Sunday, December 30, 2012

I am learning....

Good Afternoon all!
As the year comes to a close I have been thinking about what this year has meant to me. It has been a year full of transition and lots and lots of learning, some of it has been yucky and a lot of it has been joyful. Here's what I have been learning this year.

  • I am learning the joy of having paint and glue all over my is so satisfying. I am learning to love art like I did as a child and not compare my art to anyone else's.  I'm also learning to call it art.
  • I am learning that I get to choose..... I get to choose how I spend my time and where I put my energy.
  • I am learning that the opinions of others do not define my self worth...I do. I have a lot to offer this world and a lot of people love me very very much and no one can take that away. 
  • I am learning that it is not weird to think of my guitar as an extension of myself, even if I am just learning to play her.
  • I am learning to seek my truth and recognize it when I see it...whether it is walking in the main square of Malaga at twilight after it has rained, spending time with family, laughing with patients, singing or creating. I am also learning that if I have an idea about where my truth might be, I need to make plans to make it happen, like Brave Girls Camp or Manitoulin Island.
  • I am learning a new computer, after eight years with the same one I am struggling. It is probably b/c I don't care that much about technology anymore but I choose not to let this computer get the best of me!
  • I am learning that I am funny...apparently my Mom thinks I'm hilarious, I did not know this and I'm really glad she told me.
  • I am learning that I am beautiful inside and out.
  • I am learning that I am brave. Way braver than I thought. Sometimes just living day to day is brave. Travelling alone is brave. Singing solo's in church is brave. Taking risks is brave.
  • I am learning that simple is best...less is more ( except in and around my craft desk!). I don't need much.
  • I am learning that who I am is enough. I know I'm weird and moody and stubborn but I am also creative, kind and generous and many other wonderful things. My authentic self, is my best self.
I'm really looking forward to the new year, I've learned so much this year and I can't wait to see what I will learn next year. I hope this coming year is full of blessings for you...thank you soooo much stopping by.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Extra Christams money?? WHAT??

Let me first start this post by saying I love Christmas....I love it, I love it, I love a lot. Let me also say that I hate change...hate it, hate it, hate it. I tend to dig my heels in and hold on as hard as I can, especially when that change is not my idea. So when it was decided that this year the siblings and their spouses would draw names, I was less than thrilled. You see, part of the joy for me at Christmas is spending time picking out each person's gift (this coming from a girl who doesn't really like to shop) wrapping it with pretty paper and bows and ribbon and then watching them open it. Each gift gets a lot of thought, I want my family to know that I've been thinking of them over the holiday season.

I know that Christmas isn't about the gifts, it really is about spending time with your loved ones. But every other year I spend Christmas looking after other people's loved ones. I know I picked to be a nurse, I know that it is my calling. But just because it's my calling doesn't make having to work Christmas and missing out on Christmas dinner any easier, in fact I think it sometimes makes it more difficult. So the gift giving is how I cope at Christmas when I am unable to join in all the Christmas gives me something to look forward to, the shopping seriously gets me in the Christmas spirit (it's the only time of year I will purposely brave the crowds for).

But things change, and so they should. I have 4 brothers and sisters and hopefully we will all be paired up someday and that is a lot of gifts to buy. So, after I called my Nana, called my Dad and stomped around the kitchen a bit (okay a lot), I decided that I didn't have to like this new change. I am Brave Girl, so what was I going to do about it?

Which brought me to this idea.....When Patti and I were in our early teens we belonged to a girls youth group called Canadian Girls in Training (CGIT). Each year we would pool or raise money ( I vaguely remember a bake sale which was attended by one of the hottest boys in my 8th grade class) to pick an angel off the angel tree at the "old" mall and buy a gift for a boy or girl to place under the tree and then we went to McDonald's. For many years I have thought about picking an angel but have never done it. Yesterday while I was finishing up my Christmas shopping, I decided that I would do just that, kinda. The "new" mall doesn't have an angel tree and I don't eat at McDonald's but the "new" mall does have a tree for the toy drive so I decided to pick out a gift representing each sibling and in law that I would not be buying for and place it under the tree. I picked out a gift that I thought each one would have loved as a child. Lego for Ryan, design your own Barbie cloths for Patti, a ballerina Belle for Katie, a Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle for Dan and a ballerina baby doll for Jessie. And you know what, it felt good and it was fun. And I will do it again. This way I can still remember my siblings but then give their gifts to someone else. Honestly who needs more stuff anyway??? My siblings don't and I don't but those children do. They need to know that they were loved and remembered at Christmas and each gift I picked was filled with a whole lot of love. And that is what Christmas is all about.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Winter: Okay, I know we have a love hate relationship but I would much rather have cold weather and snow than this damp gross kinda warm stuff we have been having. Decide to be Winter and be it.

Dear Rain: Any other time of the year I love you, oh how much I love you, but it's time to let your brother snow shine....please let him.

Dear outdoor planter: Please stop falling over! You don't fall over when you are full of soil and flowers, what do you have against Christmas lights, pine and birch?

Dear little girl in Lawson's book store: Your delight over the beautiful angels (even though you called them fairies) at the entrance of the store made my day. Thank you.

Dear employees at the Bleeding Carrot: Your conversation about how ugly you were as babies made me smile. :)

Dear Christmas presents I ordered online: Please make it here before Christmas.

Dear Alexis: Sorry you got your expressive face from me. It will mean that everyone will know what you are thinking ALL the time, especially your family. In my defence I got it from my Poppa!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The hero dies in this one.

