Thank You

November 11, 2016 | 0 Comment

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Let us never forget that there are people in this world who are willing to put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedom we do every day.  Never take for granted the life we as Canadians enjoy, we have freedoms that millions around the world will never experience, this freedom is owed to our heroes.  This Remembrance Day let us salute all our soldiers.

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Counting My Blessings

October 14, 2016 | 0 Comment

I battled with myself as to whether to write today’s blog because it was intended to have been posted on Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately due to life’s craziness in our household I was unable to deliver. I decided however that it was important to acknowledge my blessings because I am thankful for them every day.

My family hosted my in-laws for dinner on Sunday night and we were surprised with my husband’s uncle also showing up. It was a blessed night that only got better when my husband’s brother-in-law and his family showed up for dessert. We had a wonderful evening talking and eating. We watched the Blue Jays sweep the Texas Rangers and then were riveted by the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We watched part of the debate with our children and had a great conversation about what the whole election run in the United States means. The resounding viewpoint from all of us was that we were thankful that our own election run for Prime Minister did not disintegrate to the state that the US election has. In an age when women should be celebrated for their accomplishments and all that they add to our society, it is pathetic that Donald Trump has objectified women in the manner that he has. I think the whole world was dumbfounded by the tapes released last week in which Trump made deplorable comments about women. The sad part of this whole debacle is that although there were those who very quickly denounced Trump, there are still those who stand by him. Even as accusations have started surfacing about his possible predatory behaviour, there are still those who still want to vote for him as their leader. My teenage daughters have asked several times how anybody could still want to vote for him, I have been honest and told them I could not answer that question.

As I reflect on this situation, I am thankful to know that most people do not think the same way. I am hopeful that our children (two girls and a boy) will never have to listen to another political figure or anyone for that matter who denigrates women the way that Donald Trump has. Finally I am thankful that women have a voice in the election and anticipate that they will make it clear that they will not put up with the likes of Donald John Trump.

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My Favourite Time of Year

September 12, 2016 | 0 Comment

My Favourite Time of Year

I have said it before and I will say it again, I absolutely love this time of year.  The fall for me signifies a new beginning.  Although I enjoy summer as much as everybody else does, I am also a creature of habit and getting back to a routine makes me smile (my kids not so much).  I am writing this month`s blog in a quiet, relatively clean house, a state it has not been in for two months.

Reflecting on this past summer I would have to list the Olympic Games as one of my highlights.  Every single athlete has a story and although not everyone walks away with a medal, it is an incredible feat just to make it to the games.  My favourite event is the 100 meter race and this year we as Canadians witnessed the race with a vested interest.  Andre De Grasse did us all proud, my family and I stood and cheered through the whole race, his silver medal finish was amazing.

Preparing for this blog, I started thinking about that race and the stakes that each of the participants faces as they settle into their blocks.  Each of them has prepared for years for this moment in time, they have to ensure that everything is perfect in order for them to run their race. A slight misstep could lead to a false start which would mean elimination from the race.  I cannot imagine that type of pressure.  Fortunately for most of us the goals that we are trying to accomplish do not come down to mere seconds.  As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog the fall is like a reset button for me.  I am reminded that I have four months to accomplish the goals that I set out for myself at the beginning of the year.  I am proud that I have achieved some of those goals such as; taking my children to Uganda and writing my mother’s memoir.  I have other goals that I need to focus on and complete before the end of the year and I look forward to tackling each of them.

I hope that you still have goals that you are working on, may the next few months give you the time you need to achieve them.  If you don’t have any or have accomplished all the ones you set out for yourself, set some new ones and get to work there is still a lot of time left in the year.

Good Luck

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Gratitude

July 26, 2016 | 0 Comment

My children and I recently returned from a trip to Uganda, East Africa.  The main purpose of the jaunt halfway around the world was to see my mother who returned to my birth county five years ago.  What I did not anticipate were the lessons that we all learned during our stay in Uganda.

