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Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Fighters"

A fighter is a unyielding, or determined person to face their challenges with only success in mind. That's what I witnessed today in my Campbell River Mother. We all have a choice on how we're going to deal with our challenges. What I witnessed today was a courageous woman taking a step and embracing her challenge before it happens. My mother started chemotherapy recently and she decided to have a head shaving party. She had three supportive friends join her while I shaved all their heads. Some people might think that it was a premature step. "Why not wait until your hair falls out? Some may ask" I personally thought taking that step and turning that step into a positive experience was awesome. We're all fighters if we choose to be. It's the only way success happens - is to fight for it. It doesn't matter if you're fighting a disease. Have mobility challenges or if it's struggling through education, or obtaining a career in life. You need to be that determined person to live life successfully within this world. For me as the hairdresser, I felt honored to be a part of something so emotionally and physically draining on ones soul. I was there to support and what I left with was gratitude. Four woman shaved their heads, and embraced their new found beauty. It reminded me of the saying, "Take the bull by the horns" Basically confronting the problem head-on and dealing with it openly. It was truly an amazing experience. We know this is only the beginning however it's a beginning fighting and taking control.

I'm a proud daughter of my mother. A woman who jumped into a blended family. Who remained supportive and positive throughout my life. I don't believe ever once did she judge or give a negative opinion about my choices in life. She was just there, always smiling. Recognition is powerful and how can I not, write about such a wonderful inspiring woman such as her. With a few tears, and lots of laughter we shared a wonderful experience together. "Thank you" I'm here for you. No one needs to fight alone. We will conquer this all together. When you can yell, "I am a Survivor!"  - I hold you to that tattoo! And I will find a place that isn't covered because my life story is never finished......and you're a part of it. Lots of love xoxo





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Updates

A few updates and reminders. Dec 13th is fast approaching! That's our annual Christmas Party for adoptive families, families waiting and/or are interested in adopting. Everyone is welcome. It's a potluck. Please bring something to share. And please remember to bring a wrapped gift per child with their first and last names on it for Santa's bag. We have a new and excited Santa this year! An ole time family friend that watched me grow up from babyhood. Very exciting to have him come, support and be our star of the evening! We will have a craft table, we will have door prizes, a talent show and dancing! It's a fun filled evening of children! 

I can't believe it's that time of year again! That magical time to spend with family and friends. For us, we are staying home for Christmas and our door is open. Christmas Eve is our game board night with tons of food platters and the "steal the present" game. Little House on the Prairie will be playing and we won't have any Internet connection for two days. 

Christmas Day will be crowded with all our family attending. This year we're going simplistic. Only a couple practical gifts underneath our tree, with a sentimental twist. 

After the holiday season our littlest daughter Emily is scheduled to have her hip surgery on January 6th. It's perfect timing. Surgeries she needs to enhance her mobility, to anatomically correct her hips and stance. However her recovery will be long and painful. It will not only be very hard on our daughter, our family...it's going to be very hard on me. It's just that helpless feeling a mother has. 

In the meantime we are continuing with "Emily's Angels" So far we have raised $1500.00 towards Emily's all terrain wheelchair. We are also going to be at the fourth annual Christmas Faire with a Vintage Flair on December 7th from 9-4 at the Eagle Crest Golf Course. Emily will join us in the afternoon! 

Just this Thursday the Oceanside Star wrote an article, you can locate it at http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/having-a-family-of-18-is-awesome-1.1623821#sthash.Wc7Cmu2y.gbpl

Leaving you with this message....the season is a hard time of year for many for several reasons. Please be kind to the people that aren't - they need it.  Acknowledge and in some form, open up your heart and make a difference for another. Regardless if it's dropping off socks, or a warm hot chocolate to someone on the street, to lending a helping hand, a listening ear or opening up your home to ones in need. Just do something. Heres a story....I have been sitting in our sons Taekwondo parking lot religiously two nights a week in my van. It didn't matter what the weather was doing. I was there up to two hours some nights. I was waiting to sell our Shell Christmas Trees. Sometimes with no shows.....which was completely fine. One night a mother (I did not know) dropped me off a Starbucks coffee after buying a tree. Just that action of kindness touched my heart. It sends a trigger reminding us that there is others that care, even for strangers. - Everyone needs those reminders. Those reminders start the "Paying it forward" 

Start now and make a difference....... - me.






Sunday, November 23, 2014

What have we been up too!?

Another Birthday Celebration!
Happy Birthday to our little man! 3 yrs old!
 Santa came to visit. I think with the excitement, he was slapped in the face! 
 Then there was slight confusion with our granddaughter! 
 However I knew who Santa was!
 Even the dogs were involved!
 Christmas decorating happened this weekend!
"Some of us still believe in the magic of Christmas!" 
I know it's not technically December "yet" but within a blink it will be... AND we are ready! 