Sometimes my siblings surprise me. They are a talented bunch of young people. Case in point - The Dexter Holmes Story, co-written by my brother Dan and his friend Scarfo, all with a little help from their friends.
If you know me, you know that I'm a pop princess or a country girl but since I am a singer, can play piano (although probably very rusty at the moment) and am learning guitar, I can appreciate the amount of work it takes to write, perform and produce something even if it might be out of my usual taste in music. Dan and Scarfo usually being of the punk-rock variety.
These guys have worked so hard on this album following Dexter Holmes. From a near death experience, the monotony of his job, his love for a woman who belongs to another, his "mistake", the morning after, his guilt, his struggle with faith and his final words. It's tragic. The reveal at the end, seriously made me sob. This is not a happy go lucky album that's for sure. How's that for a ringing endorsement??? But it is so good. I think "The Fall" might be my favourite. Of course it was the first track Dan and Scarfo shared with me and when I heard it for the first time, silent tears dripped down my face (which was embarrassing because I didn't know Scarfo very well then). I am the girl that music will move to tears but it doesn't happen all that often (Hallmark commercials make me cry more often). I found myself humming "Have a Drink with me" on the way to Spain and I was singing "The Wish" the other day at work.
The album on it's own is amazing storytelling but the guys have added supplement stories on their facebook page. Their voice is so clear and cohesive, there are only a couple times where I thought to myself "Dan wrote that," "I think Scarfo wrote that" only because I know them and I'm probably wrong.
My little sister also lends her voice to a mostly instrumental track and my other sister designed the insert for the CD. I also know some of the musicians who helped out on this album and think they did a wonderful job too. The art work is amazing and the CD is so red it's almost is also available for download.
Try something new and check them out. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fridays Letters - From Spain

Dear little girl I almost knocked over in the airport - That is why it is dangerous to text and walk at the same time....keep your head up.
Dear Tania - I agree, people who don't walk on moving floors in airports are annoying.
Dear Katie - Thanks for letting me visit this week..I so needed a holiday.
Dear Malaga - I understand that you only have 60 days a year of rain...why did you have to have some of them while I was here?
Dear Carmen - Thank you for having good taste in art...I truly enjoyed visiting your collection in Malaga.
Dear Tapas - Sometimes you are weird and sometimes you are so tasty. Who knew eggplant and honey cane would go so nicely together.
Dear wedding cake church - I understand why you have a 3 year wait list for are so beautiful.
Dear Spanish bugs - Seriously? You know those bites are going to leave a mark, right?
Dear Malaga city centre - you are the most pretty at twilight.

Looking forward to the weekend!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fridays Letters - Oct 5 2012


Dear Yoga - Thanks for kicking my butt yesterday.. I needed it.  
Dear Glee  - Thanks a lot for making me cry my eyes out last night. I decided to watch you and save Grey's for later because I wasn't in the mood to cry. JERKS!
Dear Lexi  - Dance parties with you are the best..."Call me maybe" will never be the same. :)
Dear Spain  - Katie tells me that your weather is still beautiful.....only 16 days until I get there...please I want to go to the beach!
Dear Facebook  - Since you love changing things up, whether they need them or not, please add a spell check function next time. I'm a really poor speller and I'm too lazy to check my dictionary.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Letters

Dear Guitar : You are sooooo pretty and sound sooo wonderful. I can't wait to learn how to play you. I feel like you were made for me.

Dear Lexi : I got your Christmas present when I was in the States shopping last weekend and I can't wait to give it to you. You are going to love it!

Dear Heartland: I'm really sad about the the yuckyness between Ty and Amy right now. I'm sure you know what you are doing but I don't like it. I hope the pay off is worth it. P.S. When's the soundtrack being recorded, I'm seroiusly loving the Canadian music. :)

Dear John Ingle: You have been a staple in my daytime TV life since I was a teenager....You will be missed, Grandfather.

Dear GH: Thank you for Todd Manning, he has the best lines on daytime TV, even if he is kinda a bad guy.

Dear grass: I'm going to cut you this afternoon...I hope this is the last time this year.

Dear creativity: UMMMM where are you???? I have a stack of Patti and Ryan wedding photos to scrap and I got nothing.

Dear new boots: Where have you been all my life?

Dear skinny jeans: I promise to give you an honest try...I'm not really sure you are for me but I'll give it a shot.

Dear fall TV: It's like Christmas in the excited...Yes, I watch too much TV.

Dear Susan Cain: I'm reading your book "Quiet" for book club. Thank you, thank you for seeing the value of being an introvert. :)

Dear Canadian Passport border guy: You seriously almost made me cry when you handed us our passports and said Welcome home.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Forgotten Garden - A book review

Okay so I love books, anyone who knows me knows this well. I'm always reading, I even carry a book in my purse. I have read some really good books and some not so great books too. There are books out there that I know I will probably not read - Anna Karenina ( sorry Liz) and 50 Shades of Grey (sorry everyone else) and there are books I've read that I'm sure not many other people have read. Rarely and I mean rarely does a book take me back to a time when I was first discovering the wonder of stories - after the struggle of learning to read (which was not an easy task, ask my parents). It's been along time since I felt like I could live in a book, dream about it even, until this week when I was reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton for book club on the suggestion of my Nana. Check it out at Chapters HERE
It has everything I love, a mystery, fairy tales, a set of twins ( I was really into twins when I discovered reading), a love story and even scrap booking. Best of all part of the book is set at the turn of the  last century, which use to be my all time favourite time period. It's the cross generational story of Rose and Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra. With out giving too much away here's what it is about.
Nell is only four years old when she is left on a boat headed to Australia by the Authoress. After a hit to the head Nell can't remember her name or her parents either. Once in Australia Nell is all alone with only a suitcase and no name and is taken in by the harbour master and his wife. Her world is shattered on her 21st birthday when the harbour master tells her that he is not her father but it is not until after his death and the arrival of her suitcase does Nell go in search of her identity. It takes her to England and the small Cliff Cottage. After purchasing the cottage Nell intends to return to England to put the rest of the pieces together. Once back in Australia, Nell's travel plans are interrupted with the arrival of her granddaughter Cassandra and she never goes back. After Nell's death Cassandra receives the deed to the little cottage and makes her way to England to put the final pieces together.
This was one of the best books I have read all year. I'm so glad Nana suggested it. So as the Brownies say "One good turn deserves another," I'm passing it on to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dancing barefoot

