Monthly Archives: October 2012

Quotes That Make You Go Hmmm…

Kind words can be short
and easy to speak,
but their echoes
are truly endless.

Mother Teresa

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A Major Award!

That’s the way I feel about it anyway!

I signed on to my computer Sunday morning and the first message I opened was from a lovely young woman with a spirit that exceeds her physical being. I met her in cyber-space only a short time ago. She is on a journey toward positivity and she is well on her way achieving her goal.

We have exchanged comments, exchanged ‘likes’ and she has graced me with the honour of following my blog. As a new blogger, this is something very special. I don’t know how she found me but I am glad we have met.

I eagerly opened her message to see which of my posts she liked and what her comment would be. I value her feedback – always positive and encouraging.

To my surprise, shock and sheer delight, the message read: “Just nominated you for an award peach!”.  Really? Me? Wow! How nice! …what’s an award peach??

I followed her instructions to check out her post for more details. It turned out that she had been nominated for a Liebster Award and part of her requirements were that she nominate eleven other bloggers whose followings are under 200 and to whom she is to then pose eleven questions.

I was thrilled to be one her chosen group. I have only been blogging for six weeks so for her to think that I am worthy of such a nomination is humbling. And upon further investigation, I realized that she wasn’t nominating me for a peach award but instead for a Liebster Award too!

A Liebster (German for ‘dearest’ or ‘favourite’) Award is a blogger-to-blogger award. A chain letter of sorts. One blogger receives the award and then nominates their favourite bloggers. There is no actual winner among the nominees, which was what I had first assumed but rather the ‘being nominated’ was equivalent to receiving the award.  She had chosen my blog as one of her favourites!

A search for the rules that accompany the award have turned up various findings. It seems the blogs must have less than 200 followers (although some posts say 3,000). Some rules say you should nominate eleven other blogs and some claim only five.  Some say that you need to provide eleven details previously unknown about yourself then answer eleven questions posed by the nominator, while others say five details and five questions and some say no such thing.  Since there seem to be no hard-and-fast rules, I will do a combination.

I will answer the eleven thought-provoking questions posed to me.

I choose not to give out random facts about myself. Instead I choose to retain some privacy since the answers to these questions and my postings will likely reveal more about me that I realize anyway.

I will nominate four of the blogs that I am currently following. I would nominate all seven but three already exceed the ‘number of followers’ stipulations. (Some of these four may too but I couldn’t see their numbers so I’m nominating them anyway). Again, as a newcomer to this venue, I have not explored its depths. I follow and select those whose messages I feel support my philosophy and I am sure with time, my list will grow.  To my four nominees, I will pose seven questions – because that’s all I can think of.

So, to my new friend, a special and heart-felt thank you for your nomination and thoughtfulness.  Here are the answers to your questions:

If you could go one place right now, where would you go?

That’s easy and hard at the same time. The easy answer is Europe – anywhere in Europe. The hard part is, where specifically in Europe? Sometimes I imagine going to the airport with my passport, a small suitcase packed with clothes that I can layer depending on the weather and a credit card (with money in the bank to cover the charges). I would then walk up to the international departures board and buy a ticket for next European destination – my starting point from where I will branch out and explore. 

What is your favourite thing to do to relax?

Watch romantic comedies with a bowl of popcorn or potato chips.

What is your favourite flower?

Hmmm…tricky. There are so many to choose from. I love purple flowers. In the spring, it’s lilacs but then again seeing the tulips pop up seems rejuvenating.  In summer, phlox is lovely. In the autumn, I’m drawn to airy asters and deep dark purple mums.  To purchase a bouquet, I tend toward alstroemeria but gerbera daisy are quite attractive too. 

What do you most like to do whilst with friends?

That’s easy; meet for tea and a bite to eat so we can catch-up and chat about the events in our lives. I treasure those times.

When listening to music, which track do you have on repeat right now?

I don’t often sit and listen to music and having music on while I’m working can be a distraction for me especially if it is music with lyrics. Having said that though, if I choose to listen to music while I’m working, I sign on to and listen to the Smooth Jazz feed. I find it uplifting; it has a beat that keeps me motivated and it is instrumental. On the occasion that I put on a CD while I’m doing something, I often reach for Jamie Cullum, Michael Bublé, John Mayer or Diana Krall.   

What does writing do for you?

Writing is a creative outlet for me. I am finding that writing this blog has helped me develop my voice. I am taking the time to explore ideas that I have been noodling with for quite a while. It is giving me confidence in my abilities as a writer. 

How does blogging help you?

