Positive Affirmations

I was telling a friend the other day, that now that I am in my thirties, I am continually learning about myself, my personality, and my behaviours more than I ever have before.  Just yesterday,  for instance, I realized that as much as I like the idea of waking up early to workout, morning exercise just isn’t for me.

Today, another light bulb about myself went off in a moment when I wasn’t really expecting it.  Sort of out of the blue, I realized that I really don’t mind people giving me advice (in fact, I actually appreciate it) but that it’s all about the delivery of how that advice is given. For anyone that knows me, it’s no secret that I’m extremely sensitive.  So if the advice given is perceived to be harsh, a touch condescending, or the least bit critical, I’m more likely to take it personally.  When this occurs, one of two things happen.  Usually my stubbornness kicks in, my defences go up (admittedly pretty quickly) and I fight back with a lot of emotion and gusto – or, I feel attacked, sad, and defeated.


For instance, I decided to play ladies’ soccer again this year.  I haven’t played in four years and even then I was just a beginner.   I admitted this to my new teammates today when we met up for a scrimmage.  I urged them to give me advice and teach me about the game and promised I wouldn’t take it personally.  After all, I have a lot to learn and I’ll be the first to admit it.

And although today the girls were nothing more than friendly and encouraging, and I left with an overall drive to continue working towards improvement, I certainly had a few moments were I felt discouraged.  As my teammates yelled directions at me (simply giving me the advice I had requested), fleeting thoughts such as “maybe I shouldn’t play this year” and “maybe I should quit now” passed through my mind.  Most definitely their messages were not ill-intended, yet my sensitive personality took over and allowed me to doubt myself.

In this particular moment, I realized something else.  When working hard at something or attempting something challenging, I do better if I am given praise, acknowledgement, and appreciation.  It means a lot to me for someone to notice my efforts and to praise me for them.  Usually even the smallest compliment is all I need to keep working hard and to achieve success.

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I expected my new teammates, who are virtually perfect strangers, to realize this about me and to pull me aside for a sweet little pep talk.  It’s just that I learned something about myself which I always find fascinating.  I realized that I am the type of person that needs recognition.  I need positive affirmation.  As Gretchen Rubin would say, I need a “gold star” in order to achieve.  I need advice that’s soft around the edges and delivered in an encouraging and positive tone.

This is not to say, I need to be showered in praise and recognition all of the time. And it also doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when I don’t want someone to challenge me and to push me past my limits.  I can recognize that sometimes it takes firing up my stubborn streak to really get results out of me.  But I think more often than not, if someone wants to help me, a soft and gentle approach is more likely to get me to listen and to accept the advice (especially in those times when I really need to hear it).


All this being said, I am very excited (albeit nervous) for this year’s soccer season!  As I said, today’s first outing left me feeling motivated and eager to learn the game – it even gave me a few ideas for workouts such as sprinting and shifting my weight and changing directions quickly.   I’ve already forgotten those couple of moments where I doubted myself and felt like quitting.  I may be just a beginner but I’ve got a willingness to learn and an eagerness to succeed and that’s got to count for something.  At least I can always find a “gold star” to give myself.

Are you the type of person who needs recognition/praise or do you work better when someone challenges you?  Tell me about it in the comments below!




winterLast week, I wrote a post about my resolutions (or goals) for the New Year which included to be gentle with myself, to maintain balance, and to connect with family and friends (read more about my resolutions here).  Shortly after, I also adopted the mantra “good enough is good enough” as a means to be rid of my perfectionist view on life in general (read more about that here).

Well, it’s only been just a little over a week and already I am feeling positive effects from these three simple promises to myself.  Of course, one of the ways my life changed recently was by leaving my weekend job in order to have more time for my family, household responsibilities, and ultimately, myself.  Although we spent a night out of town at my son’s hockey tournament, I’ve found I still had time this weekend to get stuff done (something that was very difficult to do while working seven days a week!) I have to say this new “weekend freedom” has been absolutely wonderful. For instance, I spent the entire day today in my pyjamas hiding from the blizzard outside, drinking coffee, and slowly working away at plans for the upcoming week at school. While this certainly may not sound thrilling to some, is truly something that I find fulfilling and enjoyable and in my mind is one of the perfect ways to spend a lazy Sunday!