Here is the story of my sister Patti's wedding to Ryan about four weeks ago and why I walked down the aisle in my bare feet. About 12 years ago my cousin Melissa was planning her wedding. Just prior to her engagement, her sister Cara's boyfriend, Von ( now her husband) had been thinking about asking Cara to marry him but had put if off when Kyle asked Melissa. My Grandma said that was a good thing since if Cara got married first, Melissa being the elder would have to dance bare foot at Cara's wedding or risk never finding a husband. Let's blame Leah and Rachel's father for this. Remember them from the Old Testament? Jacob so loved Rachel but had to marry Leah first because she was older and that was the natural order of things. Apparently in English tradition the unmarried elder sister must serve or dance in her bare feet if she wishes to find a husband, it's actually seen as a punishment to the elder sister, you can read more about it HERE. In French Canada the tradition is for the unmarried oldest sibling to dance in really ugly socks (made for the occasion) at any wedding for a younger sibling and people throw money @ them ( but they don't get to keep the money, the newlyweds get it).
So, it's been a joke that I would have to dance at Patti's wedding barefoot. Since it's not uncommon for women to take their shoes off these days on the dance floor and since the dance floor was cement and felt yucky on my feet, I decided to walk down the ailse in my bare feet. Not so that I would find a husband but because I love my sister and we have been joking about it for so long. In truth Patti, probably was always suppose to get married before me, even being the younger sister she has always been the one to pave the way. She got her ears pierced first, she was the one who asked Mom when we could start wearing bras and to show us how to shave our legs. I have a feeling that I'll be very grateful that she went first when it's my turn.
The wedding was beautiful and I couldn't be happier for both of them...I can now officially call Ryan my brother - even though he has felt like that for years.
Here are some moments which highlighted the weekend for me;
1. The laughter of my family as I arrived @ the end of the aisle in my bare feet.

I think my cousin Bret took this.
2. As I watched my sister walk down the aisle with our parents, the tears started to come and pretty much didn't stop, big fat juicy ones.
I think our friend Andy got this one.
3. I had the pleasure of doing a reading @ the wedding. Apparently some of my family members where not sure I would get through it because I was crying so much but I composed myself and read this beautiful reading.
“Blessing of the Hands"
“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
Everyone said I did an good job, but lets face it, I cried thru the whole thing.
4. My cousin Andy and Uncle Bill piped the happy couple out, after being at the Cambridge games all day - in which they got first place. This photo was taken by Ryan's friend Hannah of Red Umbrella Photography, you can visit her on Facebook HERE.
5. Another shot taken by Hannah, to melt your heart. Patti and Ryan's first dance.
Our niece Alexis wanting to join in.
6. Our cousin Greg, whom we don't get to see that often and who is teaching in Thailand, came with his girlfriend Heather. Patti and I had never meet Heather, so we accosted her in the bathroom. Pretty sure she thought Greg has strange cousins, which he does by the way. And a lot of them, welcome to the family Heather!
7. My sister Katie was the MOH. She is 11 years younger than me. Sometimes I forget she is a person and not a baby. Her speech was one of the best...I forget that she can be so funny.
I'm not sure where this photo came from, I think from Ashley and Ainsley's mom April.
8.My cousin Andy also played the pipes at the open jam session, it was so fun to watch Patti and Ryan dancing with the little kids.
9.Two words - Watches Reunion. When Patti and Danny and I were young we had a band called The Watches with our next door neighbour Alie. We reenacted a photo shoot from 1993. Alie is a graphic designer and you can find her HERE.

The original

Dan, Patti, Me and Alie.

10. The next day I got to share a juice box with this little cutie.
My niece Alexis
Okay, wow this post has just gotten way longer than I thought it would, so while there are many many more awesome moments, I'll think I'll leave it there. I will say this, Patti and Ryan's friends love to hug, it was like being in highschool again when you hugged everyone you liked every time you saw them or said goodbye. A great way to spend a weekend.  Oh and the cookie table, loved the cookie table!
Well hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Creative Scrappers- 220- I will remember you

Hi everyone,
It's been along time since I participated in a sketch challenge but last week this sketch from Creative scrappers really inspired me.

I loved the simplicity of it and it was perfect for this LO about the magnolia tree I planted in memory of my step dad, Denis. The purple/pink colour of the paper is the colour the blooms of the flowers will be, hopefully next year.
I hope everyone if enjoying their week. It's raining here again, after over a month without rain, so my brother and I are going to spend the afternoon watching Supernatural. Got to get the rest of the season in before he goes back to Uni in Sept.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Riverstone Retreat

Hi Everyone!! Is everyone enjoying their summer?? Mine has been very busy so far, stuffed with bridal showers, a bachelourette party, a huge sidewalk sale downtown, a baby shower, a Supernatural marathon, volunteering in the heritage village and of course the main event - my sister's wedding. I can't wait to tell you all about Patti and Ryan's day but today I thought I would share a few shoots my Dad got of the venue - Riverstone Retreat.
Riverstone Retreat is located near Durham ON on the Saugeen River. It is a beautiful spot. The couple who own it have not done any advertising and they have 9 weddings there this year and a few family reunions. It is very Eco friendly as it is run mainly on water and wood and a lot of the materials for the buildings were found right on the property and the neighbouring farm (where they live).  They don't advertise because they believe, if you put goodness out in the world, it will attract more goodness. And it has, all by word of mouth and a few other blog posts. My sister found out from Ryan's aunt, who swims with a woman whose niece got married there. Also a women whom I go to church with, her niece got married there as well.

Ernie - the owner, is working on this new fence made from stones found on the property.

