Monday, May 31, 2010

Da Big Apple

I don't take enough vacations! I came back late last night  feeling so much joy and happiness from spending a lovely holiday with good people. I have renewed motivation to move forward with a new direction in my life.

I realize even more today that we either create our lives or live passively and let circumstances and other people direct our lives. I might as well create the life I really want, rather than wallow around waiting for something to happen.

I love New York, what an amazing city! The people are so friendly and I felt safe. It's a city that never sleeps. We were out late every night, and so, it seemed, were everyone else. The subways are full at midnight. I enjoyed people watching, there are so many to watch!

I will definitely be going back.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Grand Adventure Begins

I'm off on a grand adventure to see Washington DC and New York City. I've never been before. My bags are packed and I'm ready to go.

 Don't know if or when I can post to my blog but if I get a chance I will as  there are many beautiful moments out there to enjoy.

Joy is all around us, we just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poetry in Reality

I am reading a book called "The Joy of Appreciative Living" by Jacqueline Kelm. I am only two chapters in but I am fascinated by her topic. This morning on page 23 I read this:
We can find whatever we want in any situation, and whatever we choose to notice is fateful. All is present in every moment, from love to fear, good to bad, beautiful to ugly, joy to sorrow. Whatever we focus on from the unbounded possibilities defines our experience. In this sense reality is like poetry; it can be written in any manner conceivable and is open to infinite interpretations.
I've been learning this for a while, but I still find it to be profound. To think that two or more people can experience the same event and perceive it in totally different manners, yet each person believes that their reality is the only correct one. It's a wonder we can communicate with anyone!

The more I focus on and look for the beautiful moments in my everyday life, the more I find them. I'm beginning to find it challenging to select just one thing to write about each night as my days are full of joyful little simple moments that lift my heart and carry me through the mundane and crappy things of life.

For today, I will select the scallops I ate for dinner at The Blue House Cafe. They were cooked in a coconut and caper sauce that had Deb and I swooning.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tea and Toast

I dropped by a friend's home unannounced this evening. I was in the neighbourhood and took a chance that she might be home. She was and was happy to see me.

I don't remember ever dropping by unannounced to anyone. We have to plan everything it seems.

She made me toast from her fresh loaf of homemade bread and smeared it with creamy honey. She also brewed me some vanilla and hazelnut tea.

It was simple and unplanned yet wonderful. My heart is warmed by the tea and more by the friendship.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Make Me Happy

It's interesting to figure out that you cannot make anyone else feel happy. Each person chooses their own interpretation of your actions and decides to be happy or not. Happiness is always a personal choice.

Understanding this allows you to do your best for others, and then let go and not be emotionally invested in whether or not they choose to be happy.

It also makes you realize that no one can make you happy or unhappy. No one can get inside your heart and push the happy button or the miserable button. It's pretty shocking to realize that if you are unhappy that you have chosen to feel that way.

There are bad things that happen to us and pretending they're not or ignoring them is called denial. I'm not advocating denial. I'm suggestion that we can accept that a situation is bad but also look for possibilities for change and growth, strengths to be gained and opportunities to reach out.

Our personal lives are created by our attitudes and choices. Change your thoughts and change your life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Mayflower Blooms

The Mayflower bloomed today. I was sitting on the deck at lunch time reading and finally the beautiful perfume registered in my brain. It's thick and heady and so fragrant.

It's so amazing how quickly it happens. Yesterday when I was out in the yard working, there was no perfume, no flowers blooming. Then poof, today they all open up and gift the world with their unique blessing.

It's amazing how each living thing is designed to fulfill the measure of its creation. It just goes about doing what its supposed to do. It doesn't get hung up about whether its perfect enough, or whether its big enough or beautiful enough. It blooms where its planted.

Oh to be like the Mayflower tree, content to bloom where I'm planted and to fulfill the measure of my creation.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I found an interesting quote today:

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.                                                       Henry David Thoreau.

