Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hope For A Cure

April is Cancer Awareness month.

Volunteers across Canada go from door to door to raise funds for the Cancer Society.

One way you can show your support is to buy a bunch of daffodils.

Canadians recognize Daffodils as a symbol of hope in the fight against cancer.

In 2003 2.5% of men in Canada had a diagnosis of Cancer and 2.8% of women in Canada had a diagnosis of cancer in the previous 15 years. 1.0% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 15 years are survivors and 0.8% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past 15 years are survivors.

On the basis of current incidence rates, 39% of Canadian women and 44% of Canadian men will develop cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide as well as in Canada with 22,000 of Canadian women diagnosed each year.

These statistics are from the Canadian Cancer Societies website.

I write this entry in memory of my oldest sister Gina who passed away in 2005 from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and also for my sister Fran who is a Breast Cancer survivor for 10 years.

I never imagined as a young person that my family would be touched by cancer. Having been through it now with 2 sisters, I realize that we must all do our part to beat this dread disease.

Buy a bunch of daffodils today from the Cancer Society to keep the hope of a cure alive or donate here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This year I had decided that I wasn't going to bother with birthdays anymore. At my age - not that I think I am old, I feel lucky to have good health and such a wonderful life.

I think I will continue "not bothering" with birthdays anymore, because I had more cards, more attention and more fun this year than I can ever remember.

First party was at Sebrina's home with my darling grandchildren. We had a wonderful dinner and then cake with candles. Of course I couldn't blow the candles out alone, but had three helpers as you can see ... Ryan, Zander & Jayden, three of the loves of my life.

Zander enjoyed the butter cream icing on the candles.

We had lots of fun with a little dancing, here are Zander and Jayden playing their air guiters.

After the cake was served we were sitting at the table and Jayden our 6 year old grandson asked "So, Mammy how old are you?".

Silly me I said, "How old do you think I am Jayden?"

Then in all of his childish wonder and innocence he looked me right in the eye and said, "67?"

Guess I deserved that leaving a question like that wide open. I thought he would have guessed "30". I remember thinking 30 was ancient when I was a child.

The best part of that evening was the wonderful gift that I received from them. My very own copy of "The Four Agreements" - one of my favourite books.

Here's my girl - Gabriella and me sharing a moment. She is such a joy and everything right now is full of wonder to her. I enjoy looking at things through her eyes.

Then a few more festivities on Sunday at my in-laws. Here I am with my nieces Vanessa and Rebecca.

On Monday night, my sister, Fran brought dinner for us, steaks, steamed veggies and Caesar salad to which I added "Tuscan Smashed Potatoes" and "Potato Leek Soup". Then she brought a delicious cake - angel food with whipped cream, crushed pineapple and strawberries .... yummy!

Yesterday, which was my actual birth date, I had my physio therapy in the morning and then off to the spa for a lovely pedicure, facial and mini massage. It was a lovely, lazy, pampering way to spend a few hours on my birthday.

Then at home I found a gift at my door from a dear friend.

Don brought home Japanese food (my favorite) for dinner and gave me Winnie the Pooh's honey pot in Swarovski crystal which goes with the Swarovski Winnie the Pooh he gave me for Christmas.

So all in all I felt quite special this birthday, it lasted a whole lot longer than just my one day.

Thank you to everyone for remembering my day and making me feel very special.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Patience is a Virtue

All my waiting finally paid off this morning.

This beautiful fellow came to our garden to pay a visit and waited patiently until I snapped his picture, then flew off.

I had to zoom in quite a lot so the picture is not as clear as I wanted, but at least I got his picture.

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou

Saturday, March 22, 2008


What would we do without friends?

They hold us up when we need support ....
They hold our hand when we need reassurance ....
They share our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our disappointments ....
They listen to our rants & raves .....
They share our excitement as well as our disappointment ....
They are always in our corner ....

With a friend you can talk for hours and never run out of things to say ....
Silence is comfortable with a good friend ....

My best friend and I have shared some of the most intimate moments in our lives over our many years of friendship. I was privileged to be there at the birth of her last daughter. She was with me during my knee surgery, bringing me lunches and just hugging me when all I wanted to do was cry from the pain. We've been through divorces, job losses, school woes and victories (as she has worked towards her C.G.A.), births, deaths, illnesses and through it all our friendship has stood the test of time.

We have shared and continue to share a very deep bond.

I know this friend almost as well as I know myself.

She sent me a beautiful birthday card, the words of which brought tears to my eyes as I thought of MaryAnne looking for just the right card for my birthday and then taking the time to pen the beautiful words.

"A friendship like ours gives life a sweet sense of continuity. Our relationship combines the past and future in a way that is natural, comfortable ... reassuring. And while other friends, new friends, see the me that I've become, you know the me I've always been, just as I know the history you grew from, the stories that shaped you.