The pavilion where Patti and Ryan had their wedding reception.

The EcoNest

The Stone House - every stone was hand picked.

The Saugeen River

The camping area.

The wash house.

This is a naturally occurring aisle. We walked down it, into the forest, where Ryan was waiting for us.

The labyrinth.
This is a truly remarkable place and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Faith Fridays - Is this a test?

Hi everyone,
Courtney Walsh is having a contest this week on her faithbooking facebook page and I decided to play along. This weeks prompt was to create a LO about a time when you were tested. I thought long and hard about this, there are many moments I could have used but this is a test that I live with everyday. Beware; this is not a pity party, this is just the truth.
Journalling reads: "Is this a test? Some might think this is silly but when you know in the very depths of your soul, that you were meant to be a wife and mother and @ 31 are still single, it sure feels like a test. Everyday can be a test, wake up alone. Have a bad day, come home to an empty house. Shovel snow, cut the grass, paint the bathroom, cook alone, eat alone, talk to yourself, no one to share sadness with, no one to share excitement with. Even though you know you are beautiful, no one to tell you, you are.No one to call handsome. And here's the thing; there is absolutely no reason why you are still single. You are a good person, a nice person who is not perfect but who is trying to figure out who she is and be that. A funny girl, a smart girl, a pretty girl, a sensitive girl, someone who will make an excellent wife and mother. So that that the only reason that you could still be single, is that this is a test. What's the lesson? Could be: Have faith, I have picked him just for you, your brothers and sisters are sure of it. Why aren't you? OR: You are stronger than you think you are. OR: All you need is ME. Okay then, have I passed yet?"

Hope everyone is enjoying their week so far. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ten on Heartland

Hi everyone,
I'm blogging today to shares some thoughts on my new obsession. Over the last five weeks I have been obsessed with the CBC TV show Heartland. I have watched all five seasons like it was my job (only I didn't get paid and it was a whole lot more fun). Truthfully it's been too humid here to really feel like doing much more than sit under the fan. I love this show so much that I had to share these 10 thoughts on Heartland.

1. Why have I not discovered this show before? Maybe 5 years ago it might not have meant as much. One of the major themes is about finding and living your truth. Something I have been figuring out for the last year.

2. Canadian shows set in Canada are awesome!! Alberta is the perfect back-drop for this series based on the Heartland books. Plus I have loved seeing familiar faces from other Canadian shows, like Degrassi and Being Erica.

3. I really really want a pair of cowboy boots.

4. The RCMP uniform hasn't really changed in 30 years. The policemen on the show wear the same uniform my Dad wore when I was a little girl in BC. The car has changed though.

5. Canadian music ROCKS! Like this song from season five: All I need is you - Miranda Frigon

6. People and horses aren't that much different. It pays to be patient, if you pretend you have all the time in the world, things go a lot smoother. This is true with horses and people - try transferring a patient who moves poorly when you are in a rush. Doesn't work that well.

7.I really like the cloths Amy and Lou wear. Amy has some really cool shirts. I saw some similar styles in a local second hand shop. I guess I better get over my phobia of wearing other peoples shirts.

8. Here's a no brainer; communication is key. Ty and Amy's relationship is so much stronger when they talk to each other. I love the growth between these two characters. I really like that even though these characters are a good match, it hasn't always been easy but it's been worth it.

9. This show is so good that it has made me cry more than once. One time bawling my eyes out, ugly crying. And then I threw my Ty dog Skippy across the room @ the TV. If you have watched season four, you'll be able to guess which episode did it. :)

10. One of the greatest strengths of this show is its focus on relationships. Namely, the relationships within a family, blood or otherwise. This is a good family show and that's refreshing.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself until season six resumes in September. I think I might go into withdrawal.
Anyway hope everyone is enjoying their week so far. I've got a busy weekend ahead and I can't wait!

Monday, June 18, 2012

In memory

Last September my Step father Denis passed away. It was sudden and it was awful but it could have been a lot worse, he could have suffered longer than he did. This lead to my brother Dan and I going to France to be with our mom. Both of us had been to France before and had always wanted to go back but never thought this would be how we would get back there and together no less. When I got home there were cards in the mail box and one of them was from the girls participating in social fund on the unit I work on. They gifted me a gift certificate to a local nursery. I decided, that in the spring I would take my mom out to the nursery and we would pick a tree to plant in my yard in memory of Denis. I wanted a magnolia. These trees can be pricey, so my mom and grandmother decided to pay the difference for my birthday. Finally a week ago Saturday my mom and I went to pick out the tree. This tree called to me right away "take me home."
That evening I dug a hole and planted the tree. Digging the hole wasn't too bad, until I hit rock....solid rock. I did manage to get the hole big enough and I planted the tree (I'll add that my legs hurt so bad the next day, it was hard to walk).  I'm so happy with my little tree, I've planted it in front of the living room window, so I can enjoy it even when I'm inside. I can see it perfectly from my favourite place on the couch while I watch the DVD of the week (currently obsessed with Heartland).
In other news, I got a new cousin yesterday, that I can't wait to snuggle. And my box of Brave Girls goodies arrived...with chocolate (and it wasn't even melted). I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday so far!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo shoot.

Hey all,
About a month ago I had the amazing pleasure to have some professional photos done by Julia Busato. Please check out her web site and look her up on Facebook.
These photos were intended to celebrate who I am now. I'll never be in this place again, as humans we are constantly changing. I may not be exactly where I thought I would be at 31 years old but I've learned that I'm exactly where I'm suppose to be. Everything else that I might want, will come when the time is right.

