October 31, 2016

Write 31 Days - Confront

I am not great with confrontation, good or bad.
I don't like speaking up. I don't like when someone argues with me.
I get warm and panic inside as the blood visibly rushes to my face.
I never know what to say in the moment.

I am much, much better at ignoring a problem or letting it get buried deep down.
But that's never a solution to confrontation.

This September I decided it was high time to confront something head on, no matter what the outcome: my health.

I hadn't seen my doctor other than briefly for prescription renewals over the past several years so it was time for a check up.

First he gave me an order for blood work for pretty much everything just to have a starting point.
Then I had an appointment to go over all the test results.

Almost everything we tested was flagged at either too high or two low...and not in a good way.  
That was not quite a shock but still a little upsetting.

My doctor is on the quieter, more serious side, but he was kind and asked lots of good, thoughtful questions. We put some new treatments into motion addressing my lack of energy, poor sleep, and my weight issues, with which I've struggled all my life.

To hopefully avoid taking numerous new medications to lower some of those not-so-good numbers, for the next first six months I am going to try and start on a healthier path with better choices revolving around food and exercise.

Driving home after that appointment I was a bit of a basket case.
The tears flowed and I just couldn't wrap my head around how I'd gotten to this point in my life.
Not that anything was really bad, just borderline, and I could no longer ignore it.
I was just so very overwhelmed with everything.  

This was NOT where I wanted to be.
I didn't want pain or discomfort or weight to every hold me back from anything. And I've truly tried to not let it, but I has been happening more and more.
Now was time to put my plan into action for me to get health.

This had been coming for a long time. And now I was forcing myself to confront it.
But that was a good thing. A difficult thing, but a step in the right direction.

So far, things are going well. I'm feeling good.
We increased my dosage of my thyroid medication and I have more energy than I used to.
I'm making better choices, thus eating better and I'm down 15 pounds since I starting keep track at the beginning of September. A small victory!

I still tend to get overwhelmed easily and shut down or off and ignore what I need to do.
But I've been taking everything a little bit at a time, trying not to focus on the small tasks rather than the larger picture and have it overtake me.

I plan my week, taking time to make healthy meals that I can eat for lunch or supper. Lots of veggies, enough protein at every meal, less snacking, and forcing myself to get out to walk or some other exercise when I can.

I'm not thinking about this as a temporary thing...this is my life.
I cannot waste a moment.

I need to confront what's not working head-on and change, bit by bit until my life looks and feels like healthy and whole, noting holding me back.

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for not judging.
We are all on our own journey. 

I'm sure I'll write more on this topic as the weeks go on, so stay tuned!

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 28, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Eat

Lately I've been making a concerted effort to make healthy meals at home.
(read about my health journey here)

I know many of us can get into a bad habit of eating out way too often, which is never a great idea for your health, let alone your monthly budget.
I've really been enjoying fresh local produce, yummy and filling salads, and easy hot meat and veggie dinners I can take to work.
Here are a few of my recent favourites.

Salads: I used to dread making and eating salads!
They always tasted the same. They never seemed filling or satisfying.
They never felt like a good, hearty meal.

I've been experimenting and here are a few tricks I've learned that are helping me to LOVE my lunchtime or supper salads.

Romaine Hearts - these crisp, dark green leafy lettuces have been my staple base for my salads. Romaine is packed with nutrients—vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber!
They tend to stay crisp in my fridge for a week or two and can even replace taco shells or wraps for a change at meal times.

Bell Peppers - I never used to like peppers, but now I love the solid, tangy crunch these bright veggies add to my meal. I either dice them or I use my slicer (mandolin style, mine's from Epicure) to make thin strips (which can also be stored and used later sauteed for fajitas for stir frys!). Bell peppers are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits!

Tomatoes - Most summers I've tried to grow my own tomatoes. I had a decent crop this year of small cherry and romas and add a good 6-10 of these small fruits to my salads. Did you know that tomatoes have long been linked to heart health? Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol!

I've also been enjoying using my slicer to add some more delicate slices of the more denser, hard veggies like carrots and radishes to my concoctions. (see photo above!)

I also have bulk bags of unsalted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries in my freezer door and add a teaspoon or two of each to top off my lunch.