Remember, our annual Christmas Adoption Party is on Dec 13th at the Nanoose Place Hall starting at 4pm! It's a potluck, and please bring a gift per child with their first and last names on it for Santa's bag! There will be a talent sign up sheet, a craft table, dancing and much much more! An event NOT to miss! The children love it, and it's a great time to meet other families. And please, invite your children's grandparents, and others that support, and/or are interested in adoption! More the merrier! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Emily's Angels update!

Shells, shells and more shells. We attended the Farmers Market Craft Fair in Qualicum and within three hours we raised $610.00 dollars selling "Emily's Angels" and our shell Christmas trees. It was not only a fun morning for all of us, it was memorable. Emily's Angels was featured in our local paper, that in itself brought readers to purchase their angel. We had individuals come in their own wheelchairs. We had pictures being taken. It was almost overwhelming. I caught myself tearing a few times. After the market, a few supporters shared our story and their purchases over the internet. From there the orders started coming in. All morning Sunday I delivered Emily's Angels and the shell Christmas trees. Now with non stop orders, and invites to future craft shows, we are well on our way to what once was a dream, to reality. I now believe we will make our $5000.00 goal to purchase Emily an all terrain special needs jogging stroller, adapted just for her. A huge THANK YOU to our local public school, Nanoose Bay Elementary! We have angel purchases coming in weekly and beautiful hand drawn pictures from the students for Emily's happy book! I love the fact that people support, and genuinely care for strangers. Our world is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Here are some pictures from our first appearance! 

Our table
Our trees!
 "A few of us" What's funny about this below picture is we didn't plan to wear the same stripped shirts. It just happened. 
 Emily loved selling her angels! 
 Our community is amazing. People are!
To date, we have raised $1200.00!
Thank you for everyone who has supported and continues to support our Emily!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Grab a tea, sit down, read slowly and hopefully enjoy my Oprah experience!

