Tag Archives: happiness

In Praise of Fathers

Father Holding Daughter's HandHere’s to all of the men out there
who have spent most of their adult days
providing for their children,

financially, emotionally and as role models,
so that they can grow up
feeling loved and important.

We are very grateful.

Happy Father’s Day!!

…Thanks Dad!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/spirit-fire/4739023417/”>Spirit-Fire</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Tree, The Apple, The Distance

medium_3174097944As a parent, as all parents, I have tried to instill my values in my children. 

I have spoken to them countless times about the environment and our part in protecting it.

About good nutrition, although I admit, I am not the best role model at the moment – chocolate, yum! – potato chips, equally yum!

About smoking and drugs and the dangers to their health.

About how to treat people with equality and kindness.

And I have tried to model those values on a daily basis.

So, I am proud to report that my eldest apple has not fallen far from the tree.

A budding journalist, for her first-ever post as Postscript Editor of her university paper, she chose to write about…Positivity.

I couldn’t be more proud.

Please take a moment to read her take on positivity in the wake of misfortune or tragedy.  here

And thanks to the trees from which I too have not fallen far,
for most of my values are theirs.

When have you noticed or experienced a positive outcome after a negative event? Please share it below.

photo credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gemella/3174097944/”>LaGemella</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Quotes That Make You Go Hmmm…

“Live Simply
So That Others
May Simply Live”

I love this quote for a number of reasons.

I first saw it the other day when I was driving around town, spray painted in black on a white background – striking, simple and poignant.

The object that had been painted white?  A street-side concrete garbage container.

The garbage container was located outside a high school.

Youth activism in today’s text message world.   Perfect.

Who is the author of this quote?

A quick Google search attributed it to both Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

I didn’t feel the need to search further, to suss-out just who was the definitive author. Either is fine by me.

Striking, simple, poignant.

What was your reaction when you first read this quote?

What Would We Be Without Our Mothers?

In celebration of mothers everywhere,
I am proud to post this gorgeous photograph
courtesy of Spanish photographer, Alberto Mateo.

Happy Mother’s Day,

to my mom and every mom.
Thank you.

Alberto Mateo

Baby at the back of a Hmong woman dressed with traditional clothes, Bac Ha Sunday market, Bac Ha Town, Lao Cai district, mountains of Vietnam

Photo credit:
PHOTOGRAPHY – Alberto Mateo
The Last Footprint
Mobile: +34 661 530 598
e: info@albertomateo.com w: www.albertomateo.com – www.thelastfootprint.com

9 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dad

I remember my Dad teaching me how to dive.medium_4784719807

He would stand in the pool while I stood on the side, toes wrapped over the edge.

He would hold out his arm at the height of my thighs and say, “Just lean over my arm and fall in.”

I would stand there, arms straight up over my head, hands clasped tightly, knees knocked together and slightly bent, toes gripping tightly to the side and I would lean over and take deep breath after deep breath, almost hyperventilating, staring into the depths below.

I’d lean over a bit further, gasp some more then straighten up and say, “I can’t.”

He’d reassure me and I’d go through the whole process again, and again, and again, until one day I tipped so far forward that I fell in.

Not only did I survive, I discovered it was fun!  So I scrambled back out, anxious to do it over and over.

I’ve come to see that this was not a one-time occurrence.  This is my pattern.

Whenever I want to try something new, I read about it, observe others, watch videos, dream about it, discuss it, take deep breaths, take classes, read some more, dip my toe in, quickly pull it back, take more deep breaths, repeat all of the above (more than once) then finally gain the courage to dive in head first.

And I have never been sorry.

9 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dad

  1. No matter how many deep breaths you take before you jump, it’s the last breath that keeps you from drowning.  So stop hyperventilating, take one really big breath and dive in.
  2. If you lack the courage, prepare as best you can then lean far enough forward so that your momentum will take you the final step.
  3. Avoid shallow water, that’s for waders, not serious divers.
  4. You will survive (provided you’ve applied step #3).
  5. It will get easier each time you do it.
  6. This is a mental sport and you are your only opponent.
  7. Soon you will want to try from a new height, until that becomes easy.
  8. You will be glad you did it.
  9. You will wonder why you were ever afraid.

Thanks Dad!

Share below when you struggled with the courage to try something and how it turned out. 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kicks01/4784719807/”>Greg L. photos</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
 

Bright-Side of the Web: The Power of Introverts

Writers, and creative people in general, have a common trait; they tend to be introverts.

Yet western society extols the extrovert, encouraging the ‘quiet’ ones to speak up, partake in group activities, join Toastmasters and put themselves out there.