I have partially answered this with the previous question so I’ll expand here. My hope when starting my blog was that I could provide a place where people could go and be assured of reading something positive – a contrast to much of the media that swarms around us on a daily basis. A place that would encourage self-reflection and perhaps spark changes for the betterment of our world. Grand goals, especially not knowing how this blogging stuff all worked. 

I am fairly new to blogging and I have been surprised at how excited I am about the process. Getting responses and follows from people who I have never met is uplifting. I am encouraged when I look at my stats page and see from where in the world people are linking in with me. I find that fascinating. It is giving me hope that there are others out there who, like me, believe that we need to be projecting positivity.  

Writing about positivity and having people like what I write is actually making me even more positive so you can imagine how I felt to be added to this list of nominees!

If you could be an animal, what would you be?

Very interesting question.  The first thing that came to mind was a monkey, then a dog but I think (and I’ve never really thought about this question before and may come up with a better answer later) I would like to be a dolphin. They are intelligent creatures, fun, playful, and seemingly free and I could spend my days swimming and traveling long distances. One of my bucket list items is to swim with dolphins.  

What was the first thing you did when you got up this morning?

After the routine hygiene stuff, I went downstairs, popped in a dvd and followed Rodney Yee as he guided me through a yoga routine. I’m half-way through my 30-day challenge, and loving it!

George Clooney, Gerard Butler or Johnny Depp?

Haha! Wow, you really ask some tough questions… Hmmm, George Clooney, Gerard Butler, George Clooney, Gerard Butler…I would have to say Gerard Butler solely based on his character in P.S. I Love You. I don’t know if he is anything like that in real life but I’ll take the movie character version. 

 Thank you again for nominating me. This has been a lot of fun. Love and Happiness to you!

And now for my four nominees:

For the Liebster Award, I nominate the following inspiring bloggers:

To my nominees, here are the seven questions that I would like you to answer:

1. To where have you traveled that you would like to return?
2. Where or when are you the most happy?
3. What is your favourite quote?
4. What advice would you give yourself if you could go back ten years?
5. Who inspires you?
6. What is your favourite indulgence?
7. Name one thing that you learned last week.

Please take the time to visit the other bloggers and websites that I am following. I think you will agree, they are all Positively inspiring!

 Photo credits:
leg lamp:
Liebster logo:

Positive Ponderings: Desert Island

Have you ever heard people talk about their “desert island songs”?

Their favourite must-have can’t-live-without top ten songs that they would have to have on their iPod should they (apparently knowingly) ever get stranded on a desert island. (That is before they desperately try to escape. Read Oct. 2nd’s post “How To Determine Your Friends’ Worth“.)

What about your “desert island food”?  What would that be?

With which two, three, four or five friends would you choose to be stranded?

How about this: if your ‘desert island’ could be anywhere in the world (not necessarily an actual surrounded-by-water island, but a village, town, neighbourhood, coffee shop, whatever),
where would you like to be stranded – alone?

For how long?


30-Day Challenge – Day 15!
We are half way through our 30-day challenge!
So far, I am happy to say that I have not missed a day of yoga.  It almost feels like it is becoming a routine. This morning I woke up and thought ‘Once I’ve done my yoga I’ll do…’ instead of ‘Oh ya, I have to do yoga first.’  That’s progress!

15 days to go.
Two weeks and one day.
Five sets of three days.
Three sets of five days. 

How are you doing? Have you been able to stick with it?
You can do it! I know you can! 




photo credit:

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2012 Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide.
I had to share this blog post with you from “I Heart Change”. It is the first time that I have seen this Holiday Shopping Guide and I think it is definitely a positive thing. Check it out!

I Heart Change



It’s Here! My favorite project of the year!

The 2012 Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide helps you give back with your holiday purchases. Each gift you buy from one of these great businesses, goes back to supporting and empowering communities.

Have a click through! Share it! And vote for a better, more wonderful future for people all over the world.

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Bright-Side of the Web: Famous Failures

Have you ever given up
on something?

Watch this, then try again.

Is Striving For Perfection Good or Bad?

We are taught in school that getting a perfect mark on a test means that you are the best. So we read and study and rewrite our notes, make practice tests and study some more in the hope that we will achieve 100%. The Oscars of 5th grade. Any grade. Every grade.

In sports, scores count. Even in games with young kids where coaches are not keeping score, the kids are. There is only one winner. Even if you get second place out of hundreds of participants, it isn’t first.

The Primo. Numero Uno.