I’ve also been working really hard on taking things one day at a time and only worrying about what has to get done each day.  While some future planning is inevitable, I often plan so much in my head that I easily become overwhelmed and stressed out.  I am now starting to realize that all that tiresome planning and thinking doesn’t really serve a purpose (other than to exhaust me).  Things are much clearer and less stressful, if I can focus on just a few small things at a time.  Surprisingly, training my brain to focus only on each days’ tasks hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I had anticipated.  I’d often argued with my husband that all the planning ahead was just “how my brain works”, but suddenly it seems that I can control that thinking (at least to a certain degree).  It’s something that’s definitely a work in process but certainly worth my time.

The mantra “good enough is good enough” has helped me immensely in only thinking about each day’s tasks (and to be clear, I try to focus only on one or two tasks each day… not an exhaustive list, otherwise it’d be pointless!)  For example, I am slowly learning that something as simple as cleaning my house does not need to be an “all or nothing” job.  So today, after we had finally packed away the Christmas decorations, I simply passed the vacuum quickly, rearranged a few décor items, and said to myself “that’s good enough for today”.  Normally, I would have moved on to dusting, cleaning the bathroom, doing heaps of laundry, scrubbing floors, and purging closets which is not only exhausting to me but would make my family members miserable and resentful too.  So, in the end, my house may not be spotless from top to bottom, but it’s presentable enough, and best of all, my family’s had time to enjoy our day doing the things we love!winter peace

In addition to maintaining balance by reminding myself of the good enough mantra, I have also made strides on my resolution to connect with family and friends.  My husband and I decided that this year we’d go all out for birthdays.  Fortunately for my friend Jason, he was the first person I got to test this resolution out on since his birthday was this past week.  Since Jason lives so far away (as do many of my best friends), I couldn’t really go all out but I still wanted to think of something I could do to brighten my friend’s special day.  That being said, I knew if it wasn’t something easy, manageable, and inexpensive, I’d be less likely to follow through.  I started to think about what I could do and realized that over the last few years, I’ve completely dropped the ball on sending my friends’ something as simple as birthday cards!  I immediately set out and spent several minutes in the card shop picking out a card that I knew would make Jason smile.  Then, another idea came to me!  I am blessed to have so many wonderful memories with my friends, why not create a list of these special memories to send in the birthday card?  So that’s what I did.  It took me only a few minutes to write a letter to Jason full of meaningful and hilarious memories we’ve had over the years.  I was thrilled when he responded to tell me that the letter not only made him laugh, but nearly brought him to tears!  It amazes me how something to simple could have such an effect! I was so happy I made that connection with Jason on his birthday!

(As a side note, now that I’ve conquered the first birthday, I am thrilled that  we get to go all out for birthdays two more times this month!  Next week, we’ve planned a terrific party for my stepson Brandon who is turning 12… stay tuned for an update, we’re really going all out for his birthday… and my younger brother’s birthday is also at the end of the month… still working on ideas on how to make his big day extra special!)

I know it’s only been a little over a week so already celebrating my New Year’s resolutions as successes may be premature.  But the fact that 2016 has started off with a lot less stress, crying, agonizing, and worrying, is definitely a step in the right direction…. and the fact that I found enough time to write three blog entries in just over a week?   Well that in itself makes me one very happy girl 🙂



Good Enough

good enough 3As I reflect on my New Year’s resolutions and think about some of the reading I have been doing lately, I am liking more and more the idea of good enough being better than perfect.  I am thinking that good enough is going to help me in letting go of my “all or nothing”, perfectionist attitude.  Furthermore, I’m starting to realize that the notion of good enough is really going to help me in my efforts to be gentle with myself and in maintaining balance, two of my main resolutions for 2016.

One of the ways I’ve been adopting the good enough strategy in the last couple of days, for instance, is to simply focus on one or two tasks per day.  Typically, I am a hyper-organized person, constantly making to-do lists and planning the next minute, hour, day, week, month of my life.  This weekend I allowed myself to let go by focussing on one (or two) tasks I wanted to complete that day (in order of priority.  Yesterday, getting a manicure was at the top of my list (good-bye holiday nails, hello fresh mani!) and today was all about preparing for back to school (tomorrow!  yikes!)  My husband strongly encourages this one task at a time mentality and I have to admit it did alleviate a lot of my usual stress. In fact, just a few days ago (before I adopted the good enough idea), I was already running a mental to-do list through my mind of all the things I “needed” to complete this weekend:  take down and pack away Christmas decorations, clean the house top to bottom (not a small feat), stock up on groceries, meal plan for the week, prepare for back-to-school, prepare an appetizer for a party Saturday night, attend party Saturday night, watch my son play hockey, and then of course, make time for myself (reading, blogging, social media, maybe a walk…)the list goes on…

Just thinking about that list is utterly exhausting.  But that’s how my brain has been trained to think.  It takes conscientious effort for me to be gentle with myself and to accept good enough.  But with my husband’s support, I was able to focus on just a few simple priorities and I have to admit, I felt a lot more relaxed.