Some new toppers I've begun to incorporate are the Epicure brand nutritional yeasts—the Asian Umami or the Garlic & Onion. They contain inactive nutritional yeast offering a source of 8 essential vitamins & minerals. They have a rich almost cheesy flavour and have replaced my previous generous use of salt and pepper.

I'll also chop up an apple or add half a ripe avocado and finish off with some home made Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (simple olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and Epicure dry mix).

Protein at every meal is also important, so I've either been adding some chicken I've made the night before, or from a store-bought BBQ chicken, or even my own homemade meatballs! 

Now, maybe this isn't the way you'd make a salad, or maybe you really want to tell me I'm doing it all wrong. But hey, it's working for me so far. I'm enthused about making and eating my lunchtime salads so back off and make your own. 
No really, I encourage you to experiment and try out some new combinations for your salads. Add a fruit like a pear or mandarin oranges, add nuts or seeds like almonds or sunflower seeds. 

I'd also encourage you to find out more about Epicure products. Not because I want to push selling them (yes, I do work for Epicure!), but because I am enjoying them so much! They all enhance your food in a healthy, clean-eating way. I've already had to clean out my pantry to add all my new Epicure spice blends and other products and I'm having a blast discovering new uses and flavours from all the products I have. 

Happy cooking and healthy-eating!

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here


October 27, 2016

Write 31 Days - Sign

Do you ever ask for a sign?

Do you get stuck and need some help making a decision so you look up into the heavens with wide, desperate eyes and plead for some sort of amazing and obvious sign so you can make your choice and continue on your way, sure and confident, on your path?

I've have plenty of those moments and those signs have come in many different forms.

I've had decisions to make about whether or not to go back to school, what courses to take, what career path to follow...or not follow.

I've had to decide if it was right to leave University for a while and pursue something else, explore, find out what I didn't want to do.

I've had to choose whether to move back home, or move in with a friend, or which new home to settle in to.

I've had decisions come up regarding how to deal with issues in relationships, friendships, and co-workers.

Many large and small life decisions have found me asking for a sign, something visible, to help me on my way.

If you don't know me very well, you may not know that I have a strong belief in God and I am always striving to have a better relationship with Him.

I've asked Him for signs—for lightning, for rocks to move, and the sky to split. I've asked for clear direction and a blatantly obvious reveal to whatever choice had me stuck.

But I've found that bargaining with God doesn't work.

He works in His own time, not ours.

Though possible, He rarely works in grand, Yes or No, This Way or That Way, signs.

Most of the time, if you seek out His advice, His counsel, His directions, He does answer, but maybe not in the way you'd expect.

I've heard His voice, a quiet, gentle reminder nudging me in the way I knew I should go, or the action I should take that best represents how He would have us treat each other.

I've had larger, more obvious doors close or open that helped me make a major decision or set me on a different course than I'd previously mapped out.

Yet, if I didn't hear from Him, I still found a peace in knowing that if I trust Him and still fall, or stumble, or make a bad choice, He will be there to help me try again.

Signs can come in many forms.

A whisper.
A timely phone call or text.
A conviction of conscience.
A reminder from past decisions made.

I've learned how to listen for those small signs, though sometimes life can be too loud to hear them clearly.

I'm not usually gushy about my faith but some days I feel it's important to share how I'm feeling.

The passage below has been an important read for me today, a reminder not to bargain but to ask and trust God for what you need.

I hope that perhaps reading this today finds you in a place where you can seek out the answers you've been struggling with.

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
Matthew 7:7-12 The Message

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

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October 25, 2016

Write 31 Days - Global

From the air, any country I've ever flown over, from Canada and the US to the UK or Central America, look so beautiful and yet so similar.

Irish Coast

Everything is a mixture of hundreds of shades of greens and browns on land and over the coasts and lakes it always a swirling of blues, whites, and aquas.

Rocky Mountains

The mountains, from 35,000 feet, are less intimidating and more like child-drawn rough lines across the landscape. Some are capped with the white and light blues of fresh snows, some are dusty and brown, barren and desert-like.

Grand Canyon

I've flown over the Grand Canyon and it looks like the Earth is injured, a giant crack zipping through the plains, open and dry.

