"To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." 

- Clara Ortega

Creating Art

Have you ever felt that deep down inside there was an artist lurking somewhere within?  Have you ever looked at beautiful paintings in amazement, wishing you could do something just as stunning?  Have ever pushed your creative side away because you are too busy or can’t think of what to create?  Have you created something but felt too self-conscious to share it with anyone?

When I was about 14 years old, I began writing a novel.  I pulled out the typewriter (computers only had DOS back then and you had to program it yourself) and I sat down to write.  I can’t remember what the story was about but I remember that I wrote for about 3 days and completed 4 or 5 chapters.  I was really excited about what I was doing but I was too scared to share it with anyone.  I remember telling a friend about it and being teased, “You really think YOU could be a writer?”

That comment brought an end to something that COULD have been amazing.  In fact, it was AMAZING! It was amazing because I was willing to bring my imagination to life.  Putting names to the characters I could see in my mind.  I was creating something that came from my soul.  Unfortunately, I let someone else’s opinion (they hadn’t actually read what I had written) stop me from continuing forward.  I swallowed those comments and let them drive my self-esteem down to a low level.

Thankfully, age is a great reminder that if you want share something with the world, just do it! Be open, be daring! People will have their opinions and it’s okay if they don’t agree with you.  An opinion is just that, one person’s feelings towards something.  It doesn’t mean they are right or wrong, all that matters is what YOU believe is right.  I find the older I get, the more bold I become. Willing to take more risks and allow my real self be seen. 

Last year I decided that I needed to get reacquainted with my creative side.  I went to the local art store and bought some paints and canvases.  I was so excited, the ideas running wild through my mind.  It felt great to paint and create images that flew through my hand.  It was like the brush was under it’s own power.  There were times I could barely keep up with the thoughts. 

While these paintings are not Da Vinci or Picasso, they are works of art to me.  I can look at one and still feel the same passion I felt on the day each one was painted.  These paintings are hung up around my house with pride and I have even shared a cropped photo of one here on the website. 

In the spirit of sharing and putting myself out of my comfort zone, today’s photo is of a piece that makes me think of the Perseid Meteor shower that happens every August.  Such beautiful colours of the night sky highlighted by glimpses of streaks from the meteors. 

Big Blue

A cold afternoon walk along the path in the neighbourhood.  There is this line of young trees planted in a row.  I love the angle of this picture as it frames in “Big Blue”, a crane that was installed a couple of years ago. 

I remember watching the crane rise up, in pieces.  First it was the single solid leg, then a few days later the two smaller legs.  Later, the last few pieces on top.   My husband and I talked about it.  “What is it and is it going to stay?”  We hadn’t kept up with the local news so we had no idea what was being erected. 

Slowly, trickling through the neighbourhood, talk of the structure circulated.  It was the new crane that the local company was building as it prepared for a new ship building contract.  Many of the neighbours hated the sight of it and felt it was going to take away from the beauty of our community. 

I loved it from the beginning.  Our community is like a small town from the 1950’s.  The area is very quiet and we know every person on the street (and many neighbours two blocks either direction).  We have an industrial area on one end and the main road on the other.  There is only one way in and that is from the main road.  This keeps our community quiet as cars can’t cut through, keeping our kids safe in the summer when they are out playing in the streets, having fun, being kids. 

Big Blue reminds me that while life gets busy and changes so quickly, we need to remember where we came from.  Remember the time when life didn’t move so fast.  Remember what it was like to be a kid in a small town in Alberta.  How much fun we had just being a kid. 

Morning Rituals

Do you have a morning ritual that sets you up mentally and/or physically to conquer the day?  Is it hitting the gym first thing in the morning, before heading off to work?  Is it a coffee and bagel before you dare mutter a word to anyone?  Or do you just hit the ground running, eager to meet the day head-on?  

One of my favourite morning rituals, on days that I’m in the clinic, is popping in to the local coffee shop for a hot drink and a muffin.  Working in a busy clinic, there is very little time between clients to refuel.  This all-important stop en route to the office allows me to grab a healthy snack that is quick and easy to eat.  It also gives me the time necessary to mentally prepare for the day ahead.

With coffee/tea and muffin in hand, I know that no matter how busy the day becomes, I took the time to put myself in a good frame of mind by putting myself first.  I have learned the importance of this lesson over the years and while sometimes I must consciously practice the lesson, it gets easier to do with every passing day.

Drop me a line, via the comments or Facebook, and let me know how you prepare for the day. 

Happiness Is....

Happiness is... an early morning nap after the kids leave for school

Happiness is… spending the morning reading a new novel

Happiness is… seeing an old friend

Happiness is... a monster hug from someone you missed 

Happiness is… an amazing friend who listens to the craziness

Happiness is... feeling strong after the 3rd kickboxing class for the week. 

