the remorse that threatens to take you away from that which is now.

And so I begin, allowing myself room to sometimes stand still, sometimes look back and to always be here now.

January 23, 2012

2012.... Here we come!

Somehow time has past...

And once again I am faced with the List.

One thing about the list,
No matter what surprises life has in store,
I am always ready to face them with an open mind,
Because the list has made me
Open - to new possiblities
Patient - when things are not exactly as I thought
Accepting - that there is a greater plan out there
and Ready- for whatever...

1. Take a skiing lesson
2. Go camping in Algonquin Park
3. Climb the stairs of the CN Tower
4. Visit the Rockie Mountains
5. Go to Marineland
6. Be a Mom
7. Write a novel
8. Make drinking 8 glasses of water a day a habit
9. Write a will
10. Enter an eating contest
11. Go to the airport, get the cheapest, soonest departing flight to anywhere and stay there for a weekend.
12. Get drunk with a group of sailors
13. Take a Dance class
14. Find my abs
15. Go to the drive-in
16. Be a tourist for the day where I live
17. Make one of Julia Child's recipes
18. Own a pair of Christian Louboutin and wear them!
19. Catch a fish and eat it that day.
20. Take a family portrait.

October 25, 2011

#7. Get a professional massage

It’s amazing how this item stayed on the list for so long.
Was it just not being able to do something that was completely for me?
Was it that I felt I didn’t deserve the luxury?
Or was it simply the various insecurities that come with being me?

Regardless of why it stayed on the list
Here I am removing it, another one crossed off.

With a deep breath I decided not to over think it and
To ignore the awkwardness of lying on a table at the hands of a stranger.

It was easy to forget where I was.
To become lost in a world of peaceful repose.

Soon the hands didn’t belong to anyone,
I was simply lost in dreamland…

Once it was over, I wondered….
Why did I wait so long?

July 17, 2011

13. Go to the Horse Races

It could have been a Sunday afternoon just like all the others.

But it wasn't. This Sunday afternoon was decorated with possibility.

No matter how small or how unlikely, it was still there.

Armed with good people, a program and a wallet full of toonies, it seemed there was no way this day could be a fail.

We listened to the Coles Notes version of how to bet and headed out to the track.

What to bet was a different story.

It’s true that much time could be spent on learning about the horses, their trainers, the jockeys and the endless available stats…

But who could resist the grey horse, the jockey with the pink and black checkers or the horse named Salvatore G?

The first race was spent with mouth ajar, unable to believe the speed and beauty of the horses as they ran with determination and purpose to the finish line.

With each $2 bet, it became clear that the thrill of the races happened once we stopped thinking of the limits and opened ourselves to the potential. The possibilities were exponential given our beginners status.

Sometimes the less you know the more you allow yourself to believe.

May 1, 2011

1. Eat, sleep and lay on the beach in Cuba for a week

Someone once asked me, "why is Cuba on the list?"
They were surprised that something that seemed so easy to accomplish was on a list such as this.

Cuba was on the list since I started this project.
While things like "Inspire Someone", "Spend the Day Working on a Farm" and "Sit in the Audience of a TV Show" seemed to come off so easily, Cuba sat there and taunted me... for years.

If the list has taught me anything, it is that things happen when they are meant to happen.
In order for life to run it's course, we need to be open and ready, and we need to be patient.

A little nudge from a friend is always helpful too, because very few things in life happen without the comforting hand, encouraging voice or thoughtful ears of some one who cares enough about you to be open, ready and patient right along side you.

So here I am finally crossing it off the list.

Cuba's welcoming committee was a Lizard I named Tiny.
After my initial panic at the awkwardness of sharing a room with
a lizard, I learned that the mini bar was stocked daily!

I won't say that this trip was an escape, in fact this trip taught me to stop looking for an escape. Whatever you think that you may be escaping most likely packed itself in your head, your heart or your suitcase and won't be going anywhere.

Instead, this trip was running through the waves while screaming and laughing with the five year old who's hand you are holding. Pure, clean, innocent joy.
It was feeling the sand between our toes, everyday, like it was the first time. Confident, unobstructed, freedom.
Getting lost and realizing we had no particular place to be. Liberated of appointments and alarms.
It was being inspired by the fearlessness of a child learning to swim and it was the courage to finally befriend a lizard.
It was true amazement at the size of the ocean, the distance between us and the true beauty of what the world has to offer.
Sharing a beer for breakfast on the beach, with the man who was once the little boy who walked me to school and pushed me on the swing. Thankful for a tie that withstands time.
It was the understanding that home is not a building, an address or a bunch of stuff in it.
Home is a place inside you, where you keep the people that matter.

Cuba was the true realization that all these things are able to exist in parallel to all those things that we long to escape.

So if you were looking for a review of the resort, the food, the weather, sorry to disappoint you.
You will have to go to Cuba and experience what it has to offer you!