Sure, I didn’t clean my house top to bottom (for some reason, I’ve always thought house cleaning tasks all have to be done at the same time, so time consuming!) but I did sweep the floors which took care of the biggest problem (dog hair!) and I did wash some dishes and run the dishwasher.  I also re-organized our winter recycling system and completed a load of laundry.  Considering we normally keep a fairly tidy house, this small tasks were easy to complete and were good enough.  After all, my house and it’s messes (or lack thereof) aren’t going anywhere, right? 

I also didn’t get time to take down my Christmas decorations, but so what?  More time to enjoy our beautiful tree!  When it came time to prepare an appetizer for a party I was attending, I remembered to be gentle with myself and opted to buy a pre-made (yet delicious!) cake which took off the pressure of having to find the time to make something.

Another aspect of my life in which I think it will benefit me to apply the good enough approach is in my efforts to improve my physical health.  As I mentioned in a previous post, in the past my diet and fitness efforts were definitely all or nothing.  This year, I’m trying a new approach based on the notion of good enough.  Sure, I may still be eating white bread and using creamer in my coffee with way too much sugar content, but today when I couldn’t find anything for lunch, rather than running out to grab takeout, I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some soup and crackers.  As I mulled over what to make for dinner, I realized our vegetable intake lately has been really bad, so I opted for making a chicken stir-fry (even though pasta sounded so much more tempting). And while I didn’t fit a walk in this weekend, or lift any weights, or do any yoga, I know that this is only the beginning of the year and I’ve got lots of time to fit those things into my schedule, when they fit.

good enough 2Now that I’ve felt the benefits of good enough I know it’s a strategy that will help me to meet some of my resolutions – to take pressure off myself, to be gentle with myself, and to find balance.  And even though I am tempted to write more, I know that for now this post is good enough.








Happy New Year, 2016!


Like so many others, I rarely keep a New Year’s resolution but even so, I have always loved making them. There’s something motivating and exciting about the chance to make a “fresh start” and of resolving to make things bigger and better for the forthcoming year.

Last year, around this time, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project which I found to be extremely motivating for making resolutions (considering the entire book is based around Rubin’s personal resolutions for making her own life happier).  I identified with Rubin so much and found many similarities between my character and hers.  Likewise, I adored Rubin’s philosophies and ideas about happiness based on research and her own personal experiences.  Even more, I loved the organization of her book – broken into twelve chapters, with each chapter representing a monthly theme that she set personal goals (or resolutions) for.The Happiness Project

This year, I just finished reading Happier at HomeVery much like The Happiness Project, it focuses on Rubin’s research around what it means to be happier at home and goes in depth with her own personal experiences.  Again, because I identify with Rubin so much, I loved this book and the ideas it presented.  Upon finishing the book, I was thrilled to realize that Rubin recently released a third book entitled Better Than Before and immediately purchased it in iBooks.  I haven’t started Better than Before yet because I actually decided to read The Happiness Project again, and this time I am highlighting my favourite sections, quotes, thoughts, and ideas. I  haven’t really decided yet what I will do with the highlighted sections (I have considered responding to some of them with my own thoughts and interpretations here on the blog…stay tuned!) but I’m finding that The Happiness Project is inspiring me all over again to set some really well-thought out resolutions. Of course, this highly organized way of thinking also appeals to my nature.  In fact, I didn’t want to actually write this post until I new exactly what I wanted to say about my goals and intentions for the upcoming year.  It’s been on my mind all week ~ many different ideas floating around but the right words just out of touch.  Then I read something in The Happiness Project about the notion that good enough sometimes is more important than perfect.  This idea is based on the thought that we sometimes never get anything accomplished because we are waiting for the perfect way to do it – in reality, if we can accept good enough we will get a lot more accomplished and be all the more satisfied for it.  So with that thought in mind, here goes…..  My resolutions for 2016 (in a more or less unorganized fashion…)

Be Gentle with yourself budda

There is a fairly new trend that has people choosing a theme word for the new year.  I have mulled over the idea and the first word I came up with for 2016 is gentle.  I chose this word mostly because one of my main goals for 2016 is to be more gentle with myself.  I want to take some responsibilities off my plate and to ease some of the pressure I put on myself.  I want to focus more on the things that really matter, and less on the things that don’t.  I want to really learn how to take care of myself and develop a more gentle nature, so as a result I can take better care of my loved ones.