I've sighed at the fresh green patchwork over Ireland, the green multi-sized squares bordered by darker greens, like a pieced-together grandma's quilt, lush and fresh and full of promise.


Beaches up the coast of Mexico look dry and hot but where the white surf meets the tan sands, the heat looks inviting and beaches stretch in curving, drawn-out "u" shapes far into the horizon blurriness.


Buildings and highways, industry and factories, they all grown small and shrink as we climb.
They are tiny shapes, dwarfed by the sheer land mass they live on as we rise higher, able to view more and more at once.

San Juan Islands

Islands become scattered dots, elongated and stretched, surrounded by a flat concrete of ocean. Boats and ferries look less like fast transport and more like small insects, crawling slowly along the deep navy blue floor.

Somewhere over the Atlantic

As we move up ear-poppingly higher into the clouds, floating and streaking through the beautiful white and sliver fluff, I forget.

I forget about the busyness of life.
I forget about deadlines and projects and upcoming appointments.
I forget about drama and stress and what lies ahead.
I forget what's below me for an hour or two.

Yet as I forget I'm reminded.

I remember that down there, life goes on.
Down there, people can be the same wherever I travel.
People can be kind, understanding, and helpful.


A small souvenir shop owner can chat with me about making our own jewelry and he can take the time to hand craft me a wire flower to take home. His gift to me, a fellow crafter.

Me & Eduardo

A driver in Costa Rica, who spent the week carting luggage, driving a small packed bus full of noisy single women, can bond over the love of our pet dogs back home. We slowly heard his life story, and a quiet and gentle giant of a man was transformed into a friend.

Mark & Me

A tour guide in Scotland can make a single traveler like me feel welcome on a bus full of families and friends. As we seek out castles and battlefields he can chat with me about our shared love of history and music and entertainment.

A waiter at a resort in Mexico can be funny, full of jokes to make us laugh and tell us about his children and how proud he is of them. We can see how hard he works for his family though he only sees them one weekend out of two.

There are people down there, families and business people, people with dogs or cats, old people, children, schools and shopping malls full of people, and they all are driven by mostly similar

All people want to be loved and needed.
All people want their own voice heard.
All people want what they do to matter and to feel good about their lives.

I won't forget about that, whether I'm flying high above the earth or walking down the street in my home city, I'll remember that inside, people are just like me.

We are the same, all over the world.

A global family.

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

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October 23, 2016

Write 31 Days - Off

I skipped a day of writing yesterday because I needed a day off.

I've never written this frequently in my life, barring when I was in school, and even then I don't think I wrote so much!

I've really been enjoying writing every day this month. I stumbled across the "Write 31 Days" challenge a few days into October but jumped on board with both feet.
I had been wanting to write more regularly and figured this would be a great way to start.

Yesterday's word, humorously enough, was "Off".

I needed a day off yesterday. A day just to chill, relax, and not put any pressure on myself to really do anything.

I had a few weekend plans, which you can read about here, and accomplished a couple of them.
I watched some Netflix (Walking Dead Season 6 Marathon to catch up for tonight's Season 7 Premiere!), went for an awesome long evening walk along the ocean with my dog, and even started a few new jewelry projects.

I have today, Sunday,  off as well.

I never used to have Sundays off.
At my previous job I worked all day Sunday and then had Mondays off.
While I liked my Sunday job, and I really loved my quiet Mondays off, I felt my weekends were always so disconnected. I hadn't had a normal 2-day weekend in almost 12 years!

Now, it feels luxurious to have two whole days off in a row! I even feel like I'm cheating or skipping out on work staying home for two days.

Today the sun is shining and the Autumn air is crisp but I see blue sky and no rain in sight.
Today, my day off, feels full of possibilities.
Maybe a nice drive, maybe a walk on a beach, maybe both! Whatever I feel like on my day off!

What do you do on your days off?

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 21, 2016

Write 31 Days - Weekend

It's finally the weekend! Are you excited?
Do you have any big plans or are you a snuggle up at home kind of person?
Me, I'm a little of both, although this weekend I don't have any big plans lined up as of yet.

I am going to try and hit a movie this weekend. I've been wanting to see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children or The Accountant. Check out some of the other movies I can't wait to see in the upcoming months here.