February 26, 2011

#14. Sit in the Audience of a TV Show

When I added this to the list for 2011, I didn't imagine that it would happen so fast

But here I am crossing off number 14.. with my beautiful friend Linda to thank! Over time the List has taught me that it has Power
To inspire, to bond and to make great things happen.
And every year, it becomes less about the task at hand,
And more about connections.
Thanks Linda!
Our journey to check 14 off the list started at 6:30 am.
Looking our best we began the trip downtown. A cozy car ride and a nippy walk through a drizzle of snow, umbrellas in hand, determined not to let Old Man Winter ruin our hair or salt our hemlines,
And we arrived.
Outside the
CTV studios we were thrilled to discover that we were first in line.

As the line started to build behind us, so did the excitement!
Once inside and quarantined to an area of the building that stamped us as mere mortals, we kept our eyes open for celebrities... and the enthusiasm continued to grow.
We listened attentively to the many instructions and rules ... sure that today WE would be "discovered".

Once in the studio, it sunk in...
We were in the audience of the
Marilyn Denis Show!!! LIVE!

For the next hour, it was OK to bubble over with excitement, to scream, laugh and forget there was a world outside the studio, it was OK to believe that these cameras and lights were all for us.
Near the end, we began to believe that Marilyn was an old friend.

Its amazing how fast an hour goes, when you are cheering for the Beardo or taking in the smell of chilling cooking, when you are fantasizing about a glorious shoe cabinet, time flies.
Before long, still high from the thrill, we were shaking hands with our new friend.

The excitement seemed to attach itself to us for the rest of the day. We heard it bounce off our glasses as we toasted during lunch at the
Rivoli. It was the little spring in our step as we walked and waited for our fans to swarm us.

January 6, 2011

Hello 2011...

This week we said hello to TWENTY - 11!
I greeted this new year with a sense of optimisim.

2010 left me... Tired...

Life is in fact a series of interruptions,
Surprises and mindbogglingly revelations.
The only comfort is believing that every thing happens for a reason.
Some inconceivable motive.
A purpose that is never clear when you are in the middle of it.
When you are confronted with one of these disturbances it is impossible
To wrap your head around why, but why is always the first question that comes to mind.

So as I sipped my champagne and said hello to 2011
I found comfort in knowing that one way or another
Everything will be ok, things will unravel as they need.
Along the way there will be learning, growing, some happiness and some pain.
And with that a new list of adventures to help me along the way...

1. Eat, sleep and lay on the beach in Cuba for a week
2. Take a skiing lesson
3. Go camping in Algonquin Park
4. Climb the stairs of the CN Tower
5. Visit the Rockie Mountains
6. Go to Marineland
7. Get a professional massage
8. Be a Mom
9. Write a novel
10. Make drinking 8 glasses of water a day a habit
11. Write a will
12. Enter an eating contest
13. Go to the Horse Races
14. Sit in the audience of a TV show
15. Go to the airport, get the cheapest, soonest departing flight to anywhere and stay there for a weekend.
16. Get drunk with a group of sailors
17. Take a Dance class
18. Find my abs
19. Go to the drive-in
20. Be a tourist for the day where I live

December 19, 2010

#19 Have a PJ Party!

Number 19 on the list could not have come at a better time.

Good food, good friends and the sound of giggles and laughter of adorable children.
Oh yeah... a pitcher of Mimosas too!

The workings of an excellent Holiday PJ Brunch!

The PJ Party reminded me of three 13 year old girls, meeting for the first time in grade 9 health class. Walks to and from school discussing which boy had talked to us, which girl was trying to sabotage our happiness. It reminded me of time spent plotting what we were going to do with our lives.

Comforting each other through heart breaks and laughing through awkwardness, encouraging dreams and nurturing each others talents.

Here we were three grown women, in our pj's!With what seemed like a lifetime between now and then. Life may have had some surprises for us, and we no longer dissected every moment of each others days, with he said - she said.
But what comfort there was surrounded with each other, and the ones we love... in our PJ's ... knowing that a little bit of those teenage girls still lived in each of us...

October 18, 2010

#13 Take Better Pictures

There is something about a captured moment. In a picture that brings a smile to my heart.

Knowing that the feeling is forever saved is a comfort to me. The world is constantly moving and changing, sometimes at a rate that is too quick to even wrap your head around and sometimes a little bit every day, until one day you look in the mirror and wonder where time has gone.

Somehow that photo gives us the power to slow things down a bit, to own that moment. The perfect shot, can make us laugh or cry. We can feel regret or loss, or just gratitude that we were part of that moment. Even once things have changed, looking back at a photo, the picture stays the same.
January I enrolled at the New York Institute of Photography. I completed the most fundamental course in photography. With courage I moved away from my camera's auto setting... and with confidence I can now cross #13 off the list. There will always be more to learn but I am content knowing that I no longer have to fear aperture and shutter speeds. Here you will find a few of my favorite shots over the last few months. They are the ones that are closest to my heart.