Having these photos taken was a life changing experience. I usually consider myself as plain. My beauty comes from the inside. These photos opened my eyes to how the world really sees me (at least those who matter). My sister Patti says that Julia captured my inner beauty perfectly. I think she did too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Faith Fridays - Counting my blessings

This weeks faith Friday prompt from Courtney Walsh, over @ Telling stories was to document your blessings.
I am a contradiction; I'm an optimist but I also worry a lot. I sometimes tend to focus on what I don't have. I think this is very true of society as a whole, always wanting more, always wanting to do better and we forget about the amazing stuff that is standing right in front of us.
After a wonderful weekend spent at two showers for my sister Patti, hanging out with my niece, a long car ride with Katie, chats with my brother Dan and meeting alot of new people (which btw I really struggle with meeting new people, I always feel so awkward), this LO was really easy for me. One of my biggest blessing is my family and I know Patti, Dan and Katie would say the same thing. Whether that family is the one we were born into or the one we choose.

These are my blessing in no particular order;
A sister in law who speaks her mind.
The chance to travel.
A profession that will allow me many opportunities.
A sister who was my first friend.
Women to women relationships with my Nana and Grandma.
A sister who is more fearless than anyone gives her credit for.
A very special niece and goddaughter.
A huge extended family.
A few very good friends.
A mother who is my biggest fan.
The gift of music.
A brother who is a calm cool head just when it is needed.
A strong father.
A brother in law who has loved me and annoyed me like my own brothers.
A home to call my own, in a town that I love.
A brother I wasn't sure I wanted but that GOD knew I needed.
A GOD who knows me by name.

These are alot of things to be thankful for and that is only the half of it...there are many many more.

Well, I better run. I've got pies to bake for the church BBQ and I better check to see if Dad needs any help installing my new tub surround.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My journey through SR2 - Week 6

Well, we've arrived at week six of Soul Restoration 2. Technically it's the last week but the work will go for many months beyond this. This week focused on the work we will continue to do.
I finished up my vision board.This is were I will track my progress, on living the life I was meant to live.
In a box that I made, are activity cards, labeled 5mins, 15mins, 30mins, 2 hours and 1 day. Each card has an activity that will lead me to living the life I was meant to live. When I complete one, I'll glue a token to my vision board. Each card also has a reward on it and an indicator stating how many times I have to complete each activity before I get the reward. Some cards wont have a reward on them because they are a reward in themselves (spend one day with Alexis). Some activities are things I have to do anyway (cut the grass) and I might as well reward myself for it. Other cards are activities I wish I would make more time for, reading a book for 2 hours uninterrupted. I can add cards as I go and get rid of them, if they no longer fit.

I also still have lots and lots of stuff to add to my Life book and lots of goals I want to achieve. I think this will keep me going until @ least the new year. I wont be bored! I know that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do but I plan on filling my life with as much stuff as I want to do as I can. Everything I do, I'm going to do for me and not feel guilty about it. I'm so excited about that!
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Faith Fridays - Be Brave

Hi everyone,
Last week Courtney posted this faith prompt "Create a layout or project that focuses on one word or key phrase you know God wants you to focus on. Could be for this season of your life, this week, this month... What is God's plan for you in this moment?" on her blog. Here is my LO.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I've been taking online classes with the amazing girls @ Brave Girls Club. One thing that I have learned about myself, is that I am much braver than I thought.  I have done a lot of things that have required great bravery. Owning my own home, calling my grandmother from the hospital early in the morning when my grandfather was dying and she needed to come, being a nurse, these things are very brave. But so is cutting the grass of that home you own, having glamour shots done, joining committees even though you are shy, going to a wedding when you are sure the only person you will know is the groom. Something else that is brave? Living the life you were meant to live, even if that means that for now you'll have to wait for your husband and your babies.
The journalling on this LO is from the movie We bought a Zoo. " You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Literally just 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you, something great will come of it."  I'm going to try to live like that.

Thank you for coming by. Love you all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My journey through SR2 -Week 5

Well week five of Soul Restoration 2 is complete, week six starts today.
The lesson this week was all about decisions and rules. We made this little book;
When faced with a decision, no matter how small, we are to go to this book and ask ourselves the questions in it. For example "Will I feel like I have to hide this decision from anyone who I love and respect? Why would I have to hide it?"  OR "Is this something I really want in my life?" It might seem like common sense but we often ignore these questions or know the answer and refuse to listen to it. It might mean letting go of things that I thought I wanted but are no longer right for me or it might mean doing something that scares the crap out of me. If it will lead me to the life I was meant to have, I'll do it. :)

It also comes with rules.
Like, " I will make the BEST decisions only and not settle for good enough." I am looking forward to trying these out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My journey through SR2 - Week 4

Hi everyone, here is week four's instalment of Soul Restoration 2 by Brave Girls.
Week four focused on identifying our road blocks/landmines that keep us from completing our goals.  I have a lot of them.
My landmines.

I wont go over all of them but here are a few:
Feeling guilty for sacrificing other things to work on this goal - in order to work on some of these goals, that will mean that my house will not always be tidy, laundry wont always be put away, my lawn will be cut but might not always be weeded and I'll have to say no to other activities, this is hard for me because I want to be able to do everything.

Paralyze myself thinking about my fears - goals can be really scary sometimes and not just that but they can be very overwhelming. Like my garden for example; It's huge, so that's why I only picked a small part to start with. I've learned that sometimes the most scary things are the most worth it.

Get discouraged when a few amazing days are followed by crappy days. I ask myself, what's the point? - Like last week, I had an amazing weekend and then last week sucked, I was sick and spent most of it on the couch. But I have to remember that that's the way it goes sometimes.

Get lost on the computer or television - I love TV. I can almost always find something on and if not, I've got DVDs I can watch. I'm glad that the regular TV season is almost over. I don't revolve myself around TV as much as I use to and have learned that if I'm resorting to talk shows or reality TV then I need to go and do something else. The computer can be bad too, I waste a lot of time on it. It got better when I moved into my house and the computer was moved into the spare room and not in the living room anymore. I'm trying hard to limit my time on it and it's almost always turned off by 8 in the evening.