Just last night I caught a movie with my dad. We saw The Magnificent Seven. A fun, shoot-'em ALL up western with a good cast and a downright nasty villain. I'm sure I'll write a formal review at some point.

I also hope we have a few non-rainy hours this weekend so I can take my dog for a good walk somewhere. We love going down to Dallas Road where I can let her off-leash and she can run and play with lots of other dogs. Although Island View Beach has also become a favourite, see photo above.

Anther weekend goal for me is to get out and sort through all my jewelry-making supplies and stock because I've signed up for a few Christmas Markets with my jewelry and gifts line "West Coast Creations".

I have a few items still left from last season and a bunch of new ideas for fun creations for this year.
Watch for further updates as I'm sure I'll write about my creations again, or better yet, LIKE my West Coast Creations Facebook page and you'll always be updated and you can even order items from me via Facebook!

I also might work on my Halloween costume. It involves tulle, glitter and bright colours! You'll just have to wait to find out what I'll be!

What are your weekend plans?

  • A cozy fire and some popcorn and Netflix or a good book?
  • A movie or dinner out with your special someone or some awesome friends?
  • Working around the house, getting some projects done that have been waiting for you?

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

Five Minute Friday - Park

On Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them.

Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. THIS WEEK Link back HERE and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Thems the rules!

OK, are you ready?
The topic for today is:



I wasn't 16 when I finally got my Driver's License. In fact, I was just over 18.
It's not like I didn't want it, I just had other friends and family who were driving me all the time anyway, I didn't see the urgency.
I took the written Learner's test at age 16, passed and just never got around to leaning and taking my driving test. I took the written test a few more times to keep my Learner's permit—at that time I think your Learner's ran out after 6 months.

Finally I was feeling ready to take the driving test.
I had been out driving and practicing with my dad several times.
He was a great driving teacher and gave me all the basics I needed not to crash and burn or endanger anyone else on the road.

I even had one or two driving moments with my mom, but they didn't turn out great considering I was driving her manual transmission little car in which I hadn't really practiced before. And there was a hill, and it had been raining! I believe we even had to stop and switch places mid-hill because I just couldn't get the hang of shifting.

One of the best things my parents did for me was give me one driving lesson with a professional driving school instructor.

I was doing well with him on the road, in traffic, until we pulled down a residential road and he asked me to parallel park between two cars.
"Park? Here? Now?" I asked, trepidation evident in my wavering voice.
"Yes, right here looks good. Go ahead"
"But I've never..," I was terrified I would do it wrong and scrape both the instructors car and the cars on the street. Wasn't there some practice area with orange cones I could demolish first?!

However, the wise instructor calmly walked me through what to do.
"Pull up right beside the front car, back up and turn to a 45 degree angle until your front passenger window is even with the other car's back bumper then slowly straighten out as you continue backing into the space" he instructed as I nervously turned the steering wheel. (Of course he added all the safety checking necessary.)

A few moments later, and ta-dah! I had done it! My first time parallel parking and I had nailed it!
I had just needed the right description and the right instructions, simple and straight forward.

I still use his method of parking and still feel like a pro every time I ease into a tight spot without frustration. And I did get my driver's license after one passed road test!


This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here.

October 20, 2016

Write 31 Days - Notice

Today's writing prompt is the word "Notice", and I'm stuck.

Usually when I sit down to write the words flow from memories, or a personal anecdote, or something I'm interested in. But today, "Notice"....I've got nothing.

I tried to think about maybe a time when I received a notice in the form of mail or a bill...but no one wants to hear about those overdue notices. Yuck.

Then I thought maybe I could write something about being noticed, wanting to be noticed, and not being noticed. But I wasn't really feeling that angle.

Perhaps I could talk about stopping to look at the little things and notice details in the mundane. But I feel like I just talked about that in my "Study" post.

Maybe I could write a short piece of poetry about being noticed? I could even already feel the repetitive line "Notice me...notice me..." but I am super cautious and aware that many people close to me read my blog and I wouldn't want them too read too much into what I'm saying. I'm not in a weird or bad place right now and I'm not using this blog as a cry for help in any sort of way.