Susan Cain, an introvert herself, makes a case for the opposite.

In this Bright-Side of the Web, join Susan as she describes The Power of Introverts.

And on behalf of all of us introverts, thanks Susan.  Someone had to spread this message.  I’m just glad it wasn’t me!

video credit: http://www.ted.com

It’s Spring! It’s Spring!

If you are like me, you go through winter with your head down trudging through small_6788912089the bitter short days wishing for the snow to melt, longing to catch your first glimpse of spring growth – snowdrops and crocus pushing through the frozen ground – finally to be awoken one morning by a sound, both familiar and not.

Is it the Cardinal that resides in the cedar hedges year round?

It could be, or is it?

Emerging from your slumber, you hear it again. You know the call but when did you hear it last? You pause for one more reminder.

It calls again.

Your memory clears. Could it be?

You rush to the window to search for the source.

He sings, it seems just for you and you spot him – your first Robin of the season!

Excitement and relief are one as you exhale and welcome the coming of Spring; not by the date on the calendar but by nature’s on-going rhythm.

Spring has arrived once again with its promise of warmer days, longer afternoons, light rains, and spring blossoms.

Announcing its arrival are the migratory birds’ sweet songs.  Each distinctive by species but all with the same message:

“It’s Spring! It’s Spring! I’ve arrived to spend the summer with you!”

But there is nothing like the sound of a Robin: The Heralder of Spring.

As spring turns to summer, the Robin’s cheery song weaves its way into your day small_4325617159and uplifts your spirit almost un-noticed.  From first morning light when they gently draw you from your dreams to dusk when they are settling in for the night, they provide a soothing melody accompanied by the crescendo of rustling leaves on a breeze.

Some birds have squawks that immediately draw your attention, and being awakened by one can set your day off with annoyance.  Others, in a panicked scream for aid, call attention to an unwanted visitor to the yard.

But there is something about the Robin that I have always found soothing and special.

Perhaps it is because they are a seasonal inhabitant to my neck-of-the-woods.  As one of the first migratory visitors, they signify an end to long cold dark days with the promise of Spring’s inevitable arrival.

Soon the buds will appear on branches, the first shoots will push through the barren soil and life will replace the slumbering landscape.

They are a welcome friend whose absence I don’t realize I have missed until once more I hear its song.

I am both envious and sorrowful for those who experience the Robin as a year-round resident: envious of the daily pleasure of its sweet aria yet sorrowful that without its absence perhaps it is under-appreciated.

The excitement I feel each Spring is innate and childlike.  I am anxious to watch for all the ‘firsts’ – the first lady bug, the first bumble bee, the worms that emerge with the rains.

My family each marks a day on the calendar when we guess the first hummingbird will come to our feeder. We anxiously await his arrival and record it boldly when he does.

But it is the spotting of the first Robin, whether by the sight of its destinctive red breast or the recollection of its cheery chirp,  that truly signals Spring’s arrival.

Open the window to your world and listen for the sounds that you perhaps take for granted – the wind, the rain, the laughter of young children…

Appreciate the feelings of joy as their songs add to the soundtrack of your life.

Share below the sounds that enhance your life’s soundtrack.

Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwnhwF9_x2Y
Photo credits:
crocus: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/puzzler4879/6788912089/”>Puzzler4879</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Robin:photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/goellnitz/4325617159/”>thelearnedfoot_</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

A Super Sweet Award!

I was never involved in organized sports as a child so I haven’t had much super-sweet-blogging-awardexperience with awards but since beginning this blog almost seven months ago; a soul-sharing leap into the vast expanse of cyber-space wondering if anyone would find it much less read it or like it, I have been honoured with two and now three Reader Appreciation Awards.

I am understandably thrilled, excited, grateful and humbled that my words have 1. been found,  2. been found interesting enough that people have chosen to follow me, and 3. been found worthy of being honoured as a reader’s  favourite.

Thank you to LifeBeam for this most recent Super Sweet Blogging Award. LifeBeam’s is a kindred blog; combining her photography with inspirational messages. If you haven’t visited her site yet, it is a definite destination for all things uplifting.

The Super Sweet Blogging Award comes with a few tasty strings attached.

