Confetti

2 Year Blog Anniversary

When I first started this blog, I really did not foresee it becoming what it is today.

One of the things I’m most proud of over the last two years is how I’ve managed to maintain my privacy and integrity, whilst also finding the balance of writing honest and genuine posts. And looking back over my posts from the past two years, it is slightly emotional to see how far I’ve come…geographically, but also personally. So much has happened, both good and bad, but overall I feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness at all the opportunities I’ve had over the last two years.

I’d like to Thank You all for reading along. I love reading your comments and connecting with you. You have inspired me not only to keep writing but to be more open, more genuine in my writing, and all of that has carried over into how I live my life!

Here’s to another year of blogging. XO

Winter Snow

Be Kind To Yourself

The thought of writing about oneself may stir some anxiety due to fear of being judged as narcissistic, self-centered, self-absorbed, conceited, etc, etc. However, our inner critic can be the worst critic of all. And as cliche as it sounds – if we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to love us? For me, promoting a healthy sense of self-worth outweighs any risk of judgement.

I vividly recall having to write an acrostic name poem during elementary school and struggling to come up with words that described me. So, as I sit on my couch tonight full of regret for eating pastries brought home from clinic and guilt for not waking up early enough to hit the gym this morning, here goes my attempt to write a positive ode to myself:

Thoughtful, caring, interactive

I’m reliable, proactive

Down for an outing or adventure

If something new, you’ll be my mentor

Comfortable with leading

Will call you out if misleading

Advocate for those in need

A dog lover of many breeds

A perfectionist constantly inspired

Motivated to grow by those I admire

Smart, sarcastic, smiley

Environmentally-friendly, candid, kindly

Family comes first

Friends down to earth

Finds beauty unrehearsed

Always something to converse

Discount shopping in bursts

Will gladly help unless you’re curt

Spiritually immersed

So hardworking that it hurts

I know what I’m worth

Pumpkins

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

As we dive head first into our turkey pants, deep conversations with loved ones, and all things fall/cozy/rustic…remember just how good it feels to give all the Thanks.

I’m Thankful & Grateful for my beautiful Family, gorgeous Friends near and far and all my Readers – Thank You for being part of my journey.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving – sharing and creating memories with the ones you love.

Happiness

A New Way Of Life

Hygge – the Danish not-so-easy-to-define word for happiness, coziness, nostalgia, and contentment – is a big part of why Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest places in the world. We, as Canadians, on the other hand, seem to be on a constant pursuit of happiness, yet don’t rank anywhere close to the Danes. What gives?

Maybe – just maybe – instead of pursuing the classic Canadian dream, minimalism, capitalism, or whatever new fad is trending, we should instead pursue the tried-and-true notion of hygge. We know it works, so why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.

Luckily, incorporating aspects of hygge into your life is easy because you get instant gratification. That’s because one of the most important principles of hygge is living in the moment. So all of these things will make you feel good right now.

Ready to embrace hygge and live like the Danish do? Here are things you can do to add hygge to your life:

Dim The Lighting

Hygge is all about the lighting – warm, deep, dim lighting. The fluorescent and intense overhead lighting that has worked its way into our Canadian homes and offices just doesn’t work for the Danes.

In fact, for them, the ideal lighting comes from fireplaces and candles. The yellowish glow, the flickering, even the noise adds to the feeling of hygge.

So open up the fireplace tonight and pull out some candles! And if you’re an anxious worrier like me, don’t stress! There are battery-powered candles that give you the exact same effect, but without the fire hazard…and they’ve got timers!

Make More Soups

Hygge is achieved through simplicity and indulgence. If it makes you feel cozy, even better. If time and thought has been put into its preparation, you’ve got triple the hygge! So what better way to experience (or intensify) hygge, than by making a homemade soup.

So pull out your crock pot and make a stew that will simmer all day. The smell will be amazing, the soup will taste delicious, and you will be indulging without getting too indulgent (if you know what I mean).

Dress To Impress And Be Comfortable

We, as Canadians, are obsessed with dressing to impress and too often it comes at the cost of our comfort. So time to put your thinking cap on and find a way to embrace comfortable clothing without making yourself feel like a slob (because you need to feel comfortable too!).