This being said, one of the reasons I have struggled so much with my New Year’s resolutions is because the very notion of being more gentle in itself means working hard to be more conscious of my behaviour and choices. This seemed a little redundant to me until I read a quote in The Happiness Project: “There is a constant tug between striving and accepting… there is a time for both pursuing and accepting.”  This very thought rang true with me.  So much so that it had me thinking about balance.  There is a time to strive, to push oneself, to work hard, to attain goals… and there is also a time to relax, to find calm, to stop working, and to just be.  Maybe balance should be my theme for 2016?

Another area in which I hope to find more balance has been my quest for good physical health.  My weigh has been a struggle my entire adult life and the whole issue of dieting or not dieting has always felt so extreme.  I’ve always had a perfectionist mentality so I’m either on the wagon or not. I’m either working out like a maniac, running, lifting weights, counting calories, tracking food, and obsessing over every choice I make, or I’m eating everything in sight, not working out at all, and finding a lot of pleasure in bumming around on the couch.  In 2016, I need to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to being fit and healthy.  I need to remember that good enough often gets more accomplished than perfect.  Here are some things I plan to do to try to find that balance.

  1.  Go for walksyoga3
  2. Lift weights
  3. Do yoga
  4. Eat less fast-food
  5. Cook more
  6. Keep a food journal


Recently I gave up my part-time job ( I still teach full-time) to have more time for my family and for myself.  Working two jobs while maintaining a household and being a wife and a mom, proved to be overwhelming and stressful.  It put me in a place that was difficult and mentally unhealthy.  Now that I have my weekends back I am looking forward to connecting more with my loved ones, and especially with myself.

With my Family:

  1. Go all out for birthdays Admittedly, my husband and I have dropped the ball on birthdays, even our kids’ birthdays.  This year we have planned to go all out to make sure each birthday boy/girl feels extra special.
  2. Work without rewardRemember that chores that I deem important aren’t necessarily important to others and therefore I shouldn’t always expect to be rewarded for  them.  If I learn to do them because I want them done and they feel important to me, I won’t be so upset when others don’t notice or don’t give me the recognition I feel I deserve.
  3. Walk the dog (good for him, good for me)
  4. Pause to think (before I react to a difficult situation or before I answer a difficult question, especially at home).

With friends:

  1. Set a schedule for regular phone dates with my best friend.
  2. Have a “girls day” with my best girl friends more than once a year.
  3. Send out Christmas cards and family letter.

With myself:reading2

  1. Write more (develop my blog and write regularly!)
  2. Read (love having a pile of books waiting for me to read!)
  3. Do yoga (spiritual, physical, and mental wellness!)
  4. Explore meditation (be mindful, serene, and calm – improve mental health)
  5. Get massages (reduce stress, and let’s admit…. I love a good back rub!)
  6. Think positive (and give myself a break…. Be gentle with yourself).


Hope I can keep all of these resolutions because I truly believe they will bring more happiness, love, and peace to my life this year!  What are your New Year’s Resolutions?





Finding God (and it’s probably not what you think)


I found God on my walk this evening.  Don’t be alarmed, it’s probably not what you think.  It’s probably not your God.  It definitely wasn’t Jesus, or Allah, or Jehovah, or Buddha, or any of the other gods that are commonly known.  In fact, the God I discovered may not even be directly associated with religion.

After all, I don’t consider myself a religious person.  At least not in the ways most of us perceive religious people. Yes, I’ve been to church. I like some of the ideals of Christianity but others I don’t like so much; I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church as an infant, and was married in the Catholic Church.  Like many others, I have questioned the existence of a Christian God, I’ve probably even had moments where I fully, whole-heartedly believed in Him, or at least wanted to. I’ve absolutely sung to Him and praised Him, I’ve even taught religion in school. I’ve never been exposed to any type of religion that’s not popular in the Western world, never read about it, or taken courses, or visited religious sites.  But this isn’t about all that.  This was something entirely different.