  1. Give credit to the person who chooses to nominate you.
  2.  Answer the “Super Sweet” questions
  3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen”

Here are my answers to the Super Sweet questions:

  1. Cookies or cake?   Hmmm, that’s a tough one.  Whichever is in front of me.  
  2. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.  Next question?
  3. What is your favorite sweet treat, cheesecake or frozen yoghurt? I’m reading this as three choices: sweet treat; cheesecake; frozen yoghurt…so I’ll go with Chocolate – Lindt’s 70% Dark Chocolate pieces. They come in individually wrapped small squares.  Just the right size to put an exclamation mark at the end of dinner – every dinner (or lunch, and sometimes a mid-day treat.  Ok, I’ll admit, mid-morning works too.) 
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Always need something sweet after lunch or dinner. (This was LifeBeam’s answer and I agree wholeheartedly!)
  5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? Sugar

My Baker’s Dozen in no particular order.  These bloggers add to the richness of life and I enjoy savouring their posts.

  1. Discussion of pop culture, literature and architecture:
    http://architecturedance.wordpress.com/
  2. Exploring the bookshops of England:
    http://matildaproject.wordpress.com/
  3. Gorgeous photography of Tracie Louise:
    http://tracielouisephotography.net/
  4. An act of kindness everyday for 365 days:
    http://thepledgeofkindness.com/
  5. Like Hipsters, but Happier:
    http://happsters.com/
  6. Top 10 lists of anything and everything:
    http://theverybesttop10.com/
  7. Living the Dream:
    http://gallivance.net/
  8. Stunning photography of Alberto Mateo:
    http://thelastfootprint.com/en/
  9. Bloggers for Peace:
    http://everydaygurus.com/
  10. More gorgeous photography, this time by Patrick Latter:
    http://hikingphoto.com/
  11. I’m breaking the rules a bit with this one; think of it as a sweet treat.  This is a website of a very dear friend of the family who is doing terrific work in India:
    http://www.tigertigerburningbright.com/
  12. Thoughtful, beautiful writing:
    http://iheartchange.wordpress.com/
  13. Literary Landmarks:
    http://noveldestinations.wordpress.com/

Thank you again to LifeBeam for honouring me with this award.  It means more than you can know.

And thank you to those who have chosen to follow me over the past seven months.  To me, each click of the ‘follow’ button is a win in my books.

3 Ways To Reach Your Highest Goals!

medium_6156635313-1I’ve never been much for setting ‘official’ goals.  Sure, I’d like to lose 20 pounds, make lots of money and travel to exotic locales but I’ve never put a good solid plan in place to make them a reality.

I sporadically try this or that and can make goals last for a while.  I get all hyped-up and talk a good talk but I almost always let things gradually die out; a slow fizzle.

This is why, truthfully, I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  Why bother?  

Sometimes things I intend to accomplish never even get off the ground.

Why is that?

Does it happen to you too?

I’ve been learning a lot over the past year.  I’ve been studying different methods to become successful.  I’ve been reading and attending ‘no-fail’ webinars for tips and inspiration.  And the one common message is:

You Have To Set Goals.  

Ugh!

In order to achieve > the weight loss > the higher income > the dream vacation > you have to do something focussed and concrete to set you on the path to your desire.

You Have To Plan The Steps.

Ugh!

Ok, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So here are the questions I asked myself…

What do you REALLY want?

Why do you really want it?

How will you feel when you get it?

What difference will it make in your life when you achieve it?

Once you have the answer to those questions, then the real work begins.

Here is the ultimate, time-honoured, tested & proven-by-successful-people question to ask yourself now:

What steps do you need to take to get there?

Method #1

One method I learned about is the SMART method.

  • Specific – How exactly will you do it? Ask: Who, What, When, Where & Why questions.
  • Measurable – How will you know if you get there? How many pounds/wk, clients/month?
  • Attainable – Be practical and prioritize.
  • Realistic – Consider your available time and skills. Can you make adjustments to allow for success?
  • Time-bound – Break it down into manageable pieces: daily/weekly/monthly/annually

The SMART format discusses looking at all areas of your life:

  • Personal
  • Spiritual
  • Family
  • Mental/Education
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Work
  • Social

Do each of the SMART goals for each area.

Prioritize and Begin

Baby steps can gain ground quickly and allow for multiple celebrations along the way, keeping you inspired.  They also allow you to make adjustments to areas that aren’t working as well as you thought they would, leading to further and faster success!

Method #2

Another method that can kick-start achievement is a 30-Day Challenge.  For 30 days, challenge yourself to do just one goal.  For me it was daily yoga and forgoing bread. (How do you think I fared? Find out here and here)

30-Day Challenges can be a great way to begin a habit, knock something off your bucket list, or cross something off the “I’ll Get To It One Day” list.

Method #3 

The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Faith in the Universe, whatever you want to call it, I believe it works.