In this world of change, it is a rare thing, a precious thing, to know and be known so well. A friendship like ours is something to cherish, and I want you to know, I do."

The following "words of wisdom" were imparted to MaryAnne by her eight year old daughter Elizabeth on her birthday in February, and she decided to share them with me.

"You're way over 40, but we're going to pretend you're in your 20's."

Thanks Elizabeth, I think I will pretend I'm in my 20's for this birthday.

Hmmm, now what would a 20 something year old want to do for her birthday?

Wait, I know. How about a birthday party with "the birthday hat" (will post later with a picture of this very special hat), yummy chocolate, banana, hazelnut and butter cream icing cake with candles and lots of kids.

Sebrina is having a combination Easter - Birthday dinner today. Ryan, Jayden, Zander & Gabriella will be there to provide the kidlet entertainment. I'm sure the birthday hat will make an appearance for the traditional birthday picture and I put in my order for the "chocolate, banana, hazelnut with butter cream icing cake.

Think I'll ask Sebrina to put "20" candles instead of "54".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Kidlets

It seems that I am always talking about my beautiful grandsons, Ryan, Jayden and Zander and our newest beauty -Gabriella as well as my daughter, so for a change I decided to introduce some other kidlets.

These are my two nieces and nephew Rebecca, Jake and Vanessa.

They are Don's younger brother and his wife's adorable children.

Rebecca is four, the same age as our sweet Zander and as you can see by the picture taken in 2006, they are quite taken with each other.

Whenever we have family get togethers, Rebecca and Zander stick together like glue.

Vanessa has just turned two years old and Jake is seven months old.

Where oh Where is Spring?

Spring must be on the way - today this little lady came to visit in my back garden. I really don't know where they are finding their food, so I have filled my feeder, but so far they have not found it.

I scan the trees in the ravine daily waiting patiently to see my first Cardinal, Gold Finch or Baltimore Oriole.

As I stand outside, I can hear the water trickling down the eaves trough. I look to the ravine and see the swollen creek rushing somewhere with complete abandonment. I can hear the trees shaking off the winter coats which have covered them during the cold winter months. The sap which has been sluggish is warming up and starting to run in preparation for the dazzling new attire they will soon be wearing.

I too am yearning for the colours of spring, so today I fed my spring fever with a shopping cart full of colour to brighten up the last few days of Winter.

Yellow, orange & spring green purses along with a silk scarf which matches the colours to tie on the handle of whichever one I carry.

As well, some shirts in vibrant colours. I love to enjoy colourful foods, so "why shouldn't I wear colourful clothing?" I asked myself.

When I looked through my clothing from the last few years, it seemed that all my shirts are white with a little pastel thrown in here and there.

So I tell myself - "Girl, it's time to shake up your wardrobe colours."

As you can see I found a very bright orange polo shirt, a yellow sweater and spring green tee shirt .... my favourite is the multi colour tunic with the black neckline. As well, I found a great pair of cargo pants in a neutral beige. I even picked up some paisley pj bottoms with a green tank top.

As well, I found a great trench coat - my only concern is that it is white, however the labels says it's washable. I was in Wal Mart picking up the packing materials for an Easter basket for my grandchildren and decided to take a quick walk through the clothing department. When I reached the coats I happened upon a trench made by "George" for only $37.00. Figured I can't go wrong at that price.

So although Spring has not arrived here judging by the weather and the great mountains of snow still on my lawn, I am going to start incorporating a little colour into my daily clothing choices which will make me feel more like spring and certainly more colourful.

Colour just makes me happy!!!

I heard a thousand blended notes
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What Man has made of Man.

Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trail'd its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopp'd and play'd,
Their thoughts I cannot measure,—
But the least motion which they made
It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What Man has made of Man?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Room to Call my Own

I finally have a room I can call my own for my crafting - quilting, scrapbooking, painting, etc....

Notice on the centre shelf a small selection of cd's. Spending time there is so enjoyable with a cup a tea and Michael Bublé or Josh Groban quietly singing to keep me company.

Lots of nooks and cranny's to store things.

Here are some of my fabrics laid out waiting to be cut and pieced for my next quilt.

These are already cut into 2" squares for my watercolor quilt. I also have sorted them into dark, medium and light values.

A beautiful ironing board cover makes ironing pleasurable.

Don't you just love the smell of freshly ironed shirts.

Some pretty things to make my room feel like mine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lights Out on March 29th

On March 29, 2008, cities across Canada, and around the world will turn off their lights for Earth Hour, a WWF event to raise awareness about climate change and symbolize that, working together the people of the world can make a difference in the fight against climate change.