Happiness is... a lovely afternoon walk with the ones you love

Happiness is... being back on the rock climbing wall

Happiness is... being home and warm in front of the fireplace. 

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Alone With the Sunset - Fiction

As she watched the sun dip down below the horizon, she wondered what the evening would bring.  Her dreams flitting far off in the depths of her soul, she knew that if she could just find the strength to forge ahead, all that she desired would land softly at her feet.  

The bitter wind blew and snapped her back to the present moment, the setting sun meant only one thing.  She knew she had to find shelter soon or she would certainly freeze. Exposure to the elements was a sure-fire way to bring an end to the search, no doubt stopping her before she could bring peace to those around her.

Gathering up the heavy framed canvas pack that held all her worldly possessions, she took a quick glance around to ensure no one had followed her.  Once certain that no one was watching, she moved towards the tree line of the forest behind her in search of warmth, in search of those she loved. 

Sweet 14!

A tradition in our house for birthdays has been for the birthday person to choose their birthday “cake”.  Rarely do we ever actually have cake.  With so many other great options for a birthday treat, cake is not at the top of any of our lists.

My daughter is celebrating her 14th birthday today. After a full day of school then 3 hours of rock climbing it was time for dessert (after a quick dinner of course).  She loves ice cream, especially the kind with yummy treats mixed in. 

Happy Birthday Bean! Hope you enjoyed your Birthday Ice Cream!

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Hollyburn Lodge

Nestled deep in the woods on Hollyburn Mountain is Hollyburn Lodge.  Built in 1926, the lodge stands on the Hollyburn Ridge and has been a place of many family memories over the years.  We have great memories of sitting around the wood burning stove inside sipping hot chocolate and eating steaming chili while our wet gloves warmed by the hot metal of the stove.  The kids bundled up in their puffy snowsuits running around playing, trying not to take out the legs of patrons as they came in from the cold.

The lodge has been undergoing renovations for the last year and we are happy to see the building looks exactly like the original building. We can't wait to making more family memories this year.   

A Jewel in the Big City

A lazy afternoon walk on this first day of 2017, we decided to explore a few of the many trails that run through Stanley Park.  Amazing to know you are in the busy city yet able to feel like you’re lost in the deep forest.  Due to our recent (and unexpected) snowfall, the trails seemed magical with the thick layer of snow.  

Think Before You Lift...

For Christmas, my daughter was given a candy machine that she had been wanting for last 6 months along with a big bag jelly beans to fill it up. I was attempting to get a cool close up shot of the beans inside so I took the top off (something she had already done numerous times). While I was checking out what pictures I had captured, she saw a jelly bean that she wanted. Without thinking anything (good or bad) would happen, she grabbed the edge of the glass and lifted….

Here is the result from this absent-minded moment! 

Lesson Learned

Today was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to head out to a local mountain to go snowshoeing as a family.  I have wanted to go for the last couple of years but as cross-country skiers we always choose to ski when we have the time.

We set out in the early afternoon, just the four of us… and, as we drove up the mountain, what seemed like most of the rest of the Lower Mainland. Many people looking to enjoy one of the last days of 2016 and a sunny day on the slopes.  

After renting equipment, bundling up in our “winter warmies” (jackets, toques and gloves), a washroom break, then finally strapping on our snowshoes, we were off.  Sun, snow, trails… what a glorious day! The beauty of snowshoeing is that if you can walk, you can snowshoe.  A new experience for the kids, my son missed having his skis so he could fly down the hills while my daughter seemed to appreciate the safety of solid ground beneath her.

While on the trails, I took a lot of pictures. With a crisp day like today, how could I not capture the beauty.  Yes, well, my novice skills were in full swing today.  I didn’t really pay much attention to the settings on the camera.  Someone (my daughter) had set it to manual use when she was in a photography course this past summer... Now, to be fair, I did notice this setting before I took my first photo today but thought “Meh, it probably doesn’t matter!”.

Well, yes!  Yes it does matter!  Needless to say, I did not capture the beauty of the day quite like I imagined it but I did get a couple nice shots. The best ones came from my cellphone (thanks Samsung for being so great!) but thankfully there are a few from the “good” camera too (Nikon you’re pretty good too, better when one knows what they are doing).

The first one below, was taken with my cellphone.  While we were trekking back to return our gear, the kids tangled with each other while racing through the snow.  They collapsed at the base of this tree where someone had envisioned an elephant.  Acting on their vision, they carefully added a few markings in the snow so others (those lucky enough to notice) would see the vision as well.  We probably would have missed it had the kids not been chasing each other.

The second is a photo of the icy top of a tree against the sharp backdrop of the blue sky.  It has not been photoshopped although it could use some touching up.  For those that live in Vancouver, you understand how precious sunny winter days can be.  I tried to capture the coldness of the day mixed with the perceived warmth of the winter sun.