So those are a few of my landmines and now that I have identified what they are, it will be easier to stop them from happening. It's also comforting to know that I'm not alone, others have these same landmines as me.

I feel like we have done soooo much work in this class already, I'm looking forward to what Melody has in store for the next two weeks!

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Faith Fridays - encouraging words

Good morning!
Courtney Walsh over @ Telling Stories is doing a series of weekly faith based scrapbooking prompts. Last weeks prompt was to scrap encouraging words, to yourself or someone else, to remind them that they are not alone.
For several months now, I have been receiving Brave Girls Club's daily reminder "a little birdie told me." A few weeks ago one about not fitting in and how it's better not to fit in as long as you are being yourself but also how painful it can be not to fit in, really spoke to me. I am learning that it's okay not to fit in with those who don't really matter. Two years ago when I was having dizzy spells everyday for over a year, I really found out the people who counted. It is becoming even more clear with all this personal growth that I have been doing who is worth making an effort for, those who have encouraged me and to leave behind those who have intentionally tried to hurt me. Taylor Swift sings "People throw rocks at things that shine."  I am much happier being shiny but because I am a sensitive girl, the rocks still hurt sometimes. So I made this LO with Melody and Kathy's words to remind myself that I am not alone, that this is worth it because it really really is. I have felt more like myself than I have in years and that is sooo wonderful.
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!
Much Love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My journey through SR2 - Week 3

Good morning!!
So I'm a bit behind blogging about week 3, as week 4 started yesterday. I had a busy amazing weekend and then was home sick Monday and Tuesday. Still not really feeling the greatest, thinking this week is pretty much a write off. Anyway back to week 3 of Soul Restoration 2.
This week was about goals. Big, little it didn't matter. Just as long as they were goals you were willing to sacrifice for. The idea is that this book we are making will be a continuous thing even after the course is over but we are only to focus on three goals during the class. While I was thinking of goals, this is what I created.

I got this idea from Melody @ Brave Girls. This is something I have struggled with a lot. As a society we are constantly being told that we are not enough, that we don't have enough, we aren't pretty enough...true no one says "not enough"  but the message is clearly there and we tell each other that all the time. We as a society criticize each other way more than we praise and celebrate each other. I use to read Cosmo every month for 4 years and I had to stop b/c the message that was I was getting was "Be yourself but don't be yourself too much because you wont fit in, or you wont get the guy" and that is crap. I am enough and my true friends love my weirdness and the guy (whomever he will be) will love my weirdness too and I his. YOU are enough. Sure, sometimes we could do better and that's okay. That's life, it kicks our butts sometimes.

So on to my goals.
1. Photo Shoot - This is something that I already had planned but had been put off. It was also something that I was very nervous to do, so I thought I would start there. I completed this goal on Friday. Julia is an amazing photographer. Her and Meg (from Megz Make-up) made me feel so at ease and they are a great team. My sister Patti said that Julia really captured my inner beauty. My Dad didn't even know it was me! I couldn't believe that was me. Sure, I know I clean up pretty good but man I must see myself with different glasses, I guess than everyone else. I am so pleased with what I have seen so far and can't wait to see the rest. It was such an empowering thing and the glow lasted all weekend. Every woman should get their photos taken by a professional @ least once in their life and wedding shots or family photos do not count. It needs to be just you and the's an amazing experience, one I wont forget for along time.

2. Refresh a garden plot - So I have a really big garden, like really big. To be honest it overwhelms me. I know nothing about gardening. My Mom loves to garden and she always had gardens @ every house we lived in but I never got involved much. So I know nothing.  So I decided to break it down in small areas and focus on one area @ a time. I've picked a small plot under the bathroom window which is currently filled with crab grass. I've picked it because it is small and there is nothing in the garden I wish to keep, so I can just start over. I've written each step out and I plan to start next week.

3. Learn to play the guitar - Now this is a funny one. It's something I've thought about doing here and there for a long time. I can play the piano (although I'm sure I'm really rusty) and I sing in the church choir. I really miss being able to play something and since I don't have room in my little house for a piano, learning guitar seems like a good alternative. Now I wasn't sure I was going to add it to my goals this time until I went to my sisters Buck and Doe this weekend and one of the raffle prizes was two half hour guitar lessons taught by a friend of hers. I took this as a sign and entered at least half of my raffle tickets into its bag. And I won!! So I added it to my list of goals. I haven't booked my lessons yet because I really should get a guitar first. I'm going to start looking in the next couple weeks.

I'm really excited about my goals so far and they have really helped me focus on the things that I really want and have, instead of dwelling on what I don't have.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scrapbooking your faith - My truths

Courtney over @ Telling Stories and instructor of the Big Picture Class Scrapbooking Your Faith class that I participated in this winter, has decided to add prompts to her blog. This week was all about truths. This is what is true for me right now.

Journaling reads; 1. I am a sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin and aunt. 2. I am a Godmother to my beautiful niece Alexis and I take it very seriously. 3. I am still called to be a nurse, just maybe not in surgery anymore. 4. I am different from most people and that's okay because I am living my true life. 5. Many people love me and no one can take that away. 6. GOD has a plan for me.

This LO actually fits well with all the Brave Girls work I have been doing. Funny how things work out, huh?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

My journey through Soul Restoration 2 - Week 2

Hi everyone,
This week in SR2 we were to create our mission statements with prompts from Melody. I'm going to share mine. My short mission statement is very close to Melody's, it spoke to me and I wasn't sure I could write anything better.

Short mission statement
I will remember, in all things that I do, that I want to guide my life and my decisions with these qualities that I value the most, unconditional love, unconditional faith, unconditional gratitude, optimism and authenticity.

Long mission statement

I know that I am my very best self when; I sing, when I create, when I bake, when I serve others without putting myself last and when I trust in GOD and his plan for me.