If you really want to channel your inner hygge, you can start by investing in a really, really comfortable pair of socks. The kind of socks that almost classify as slippers. The ones that you can’t wait to get your feet into after a long day. Those are hygge.

Read A Real Book

Your comfy socks are on, your stew is simmering in the crock pot, so now it’s time to read by yourself…the old fashioned-way.

Get a real book – not your Kindle, phone, or iPad – and read in your favourite cozy nook. Turn your phone off. Let this just be time to relax your body and stimulate your brain.

Read whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, romance, suspense. Whatever YOU want.

And don’t feel like it has to be a new book! Pull your Harry Potter collection off the shelf and reread your favourite parts. Grab your favourite classic and reread it one more time!

If It Brings You Joy, Add It

By now, we all know the Konmari Method of cleaning your house – if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.

Well, the hyggelig (Danish for hygge-like) way of cleaning your house is similar, but with one very important twist – if it brings you joy, add it.

Yep, you heard me right. You now have permission to pull your cat figurines back out of hiding, find those horrible pants with holes that everyone (except for you!) hated, and fill your home with things you love.

Be Active Outside

We all know that exercise is good – it makes you healthy, happy, clears your head, blah, blah, blah. So we schedule an hour here or there to go for a run or take a cardio class.

Unfortunately, that’s not the key to happiness…or hygge.

To add more hygge to your life, you need to make exercise fun – like, so fun you don’t even call it exercise. And it needs to happen outside.

So go for a hike, make a snowman, explore the beach, ride your bike.

Doing this doubles your hygge. Here’s why:

There’s something special about being outside. Fresh air and nature are important elements of hygge, so spending a lot of time outside doing something fun will create instant hygge.

The doubling occurs when you come home. You’re tired, but satisfied, so your mind and body will want nothing more than additional hygge. You won’t even have to think twice. Just put on your comfy socks, make a cup of hot cocoa, and settle into your cozy nook for the next chapter of your favourite book.

Make Your Gifts

Giving someone a gift is always a good way to bring happiness to your life as well as theirs. To take that happiness to the next level (the level of hygge), make a gift for them.

I know this is intimidating. Even more, I know this is time-consuming. But THAT is what makes homemade gifts so hyggelig – for both you and the person receiving the gift. A ridiculous amount of time is typically put into making homemade gifts, which adds a lot of thought to the present, but also gives you time to do something out of your normal routine. It’s a break for your mind and body.

Start A Tradition

One of the biggest components of hygge is that warm and cozy feeling that comes with something nostalgic – like waking up on Christmas morning or spending the day preparing for Thanksgiving. These traditions pair naturally with hygge…so why not make more of them?

Whether you start a completely new one (like a special family vacation in the middle of spring) or just build off of one you already have (like adding a mid-day family movie to Christmas), adding a new tradition to your life will definitely increase your hygge exposure.

And the absolute best part of this hygge addition is that you’re spreading the hygge-love to the family and friends that will be joining you.

Attend More Social Get-Togethers

One of the easiest and quickest ways to add hygge to your life is to simply attend (or hold) more social get-togethers.

Strong relationships help make hygge happen, so spending time with friends and family sets you up for more and more happiness.

If you want the most hygge possible, try to keep the gatherings to a small number of people (4-6). This makes the get-together more intimate and you’re more likely to let yourself relax.

Vacation More

I know this is easier said than done, both because of the cost and the time. But THIS (paired with the next section below) is possibly the biggest – and most impactful – difference between the Danish and us.

You need to vacation more. Your hygge depends on it.

It does NOT need to be expensive. It does NOT need to be elaborate. You don’t even need to necessarily go anywhere! Just take time to vacation.

This doesn’t mean take a few days off from work to catch up on chores, finally get your car detailed, and schedule that doctor appointment you’ve been pushing off.

You need to do something fun, new, and relaxing. Something with your family, friends, or just alone. Something that will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when you look back on it.

Work Less

I know – you can’t vacation more if you work less. You can’t even work less if you don’t vacation more.

Except that you can. And you have to…at least, you do if you really want to create hygge in your life.