The God I discovered tonight was my God.  It wasn’t a person.  It wasn’t an all-mighty being.  It wasn’t a bearded man that lives in the sky and creates thunder when he moves his furniture.

It was something different.  It was something that is difficult to describe and put into words.  But I will try.


It was nature ~ the glorious sun gleaming across the lake ~ the richness of the fall colours ~ the cool, crisp, refreshing air ~ the ducks and Canada geese braving a swim in the cool water

It was time to myself ~ not being needed by anyone ~ no one calling my name ~ operating solely on my own schedule even for just a little while ~ thinking my own thoughts~

It was a feeling ….of calmness……of peacefulness……of security

It was knowing my self purely and truly.

It was love and an overwhelming feeling of divine happiness.

It was a feeling inside of me that felt whole, complete, and inspired.


As I walked pensively contemplating my very own spirituality, I realized then that God, for me, is not a person.  It is so many different things. It’s nature, it’s nourishment, it’s peacefulness, and mindfulness. It’s my inner most thoughts and feelings that lie deep within my heart and mind.  It’s the voice inside that speaks to me.

It comforts me

soothes me

heals me

reassures me

carries me

inspires me

uplifts me

nourishes me

protects me

steadies me

guides me

teaches me

Most of all, it loves me.  Pure, divine, and true.   My God is me.









“Be Gentle With Yourself”


Well it’s certainly been awhile since I’ve written and that’s because life has been absolutely crazy.  Between starting at a new school (I’m loving my new class!) and just getting back into a work-day routine, the days just seem to keep speeding by.  And although I worked part-time over the summer, it amazes me how quickly we can get so used to the lazy, slow-moving days of summer!

But alas, summer has come and gone and life is back to “normal”.  I’m teaching Grade 5 this year with a class of 23 students (17 boys, and 6 girls!  yikes!)  I have a wonderful yet diverse group of students who are keeping me busy every minute of the day.  Between planning regular lessons, modifying those lessons to meet all my learners’ needs, marking, performing and recording assessments, helping organize my students (wow, ten-year-old boys can be so disorganized!), the list just goes on and on.  And since our union is currently under work-to-rule we don’t even have all the regular administrative and paperwork stuff to do.  Still, making sure each and every one of my students gets each and every thing they need each and everyday – is exhausting (although also incredibly rewarding –  thankfully!)

Besides teaching nearly full-time, I’m also trying to keep up my part-time job at the mall.  Some say I’m crazy to have a second job, but compared to teaching my retail job is completely stress-free. On top of that, I work with lovely co-workers who make me look forward to going to work.  Not to mention the great discount on new clothes – now really, who could complain about that?    Needless to say, working part-time means less “me” time on my evenings and weekends – but so far, it’s worth it.

So besides working two jobs, I’m also your Type-A, hyper-organized, Pinterest-surfing, do-it-all, Martha Stewart-esque home-maker.  In my terms, this means I love (and insist upon) a clean and tidy house, try to cook healthful meals as many times in a week as possible (often making meal plans or meal prepping ahead of time), and in between all that, try to find a few spare minutes in a day to decorate my home according to season or holiday, and maybe even light a few candles.  All this, of course, isn’t that difficult until you throw my husband and step-kids into the mix.  Now toss in endless loads of laundry, tidying up other people’s messes constantly, helping with homework, and of course, “Kelly’s Cab Service” (as I like to call it), and you can see where I start to lose my mind.  And of course, I can’t forget the dog.  Although he is completely adorable and my “fur-baby”, trying to keep the house clean of his endless shedding is a task that I’m surprised hasn’t completely done in this neat-freak yet!

just breathe

Besides working two jobs, trying to maintain a home that is presentable (yes, I know my standards are high), being a good wife and step-mom, I’m also constantly on this journey of fitness and weight loss.  My weight has been a struggle for my entire adult life and therefore I’m often in the throws of my latest diet/nutrition/healthy-eating/fitness plan.  This means finding the time to cook healthfully instead of just grabbing take-out, and making time in my already-busy day for a solid workout (if I can somehow find the time and energy!)

Sigh.  Now I’m tired.  Just thinking about everything I “need” to do on a day-to-day basis can be completely overwhelming and I know I’m not the only one out there.  Ask my husband, my Mom, or any other person that knows me well… they’ve seen the result of what happens when I become too overwhelmed (it usually ends up in a crying, irrational, snotty mess – thankfully, I have them to help me recover!)  My husband likes to say that I “spiral out of control”.  And I do.  Instead of thinking about what I am doing presently, my mind is always thinking, preparing, and planning the things I have to do in the next 5 minutes, hour, that afternoon, this evening, tomorrow, this weekend, next week… you get the idea.  Rarely, can I just live in the moment and focus on what I have to do now.  Eventually all this thinking just becomes too exhausting resulting in the afore-mentioned crying, hyperventilating, ridiculous mess called me.