I know that because I have unique weaknesses, I need to avoid times when I am wasting time on the computer, getting sucked into media experts’ advice, engaging in destructive relationships, participating in gossip and when I allow others to determine my self worth.

I will be most a peace and happiest when I spend my personal life creating, singing, spending time with family, praying, having alone time, traveling and learning new things.

I will be most at peace and happiest when I spend my work life serving others, learning new things, making an impact and refraining from gossip.

 I will seek out times when I can use my inborn gifts to comfort others, be the family historian and memory keeper, make music and spread love.

I will take care of my body and soul in ways that are personal to me including; going to yoga, walking, enjoying the foods I love, drinking water, not stressing about every calorie, reading, singing, dancing, creating, praying, learning about my faith and spending time with family.

I know that I am meant to love and share that love with others.

I will work hard to be known as someone who lived well and loved well and never let that love go unspoken.

So there they are in a nutshell, I'm sharing them because it will help me to be accountable. So if you know me and I'm not living my mission statements, call me on it.
Love you!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My journey through SR2 - Week 1.

Hi everyone,
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am in love with the girls over @  Brave Girls Club. I have taken a number of their online classes and have learned a lot about myself and about being creative. No words can explain how much they have changed my life. I've been in a period of transition for awhile now, trying to figure out who am and who I want to be. The Brave Girls courses have really helped give me tools to figure it out.
I've been impatiently waiting for Soul Restoration 2, since the beginning of the year, since I think that it is the next step in my self discovery journey and I'd like to share some of it with you. The course is designed to look to the future, what do you really want? I know what I want, I always have. I've wanted to be a nurse, a wife and a mom for as long as I can remember but I'm stuck. I'm a nurse but I'm not a wife or a mom yet and it doesn't look like either of those are going to happen anytime soon. So what do I want my future to look like in the meantime? I'm really hoping SR2 will help me figure that out. It also occurs to me that I've been in the same nursing job my whole career ( almost 9 years) and I'm thinking it might be time for a change but I have no idea what that might be.
This week the focus was to fill out our "fun sheets" (a journaling exercise that will be used later in the course). I have to admit that I've had to dig deep and I still don't know the answers to some of Melody's questions. The art project for this week was to prepare our art journal and decorate the cover if we had time. The class suggests starting with a new journal but I still had tons and tons of room in my SR1 journal, that I've decided to use it. So instead of a cover, I created a title page.

Disclaimer, while the final project belongs to me, some of the art work incorporated into project was provided thru Brave Girls Club course materials.
So for the next 5 weeks, this is how I will be spending my time. I'm planning to blog each week and I hope you will come back and check it out.
Much Love!

Monday, April 2, 2012

31 things

Yesterday I turned 31. So here is my list of 31 things that I'm looking forward too or plan to do this year that I'm 31.

  1. Go to my oldest friend’s 30th Birthday party.
  2. Say goodbye to my One Tree Hill friends one last time and then probably re-watch all 9 seasons on DVD.
  3. Finish my first ever paying scrapbooking gig (hopefully in the next couple weeks).
  4. Soul Restoration 2 by Brave Girls
  5. Finish the rest of the Harry Potter movies with my mom.
  6. Finish reading the Harry Potter books again.
  7. Attend 3 bridal showers for my sister Patti.
  8. Plant a magnolia tree in my yard in memory of my step dad, Denis.
  9. Scrapbook more about my faith.
  10. Patti and Ryan’s Buck and Doe.
  11. Paint the deck.
  12. Be my Dad’s assistant when he puts in a new tub surround in the bathroom.
  13. A photo shoot and not a wedding related one either.
  14. Dance barefoot at my younger sister Patti’s wedding.
  15. Make an effort with those who matter and stop trying with those who don’t.
  16. Kiss my cousin Roo’s baby girl once she is here.
  17. So far I have 4 teddy bears to make.
  18. Another Supernatural marathon with my brother Tim.
  19. Learn something new, not sure what that is yet but something.
  20. Possibly a trip to Spain this fall, while my sister Katie is there.
  21. Play with Alexis, cause she’s not much for cuddling anymore.
  22. Make Alexis’ Christmas present.
  23. Spend a few days with my girl Fez and her daughter Miranda.
  24. Cry when my Dad and Sandra move (this isn’t something I’m really looking forward too but it’s gonna happen).
  25. More gum surgery, I’m only looking forward to this, in the fact that I’ll be done for awhile.
  26. Finish my “The year I was 30 scrapbook.”
  27. Another year out @ Grey Roots.
  28. Beach days with Liz.
  29. Scrapbook more of my history, for example scrapbook more old photos and also scrapbook more family stories, I’ve got a great one about my Grandma’s mom and superstition.
  30. Keep Listening
  31. Be the girl I was meant to be, even if that means I have to be different than everyone else.
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Keep Listening

Good morning all.
This morning I wanted to share with you something I created for Courtney's class Scrapbooking your faith. I've been taking a Lenten study at my church. The lesson that stuck out most for me was "keep listening." Now my friends would say I'm a great listener, my sister Patti would tell you she is surprised by how much I know about people that I've never shared and that they don't even know I know. But when it comes to GOD, I'm not always a good listener. That is because sometimes it's not always what I want to hear (no, you can't have that right now), sometimes I have a hard time believing it is true (I have a fear that I'll be an old maid who hoards and has more than a dozen cats - that I'll never be a wife or mom, but my family has huge faith that this will not happen to me - first of all I hate cats and second they are not telling me this to be nice, they mean it)  and sometimes the other voices are way louder (you let us down, you are not enough).   
Courtney wanted us to create something to put on our walls to remind us of a lesson we have learned but often need reminding off. "Keep listening" is my lesson. It's funny how things fit together perfectly as if they were made to go together.
Here is the canvas I made for my living room;
The bird idea I borrowed from Brave Girls.. Melody always uses a bird as her Truthteller and encourages us to use it too. The butterfly image was left over from Brave Girls, Body Restoration printouts (I would not claim that as my own). This is the lesson I learned this Lenten season and I'm so glad I learned it. Now I just need to remember it. :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mixed media fun.