What I mean by “work less” is this:

Leave when you say you are going to leave. Don’t stay late. When you’re home, stop working. Prioritize your non-work life the same way you prioritize your work life. Take sick days when you are sick. Set clear expectations with your employer (they may surprise you!).

This may not happen overnight, but again, it is one of the defining characteristics of the Danes and one of the biggest reasons they experience so much more happiness than we do.

So for the sake of hygge, don’t blow this one off! Even if it can only work its way into your 5-year plan, it will be worth it.

I hope you’re able to incorporate at least a few of these hygge ideas into your life! Come back and let me know how they work out for you.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Mommy

Mommy

Beautiful Momma 

Dear Momma,

I originally just wanted to write you a private note.

But then I decided I wanted the whole world to know.

As many people as possible.

All of the good that you have done for me and the joy and beauty you have brought, instilled, nurtured and tended in my life: all that which one can never ask for or expect, but for which their lives have been immeasurably blessed.

You taught me to be independent, to not give up in the face of adversity or people saying no.

You taught me it’s okay to be flexible and to follow my dreams, no matter what obscure corners they may lead to.

You taught me to be kind and have empathy on those around me.

You taught me to care for all of God’s creatures and to see beauty in the small things around me, whether it be the blush of a rose or the soft velvet of a rabbit’s ear.

You taught me it’s okay to have spunk and a funky personality: that is perfectly okay to “follow the beat of my very own drum.” You never pushed me to fit any mold or be anything or anyone else but me.

You taught me to laugh.

You taught me to smile and find humor in the flippancies and quirks of life.

You taught me to seek God and have faith, even when I’m not sure of all the answers myself; you demonstrate to me every day the importance of the journey and the search.

You taught me to challenge that which I saw as wrong; you taught me to never be a silent witness in the face of evil.

You taught me to be a citizen of the whole world, and not just the small corner I happen to call home.

You taught me to care for others.

You taught me to struggle past the status quo, even when it hurts; you taught me to push myself beyond ordinary to truly realize the beauty and potential of God’s creation in me.

You taught me the importance of honesty.

You personified integrity and purpose in all of your actions.

You taught me to work hard.

You taught me the beauty of languages and the opportunities that await us when we cross beyond the borders of our comfort.

You taught me humility.

You taught and encouraged in me a sense of adventure; you let me spread my wings to soar and perhaps to fall even when your own heart was probably clenched with fear.

You taught me the importance of being kind to all people and reminding them how special they are.

You taught me someone’s station, race, or place in life does not determine the colour of their heartbeats.

You never, ever, ever taught me any hint of racism, sexism, religion-ism…you taught me the beauty of an open mind and an accepting heart.

You breathed to life in me from the flickering spark of possibility and inherited genes a fighting spirit that will never say die, a spirit that drives me forward each day.

You taught me to be the passionate, strong-willed and fanciful creature that I am, for I follow in your footsteps; the cold reality of the ground may not always bind us, but my God how the sear of heaven’s sun tinges and inflames our souls.

You taught me loyalty.

You taught me the importance of our roots; the Families we always return to and the heritages we carry forward into the future.

You taught…me to be me. Everything that is good; everything that is right; everything that you admire in me and seek to encourage; I tell you that this comes from you. A child is the product of her parents and the values they instill in her; without your basis and foundation, I could never be half of what I am today, and for that I Thank You and bless your footsteps; you have given me such a multitude, abundance and bounty of gifts such as I can never hope to repay.

Mommy Bear

My Whole Heart

Momma, you are a joy. My life has been so rich and beautiful, and I have been so loved and treasured, because you are my Mom. I wish there was a better phrase in English to express the kind of love I have for you, but I love you, so dearly. Happy Birthday Momma.

Wheat Field

Vacation From Writing

As some of you know (from being subscribed to my email list), I have taken a bit of a break this summer to refresh and refocus. I have had a lot going on in my personal life these past few months – and I was also in the middle of several commitments – and I just began to feel overwhelmed at the idea of keeping up with this blog.

Simply put, I was putting way too much pressure on myself to grind out a particular number of posts each week. And, every writer knows that when you have a deadline (even if it’s self-imposed), it can be extremely difficult to produce quality content. I felt like I had all of these wonderful post ideas, but I would run out of time to write them well. I wasn’t completely happy with some of the posts I published because I wrote them in haste. I don’t like that feeling one bit!