So where am I going with all this?  (I promise it’s not one of those downward spirals my husband has to suffer through!)  What  I’ve decided to do to help me live more in the moment this year is to adopt a “mantra”.  In all those moments where I feel like I am rushing, over-thinking, planning too far ahead, being too hard on myself (or others), or setting my expectations too high, I am going to simply say:

Be gentle with yourself“.

In other words, it’s okay if you missed that workout.  It’s okay if the dog’s entire summer coat is making a new carpet on the hardwood floors.  It’s okay if you grabbed takeout because you had a really long day and just don’t feel like cooking.  It’s okay if Halloween has come and gone and you didn’t put out one, single decoration or make treat bags for your students.

It’s. just. okay.

In adopting this new mantra, I hope that I won’t become as overwhelmed so easily and can avoid the dreaded downward spiral.  I hope that it will help me to let go of my perfectionism just a little.  Most of all, I hope “Be gentle with yourself” will remind me that it’s okay to have a busy lifestyle, but we all need those moments to just breathe.  And if for some reason we don’t get them, then that’s okay too.

Be gentle with yourself.

xo K.

to do list

Summer Lovin’: Where I’ve Been & What I’ve Been Up To

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged.  I guess I inadvertently took the summer “off” from blogging.  But I’m happy to say that my summer has been jam-packed with mini road trips, family & friends, and lots and lots of fun.  Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to!

Summer started off off perfectly with a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful camping trip with Mom, Dad, and my 3-year-old niece Isabella   It was just the refresher I needed after ten long months at school!

In addition to camping, I was able make a few visits back home which of course meant lots of time with my three adorable nieces!  These girls definitely have a huge piece of my heart!

Of course a trip back home is never complete without seeing two of my best girlfriends and their sweet babies!  We spent an afternoon at the beach, played at the park, enjoyed lunch together, and went swimming at the pool where I spent many childhood summers!

Along with friends back home, this summer included vists with two dear friends who now live overseas! I took an overnight road trip to visit with my university roommate Chadley and her family who were home visiting from China!  It was a short but very sweet time that involved swimming in Lake Muskoka, delicious drinks, and a lot of reminiscing.  Last week, I visited my old high school friend Maureen who was home visiting from NYC (and the UK before that!) It always fills my heart and feels so good to see old friends again!

Immediately after my trip to Muskoka, I had the pleasure of enjoying another camping trip with Mom, Dad and my nieces   This time we enjoyed Christmas in July, the beach, campfires, and best of all, more family time!

Of course those are just some of the highlights of my summer so far that I was lucky enough to capture on camera.  Trips to Gillies Lake beach, reading, doing yoga, playing softball, spending quality time with my hubby and kids, and following the Toronto Blue Jays on TV have also been a big part of my summer!  And the fun’s not over yet because this weekend coming is the one I’ve been waiting for all summer! Stay tuned to hear all about it…. Let’s just say, right now I’m more excited than a kid on Christmas morning!!!

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer too!



Brand New World: Rainy Summer Days

rainy day2

(Note:  This post was written earlier this week on a lovely rainy day.)

There is something comforting about a rainy day in summer.  Today is one of those days, and although I am at work, I’d like to be in my (imaginary) cottage somewhere curled up by a window or on a covered porch, with a soft blanket, a hot cup of coffee, and a good book.  As much as I love the sun (not to mention the amazing things it does to improve my mood), rainy summer days are refreshing – a nice break from the sweltering heat and the bright glare of the sun.