"AH" Honestly I'm not sure where to begin. My Oprah weekend was AMAZING! AND exhausting having no sleep due to staying in a hotel right underneath the monorail, listening to screaming ambulances and police vehicles throughout the night. We were downtown Seattle, right beside the Seattle Space Needle. A beautiful sunny weekend and walking distance to absolutely everything! The Oprah weekend was about our individuality. You. Me. Its about what matters in life. Things like joy, resilience, awe, connection and gratitude. Too experience, and expand on what is possible. To finally start living happily with on whom you are! The thousands of us that attended this weekend were asked, "What have you been called to do?" Oprah had her team of Trail Blazers speaking that included Deepak Chopra, Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant. During the workshops I wrote notes. Tons and tons of notes!  In between the guest speakers, there was a DJ who was awesome playing up beat inspirational fun music where we all danced! We had glowing bracelets that changed colors during every performance. For example if Mark Nepo was discussing our Universe, all our bracelets would glow blue. If Oprah was discussing the sun rising, our bracelets would turn orange. If we were soul dancing, all our bracelets would be constantly changing to different colors. It was a very nice touch to the whole experience. The purpose of the weekend was to ask ourselves, "What life do we want?" We might be leading the life we think we want.....for example Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote the novel "Eat Pray Love" thought she had to have the typical life; being married, having children and becoming that happy house wife. She soon realized that that's not what she wanted. She was unhappy. Her book explains her life changing journey finally finding herself. The life she wants. She explained if you need or want to change your life, change it but don't expect it not to be painful. Movement brings risks and that's why many people don't ever change. Your life is in your hands. We all have excuses. Limitations. Obstacles. Elizabeth explained a story about a trapped house wife. Her dream was to travel the world. However her husband left her with their five children. Her dream never changed. She started saving a dollar a day in a coffee can. Eventually hundreds of coffee cans and twenty years later after raising her five children she traveled the world. Anything is possible. Another little story I enjoyed from Elizabeth was about a bad day she was having. She was in the post office in New York waiting in line. Every one was miserable. She was unhappy. The aura was gloom. She decided to go for a walk until she found something beautiful. Not just smelling the flowers on a side street but she wanted to find something amazing and she wasn't going to stop walking her city until she did. Her reason to do this was she felt she hated her city. It wasn't the place for her. A common issue we all have is having thoughts about disliking where we live. She needed to change her attitude. So she walked until she saw something amazing. Finally she saw four baby elephants walking with their trainers. They were going for a walk, stretching their legs before returning to the traveling circus. Her attitude changed. Later in her future she rode an Elephant in India. I loved Elizabeth Gilbert's stories. And there is no such thing as coincidences! 
"We need to educate our children. They need to know we are not just mothers, and fathers; that we are not just here to serve but to live our dreams too" So they can grow up independently happy following their dreams - a thought I had after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak. 
When Mark Nepo spoke he explained that our longest journey we are making is from our head to our heart. Makes sense. Our mind is our controller and it takes courage to honestly be who we really are. Mark explained to not leave anything unsaid that's on your heart. We have to mend our hearts in order for us to be stronger. You know, a true friend will tell us what we don't want to hear and I respect this because how else would we learn? Even if it was a useless opinion, at least it's off your friends heart and what you choose to do with the information is now yours. (Which could be just letting it go) We choose (only ourselves) to hold ache in our hearts. Every one was born with a gift - that gift needs to be exercised by our hearts Mark explained. "Love what you love now" and stop trying to approve yourself, you're already pre-approved!" Stop judging. Be alive. Be connected. Live with an open heart. 
During Rob Bell's speech he explained we are all miracles. True isn't it!? Next time you're waiting in line at the grocery store, doing laundry, going to work, STOP - take a deep breath - it's all a miracle. We all need to start embracing life as a miracle. Just awakening every day breathing is a gift. Funny, life is challenging that I know. Our mind can be manipulating however our mind can have voices that are very real we should be listening too. There's a fine balance, learning to listen to the positives and blocking out the negatives. For our challenges we need to remember that we need to suffer and experience to heighten our strengths. A few traits Rob suggested was to get rid of envy and jealousy. To embrace challenges, embrace and enhance your life, practice following those whispers that feel right, not the ones that destroy.
 Do you have fine China dishes in your kitchen cabinet that you might only use twice a year? Rob said serve on that fine China if you own it, we aren't here forever! How true is that!?
 Iyanla Vanzant was awesome. She's a very funny woman. She explained that life is her friend. We are all going to have issues and difficulties. She said, "The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it" and truly life is on our side but we can't expect to cut corners. Something I preach to my children ALL the time is in order to be successful, you have to work for it. What defines success for you, I don't know. I do know just being happy is success!  And happiness is work too. Iyanla's friend "life" doesn't play tricks, our minds do and life talks, we have to learn on how to listen. Life always tells us the truth, and our job is to recognize and accept it. "Pay attention to the whispers" - Oprah. Iyanla told her personal story about her divorce and on how she fought to forgive her ex-husband. She would constantly say in her mind, "I forgive you" however it never happened until she learned truly on how to forgive. I also know all too well that forgiveness is a hard one but in order to have peace within ourselves, we need to forgive others and as Iyanla said, "I forgive myself" "I forgive everything" "Awe moment" 
I loved a statement Elizabeth Gilbert said, "I'm going to love the beautiful mess I am" So very true because none of us are perfect and never will be! 
You're probably wondering what I learned from my Oprah weekend? Ha ha ha - honestly I know all of this. However it was inspiring listening to their personal journeys. It was empowering and just reconfirming what I already believe. I don't know if it was a life changing weekend for me, I do know that I want to continue to feel proud of who I am today. I want to continue to learn, to love, and to appreciate awakening every morning breathing. I am my own power. It's in our mind, in our heart and with believing in ourselves, with taking that "action" that I always write about - we can change, dreams do come true and every one of us are here for something. We all want purpose. We all want meaning and what we believe is for ourselves. Once understanding and practicing these thoughts daily, judging others will stop, envy and jealousy will diminish. Forgiveness becomes easier. AND once you change for you (become who you want to be) don't turn back. Some words that my sister in law said to me one time that stuck, and it could be used in different context depending what you believe....."It's between only you and God" Whatever "God" looks like to you, it could be the "Universe" "Mother Nature" or you can define it as just you.....it's true. This whole weekend was about me. About you. Not your neighbor. They don't live inside you, they don't have your mind. Your heart. Your dreams. Be who you are or want to be! It was an AMAZING weekend!
 Besides spending two days with Oprah and her Trail blazing team, I walked downtown Seattle. I went on the Ferris Wheel. I rode a mechanical bull for the first time! I had an amazing coffee at this little hidden coffee shop somewhere downtown Seattle. I spent time in the O Town, a pop-up village. I danced. I laughed. I shopped. Most importantly I lived, I experienced, I was inspired and I can proudly say a check went on my bucket list. Done. 
Oprah - " I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it" "Create the highest, grandest vision for your life. Then let every step move you in that direction" So mmm......I'd ask, "What are you waiting for!?" And there isn't any excuses because with action, and with time that vision will become a reality. Most importantly be good to yourself. Speak positively. Train yourself to speak good about yourself daily, words (your mind) do have power! Remember you're not alone because we are all searching for the same thing, we all want to know we matter. I know this post is long...and if you've made it this far (without me confusing you) I am excited! I hope that sharing my weekend will inspire some thoughts, some changes within you. You are the warrior of your masterful life. Oprah concluded by reconfirming, "It's your life. RISE RISE RISE, STRENGTH and claim it. Claim you! I'm leaving you with a poem I enjoyed written by Derek Walcott.

