Tag Archives: joy

A Daily Taste of JOY

Pretty much everyone in the world has heard of Candace Payne and has heard her laugh more times than you can probably even count. You’ve all seen her video, and hopefully all of the follow-up videos and stories that show all the blessings that are coming her way. Just for being HER.

Candace became a little ray of sunshine in a world that, lately, seems to be filled with more darkness and despair. (According to the news anyways). That funny mask, the little snort and the un-containable joy reminded us that joy really is in the simple things. We just need to open our eyes and find them.

I for one fell in love with the Happy Chewbacca. Not because I love Star Wars & laughing & dumb videos, but because I witnessed joy in it’s purest form. It was contagious and it ignited a fire deep within my soul. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a pretty happy person, that I love Jesus, that I love laughing and that I, more than anything else in the world, want people to feel loved and accepted. No matter where they’re at, or what they look like, or how bad they’re feeling inside – I want them to have the same joy that Candace felt when she put on that goofy mask.

So – in response to my new best friend Candace’s story,  (Yes, I’ve decided we’re meant to be besties. Along with Melissa McCarthy & Rebel Wilson. Because seriously, how stinking awesome would that be? Chubby, happy and hilarious – we will be epic.) I’m starting my own happy story.

For the next 30 days, I’m going to share a little piece of joy that I’ve found in my world that day. It may be big, it may be tiny, but it will be something that made me stop and appreciate exactly where I was at, at that second.

Hopefully, it will remind you to find the moments in your life that take all the darkness away and just help you feel happiness.

Please feel free to share your joys with all of us as well because frankly, there can never be too much of a joyful thing.

My Daily Joy ….. 

I’ll be the first person to admit that this “joy” will seem pretty lame-o but at 7:00 am, it filled my heart with so much joy that I almost couldn’t contain myself. I went to make school lunches for the 6 and realized that we had no bread. I stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out what random pantry items I could throw in a bag and call lunch, when I remembered. Quiznos4lunch. I went online, ordered them lunch for delivery and then sat myself down on the couch to eat my cup of ice while the little’s ate cereal.

It’s the simple joys people, simple joys.

 

Consumed.

It’s all-consuming, isn’t it?

It does something to you the minute that you find out it’s real. It takes over your soul, your mind and your body. It quickly takes control of your heart with a grasp so tight that it almost takes your breath away. It screams so loudly that it’s hard to hear anything else. It turns you into we.

It makes you a better person, but it makes you so unsure of yourself. It makes you stronger, but it causes you to drop to your knees more often than anything else. It fills you with unspeakable joy, but it’s quite often wrapped in tears. It causes you to beam with pride while you hope that no one notices the bumpy road that got you to that moment. It is everything you ever hoped and wished for, but until this moment, you had no idea what that even meant.

I became a mother, and my world as I knew it completely fell apart.

From the moment of conception, I’ve been consumed by something that’s hard to even describe. It’s a fire that fuels my every thought, my every hope and my every breath. It’s a voice that roars from the core of my being. It’s a force that pushes and pulls me in ways that I could never have prepared myself for. It’s a warmth that fills every empty spot within me. I simply do not exist without them, and that’s the most terrifying yet incredibly wonderful thing ever.

My children changed me.

Because of them, I am a much better version of who I used to be. Because of them, I am braver than I ever dreamed possible. Because of them, I’m learning how to do things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn. Because of them, I’ve experienced true love without strings attached. Because of them, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve worried and I’ve accomplished great things. Because of them, I am strong. I am fierce. I am awesome.

Because of them, I found myself.

Motherhood has consumed me. It has not made me weak. It has not made me less than. It has not made me “second”. It has made me who I was meant to be.

  

 

 

The Road to Skinny … Or Not.

The beginning of a new year brings about the desire for change. It pushes us to think about what we want that is better than what we currently have. It seems to make our eyes focus on all that is wrong with us, and not necessarily all that’s right. It’s the time of year that people seem to think and/or hope will set off this huge firecracker under their butts and in their minds that will cause them to jump up and change. It’s a fresh start and a new beginning.