You project your positive affirmations to the universe and if they are heartfelt and sincere, they will somehow present themselves to you; but that’s not all there is to it.

You can’t stop there!

Just wishing and hoping that something will happen is not enough.  You have to take steps toward making it happen.

You can’t just say “I want my dream job” then sit on the couch flicking channels.  You have to job hunt, improve your education, network, do what it takes to get there: see Method #1.

And if you are open to the signs, things will begin to present themselves to you in perhaps unexpected ways.  You may not get the ultimate dream job right away but could this job be a step toward that dream? How can you make it happen?

Tip: Be specific!

The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” applies heavily with this method.

Another one: “Like Breeds Like” is especially true here so BE POSITIVE! If  you say “I want to live in Paris and own a patisserie” but in the back of your mind you are saying “Ya, right. Like that will ever happen!”, well guess what will actually happen?

Have I tried any of these methods?

Yup.  I challenged myself to set a New Year’s Resolution: to begin making sincere heartfelt, SMART goals. And I have been working hard to set the wheels in motion.

Does any of this stuff actually work?

You bet your sweet patootie it does!

I’m always amazed at how Method #3 presents itself. (I’ve actually been doing this method for a long time with simple things like “When I get to the store there will be a parking spot right out front” – it sounds silly but you’d be surprised how often that one works!)

For instance, last month I projected that I would get two new writing clients and Tada!; the second one arrived on the afternoon of the last day of the month! But neither of those clients would have appeared if I hadn’t deployed Method #1.

And we’ve all had the experience of thinking of someone and then they call or you run into them the next day.

Sometimes goals or events attained by method #3 are only apparent in hindsight and sometimes they’re standing right in front of you waiting for you to shake their hand.

As for Method #2: it’s the beginning of a new month; the perfect time to begin a 30-Day Challenge.  For me, another 30 days of SMART goals and positive affirmations.

The bottom line: Whatever your goal is…

Own It!

Believe In It! 

Proclaim It! 

Plan It!

ACT On It! 

Celebrate the Milestones!

Repeat! REPEAT! REPEAT!

Do you set goals?  What method do you use and does it work?

photo credit:  <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/venosdale/6156635313/”>Krissy.Venosdale</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

What does “Peace” mean to you?

I believe in the power of positive thinking.  The Secret.  The Law of Attraction. Whatever you want to call it; what you put out to the universe comes back.

“What you think, you become.” Buddha.

Your thoughts; positive or negative, good or bad, productive or un, give things the power to come to fruition in your life.

That is why I read with great interest a recent post about another blogger’s initiative, a rally call really, for like-minded bloggers to join together and blog for a cause.

forpeace6

Bloggers For Peace.  

#B4Peace

My mind began to wander.

What would happen if many people began to shift their thoughts for this one cause?

Peace.  

Imagine…

There is proof that our hearts emit electro-magnetic waves that can join and be felt around the globe.

Imagine the effect of thousands of people writing about peace and thousands more reading about peace, daily.

Discussions, comments and sharing take place and our electro-magnet waves begin to unite.

This was a movement for which I wanted to be a part.

But I needed to noodle on it for a bit.  What would be my role?  What could I throw in to contribute to the ripple?

So I asked:

What does “Peace” mean to me?

For some, peace means an end to war – in their country, in their streets, in their homes.

For some, peace means freedom from restrictions – slavery, religious persecution, child labour, oppression.

For some, peace means not having to worry about whether their children will eat each day.

Peace is all of those things and more.

What also came to mind was that
peace, if achieved, cannot last without environmental protection.

How long can we survive at the rate of environmental decline currently in existence today – with or without peace?

Therefore, for my contribution to Bloggers For Peace, I have chosen this month to highlight a problem for which we can all contribute toward the solution (since we’ve likely unknowingly contributed to the problem).

The North Pacific Tropical Gyre, a.k.a. The Garbage Patch

Watch, Learn, Absorb, then adopt

 The New 3-R’s: Rethink, Refuse, Reconsider

and the 4th ‘R’

REACT!

According to the National Geographic link below, “Because the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so far from any country’s coastline, no nation will take responsibility or provide the funding to clean it up.”

Find out more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

More about Bloggers For Peace:
http://everydaygurus.com/2012/12/20/we-can-make-a-difference-right-here-right-now/
Another Blogger for Peace:
http://tracielouisephotography.net/2013/02/08/blogging-for-peace/

video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUjTHB1lvM&feature=player_embedded

Below, share your reaction to this video.
And share what ‘Peace’ means to you.