Earth Hour has grown from a single event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to a global phenomenon that will occur across six continents and in as many as 20 cities in 2008.

Toronto was the flagship Canadian city to commemorate Earth Hour 2008 but dozens of others including Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal have already joined!

WWF's goal is to get thousands of businesses and individuals to participate in this historic event, so we can show the nation and the world that Canadians are leaders in addressing climate change, one of the most critical issues facing our world today.

Join today and sign up here to add your name to those who have already committed to turning off for one hour on March 29th.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Day In The Life

Hi, I'm Chelsea, Barb and Don's dog. I'm a Lhasa Apso and I am really the one who is charge around here. I just let them think they are. Thought I'd grab the PC and give you an idea of what life is like around here before Barb is finished riding her recumbent bike.

You know the saying "it's a dog's life". Well, let me tell you, it is certainly my life at this house.

I love my masters - Don and Barb. I talk quite a lot and have learned that it can pretty much get me whatever I want especially from Don. Barb - not so much, she's a little tougher than he is.

My day usually starts around 6:00am. The alarm goes off and Don gets up. Of course I'm stretched out on the bed, so I take this opportunity to have a great stretch, scratch a few places I won't mention here and have a little grooming session. After all, a girl has to look her best and I wouldn't want to look like a "schlumpadinka".

Well, me time is over so downstairs we go where I get my morning Dentabone - can't go around having bad breath or heaven forbid dirty teeth.

"Wait, what are you doing Don?" Oh no, he's picking up my dinner bowl.

"But wait, there's still some food left in there." Maybe if I talk a little louder than usual, he'll leave it down. No, looks like he's wrapping it up and putting it up on the counter. Barb will add a little more goodies at dinner time. A little kibble (no wheat - I'm allergic), rice or barley, some mashed veggies and then some real meat, right now I'm getting salmon - yummy.

Don is getting ready to leave, I'd better get out to the front door so I can get my morning walk and fresh air.

"Wait for me Don, don't go out that door!" Oh he's still getting his boots & coat on. "Will you hurry up .... get those laces tied .... where's your coat .... get it on .... find your gloves .... put them in your pocket ..... have you got your lunch ..... what about your laptop & briefcase?"

Oh oh, wait a second, Barb is handing Don some recyclables ..... Oh man, am I ever going to get out this door?

Finally, he's opening the door. I take off, but my feet are slipping on the tile floor, I need to slow down just a little so I can get some traction. Okay, that's better, here we go. Oh I love it outside. I don't even mind the snow .... it's kind of fun to stick my nose in it and then come out with lots of snow stuck to my snout. Barb doesn't like that so much .... she says I drip all over the hardwood.

Feeling much better now, after my morning bathroom routine.

I'm feeling awfully tired, so it's time for my morning nap. Barb's getting her coffee and heading to our favourite chair in the living room. I'll just hop up on her lap while she reads her book. This feels great .... she's got such a nice comfy lap.

Hopefully she'll read for a while and I can catch a couple of hours sleep.

What else will I do today? Hmmmm, think I round up all my toys, play with them for a while, then I'll have a little snooze with my friends. Seems like I sleep a lot more these days. Guess that's because I'll be 70 years old (human years) this year.

Hey was that my leash I just heard jingling? It was - oh boy, looks like Barb is going to take me for a walk. We don't go to far because her knee is still a little sore, so the walks are short but that's okay. I just love that she takes me out even for a short walk. All the wonderful smells out here, wow, think I smell that handsome Poodle from down the street ... "slow down a second Barb, I have to leave a little something to let him know I was here too."

Well, that walk was just great, now I can settle down for my afternoon nap.

The phone just rang and woke me up. I heard Barb say "see you shortly". That means Don is on his way home.

I'll sit by the front door until I hear the garage door opening. Better turn up the volume of my talking a little. Oh, I'm so excited I can hardly sit still so I'll run in circles .... maybe a little dancing on my back legs until I hear the screen door open and then the front door. He's home .... thank goodness, he's been gone forever. Don's trying to get his coat and boots off, but I'm talking really loud so I can get my hugs and kisses. When I talk really loud, I get the hugs and kisses before Barb.

It's good to be the "queen".

Now it's their dinner time .... I don't know how Barb does it, but dinner is always ready as soon as Don walks through the door. Does she know something I don't? Maybe it has something to do with that phone call?

Now I'm getting really excited .... they're going to have dinner .... so I get to mooch. I've got that "poor dog" look down pat. I cock my head a certain way .... let my long ears droop even more and make my eyes appear very sad. It always works with Don, he's gives me little bits .... Barb - not so much.