For me, the new year forces me to focus on my never-ending trek towards “skinny”.  It’s this thing that follows me everywhere I go. It’s the thing I cannot seem to conquer. It’s quite literally the very large elephant in the room that just won’t die, no matter how hard I try. Or maybe not.

If I were to be totally honest, I don’t think I’ve ever cared enough to really want to change it. I’ve got a couple of months worth of willpower, and about 47 seconds of desire. I’ve got all the knowledge in the world, and an incredible team of people willing to support and help me, but somehow I’m also good with where I’m at. I’ve got a massive desire to shop in any store, and not just the stupid chubby girl shops, but for some reason, I’m okay with not trying all that hard to change.

I’m Fat and Happy, and I don’t think this is how I’m supposed to feel.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be 6 sizes smaller. I’d like to be able to walk around the block without wanting to die. I like the idea of wearing shorts when it’s hot – no I NEVER wear shorts. I’d like to have more energy. I’d like my knees to not hurt. I’d love to sit outside in the summer and not want to die because I’m SO hot, which is a problem because as you know, I don’t wear shorts and fat people have a whole lotta extra insulation. I’d like to not have people give me the classic fat girl compliment, “You’ve got such a pretty face”, to me. Ever. Again. I’d like to be able to touch my toes, for no other reason to say that I can. I want to just take up less space.

So … where does that leave me? The Happy Fat Girl that want’s to be skinny, but doesn’t really care.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how I truly feel about this subject, or if I’ll ever fully figure it out but I believe that it’s leading me somewhere. In some weirdo, round-a-bout backwards way, it’s taking me to what I really want and need. I want to be more focused. More centered and just more Me. I’m happy, but I want another level of happy. I want to be overflowing with Joy, so much so that it oozes from me and into the world around me. Skinny won’t accomplish that …. but I can.

2015 is going to be the Year of April. I’m going to write. I’m going to write about anything and everything and just write because I can. I’m going to spend time making my new blog fun and super successful. I’m going to move into a house that is exactly what our family needs. I’m going to fall back into mad love with my husband. I’m going to finally put all of my anxiety’s behind me, and step forward without worry about stupid things that I can not control. I’m going to focus on getting healthy and not care at all about skinny. Maybe a smaller size will follow, but whatever, I don’t care.

I’m excited about what’s to come and even more excited to figure out that my “Road to Skinny” is officially on a detour to somewhere totally different.

This road is officially leading to me.

design

 

 

High-Fives & Hallelujahs

Last year I wrote a post acknowledging some of the really important people in my life. People that have loved me, challenged me and helped me grow. People that I didn’t know a short time ago, but couldn’t imagine not having in my life now. When I read my last years list, I am happy to report that I still feel the exact same way about those people and things and better yet, I’ve been blessed enough this year to be able to do a whole new list. (Kristi, Brandon & Deborah, Gryphon Pub Folks, Etc).

I have to start by thanking a few folks again though, so please be patient with me. My Husband Kevin. He’s an amazing husband, an excellent father, and the best friend I could ever wish for. I love you Wiener. My children, who at this moment, number 5. Thank-you for allowing me to be your voice of reason and guide your days. Thank-you for forgiving me in my weakness & loving me all the same. You are why I’m alive, never forget that.  My two besties, Shandra & Tracy. They’re my sounding boards and the voices that I sometimes just need to hear. I’m so blessed to be able to call them friends. My extended family. They are all still very loud, and many, and all over the place, but they’re mine and are always there when I need them.

Now, enough with the mush and on to my list of “High-Fives & Hallelujahs”.

High-Five: a celebratory or mutually congratulatory gesture between two persons performed by each slapping the other’s raised right hand.

My Twittery Ladies – Meaghan, Sarah, Jen, Stacy, Lisa, Janice & Rosanna to name just a few. (There are MANY of you, so don’t be offended if you’re not listed here). These people make me think, cry, shoot water out my nose from laughing so hard and just make my days complete. Some of them I still haven’t met IRL, but I love them like sisters. Looking forward to another year of coconut oil and giggles.