Whether it’s the sound of the rain as it patters against the windows, or the cool breeze that often accompanies- there’s something enjoyable about rain in the summer. I love seeing the fresh, wet drops on the plants in my garden, and the way everything look so sparkly and clean after a good rainfall.  And when the rain is over, and the sun peaks through the clouds again, there’s always such a feeling of joy, as if the whole world is brand new.


rainy day3


I think back fondly on many rainy camping trips from my youth.  Mom would check the weather forecast constantly as a camping trip approached and we’d celebrate if it predicted sun and groan if it said rain.  But now, looking back, the rain always gave our camping trips a sense of adventure and intimacy.  First, we’d have to find ways to shelter our tents and other equipment – setting up tarp, after tarp – Dad climbing trees to attach a rope that would give the perfect angle so the rain would fall away from camp instead of into it. Then we’d find shelter and all crowd together – usually at a picnic table inside someone’s dining tent or under the awning of someone’s camper.  We’d all sit squeezed in together, dressed in raincoats and smelling of campfire, and play endless games of cards while waiting out the rain.  On one particular occasion, on a group camping trip that involved about forty of us – we moved several picnic tables together and covered it with one of those perfectly angled tarps.  This created a “home base” for our group camping site – everyone cooked, ate, played games, read, did crafts, and just visited together all within close proximity to each other.  It was comforting and cozy to be so close to all your loved ones. When you were ready to brave the rain, you’d run across the site to your tent, where you’d lay on a damp sleeping bag and pillow, listening to the droplets of rain against the nylon of the tent, and feeling the thickness of the humidity in the air.   At the time we may have dreaded the rain, but now I remember those times with a new sense of appreciation.

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Another thing about rain in the summertime, is the thrill of a good thunderstorm.  Whether you’re driving down a country road and can see the wind blowing the dust, and the thick dark clouds rolling in – or you’re in the comfort of your home watching in anticipation out the window –  the sense of adventure that hangs in the air can make one both uneasy and excited. As the clouds accumulate and eventually create a curtain of darkness, and the first few raindrops begin to fall – as the winds pick up and blow the curtains and you run around the house closing windows, trying to beat the storm.  Then suddenly the clouds let go and the rain pours down, pounding against the pavement.  The sky shudders as the thunder crashes and a lightning bolt somewhere far off in the distance flashes.  It’s intriguing to sit and watch a thunderstorm (provided of course that you’re somewhere safe).  It’s awesome and wonderful to see what nature can do – how angry and ferocious it can get – only to settle so suddenly and leave a sense of peace, clarity, and newness all over.

So although I still prefer a sunny, warm day spent outside, I can certainly appreciate a good summer rainfall.  And while I am at work today and not on a porch somewhere sipping coffee, I will take a moment  to look out my window and enjoy the fresh, new feeling the rain gives to the world.

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Cottage Dreams

cottage6Growing up in a small town, I dreamed of urban living.  The bigger the city the better, and I wanted to get there as fast as possible.  I wanted the hustle and bustle, the amenities, the skyline, the endless possibilities.  While I did go to university in a fairly large city, I ended up settling in a smaller northern city where I currently live.  Not only do I love it because it’s close to my hometown (which allows me to visit family often), but now that I am older, I cherish the simplicity of life away from the “big city”.  And lately I am realizing that the older I get, the more appreciation I have for living in the north surrounded by nature.

In fact, lately I am actually experiencing an unusual craving for nature. I say unusual because I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly outdoorsy person.  I enjoy camping – but only in provincial parks with flush toilets and lots of other fellow campers nearby.  I don’t swim often but when I do, I prefer pools over lakes.  I like to go for walks, but never in the woods alone since one can never be sure what’s lurking out there.  I’ve promised myself for three years straight that I am going to learn to kayak, but I’ve still never set foot near one.  Often as I’m driving our local highways, I take everything for granted and forget to enjoy the beauty of our northern rivers, lakes, trees, and fields.

But not lately.


Lately I can’t get enough of the glory of the nature that surrounds me.  I am fortunate enough that my hour commute to work is down a secondary highway lined with beautiful evergreens and dotted with lakes and rivers.  The scenery is often breath-taking, especially in the fall when the leaves change colour or when the sun is at just the right angle so the water on the lake glistens and sparkles.  Even in the winter, when the sun is setting through the long, bare branches of the trees, I appreciate the beauty.

As I am getting older, I am discovering a new appreciation for the outdoors and I am pretty sure I know why. I’m at a time in my life where the days, weeks, months, and years seem to be speeding by. My step-kids are teenagers, my career is finally becoming established, my parents are nearing retirement. While life is hurrying along, I am trying desperately to slow things down.  To learn to relax.  To live each day to its fullest.  To find peace and serenity.  So I am not sure if it’s the actual wilderness I am craving, as much as it is everything it has to offer.

The peace and tranquility.

The quiet and calm.

The serenity and beauty.

The simplicity and relaxation.