For me, this blog is therapeutic and calming and fun. It's something I enjoying doing and if any of my personal stories or insights make someone else laugh or feel something or relate, it's worth splaying some of my insides for the world to read.

So no poetry today.

Maybe I just hope the right person notices my writing. Not for any acclaim or renown for myself. I want the right person at the right time get what they need from my little scribbles. I want someone else who struggles with some of my own stumbling blocks to be able to not feel so very alone on their journey.

Notice me and I will notice you. 

You aren't alone. There is always someone who can relate to what you are going through.
You are noticed.
You matter.

And I say that to myself as well as to all of you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Whatever it is that make you unique and wonderful and quirky and different, embrace it and let it shine! Don't hide behind yourself, get noticed for who you are.

If you like math, or reading comics, or bird watching—do it, love it! If you are good at tying intricate knots, or playing on retro video consoles, or public speaking—do it, enjoy it! If you really want to learn how to knit, or hike all the nearby mountains, or speak another language—do it, learn it!
Me? I like sci-fi and fantasy TV shows/movies/books, I know a lot of random details about dog breeds, I can sing harmony to almost anything or anyone, and almost every day I listen to nerdy podcasts* analyzing movies or TV.

Don't let being noticed for your uniqueness hold you back. Pick up your green polka-dotted Pogo stick and hop to it!

There. I did it.
I found my voice and used it to get noticed.

What are YOU going to be noticed for today?

*Podcasts I enjoy: Watching Westworld, Decoding Westworld, Any Given Saturday, The Empire Film Podcast, Game of Thrones The Podcast, Fighting in the War Room, A Cast of Kings, A Storm of Spoilers, Watching Dead, Serial (real-life stories), The Moth (real stories read by real people)

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here.

October 19, 2016

Write 31 Days - Neighbour

I moved into my current suite almost 4 years ago and I still miss my old neighbourhood.
Don't get me wrong, I love my place, I have room enough for a kitchen table, I now have normal height ceilings that shortie little me can't touch, and I have access to a great fenced-in yard that my dog (Willow the Westie) can romp and play in. But I do miss my last neighbourhood.

At my previous home, living in a smaller suite and not having a yard forced me to get out and walk my dog much more. We had wide grassy boulevard-lined streets, we were close to the ocean beach on both sides, and we always met a lot of other lovely people walking their dogs, too.

This is how I met some of my neighbours.

Something magical happens when two dog owners meet on the street or beach or park and let their dogs play—you chat naturally, you already have a common interest, and you find out more about the people living right next to you. You build a trust and a friendship.

There was the teacher with a sweet little dog. She even looked after my dog when I was in a pinch one time. She and her husband were such kind and lovely people. I knew I could depend on them should I ever be in need.

There was the older couple down the street with a busy retriever dog who loved to play fetch. My Willow would run beside their dog for a while then wait half way for her to come back to play.

There was a kind of kooky single lady with a cute little fluffy dog, who had puppies a few times that I lived near her. She also always had her neighbour's big dog along on walks with her but never quite had a handle on that dog's rambunctious behaviour.

There was also a kind, older man with the BEST bushy mustache ever who would always be walking by himself. He had a dog food delivery service and we chatted quite a few times. One day I was sad to realize he must have moved as I stopped seeing him or his truck anymore.

There was the couple who lived right beside the local park where I walked my dog everyday and let her off leash to run and play. They would always come to their fence with a dog treat for her, pet her and chat with me. I've gone back a few times since moving and if they are home, they'll come out to say chat and ask how I'm doing.

I loved meeting my neighbours. I made a few great connections and still feel like I could stop by anytime and say hello.


There was one other time growing up where I felt like we knew our neighbours and could trust and depend on them.

When my family moved to Victoria after leaving Calgary, Alberta, my dad built a house on the outskirts of the city up on the top of a hill in a newer development. To get to the neighbourhood you had a good couple of minutes drive up a very steep and winding road with rock cliffs and forest on either side.

There were about 20 homes atop the hill and many families with kids around my age. We quickly met our neighbours both near and further up the twisting road. I met and made friends with quite a few other kids and soon my even cousins moved onto the street, adding more kids to our usual band.