After much thought and prayer, I decided to take a break from hitting the “publish” button. I would continue to write as I felt inspired, but I would tuck the drafts away for later use. I just needed some time to sit back, enjoy my summer, spend time with Family, put 100% into all of my commitments, read an insane amount of books…and, well, breathe.

So, in a nutshell, that is what I mean when I say I needed to “refresh.” You may also recall my use of the word “refocus,” and you may be wondering why I felt the need to refocus…

When I first started blogging, my purpose was to use this little corner of the web as a place where I could share the lessons I am learning in my walk with life. Over the  past year, however, I began to take notice of what other bloggers were doing, and I felt like what I was doing was inadequate. So I began to explore opportunities and do what other bloggers were doing.

And then I began to ask myself: Why am I blogging? Why do I do what I do? What’s the purpose of this? Am I happy with the content I am putting out there for the world to read?

I realized that I don’t want to be the sort of blogger who posts about all these brands on a continual basis. Promoting the products of others is just not what I am here for. I have no interest in making money from blogging itself. (I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying it’s just not me).

Once I realized what I didn’t want to do with blogging, I naturally had to ask myself: What do I want to accomplish by blogging?

After playing around with different types of (non-sponsored) content, and after a break from publishing anything at all, I came up with the following answer:

First and foremost, I am here to encourage you. Anytime the Lord lays a lesson on my heart, you can bet I’ll be right here share it with you. It could be about love, Family, trials…anything at all, really. This has been true from the moment I began blogging, and it will continue to be the case as long as I am blogging.

Secondly, I am here to inspire you to live life well, no matter what season of life you find yourself in. I aim to accomplish this by sharing my life with you – this includes sharing my life’s big moments with you, encouraging you to make your house a home, inspiring you to read more and helping you have some fun/not take life too seriously!

When I write these lighter types of posts, I simply draw from things that inspire me and speak life into my soul! Farmhouse decor, food…food and more food, interactions with people from all walks of life, Family, music, travels, books, recipes…these are all things that I love and want to share with you.

Lastly, I am here to share my skills with you. I am a small business owner. You will find that I use this blog to share my experiences and lessons from time to time. But, I have absolutely no desire to make you feel pressured to buy my products. However, I need a place to share what I am creating with the world. I hope you don’t mind.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, I want to Thank You for being here. For sharing this little corner of the world with me. And, most important, for waiting as I took my break this summer.

As the fictitious character Benjamin Button once put it:

“It’s never too late…to be whoever you want to be…You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing…I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

I really love this quote, and this way of looking at life. It’s never too late to do anything. And if there is one thing I know about myself it’s that I have the courage to adjust, adapt and start all over if necessary in order to live a life I’m proud of, a life that makes me happy.

Until next post!

Ocean

Being Here Is Everything

In the moment

Time, it seems, is a prison of our own creation. We are always waiting for something.

Waiting until we are in a new place. Waiting for an opportunity. Waiting for someone. Waiting for change.

Waiting for the next moment, when really, the only moment that ever exists is NOW.

Look around you. See, hear, and feel what is taking place in your surroundings.

Experience this moment.

As I write, my present moment consists of the hum of the refrigerator. The drizzle of rain. The subtle warmth of the sun as it pours through the tiny kitchen windows at this late morning hour.

I see, hear, and feel these things, resisting the urge to label them as “good” or “bad.” They simply are.

In this moment, there is no time. Just presence. Awareness. Appreciation.

The present moment is a gift. Yet we squander it in favour of a non-existent future, or a past that cannot be changed.

So while many things are “imperfect” or not yet in place, this year has been an incredible one full of so many gifts. The scary or frustrating parts won’t be remembered, but they will serve to build character in the now.

How I choose to act in response to unstable times will be what matters in the end.

And so, I have no choice left but to appreciate the here and now. It is part of my path, and it’s teaching me plenty if I open my heart to it. It’s teaching me gratitude. It’s teaching me patience. It is teaching me mindfulness. It is showing me my own resilience.