We were lucky enough to be hosted by my cousin and her daughter, my mother and my aunt (my cousin’s mother and my mother’s sister) also live in the same house.  I foresaw the trip being a bittersweet experience as my mother has been suffering from dementia for the past several years.  The lessons started as soon as we landed, the airport like in most third world countries was not what they were accustomed to.  There is only one reporting area and technology is definitely lagging, the customs officers welcoming demeanour more than made up for what was lacking.  We made our way out of the airport into the arms of my cousin and niece.  The trip home was full off ‘oohs ‘and ‘aahs ‘as the kids took in their new environment, they were particularly thrown by the boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) that wheezed in and out of traffic seemingly without any safety concerns.  I have to admit even I caught my breath on a few occasions.

When we arrived at the house the first thing I did was find my mother, I looked deep into my mother’s eyes and said ‘hi’ but I could tell she was confused.  I had prepared my children for this very moment by reminding them regularly that their jajja might not remember them but I could see especially in my son’s eyes that he had hoped for a different outcome.  We all went to bed that night completely exhausted from the gruelling journey from Canada.

The next day saw us going into the city running some errands and then finishing off the afternoon at a recreation centre where the kids got some lunch and a swim.  Upon returning home we had a quick dinner and then the kids spent the rest of the evening catching up with my mother.  When it was time for her to go to bed she called my son by his name and said good-night to him.  He walked her to her room and then came back and told me what had happened, he was quite emotional and I was so happy for him.  The next morning I sat outside with my mother as she had her breakfast, at one point she turned to me and told me that the children had grown up a lot since she had last seen them.  I was surprised at how this impacted me.  As the week progressed mom remembered more and more which made the kids and me incredibly happy.  If this was all that had happened I would have been quite satisfied and thought that the trip was a success.  However there was so much more.

One of the other lessons that I hoped the children would gain from the experience was to appreciate how blessed they are.  This was evident to them pretty early on in the trip but the most significant impact came when we volunteered at a local school.  Learning that children had to pay school fees completely shocked the kids, they could not understand how elementary school required fees.  Terra Nova is a wonderful school that was established in a neighbourhood that would otherwise not have a school.  The incredible story behind Terra Nova is that it allows parents to pay their fees as they can, they do not demand the fees all at once which is the usual order of business.  I heard a touching story of a mother who did not have a formal job, she sold her goods on the roadside and this is how she made her money.  She would take money to the school whenever she could, this freedom allowed her to be able to afford her child’s school fees.  The effect of this in my eyes is twofold; the mother feels empowered because she is able to pay for her child’s education, secondly her child’s future is changed because education opens the door to one’s future.

There were so many other lessons that we all learned during our two week visit.  The most significant being that we are all more aware how fortunate we are.  My children came back to Canada understanding that life is measured by more than just material goods.  The most precious and unforgettable moments we experienced were; my mother remembering all of us, volunteering at the school and my children seeing the beauty of Africa through their own eyes.  My trips to Africa always remind me to count my blessings and slow down and live in the moment, this trip was no different.

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Courage

June 12, 2016 | 0 Comment

“Courage is not the absence of fear it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.”

– Bruce Lee

I was listening to the news last night and heard that some residents of Fort McMurray were starting to move back to their homes. The first thought I had was how much courage it would take to even think about going back to a place that had endured such destruction. A couple was being interviewed and they admitted that even though what they saw was worse than what they thought, they knew and believed that the town would rebuild because the community was a strong one.

I found myself fighting back tears as the news crew drove through the town showing the wreckage that was left behind by the fire that consumed everything in its path. Courage was displayed on so many different levels. There were countless images of people driving out of town in the middle of the night surrounded by walls of fire which was surreal. There were so many stories of heroism; from the firefighters working endless hours, to volunteers saving pets and to neighbours doing whatever they could to help each other. Each of these examples served as a reminder for me that courage is not for the faint of heart, it is usually on display in the most difficult of situations.

The wonderful news is when we find ourselves in difficult situations during which we have to act courageously, we generally do not have the luxury of succumbing to our fears. Courage allows us to face our fears and do whatever is necessary for us to overcome the obstacles we face. The process of conquering our fears leads to growth and new found confidence, the journey allows us to discover things about ourselves we might otherwise never have found out had we not faced the challenge in the first place.

We can all learn from the incredible strength the people of Fort McMurray have displayed in the face of a crisis that has been their reality for far too long. Returning to their homes is going to be incredibly difficult and heartbreaking for the residents however the strength and courage they have shown through this difficult time will help them with their next steps.

Sending prayers to Fort McMurray.

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