No-one remembers the person who broke the Olympic record – a feat to be celebrated and shouted from roof-tops – if the guy point-gazillion seconds in front of him just broke the World Record; he gets all the glory. Sure, the other one gets a silver medal, and even third place is rewarded but there was only one ‘winner’.

So is striving for perfection good or bad?

If there is only going to be one winner, should we put so much emphasis on trying?  

As Shawn Achor said in the video from my October 5th’s blog post: Bright-Side of the Web: Shawn Achor, if we teach to the average, how do you inspire achievement beyond that?

And what is perfection? Who determines the benchmark?

In individual sports, where athletes are racing against time, the benchmark will be who can complete the task the fastest. But with measurements coming down to multiple-split seconds, what if the deemed winner took off a multiple-split second ahead of the deemed second-place person? That, to me, seems too close to call. When you are that close, both are winners. Regardless, in those types of sports, you do get those individuals who truly are the best in the world – until that record too is broken.

But let’s go back to the classroom. Shawn Achor’s comment has really made go hmmm….

Children learn in different ways – visual, kinesthetic, auditory – and most teachers incorporate each method into their lessons to varying degrees.  So why do most schools test the majority of children using only one method – written? And why is it timed?

Does knowledge have a time limit? 

Some students panic under the pressure of time. If students were given unlimited (or at least extended) time to write a test, at some point they will have answered all of the questions that they could, as best they could and realize they were finished. I understand that schedules may not permit unlimited time for all tests, but many students with special learning needs are accommodated with such requirements, so why not offer it to all? Wouldn’t that truly test the child’s knowledge, not just how well he/she can think under pressure?

But let’s get back to the question at hand and look at perfection from both sides, beginning with the good:

Striving for perfection gives us a goal for which to reach.
There is a purpose for our endeavours.
We want to learn all we can about something.
Learn from our mistakes.
Be a better person.
Get stronger, faster.
Have the self-satisfaction that we have done our best.
Reach our own personal pinnacle.

But the dark-side of perfection can breed:
Self-loathing – never good enough
Comparisons to people with gifts with which we were not bestowed
Self-sabotage – why bother trying
Excuses not to try or finish – a pillar to hide behind

Perfection can be outright dangerous for some. Young girls striving, starving, to look like air-brushed models, who in their minds are perfect which equates to a perception of how they need to look in order to be popular and accepted, but due to genetics, body shape, lack of photo tricks, and the need for food for sustenance and overall health and development, will never look (in fact, not even the models look that way).

So, my conclusion, the one that sits right for me, is that perfection can be good or bad.

The value of perfection is dependent on your state of mind and in what regard you hold the meaning of perfection.

If perfection is wrapped in negativity and you hold it as some mark, either self-imposed or not, that you will never reach so why even bother trying, then it is certainly bad and you need to step back and re-examine its importance, or non-importance.

Or if perfection means that you are putting your health in danger to achieve the unattainable, that’s disdain-able.

However, if you use perfection as a point of reference that you set for yourself – a goal – to strive for betterment in your life; the pinnacle to which each step forward is carefully planned, and you are satisfied with the progress and don’t mind if you ever reach the summit, then perfection seems like a positive thing, and I’m all for that.

So, what say you? Is striving for perfection good or bad?  

Quotes That Make You Go Hmmm…

“When someone tells me “no,”

it doesn’t mean I can’t do it,

it simply means

I can’t do it with them.” 

Karen E. Quinones Miller

30-Day Challenge, Day 10

Nine days down, beginning day 10. Twenty more to go.

We are a third of the way there already!

My yoga challenge is going well.  I have been focusing on flexibility over strength building. My transitions from pose to pose are becoming more fluid. Each day my forehead gets ever-so-slightly closer to my knees but I am still far from being able to fold in half.  Yet seeing daily progress is keeping me motivated.

How’s your challenge going?

photo credit:

Positive Ponderings: Negatives to Positives

What is one thing that someone accused you of being that you know is not true?

You are lazy.

You are shallow. 

               You are boring. 

Turn it into a positive
that you know to be true.

I choose to spend my time doing things that I enjoy.

I have deep beliefs about what matters to me.
Perhaps they differ from your beliefs. 

 I am interested in different things than you.

What messages should you re-think?

5 Things To Be Thankful For, Everyday

In Canada, Thanksgiving is one of our national holidays, as it is in the United States, however, we celebrate it in October and they, in November.

Canadian Thanksgiving is in remembrance and celebration of the bountiful harvest that Canada’s First Nations Peoples shared with the European explorers who first discovered “the new world”.