This was long enough ago when we spent every minute we could outside playing until dinner or dark. We made clubhouses and forts, explored the forest behind our houses, visited other kid's houses to play and even had sitting-down skateboard luge-like races all the way down the hill, wearing out the soles of our shoes as brakes in the process!

From this small community my mom ended up looking after two neighbour girls before and after school, I ended up taking piano lessons from the wife of a doctor who lived in the largest house at the end of the street, I had a few haircuts from a neighbour mom who worked from her home, and we all felt a sense of trust with one another.

If any of us kids were walking up the hill, almost any of the adults (parents of one of us) would stop and pick up us, zipping us to the top in seconds instead of minutes of steep walking. 
Soon, my dad built our second house up the street from our first, once it sold, and we continued to spend a few more years in the area.

When we finally left, as we knew we one day would since my dad's business was to build homes, sell when the market was decent and build again, I was sad to lose that small neighbourhood feeling.

Hopefully one day, when I have a family of my own, I can again live on a street where I meet my neighbours more and lend a hand of kindness and care, building that trust and feeling of community I've had a few times.

What has your experience with neighbours been like? 

Do you prefer to keep to yourself, or do you long for a good, trusting community you can depend on?

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 17, 2016

Write 31 Days - Study: The Dahlia

I've mentioned before that I'm not very good at taking tests. I did well in school but I lacked the patience to really hunker down and study, to go over and over the subject until it was ingrained and embedded into my pool of knowledge.

Now that I'm a bit older and hopefully a bit wiser I've learned the value of study. Not particularly the studying of school subjects, but studying something to see the beauty and intricacies in the most simplest of details.

That brings me to my favourite flower: the Dahlia.

I'm not sure exactly why I love it so much, but perhaps because dahlias are always a riot of colour and shape and texture. They can be living contradictions, both delicate and bizarre, simple and complex.

They are bold, strong, and wild yet fun, pretty, and sweet.

Did you know, there are over 42 different species of dahlias, and they can range from blooms as small as 5 cm (2 inches) up to 30 cm (1foot) across!!

If you looked at a garden full of dahlias from afar you'd see a beautifulrainbow of shades from hot pink to pale yellow to scarlet and violet.

Then stop, get closer and study each flower and you'd be surprised to find that just one blossom is made up of hundreds of tiny, perfect, repeating petals that fan, or curl, or spike out into an amazing creations.

I love visiting a local hot tourist spot, Butchart Gardens. My parents and I always get annual passes so we can go walk the pretty pathways anytime throughout the year. I can even bring my little sidekick, Willow the Westie!

August and September are my favourite months in the Gardens because that's when the six-foot-plus tall dahlia flowers are in full glorious bloom!

I somehow manage to take photo after photo of each amazing flower, even if I've already seen them the week before. I really cannot get enough of them.

I've grown dahlias myself many times, but my simple container gardens are sweet but pitiful  compared to the giant plants at Butchart!

They are not only pretty to look at but so wonderfully and intricately made.

Here's a few of my favourites from this season.
Notice all the different types of petals and shapes and colours.

I'm amazed every time I study one a little bit more closely.

If a simple flower can be so marvelously made it gives me great hope that no matter what we feel about ourselves and the scrutiny we put ourselves under, we, too, are so magnificently intricate and beautiful and unique just the way we are.

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

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Write 31 Days - Little

Little me in the centre.

((I'm a "little" behind on my #Write31Days, but I'll catch up.))

I remember being little.

I remember the feeling of being the youngest, the only one of my siblings not yet in school.
I remember my mom and I going to the wading pool and having to make friends with the other little kids who were there on their own with their mothers.

I remember my dad teaching me how to spell my name on my Lite-Brite one evening, after he had come home from a long day working on the farm.

I remember getting up so early that it was dark outside to watch morning cartoons with my brother and sister—the bright, flashing lights reflecting off of our enraptured faces. Spider-man was the best!

I remember the feeling of success after learning how to tie my shoes.
I remember kids camps and family camps and day camps.
I remember taking the bus to school and feeling so small in those big green seats, my feet dangling, my face barely high enough to see out the window.

I remember the fear then thrill of learning how to swing super high then launch myself off the swing, feeling like a super hero.