My #shpk Club – These friends were found this year on Twitter, only to later discover that we all live in the same town and share many of the same friends. I SO wish I would’ve met them years ago, and look forward to tonnes of fun that is yet to come.  Bobbi, Lori, Tracy, Carla, Monique, Tanya, Erin, Narissa, Tracy, Darci and all of the rest of you that I KNOW I’m forgetting. #shpk FTW

Luke Fevin & Kathleen Smith – These two people have opened my eyes to many things this year. We are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum on many levels, but we appreciate each other all the same. They have helped me become a better person and to see people and life through another set of eyes. They’ve challenged me to really live what I preach and have not made me feel less than for not sharing their viewpoints. We are never going to agree on a few things but I am thankful that they’ve helped me see outside of my little bubble.

My Coaches – Kerri & Josline. These ladies convinced me to give Ideal Protein a try, and it’s changing my life. I’m feeling better than I have in a very long time. I’m “losing” myself and growing all at the same time. It’s an amazing and awesome feeling, and I look forward to the rest of this journey.

My Customers – Thanks to all of you that continually support me in my businesses and ventures. Because of you, I’m able to stay home and raise my family and be their Mom. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

My Social Workers & Support Worker – As many of you know, this past year was tough for us in the fostering world. We had a child move on after being with us for almost 5 years, and it was a hard transition. In fact, we’re still dealing with it. We’ve had 4 more placements since that time and are still waiting for a comfy routine to start again, BUT we have an amazing support team in our workers. Thank-you for always listening to us, and really hearing where we’re at. Thank-you for always accepting my brutal honesty and respecting our role as parents. We wouldn’t have survived this year without you.

Hallelujah: used to express praise, joy, or thanks

I also won a few things this year, so thanks to Jawdrop Coolers for the trip to Vegas, The Shopping Channel for the Vitamix, Urban Infant’s Mama’s Choice awards for having “one of the top 2 online kids stores in the Edmonton area”, and most recently Linetech Ziplines for the zip lining package for me and 7 friends. (aaaahhhh….scary).  It’s been a very “winny” year for me and it was all kicked off by a contest entering frenzy by my friend Jen Banks. I better thank her too, and I’m sorry you didn’t win anything. 🙂

This was also a really awesome year for me, my writing and my little blog. I’ve been given the opportunity to be “Ask April” for Edmonton’s Child magazine. I was honoured to be one of Fierce Magazines Fierce & Fascinating People. I was one of the “How does she do it Mom’s” at Urban Infant magazine. One of my posts was Freshly Pressed. I’m now a guest contributor on a few different websites, and I write anonymously for a few others. I’m getting to do things that I absolutely love.

I say none of this to brag, but to honour all of my gifts because that truly is what they are.  I am still blown away that my rambling is actually making a difference in people’s lives. Thank-you for letting me into your worlds’, and allowing me to be a part of some amazing things. Please know that I will never, ever take that for granted, and am so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way. And most importantly, thank-you for always coming back to read more.

I know that all of you could write a list just like this and I encourage you to do exactly that. The people that have changed us deserve to know just how important they really are. Never forgot or miss an opportunity to acknowledge all of the good things in your life. It is these people, things and circumstances that change and shape us. It is these things that make our story worth reading.

So, thank-you friends, you are so very much appreciated. Hugs, Hallelujahs & High-Fives all around!

thanksfriend

The Hunt for a Happy Place

When I was young, I had a vision of what my life was going to look like.

I was going to be wealthy beyond measure. I was going to live in a mansion with servants. I would travel around the world and drive a really nice car. There would be much shopping, and many pairs of shoes. Jewelry, make-up and salon appointments would be a part of my daily life. It was going to be friggin’ awesome.

I met my amazing soon-to-be husband and we planned our fairy-tale wedding and then our life together. We talked about future hopes and dreams, and in my head, my vision was still alive.

We got married and we moved to another city. I didn’t move into a mansion but into a basement suite, in a place where I knew no one. I was not rich and was having to do all the cooking and cleaning myself. I was happily married, but I was not where I thought I should be. Suddenly, my vision was flung off to the side somewhere and reality set in.