I think about that a lot. That our conscious endeavors can actually change our life. Or perhaps our perception of life. Every single day stuff happens. It's not the great stuff I'm talking about, it's the annoying, frustrating stuff that everyone gets to deal with. I expect we all get about the same amount, equivalent to whatever our tolerance level is. Everyone's ability to cope is different. Things that you can handle easily might slay me, and vice versa.

However, it is our own attitude towards things that creates the life that we lead. Focus on the bad stuff and it becomes bigger and more important, until it takes over and becomes the center of our existence.

Focus on the good things and the same thing happens. Our perception of life becomes centered on what's good and lovely and right, and our ability to deal with the bad stuff increases. It becomes less important and less central to our everyday existence.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Today I drove to Golden, BC. It's a small mountain town about a 2 1/2 hour drive away on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. Of course, I had to drive through the majestic Rockies, they were as beautiful as always.

Golden's spring seems to be about a week ahead of ours. The tulips and daffodils were all blooming, the cherry trees in full blossom. As I returned to my own neighbourhood, it was as if spring had arrived while I was away for the day. I saw a pink blossomed bush in full bloom just around the corner from my home. There were clumps of pale yellow daffodils in the yard by the mailbox. The lilac bushes in my yard are covered in tiny green buds that will soon be fragrant bouquets by my bedside.

Oh, how I love springtime.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I was eating breakfast, the sun shining brilliantly, when suddenly an orange butterfly flitted past my window. It wove an erratic path across the yard and lit on the cedar fence, almost blending into it.

I sat there crunching my cereal in a bit of a morning stupor but suddenly realized that I wanted to see the butterfly up close. I jumped up and ran outside, but I ran too fast and scared it away. It was beautiful and looked very similar to this one.

I stopped under my Mayflower tree and saw that the blossoms are almost open. Just a few more days until my yard is filled with heavenly perfume.

I'm trying to capture joyous moments whenever I can. It means living right in the moment and being here and not daydreaming the day away. It means jumping up and embracing beauty, even the fleeting beauty of a butterfly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Mother's Voice

Last night my daughter had to write a difficult 3-hour exam for her certification. As she left the exam she phoned me to chat. We talked for about 20 minutes then she was on her way.

This morning I read in the Calgary Herald this article:

"Mom's voice almost as soothing as a hug"
Getting a call from mom can be nearly as effective as a maternal hug for calming down after a tough event, according to a probe into the chemistry of human relationships.
Researchers measured levels of a stress hormone, cortisol, and also a comforter hormone, oxytocin, among 61 young girls who had to make a presentation in public.
The volunteers, aged seven to 12, were asked to do public speaking and then carry out an oral arithmetic test in front of an audience, according to the unusual experiment, reported on Wednesday by the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Immediately after the event, a third of the girls were physically comforted by their mother; another third received a phone call from mom but did not see or touch her; and the remaining third received no support but watched a neutral film for 75 minutes.
As expected, cortisol levels, measured in saliva, soared as the youngsters became stressed by having to address the public.
But within 30 minutes of the event, cortisol concentrations returned to normal among the children who experienced direct physical contact with their mothers.
Among the speech-only group, it took somewhat longer -- about an hour -- for cortisol levels to subside to normal. But among the no-contact group, levels were still more than a third above normal at the one-hour mark.
Similarly, oxytocin concentrations peaked highest among girls who were hugged, followed by girls who were given vocal support but no physical comfort. The surge was still prominent an hour afterwards.
But oxytocin levels remained very low and flat among the "no contact" group of girls who received neither physical nor vocal support.
The findings raise intriguing questions about human evolution, say the researchers led by Leslie Seltzer of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Oxytocin is famous as the "cuddle" hormone, a feel-good, trust-making biochemical found only in mammals.
Past research has found that the hormone is released on physical contact, helping to cement attachment between parents and offspring and between couples.
The new experiment confirms for the first time that this powerful hormone can also be triggered by words.