I remember learning how to tell time on a clock.

I remember Pet Day in Grade One, where several hundred kids brought their cats and dogs to school for a "Pet Parade" in the gym. I remember how my farm cat, Cuddles, whom I'd probably never actually cuddled before, freaked out and had to stay in the van.

I remember playing so hard that I'd always rip my shirt, or dress or somehow get grease on pants.

I remember being bold and asking lots of questions but learning how to feel the tension enough to know when not to ask them.

I remember making our own bows and arrows at the lake.
I remember stories from my grandfather on road trips or in their backyard in the old army tent.

I remember getting in trouble, a lot. I remember it was almost always an accident or not my fault.
I remember adults getting angry at me but others standing up for me, because I was a good kid at heart.

I remember being little, small, young, the youngest, yet confident, sure of myself, blunt.

I remember that little girl.

I'm trying to make sure some of that confident little girl stays with me, always. 

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 15, 2016

Write 31 Days - Move

I did a quick exercise and wrote down all the homes I've lived in and was shocked that it had been so many. I have moved 18 times in my life. Currently, that means I'm in my 19th home!
That's a LOT of packing and unpacking. Some, true, were only for a few months, but they were moves, nonetheless.

I started in Calgary, where I was born and we lived in one home on a farm there until moving to Victoria when I was 6 years old. I never thought I'd get over moving away from my friends, from our farm, or from the prairies in general. However, I quickly became a very West Coast girl and love Victoria!

My dad built three of the houses we lived in once in Victoria. In between houses, my family rented or stayed in guest suites for a short time. So the moves sure added up.

I don't mind moving, and I should be good at it now, but I hate the packing! Unpacking is like Christmas, you find surprise items in each box and search out a new place to put them. Packing is like Spring cleaning, only on a worse scale because of the time pressure and all the under-layer of things you find after packing up all the essentials. Yuck!

Moving was always a part of my life. It wasn't a big deal, in fact it felt sort of fun to search out the next place and make it our own. (I'm certain my parents would disagree!) Sure, it would have been fabulous to have stayed in one great house my entire life, but we always made it an adventure. Setting up house in a new place always felt like a new start, a fresh beginning where anything was possible. My parents always took care of us when we had to move and anytime I had to move as an adult God always seemed to take care of helping me find the perfect place, even when the pressure was on and time was running out.

I'll never dread moving because I can make anyplace "home".

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

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October 14, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Mail

On Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them.

Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. THIS WEEK Link back HERE and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Thems the rules!

OK, are you ready?
The topic for today is:



My grandmother, Dorothy Cole, is on the baby being held by her father, my great-grandfather.

I was never very good at sending mail. I'm pretty sure I still have several birthday cards tucked away on my shelves bought for certain people but never sent.

But of course, I love getting mail! Good mail, not junk mail or bills and the like.

The best bit of mail I received every year for quite a while growing up were my birthday letters from my Grandma.

She would take the time to hand write a letter to each of her grandchildren for many years on their birthday. And these weren't just letters about what she was up to that week, these were precious letters filled with memories of what she or my grandpa's life was like when they were our same age.

I heard all about living in Northern BC, about throwing dough out to feed chickens, about taking a boat to England and living there for a year, about all the handsome young soldiers who were stationed in her town and all about my grandma starting her own family and the mischief they got into and so forth.

These letters, though difficult at times to decipher with her famous shorthand and abbreviations, became a treasured gift every year.

I hope in this digital age, I can find a way to send special mementos and memories to my family.


Write 31 Days - Aware

I've always been a sensitive person. I take what others say and do and have a very difficult time not taking it to heart. I'm sensitive but sometimes you won't know it.
I tend to laugh off how I really feel, or bottle my emotions up so everything on the surface looks okay.

In fact, Okay or Fine are part of my everyday language.
Often times I feel like I *need* to be "Okay"or "Fine".
If I'm not those things...then I'd have to actually deal with not being fine or okay.

A lot of my time growing up I was the glue.
I was the glue in between friendships at school, I was the glue for family to keep everyone laughing, I was the glue that helped situations stick together. And when I couldn't be the glue, I could at least bounce between groups who weren't getting along and still be friends with everyone.