I would spend days and sometimes weeks wondering if we’d be able to pay our mortgage. I was shopping in second-hand stores and only buying things that were on sale. The husband was always at work and I was home alone. I was going crazy from the peace and quiet that was now my life and I hated it.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband and I loved being married but I wasn’t prepared for the real world. I was 21 years old, had never lived on my own and had in fact, only lived with my parents. I never attended college and only had “life experience” to put on a resume. I was completely dependant on my husband, and had to rely on him for everything. If I needed to buy milk, or underwear or tampons, I had to ask him for money. I was madly in love, but totally trapped at the same time.

I eventually got a job, made some friends and fell in love with the city that I still call home. But for those particular moments in time, my vision had led me down a path of unrealistic expectations.

I adjusted to my new life, bills were paid, businesses started and failed. Travel and experiences occurred and then I dreamed of having children, and my wild visions went crazy again.

I was going to be a perfect Mom that bought her children only the best of everything. I was going to make their baby food, and teach them everything they needed to know. There was going to be hours spent playing and learning. I would do crafts and make up stories and play board games. They would be angels, and my life would be complete. It was going to be flippin’ fantastic.

And then I had babies. I was madly and deeply in love, but I was tired. With my first child, I had no clue what I was doing. I was fumbling about just trying to keep her alive. I let Barney and Wheel of Fortune teach her the alphabet and all of her colours. We played games and did fun things, but more often than not, I was stuck in “life” and not on her.

I then had a son, with more issues and trials than one could ever prepare for. He struggled to breathe, and learn and survive. Small everyday things challenged him in ways that were unfathomable. He was the cutest little thing, with the biggest smile and sweetest countenance, but man, was he a lot of work.

I never made a single solitary jar of baby food, I nursed them both for about 6 weeks and quit because I hated it. We tried crafts, but they both despised being dirty so that always ended in screaming. I became the Mom that loved her kids beyond measure, but one that purchased every single solitary thing from a store. I guided them and protected them and taught them how incredibly fabulous they were, but we didn’t go on nature walks or did all that much frolicking in the wilderness.

I absolutely hated myself some days and couldn’t believe how incompetent I was in many areas. I had become pretty much opposite to all that I had envisioned. I was SO not June Cleaver or even one of her long distant cousins.  Once again, my vision had set me up for failure.

Looking back now, I do know this, I raised some UNBELIEVEABLY AWESOME children. Someway, somehow, I did the right things in spite of myself, and this crazy dreamer head of mine. 30 children later, I get it. I know what’s important and what doesn’t matter. My vision was wrong, and was in no way “me”. That’s where I got lost…I was trying to create a story that belonged to someone else.

Life is a weird thing sometimes, we paint a picture and then get stuck somewhere outside of it. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t limit where you and where your path may go. Don’t set a standard that is unattainable. Don’t put unreasonable expectations on yourself or your children or your spouse. Don’t get caught up in the world’s version of perfect life, perfect wife and perfect children. That’s all crap and it doesn’t exist. Do not wait for something else, or another time or place to make you feel complete. Don’t judge yourself based on someone else’s standards.

Instead, Breathe. Enjoy the moments that you’re in, no matter how big the struggle may seem. If you can’t provide the “best” of everything, let it go. Who decided what the best stuff was anyways? If you need to run away or cry sometimes, that’s okay. If you feel like today was a complete failure, remember that there is always tomorrow. If you find yourself standing there wondering where it all went wrong, start again. Listen to your heart and find your way out to something better.

Paint yourself a new picture of “perfect” and trust in that. For me, that means happy faces running amuck and becoming people of character. They have the best of nothing, but have everything at the same time. It’s hissy fits and belly laughs. It’s unmatched socks and extra TV time. It’s unbalanced meals, unbrushed hair and a sink full of dirty laundry. It’s a husband and wife that love each other more today than they did yesterday. It is leaving this world a better place.

Let it go, and just be the best YOU that you can be. I hope you find your happy place.

charliebrown

The Company that we Keep

One of my friends made a comment on her Facebook page the other day and it got me thinking. It was something along the lines of “do you judge people based on the company that they keep, and has your judgement been wrong?” At first, I didn’t think anything about it but then I realized that many of us are guilty of doing just that.