August 8, 2010

#15. Spend the day working on a Farm

Growing up in the city
The only farming I experienced was Harvesting beans from the garden for Monday nights dinner.
And so began my search to find a place to make #15 happen.

As with each journey I have taken,
It is 90% about about who you have riding shot gun.I was lucky enough to share this one with a bright eyed, energetic 15 year old girl.

Willo' Wind Farm was our home for the day,
Not before many conversations with Elizabeth,
Who we learned, was a down to earth, comforting and knowledgeable farmer, as well as, our host.

We encouraged ol'Betsy, (our new Tuscan),
Up some very dramatic hills before
Arriving at the farm, where we were greeted by
A barking farm dog, Jesse (we learned later), a shirtless farm boy and some very vocal goats.

And so began our day...
We were quickly introduced to Jesse, as well as,
The new ducklings that had just become residents,
Two cats, the Sheep, the goats, Roxy the pig, the horses and of course the chickens and one rooster.

We were advised on which chickens were for eggs and which for...well, chicken.... and also reminded to mind the electric fences.

The tour continued to the sunflower garden, the vegetable garden and the endless supply of wild meadow.... All ours to enjoy for the day.

Our first task was to feed the chickens a pile of weeds, a tactic designed to reduce costs on chicken feed and also help with the garden maintenance.
A truly organic and environmentally aware farm, Willo' Wind does not use pesticides or even tractors. All the weeds are pulled by hand, and plowing down by horses.

Cleaning the chicken coops was the next project.
Elizabeth effortlessly lifted a large bag of wood shavings into a wheel barrel, a task she had obviously done many times before, and we maneuvered it into the coop, where we found four freshly lain eggs during our cleaning...

Oddly enough for the next several hours we found ourselves choreless.

A much looked forward to time for the farmers and farm hands, but a disappointment to two city girls looking for some farming action.

We took our ham and cheese sandwiches to the field and had a picnic as we watched some cows on the nearby farm grazing on a hill.

After lunch we took out our canvases and paints and pretended we were artists there to capture the scene...

An encounter with a dog named Chester, a few minutes to lie on our backs and check out the clouds and we were packing up our picnic and heading down the trail around the farm.

With the sun beating down on us we decided that that was enough nature for one sitting.

Back in the farm house with a fan blowing I learned how to make string bracelets,
We ate cookies and drank ice tea...
More painting and then it was out to the fields again...
We questioned how slow time went by on a farm...
Was it the void of the missing TV, XBox or iPod?
Or was it the lack of facebook, that made time stand still.

Determined to finish our day on the farm we headed to the sheep.
Fighting a rusted lock and ducking under the electric fencing,
We were slightly terrified by the haunting eyes staring at us...
Were they asking to be saved?

A stroll with the sheep lead us to a "pond" and another trail through rows of trees...
Which we quickly discovered were attached by invisible spider webs
And our nature walk was over.

We hopped into the car and headed "to town"
Where we found shelter in an air conditioned Pizza Pizza
And enjoyed a beautiful pineapple and cheese pizza.
After dinner, back to the farm for evening chores.

The animals needed to be brought in for the night.
Jesse herded the adult goats into the barn
And we each carried a baby goat...
We looked at each other in disbelief of what we held in our arms,
Suddenly, time was going too fast... we didn't want to put them down, but much work still needed to be done...
In the barn, we milked the adult goats... giving Pete, the cat, a squirt or two,
And learning the difference between goat milk and cow milk.

As the sun began to set,
The sheep were herded into the barn,
We watched in amazement at the size and power behind these timid animals as they stampeded up the ramp.
Roxy was given her water and even the noisy chickens settled in the coop for the night.

All was quiet on the farm... and us city girls rushed home to watch Jimmy Fallon...

August 1, 2010

#14 Dance in the Rain

It was the hand of a little girl that led me out into the rain.
The sound of excitement filled her voice...
As the words were muffled by giggles....
"Let's go get wet!"

As the adults kept dry under the party tent,
Enjoying the last of their meals...
The sound of their clinking wine glasses
Became muffled by the rain falling on my bare shoulders.
At a time when things are complex and hard,
Every feeling and action analyzed and reanalyzed,
For a few minutes I was allowed the freedom of being a kid,
The reminder that some things are meant to be simple,
Innocent and just because.
We swirled and spun...
Our laughter now drowning out the sound of everything else.
The rain cooling us after a hot and humid day.
Soon we were three.
Our moves not classified as moves at all...
Except to us.
In our heads we were swing dancers on a Broadway stage.
We were award winning ballerinas.
We were Rhianna's back up dancers....
But to every one else...
We were simply getting wet...
I heard the stern voice of my father...
And I was pulled back into real world...
Word of the Day