"Love after Love" - A stranger who was yourself
"The time will come, when, the elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give Bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who have loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life"

Enjoy now my Oprah photo reflection!
Oprah and moi!
 Key Arena

Our gift from Oprah
 Our bracelets!
 OPRAH!
 Seattle Space Needle
 Work shop
 DJ
 My most amazing coffee!
 My notes!
 Oprah and moi! 
 Downtown Seattle
 I`m posting this picture because I was laughing. Laughing so hard that it felt really really good. Laughter is truly the best medicine! I`m on the Seattle Ferris Wheel and what was SO funny was we were waiting for this elaborating exciting ride, but it was the slowest moving wheel EVER! I could have walked faster! After getting off the Ferris Wheel I asked an employee why was it so slow!? "I was waiting for this high speed death defying experience!" She explained it's a sight seeing Ferris Wheel. "OH, darn....I was laughing so hard I didn't notice" A reminder we need to open our eyes and pay attention to what's beautiful around us! 
We need to celebrate life. It's a gift awakening everyday breathing!

If anything - remember this! 






Thursday, November 6, 2014

OPRAH!

Wow! I can't believe how fast time is slipping by! This week has been spectacular! Monday consisted of visiting ten public school classrooms presenting "Emily's Angels" with our star Emily. Basically bringing awareness to our fundraiser. We also made ten gift baskets. One per room and any child that wanted to color a Emily's Angel, they could enter the draw to win the basket at the end of this week. The baskets consisted of animal teddies, felt markers, glitter glue and a un-decorated angel they can design themselves. I fun twist while bringing awareness. Also during this week we sold eight shell trees and the orders keep coming! It was a successful and productive week. Next week we are getting ready to be at the Qualicum Farmers Market, Nov 15th from 9am-12pm if anyone in our area is interested in visiting us. Now I am preparing home for my departure for the weekend. I'm leaving until Sunday. I'm heading over to Seattle to attend Oprah's "The life you want" weekend while adding a little Christmas shopping (hopefully) I've been on this mission to start working on my bucket list. A list I think everyone should have. I'm on my third check off my bucket list and it's a great feeling knowing that dreams, that goals (by adding action) do come true. I don't know what I will get out of this weekend with Oprah and thousands of others. I will probably leave inspired in one form or another. Friday night Oprah will explain her intimate life journey, her road toward joy, resilience, awe, connection, gratitude and possibility. All day Saturday Oprah will have several handpicked special quests accompanying her. Including Gayle King, Adam Glassman, Amy Purdy, Magician Nate Jester, Chef Carla Hall and OWN, show host Ami Desai. Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, Iyanla Vanzant and surprise guests will be making their appearances during this weekend! Another fun adventure that will be set up is a O town. A pop-up town square consisting of all Oprah's favorites. Sounds like a bucket list adventure to me! I'm pretty excited for this opportunity.....I believe this weekend will leave me inspired however I seem not to have any questions or concerns about how I would like to transform my life. I am living my life daily how I believe. I'm finally, finally, FINALLY loving me. I'm not worried about judgments, opinions and criticism as I once did. I'm good either way with what people think of me because what matters is - that I'm happy and I am living my life. (How I want too) This is the mother I want to be. To teach to be yourself. Live. Love. Experience. Be wild. Be crazy. BE HAPPY! Those are my inspiring thoughts for this weekend. Now... lets see what I will learn from Oprah that's more inspiring then that! I hope while I'm gaining more insight about "life" in general this weekend - that you're experiencing some life building memories too! AND if not, start by writing out a bucket list, write what needs to change - then start taking ACTIONS to change it. Only you can enhance your life - Me.

Stay tuned.....and I will let you know what Oprah has to say! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Another week......another month!

Halloween was successful. AND I'm so glad it's over!
 November 1st was a great day! We took advantage of our beautiful weather and hiked Notch Hill. 
 Rest stop!
 "Hello sunshine!" 
 Happy Birthday to our now 10 year old son! 
 This little guy reminds me of his father. He's a collector. He loves racing. Nascar. Monster trucks. Engines. So just like his Dad, his collection has started! 
Now it's time to focus on Christmas! 

Our past week was busy. This coming week is even busier! 
I leave you with this quote.....