Is it wrong? Is it fair or does it make sense? I know that I’ve been guilty of doing this and hadn’t really thought too much about it. Now as I think and write, it has become something that I’m not proud of.

I have many friends and acquaintances’ from different walks of life. Many are involved in things or believe in things that I either don’t believe in or would never participate in or support. I’m friends with pastors, atheists, lesbians, drug users, alcoholics, people on welfare, single parents, divorcees, convicted criminals, people having affairs, thieves, liars, abusers and recovering addicts. I am not one of these things, but these people have made a significant difference in my life. Thankfully, I didn’t always make a pre-judgement based on their titles, or I would’ve missed out on some amazing people.

Am I saying that we need to invite each and every person, no matter what they do or where they come from to share in all aspects of our lives, absolutely not. What I’m saying is that we need to stop writing people off as “unworthy of our time” because they don’t meet our ideal picture of what a person should be.

Not everyone is cut out to be a mayor, but they could be an awesome councillor. Not all people can serve the role of best friend, but they sure are fun to go out with for coffee. I won’t let certain people babysit my children but I’d happily let them dog sit. Different people serve different roles in our lives and that is okay. We need to stop trying to make everyone fit into a mold that we’ve created.

Most of us have people that we are close to. People that we share our dreams and secrets with. People that we go to for advice and support. These people are a blessing, and we need to hold on to them tightly and cherish the gift that they are in our lives.

But what about the other people in your world? The ones that don’t share your faith? The ones that look different? The ones that have different lifestyles? The ones that are struggling with addictions? The ones that have zero support system and are just flailing about? What do we do with those people?

I say that we honour them for just being alive. For making it through another day, in spite of their circumstance or trials. That we recognize that though their choices are different from ours, that doesn’t necessarily make those choices wrong. That it’s okay for us to not all be the same.

You don’t need to let strangers into your home to include them in your life or hand them over a wad of cash. You don’t need to attend their marches or events or their churches. You don’t have to give them the clothes off your back or the keys to your car. Be smart but act first in grace as opposed to judgement.

Giving of ourselves in no way compromises our life or our own personal story. Be a listening ear, a helping hand or a smiling face. Having coffee with someone who is completely different from you does not make you “become them”, it will change you for the better. It will help you see the world through someone else’s eyes. It may make you appreciate your life a little bit more. It could possibly change their story and help them feel hope. Or you just might walk away with an awesome new friend. How is any of this a bad thing??

So as we go about our days, I challenge you to look at people through a different set of eyes. Don’t let your fears or ideals cloud your judgement as there’s always more to a person than what you can see.

Don’t judge me by who I’m sitting with. Judge me for how I’m treating them.

I know that I will now be holding myself to a higher standard. How about you?

eyesheart

Sometimes enough really is enough.

Theres many times in life when we’re presented with situations and people that we really don’t know what to do with. They challenge our beliefs and test our patience. They make us question our own sanity and our place in this world. They force us to look deeply into ourselves. These relationships and situations don’t always end well, sometimes they just end.

If you’re at that place in your life, I want to encourage you. Look for the lessons that these things are teaching you, as there is always a lesson to be learned. There is good in every situation and sometimes we just might have to look a little bit harder to find it. Give every situation and relationship all that you have to give. Work with good intention and operate in grace and understanding. Then you can always take comfort in the knowledge that you’ve done your best. And really, what more can you offer than your very best?

If you’re feeling more sorrow than joy. If you’re giving and giving and never receiving. If you cry more than you rejoice. If you enjoy someones absence more than their presence. If you feel like you’re losing yourself while trying to build someone up, it just might be time to move on.  

Please recognize the value of yourself and how important your own health and welfare is. At some point, you’re going to have to say enough is enough and do what is best for you and your family.

When it’s time to close the chapter, close it and move on. You’ve done all that you could, take comfort in that.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, move forward and smile. It’s all going to be okay.

See original source of this image here: http://postitsonyourfridge.tumblr.com/page/7