Isn't that amazing? Even just hearing a mother's voice can soothe a child. I guess that explains why I still phone my mother when I need a virtual hug.

This is a photo of my daughter and me at least 12 years ago. She posted it to her Facebook account on mother's day. 

We're still hugging after all these years, but isn't it amazing that I can give her a hug over the phone with just my voice?

What a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Today I found out that my brother and his wife will be in Washington, DC on the same day that I'm there. Considering that neither of us have ever been there before and that we didn't plan on being there at the same time, the coincidence is mind boggling.

Considering we didn't even know each other was going there and considering that I don't believe in coincidence, my mind has been spinning things all day long. There must be meaning and reason and purpose I tell myself. After all, we live in different countries and rarely see each other, once a year is frequent for us.

If wild leaps of imagination and jumping to conclusions were actual exercises I would be in extremely good shape.

However, after much pondering, I can see no cosmic reason why the universe wants me to have dinner with my brother except that it will be nice to see him and his lovely wife and catch up.

I still don't believe in coincidence, so I will take it as a sweet blessing and revel in the joy of being reunited with my family.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Green Exercising

Well! Today I heard on the evening news about a revolutionary new way to feel good about yourself and experience more joy. It's called....Green Exercising!

Guess what Green Exercising is?  It's exercising outdoors!  Who'da thunk? Something so simple, and yet mankind has only JUST discovered it.

I exercised this evening but not outdoors, I wonder if I should feel guilty for not being green???

I like to joke and make fun of silly and ridiculous things. Looking for the humour in life is what brings laughter to our lips and joy into our hearts.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I realize that not everyone enjoys or celebrates Mother's Day, but I love it. I think it's a great opportunity to acknowledge all the wonderful women in our lives. Every single one of us has a mother, that is the one thing that unites us all. You can't get to planet earth without a mother.

I spent the day surrounded by great women. This morning my son and his wife made a special effort to drive across the city and attend church with me at 9am. They brought me beautiful flowers, and it was lovely to have my family sitting with me in church.

This afternoon my daughter made a fabulous dinner and had her mother-in-law and sister-in-law and me as her honoured guests.

This evening I was able to talk to my own mother on the telephone. I am so blessed to have a good relationship with my mother.

And I'm very blessed to be a mother. Of all the things in my life, being a mother is the very best.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In the Moment

Joy is something that can only experienced in the present. There are, of course,  joys remembered, but when you first experienced them you were totally there at that joyous moment.

The more you focus on recognizing joy the more you find it in everyday moments. The key though is not to be dwelling on the past or looking towards the future, but simply being in the moment.

I am constantly surprised by things that bring me joy. I'm washing my hands under clear, warm water and smelling the fragrant soap and suddenly a feeling of joy and gratitude washes over for me for instant access to clean water.

How many thousands of times have I washed my hands and felt nothing? Busy moving from one task to the next, and there it was, something to feel joyous about and totally missing the moment.

A beautiful life is made up of many joyous moments, they are just waiting for us to recognize them and embrace them for our own benefit and joy.

What is your beautiful moment today?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Re-birthday

Today it's my happy re-birthday.  A new friend sent me belated birthday wishes and an old friend took me out for lunch, we hadn't seen each other since March.

She chose Milestones, and told everyone in the restaurant that it was my milestone birthday. She even had gifts for me: beautiful place mats and a lilac candle, things that she knows I love.

The waiter brought me a complimentary birthday gelato and three double chocolate chip cookies with a sparkler. Luckily he didn't sing any silly songs.

I was totally surprised, it was a lovely thing to do and very unexpected. Some people have the gift of friendship. They know how to nuture friendships and make life just that much better.

I feel abundantly blessed by the gift of friendship with so many good people. I want to be a better friend and spread joy and happiness. I have many good role models. Life is good.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Taste Bud Heaven

This evening I sipped from the goblet of the nectar of the gods. My daughter made me a fresh fruit smoothie in her Magic Bullet. It had 5 raspberries, 1 strawberry, an apple and an orange. I have never tasted anything so divinely delicious.