Good morning.
Let me tell you a story. When I was a little girl I loved to put on an old work shirt of my Dad's, roll up the sleeves and paint with my sister Patti. One year my Nana put my sister and I in painting classes @ the local art gallery. This year my Nana told me that the reason we were put into the painting classes was because Patti was so good @ art but she felt that it wasn't fair just to put Patti in them and not me. Imagine her surprise when I loved the classes more than Patti. I think it was the structure or something. Patti could make up anything out of her head and didn't like to be confined (funny that she is a graphic designer now and gets paid to create someone elses vision). I on the other hand can't just "paint" but can paint a flower if someone asked. Somewhere along the line though, art was lost on me. Probably because I was always competing with Patti (which might also be why Patti doesn't sing much even though she has a beautiful voice  - I'm the singer). 
This year thanks to Brave Girls, I have re-discovered art....I love having paint and glue on my hands. And it doesn't matter if it isn't very good to anyone else, it always suits my style. Brave Girls has gotten me brave enough to play with paint and glue and fabric and paper and ribbon. And it has bumped my scrapbooking up a level.
I want to share a mixed media piece I created for Courtney's Scrapbooking your Faith class. The purpose was to pick a phrase, a scripture or whatever that when you read it you knew that it was true, even if sometimes you forget it. So I picked "You are loved" a line from Josh Groban's song of the same name. In fact I could have used any lyric from that song but this one pretty much sums up the whole song.

This is not something that I would have been able to do a year ago. I used a piece of drywall from my basement, taped the edges and painted. I added rub-ons and chipboard. Some old sheet music and letters. I'm happy with how is came out and just have to figure out how to hang it on the living room wall.
I am so grateful for the classes I've been taking, I'm having so much fun!
Hope you guys are having a great week so far, the weather here is amazing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life Verse

Hello all,
   Today I wanted to share with you a LO I've been working on. It's for a class with Big Picture Classes, Scrapbooking your Faith, taught by the awesome Courtney Walsh. A few years ago I found her book Scrapbooking your Faith and loved it. I've pulled it out for inspiration many times since I bought it. By happy accident (actually a blog post by my friends @ Brave Girls Club), I discovered Courtney's blog and then this class. It's come @ a good time as I've just finished up Body Restoration by Brave Girls and it's Lent.
   Anyway, the LO for this week was to scrap your life verse. It could be a bible verse, a quote you love, anything, as long a it speaks to you. This is mine. "Life is not about the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." It's spoken to me ever since Payton said it on One Tree Hill. It reminds me that I need to stop and take in what is around me and allow it to take my breath away. Here's my LO;

Here is a moment that I allowed take my breath away this weekend....My freshly bathed niece, after her 1st birthday party.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reflection on 2011

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone had a great night.
Stephanie Howell does a monthly challenge called blog your heart, basically you can blog about anything but it has to be authentic. So, since 2011 was such a mix bag, I thought I'd play along with my 2011 reflection.

1. I got to go to Punta Cana and witness a friend from highschool and a friend from elementary school get married. I also got to meet and spend time with some wonderful people, friends I hope will be in my life for a long time and friends that I got to reconnect with.

2. I became an Aunt for the first time! Alexis was born on March 1st. I also became her Godmother. I'm a little nervous about this as I think it is a huge responsibility and I want to get it right. I will be the one of the primary educators in the Christian faith. I'm not even sure where to start. But I'm really excited to get started!

3.I haven't really been feeling the joy at work this year. I'm a nurse so my job can be a hard one anyway but when you feel like you aren't fitting in that can make it even more difficult. It's hard being different, even if your different is an awesome kind of different.

4. Two of my cousins got married this year. I was so stoked for both of them, especially Andrea b/c it really is about time she had some happiness and sunshine in her life.

5. I got a new brother and sister!!! Okay not really but they feel like family. My Nana had an Irish student staying with her this summer, Ciaran. He fit in with our family very well, to the point that he was calling us his brothers and sisters and we were calling him our brother too. He just fits so well. His sister Aine came to visit at the end of the summer and it was like she belonged to us too. It's weird how that happens and we all wish that Ireland wasn't so very far away.

6. At the beginning of August my step dad Denis had a stroke, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, flew back to France for treatment with my mom and was gone by the first week of Sept.

7. My brother Dan and I flew to France to be with my mom for two weeks. Not the way either of us thought we would get back to Europe but there you have it. I'm really really glad that Dan went with me and I didn't have to go alone. Also, I know we were being looked after b/c it could have been a nightmare trying to get to France on such short notice. Everything went fairly smoothly, except for that time a pigeon pooped on me in Paris and we had to run to catch our train to Nimes.

8. I am so glad that I am not an only child, we five really banned together and I feel so lucky to have them.

9. While all this was going on I discovered Brave Girls Club. Perfect timing! If you haven't checked them out yet....GO. Go right after you finish ready this post. It's really hard to explain the value this group of women has had on me or the value of the classes I have taken. I have learned a lot about myself, about the lies I've been telling myself, about the lies that other people have been telling me, that I love paint and glue and that while Patti is the artist in our family, my work is just as valuable even if just to me. If you are feeling even the little bit lost, please check these ladies will be well worth it. Can't wait for Brave Girls Camp 2013.

I am looking forward to see what 2012 will bring. More creating and more love I hope. Also my sister Patti is getting married...Finally!!! They have already been together for more than a decade. Sorry Patti but I have to dance barefoot @ you wedding so I have to get at least one jab in.
I hope everyone has a blessed year!