The easy, relaxed, slow way of life that happens in the country and that allows one the opportunity to look around and truly treasure the moment they’re in.cottage7

Along with this newfound love of nature, comes my ever increasing desire for a lakefront property – either a cottage or even a home – somewhere peaceful, quiet, and simple. Somewhere where I can look out the window and have a spectacular view of one of our beautiful northern lakes.  Somewhere with a screened in porch for summer evenings and a huge deck for barbeques and family gatherings.  Somewhere where I can sit outside in the sun, drinking coffee, and reading books.  Somewhere where I can hear the loons calling on the lake in the morning, and the crickets and frogs singing at night.  Somewhere secluded and private – away from the hustle and bustles and stresses of life – surrounded by beautiful greenery, and lots and lots of trees.   Surrounded by nature – and everything it has to offer.

Check out some more of my cottage inspiration inspired by my Pinterest board “Cottage Love”.














Why I Write

pretty flowersTonight I am not sure what I want to write about or even how to start.  I have a thousand words in my mind, but at the same time I am lost for words. Tonight I am rambling. Thinking. Writing.

Some of you may be wondering what’s the point of writing a post if there’s nothing really to write about ?  And believe me, I asked myself the same question. I considered a myriad of topics and urged each one of them to take the shape of words in my mind.  I considered writing my response to the school dress code issue that was all over the news tonight – I considered writing about my dreams of one day owning a cottage (inspired by my current favourite Pinterest board, aptly named “Cottage Love”) – I considered telling you about an interesting poll a colleague of mine did today that showed half of her primary students show up to school hungry and tired – and while I will still likely write future posts on any or all of these topics, instead I choose to ramble.

So why?

Because I need to. As ironic as it may seem for a writer to be lost for words, I am not exactly sure how to explain the feeling that overcomes me – the urgent need and desire to write.  To be creative.  To express myself.  My laptop beckons me from it’s place in our living room and taunts me.  Write, write, write it calls.  And I want to. But what can I write about?  Who am I writing to?  For which purpose am I writing?  To simply do something I enjoy? Or to attract a variety of readers and entice more people to follow my blog? And what if it’s not good enough?  Not poetic enough?  What if my word choice is not strong enough?

So many times I have written and erased, written and erased.  I read over my own work – sometimes as I go, sometimes at the end.  Erase. Tweak. Edit. Revise.  That could be said better.  This is not what I meant.  This is a stronger word.  Copy and paste.  Cut. Delete.  Chop, chop, chop and arrange. Are all writers this judgemental of their own work?calm

When I was a child, I loved to write stories.  Make-believe, fictional stories that I spent hours writing.  While the words poured out of me and my pencil furiously scribbled them on paper, I delighted in my story.  I was proud of my words.  Excited.  Eager to share the ideas forming in my mind. After, my teachers and parents would praise me and tell me how good my writing was but by then I always doubted it. I’d always question it. I was my own worst critic. I’d re-read it and find phrases I didn’t like, doubt my plot, question if my vocabulary was right.

Even now when I write blog posts, the words come pouring out of me like blood gushing out of a deep wound. My husband says I type so fast that my keyboard is going to catch fire. But I am trying to keep up.  In my mind, the next sentence is forming in my mind, as I am writing the former.  Sometimes my fingers can’t find the keys fast enough.

I remember when I was a kid our teacher would always make us write a “plan” before we were allowed to write a story.  I hated the “plan”.  The ideas were already taking shape in my mind, the characters were speaking to me, and the setting was painting a picture.  I wanted to write it down as fast as I could.  I wanted to get my ideas on paper before they were gone.  But my teacher insisted that I had to do the “plan”.  I will never make my students write a “plan” if they don’t need one.writing

Even this very blog was born out of my need/desire to write.  I had this urge to be creative (as I often do).  I’m not a painter, I don’t do crafts or play a musical instrument, and although I tried scrapbooking, it was never my thing.  What’s my art?  I am a writer.  To be a writer, is simply to write.  I am not professional.  I am not published (not recently anyway).  I don’t write books.  But I can write.  I can take my inspirations and experiences and put them into words that form a piece of writing.

More importantly, by writing I can quiet my mind.  I can take all the thoughts that swirl in my mind all day – that exhaust me, overwhelm me, and consume me, and release them.  I let go of the words and  I find quiet, calmness, and peace. I find honesty, curiosity, creativity, self-doubt.  I find joy, pride, courage, and uncertainty.

But most of all, when I write, I find myself.