I was aware of what everyone was feeling and I'd always try to compensate. I'd try to fix, to mend, to stick back together whatever had broken down just by lightening the mood.

Somewhere along my journey, being aware and feeling...well, ALL of the feelings around me, it became too much.

In addition to trying to make everyone around me get along, or laugh or feel good, I wasn't good at expressing my own real, deep-down emotions and they'd build up until they would overflow.
Words had hurt me. But I had buried how deeply they had cut. I had been burned and let down and used a few too many times to trust easily again. 

So somewhere, sometime, I turned down my "aware-ness" radar.
I limited who I let in and who I chose to be around.

I didn't turn it completely off, mind you, my dial went from say, a 10 down to a 2 or 3.
I now have a close-knit group of friends on whom I can depend and care for in turn.

I've been working on some things in my life over the past year and slowly I'm finding ways to healthily deal with my own emotions and past feelings, but also learning how to deal with interacting with those around me.

I don't mind that I'm a sensitive person. I'm learning how to process when words get too hurtful or too close to stinging me and not to let myself get tread on too much. I'll speak up, or try again, or just let things slide off.

I'm aware and I'm making a conscious effort to get better at just doing life.

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 11, 2016

Write 31 Days - Sky

Have you ever had a dream where you were flying?
Ever felt yourself soaring through the puffy clouds, wind grazing your face as you squint against the bright light of the warm, yellow sunlight?

Obviously, I have!

I've had dreams where I was flying, free of any encumbering plane, or apparatus, or jet pack...just flying. Who knows how, maybe I had super powers in those dreams.

I've also had a few dreams where I was piloting a super small helicopter, zooming over marshes and fields and forest, climbing over mountain peaks and down the slopes of glaciers.
And by super small, I mean my tiny helicopter was basically a glassed-in bubble, just fitting around me with the typical helicopter joystick for controls and small but powerful blades above my head.
I'm not sure why, but those mini helicopter dreams always wake me with such elation and joy.

I think maybe my second calling in life is to figure out a way to make tiny, personal flying devices.
Okay, perhaps not.

I do love to travel, though, and for me, one of the best moments is that tension-filled, exciting pull as your airplane surges forward on the runway finally freeing itself from the ground. I love that take-off moment!

I know maybe people don't care to fly, or even have major anxiety flying, but I've alwsy found the adventure in flight.
I always try to get myself a good window seat and stare out at the miniature world below as we climb into the clouds.

I'm not so sure, after all, that I would like my own personal aircraft, I feel pretty safe in my comfy seat with someone else who is skilled manning the controls. I like the rush but I don't really want to drive.

Sometimes we need that. We need to let go and let someone else be in charge.

Sometimes stepping back or down is the most difficult but best thing we can do.

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 10, 2016

Write 31 Days - Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and no, not "Canadian" Thanksgiving...just plain old Thanksgiving.
I live in Canada, it goes without saying.

I had a great weekend visiting with family, enjoying my Mom's homemade turkey dinner with all of the fixings, and especially her scrumptious pumpkin pie!

We talked a bit about being thankful, and I am, very thankful.
I've even made a huge list of things I am thankful for over the past few years.
(You can find the posts that cover that list here.)

Today I have a few more items to add to that list.

  • I am thankful for a friend who went to the trouble of putting a card and gift on my door on a day when I really needed some encouragement.
  • I am thankful for a doctor who actually listened and asked thoughtful questions to get to the bottom of some issues I've been having.
  • I am thankful for parents who support me when I succeed but also when I'm feeling like I am stumbling along.
  • I am thankful for co-workers and bosses at my new job who are super encouraging and even nominate me to be "Star of the Month!" I've only been there for four months and already I am feeling accepted and appreciated!
  • I am thankful for the gifts and talents that have been given to me that I can use to make the world a better place, even on such a small scale as this blog. If I can turn around and encourage one person, it's worth it.
  • I am also thankful for all those who have spoken into my life over the years and for those amazing people who I know have prayed for me. You know who you are. I am eternally grateful and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • My last thanks goes out to anyone who is reading my blog posts. Welcome! Look around and comment to let me know if anything speaks to you. 

For Thanksgiving I just want to say to all of you, "Thanks!"

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here