I have always known the reason for the celebration but it was not until recent years, when people from other countries began to connect into my life, that I had put any thought into the fact that this is a North American holiday.  I mean, I always understood that the discovery of ‘the new world’ meant ‘North America’, but in my self-centered, only-think-about-what-affects-me youth, I hadn’t really thought about it.

A number of years ago, my parents’ friend from England visited with us over this holiday and she was quite excited to experience her first Thanksgiving. It was her visit that made me realize that this was something unique to Canadians (in October) and North Americans in general.

Two years ago we had an exchange student from France staying with us in October and it was to be his first experience with Thanksgiving as well.  These two occasions in particular really made me begin to wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else and not have this celebration; one which I have always taken for granted.

Autumn has always been my favourite time of year.  The weather is changing and the days are growing colder. The leaves on the trees are turning golden-yellow, crimson red and burnt orange and they crunch under your feet as they collect on the frost-kissed ground.

Thinking back, I remember Thanksgiving more for the feeling it produced than the actual day. You were settled into your school routine. The excitement of Halloween was just around the corner and every child was beginning to plan their costume.  But Thanksgiving meant a long weekend, a day off school, and a big family meal.

Another reason that I love the Fall is the food!  Autumn harvest means that all the root vegetables are available and local apples fill the markets.

Fresh local apples meant that our house would soon be filled with the smell of cinnamon and sugar mingling with the sweet aroma of baking apples; my mom would be making apple crisp – one of my favourite desserts, and one which we would only see at this time of year.  She also made the most delicious sweet potatoes imaginable sweetened with maple syrup.

If you are Canadian, the mere mention of maple syrup conjures up childhood memories of going to Sugar Shacks in the spring and watching the production of maple syrup – the tapping of the maple trees, the collecting and boiling of the clear sap in vast cauldrons reducing the sap down to a dark sticky syrup, then tasting the sweet creation on fresh pancakes.  There is nothing like it in the world. We are practically weaned on it. I cannot resist maple syrup in its many altered forms either – maple sugar, maple fudge and maple butter. Apparently this is an acquired taste since our French friend could barely swallow the fudge; the texture and sweetness overwhelming his taste buds.

I think the expression “sweet tooth” must have originated in Canada.

On Thanksgiving day, my mother would begin the feast preparations; the turkey, the sweet potatoes, the apple crisp; filling our house with a swirl of sweet and savoury aromas that had our mouths watering and us asking when dinner would be ready.

Finally the moment would arrive when we could take our places at the dining room table. Our family would join hands and each share what we were most thankful for – just kidding, that only happens in the movies – I think…  Anyway, even though our family did not do that, we were happy to be together and that we had a feast to enjoy.

Thanksgiving is not commercialized like other holidays. It does not revolve around gifts. It is simply about getting together with family and friends and making time for one another.

Thanksgiving reminds us to pause, and think, and appreciate the beautiful things in our lives… but you don’t need a national holiday for that.

So where-ever you are, stop and the smell the roses that are blooming in the garden of your life and appreciate the soil from which they have grown.

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Here are 5 things that I am thankful for, everyday:

       My family – who are always there to support and guide me, through the laughter we share and near-daily communications

My friends – the exact same can be said about them as my family, for they are my family, sisters from another mother.

My home – and by this I mean all-encompassing – my house, my town, my country, our place in this world.

My extended family – my ‘son’ from France – he touched our lives and I will think of him always. – our British friend – she has always been special to my parents and has grown special to us all,  – and by extension, each of their families.

My health – so far, so good, and I hope to keep up the trend.

These may be the standard things that we are all, or at least I hope many of us, thankful for. And I am thankful for these everyday, not just on the second Monday in October.

What are you most thankful for?

Photo credits: gourds:
Autumn colours: Carolin Grandin

Bright-Side of the Web: Shawn Achor

I am rounding off this week with a very humourous and enlightening TED Talk video from Shawn Achor.

Shawn is a psychologist who studies the relationship between potential, success and happiness.

In his talk, he discusses potential. How do we measure potential?

Potential in schools is measured by the average that a group of students perform then based on that finding, teachings are geared to the average learner. Shawn says:

“If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.” 

If we change our focus, our potential will change too.

Shawn also describes
5 exercises to create lasting happiness. 

Well, why don’t I stop rambling and let him it explain it for himself. Enjoy:

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work 

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30-Day Challenge – Day 5

So four days of yoga are under my belt. I’m still jerky and stiff but I am seeing small progress everyday.  Day 5, here I come. Only 25 to go. 

Don’t forget to continue through the weekend. Those days count too. 

How’s it going with you? Have you kept up with your challenge?

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