It was pure heaven and my beautiful moment of the day! And, I can still taste it an hour later, I have happy taste buds.

I believe joy can be found in eating food. But it has to be the right food. I don't think junk food brings anyone joy.

My new mission in life is to identify foods that bring pure joy and start incorporating them into my life. I am tired of dull, tasteless, boring food.

Bring on the beautiful, joyful food!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


More about lists tonight. Along with yesterday's list from the nineties I also found lists of foods I like, things that bring me pleasure, things that nurture my soul and even things I dislike.

I think these lists are very important because you can identify things that bring you joy and then go about incorporating more of those things into your life.

The same thing goes for things you don't like. If you have a clear concept of what you don't like and what's not acceptable you can work to minimize the occurrences in your life or change your attitude about them if they can't be removed, or learn to adapt.

Kind of like the bad weather we've been having. I don't like it but I can't change it. So my options are:

  • move to a more temperate climate
  • rejoice that the moisture will help the farmers
  • accept that this kind of weather is normal for these parts and deal with it
  • grumble and complain and be miserable
This is a picture taken today of icicles hanging off the newly budding lilac bush.

There are other things on my dislike list that I can totally control. Things like heavy metal music, horror and violent movies, and reality TV shows. I can choose not to have any of these things in my life. 

What a wonderful gift we have: free agency. I can choose joy or I can choose misery.

I choose JOY.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm a list person. I make lists for everything. Today I was looking through an old file and found a list of things I wanted to do in the early nineties. It was from a different lifetime when I was a full time mom with young children at home. I looked at the things I accomplished:

  • create a ribbon box for gift wrapping
  • upholster Crystal's mirror
  • decorate topiaries
  • put ribbons on hearts
And the things I never ever did get done:
  • sew a slip cover for the exercise mat
  • decorate journal
  • make a wreath out of dried flowers
  • paint mail box
 It was my season  to be a homemaker back then and I was very happy. 

There are no crafts waiting to be done on any of my lists now. I don't even like doing crafts anymore. The thought makes me shudder. It's interesting to see how some of my interests change over the years.

Now is my season to grow spiritually and emotionally. I'm happy right where I am.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Brilliant Descendants

My 24 year old son took the time today to figure out the dividends on my investments and sent me an email explaining them. It gave me a thrill of pleasure that my son is so knowledgeable and can help me figure things out.

My daughter came over this evening to help me with my fitness training. I am so out of shape and she was very encouraging and positive.

It is interesting to be on the receiving end of help from my children. This is new.

Then I was discussing plans with my four year old grandson. I explained that his dad would be dropping him off at my house on Wednesday so that I could take him to soccer. "But you need a car seat!" he exclaimed. Another brilliant and smart descendant of mine, clearly analyzing the situation and identifying a problem. It was fun to discuss how to solve it with him and come up with a solution.

I am smiling.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Connecting Joy

I like pondering on joy. I believe that joy comes from inside us. Happiness and pleasure are outside stimulus whereas, joy, is something you carry with you. I realize you can't feel joy every moment of your life. There needs to be opposites in order to experience anything. Yet, once we learn what joy feels like and how to experience it, we can draw upon it when we need it, even in trying times.

I see joy as a very simple emotion. It is different from ecstasy. Ecstasy is perhaps more unpredictable and short lived. Joy is more attainable and more sustainable. We can find joy in very simple things, like the colour of a flower or the song of a bird. The smile of a stranger or the aroma of something delightful.

Joy is connecting with people you love and valuing their part in your life. Joy feels....good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wedding Fun

Young love. I attended a wedding reception this evening for one of my son's friends. It's fun to see these little boys grow up and get married. Tim and Elise, such a lovely couple.

Cody & Sophie came over to my place afterwards to visit. It's interesting to look back on my blog and see that most of the beautiful moments in my life revolve around the people I love. I am so blessed to have a loving family.