Writing in a journal while seated at the messy dining room table, wearing my oversized pajamas, will hardly seem glamorous. But why shouldn’t we be allowed to be unglamorous? Why can’t we find glamour in this, the most mundane of moments? It is the now. It is what is, and it is perfect.

Perhaps more importantly, though, I should at least recognize this moment for the privilege that it is. To sit here with a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my back, and the freedom and security to pursue a creative career – I am blessed!

If I am ever ungrateful for the blessed life that I am living, then I don’t deserve to experience it at all. And so we find ourselves back at gratitude.

Gratitude grounds us in the now. It allows us to appreciate what is rather than longing for what could be.
Even if the now feels like it sucks (which it oftentimes will) it is here to be experienced – even cherished. Every moment – whether happy, sad, frustrated, angry, or scared – is part of our path.
Living in the NOW is the only way to free ourselves from the constricts of time. The only way to truly live.

If we can sit quietly for a few minutes each day to reflect on this fact, we’ll always be grateful, and we’ll always be free.

Love

It Just Takes One

What means the most to you in life?

What does it take for everything to be put on hold, without any questions asked.

What if every time we said, “I don’t have time,” we replaced it with the words, “ It’s not my priority.”

How do we prioritize and make time in our lives for what’s important and what isn’t?

No matter how busy or how important something might be to us, there will be certain times in our lives where we will be the closest to heaven we will ever be, until we actually make it there.

When we get to that point the only 3 things that will truly matter is Family, God, and our Health.

Love

We close our eyes when we pray because the most beautiful and powerful things in life are not always seen but can sometimes be felt……

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.Be Kind

Movements

Non Verbal Movements That Help You Sell

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

A well known phrase, but often not taken seriously enough.

When you present your solution to a prospective client, you need to make the best impression possible. No matter how good your product or service is, you need to make sure that a simple little thing like body language doesn’t let you down.

Selling doesn’t just come down to price product, product, promotion, place etc. Presentation is key and poor body language is often the reason many people fail to make the most of this really important stage of the sales process.

Body Language Tips To Impress Your Prospects

You have worked hard to get in front of your prospect. Websites, social media strategies and networking all take time and money before you can even start to think about getting that little MacBook Pro out in front of your red hot prospect to sell.

Think About The Following To Make The Most Of Every Customer Facing Opportunity

And don’t just think this works face to face. Try these tips next time you are trying to sell over the phone or on a conference call. They work whether the prospect can see you or not!

  1. Lean forward – By doing so you will appear committed and interested in what your prospect has to say. It shows you are well engaged and paying attention.
  2. Open your arms – This will help you to appear honest and welcoming to those who don’t know you very well.
  3. Don’t point – If you need to use your hand to indicate something, use your whole hand rather than just one finger. Much less offensive.
  4. Smile – This might seem obvious, but make sure your smile is genuine. You might think that curling your lips up at either end tick the smile criteria, but a full on grin using your eyes will melt the heart of even the coldest prospect.
  5. Positive eye contact – Who believes anyone who doesn’t look at them in the eye? Do your best to present eye to eye in order to build trust in what you are selling. If you are on the phone then just focus on the phone or Skype picture. Believe it or not, that will really help get a positive result for you both.
  6. Use fewer gestures – Think about some of the best interviews ever. Neither the interviewer or the famous person sat opposite fidgeted in their seats, which meant the results were incredibly powerful. If you like waving your hands about to explain a point then try holding something like your pen or your other hand.
  7. Talk low and slow – You have a lot of important benefits to share with your prospect. Talk too fast or with a high voice and they won’t hear or remember anything. If you think you are talking a shade too slow then you are probably speaking at a perfect speed for your presentation.
  8. Strike a pose – People in power always know how to stand. When they walk in a room everyone knows they have arrived. You can do the same. Think Wonder Woman or Superman and your prospect will respect your confidence.
  9. Power of touch – Touching someone gently, in a professional manner is more likely to encourage them to comply with your request. It is a bonding thing. However, be sure that your prospect is a kinaesthetic person first.

If you want to know if you have got your body language right, then try filming your next presentation before you go in front of your prospect. It might feel weird, but it will give you the chance to catch and bin the negative body language, before you need to make it count.