Well, dinner's done, the dishes are washed, Don's lunch is made and we're on our way up to bed. First I get my bedtime treat - usually a dog bone (again no wheat - I'm allergic). Then some play time with one or two of my toys or sometimes Barb or Don play with me by throwing one of my toys for me to fetch once or twice. I usually don't fetch that well, I really don't like anyone else to touch my toys .... after all they are mine. Now it's off to bed. Here comes Don, I move over to snuggle up right against his back where it's nice and warm, the feather comforter is so soft and I've got all my toys around me, I'm starting to feel really sleepy, see you tomorrow .......... zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Please Take a Moment to Write a Letter

This topic is near and dear to my heart.

As many of you who follow my blog know, my daughter adopted our darling Gabriella last year from Ethiopia. We were fortunate in our wait time, but adoptive families are now waiting longer and longer for that all important Visa to bring their child home.

It is very important that you take a moment and send this letter!!!!

Here in Canada there is a serious problem with the government and their processing times for Ethiopian adoptions. Currently it is taking 4-6 months and longer in some cases after the adoption is finalized to process a permanent resident visa so the child can come home. These are not acceptable wait times!!!!

No other country takes up to six months to process the adoptions of Ethiopian children. The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Ireland, Finland and Spain all process adoption visas within 1-4 weeks of the Ethiopian court date, not 4-8 months.

Below is a sample letter that you can copy and paste and email to your local MP and Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC). Her email address:
As well, copy your local MP. You can find out who your local MP is by entering your postal code here. You can send the letter as is or do your own thing. And you don't need to be an adoptive parent to send this letter either. The more noise we make the more action will be done I hope! It is heartbreaking that children remain in an orphanage when they have families waiting for them and all that is standing in the way is immigration papers.

Dear Minister Finley,

I am writing to express my concern about the time it is taking for Ethiopian children adopted to Canadian families to obtain a Permanent Resident Visa or Citizenship paperwork. It appears, after much research, that the reason why children that are legally adopted by parents in Canada are not coming home is simply because there isn't enough human-power at the High Commission in Nairobi to process their visas or citizenship papers. Shortening this time period does NOT in any way compromise the ethical investigation that goes into each child referral.

This investigation (2-3 months) is what takes place before the court date that determines whether the child can be adopted. This time frame is acceptable, the possible six months afterwards is not.

Recently, with China beginning to make it extremely difficult to be able to adopt, many families are now turning to Ethiopia. As a result there is a backlog that reaches up to 6 months after court date, for a child to come home. Children are staying in institutions when they have parents at home in Canada that simply are not allowed to go and pick them up because of immigration. No other country takes up to six months to process the adoptions of Ethiopian children. The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Ireland, Finland and Spain all process adoption visas within 1-4 weeks of the Ethiopian court date, not 4-8 months. I won't even begin to get into the long-term effects on the children that do not begin attachment in the early months of their lives.

Lastly, Ethiopian adoptions are on the rise and many adoption agencies do not see it slowing down in the near future. Let's not wait until next year to realize that we needed to hire more people. Let's be proactive and start now. Please make this a part of your "priority" that you have already promised as a government to adopted children abroad.We strongly urge the CIC to employ additional staff to process the immigration paperwork for adopted children at the High Commission in Nairobi. The CIC must support the health of these orphaned children by getting them home in weeks, not months, after the court decisions.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Am Strong - I Am Invincible

Today is International Women's Day.

Let us celebrate women the world over for our contributions to family, business & commerce, politics, the literary world, theatre, medicine, to mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, to girlfriends and to ourselves.

But let us not for one moment forget the women of this world who suffer.

In the Mexican cities of Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua 400 young women have been brutally murdered since 1993, 56 since 2004, 152 were the victims of sexual assault prior to their murders and more than half of these victims were women and girls between the ages of 13 and 22.

In Canada one half of women over the age of 16 have experienced one incident of abuse.

In South Africa arguments rage over whether an adult rape is committed every 36 seconds, every 11 seconds or every four seconds - depending on how police records are interpreted. A woman in South Africa is killed by her spouse on average every six days.

Let us take a moment to think of all our sisters the world over.

Are they struggling in abusive relationships?
Are they at this moment being raped, murdered, sold into prostitution?
Are they successful doctors, lawyers, accountants, are they mothers, daughters, grandmothers?

Let's enjoy our womanhood remembering that all famous men had a mother.

Only women can experience the joy of carrying a life within a womb and birthing that life, nurturing a child at her breast, or experiencing the joy of being the mother of a President, a prophet, a ground breaking scientist, Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King. Who else but a woman can feel that pride in knowing that she nurtured that life.

Here's to women the world over today.

We are beautiful, we are strong and we can accomplish anything!

Read the words of this song sung in the 70's which became the chant for many woman as they rose up and stood together for equality.

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend'
Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can do anything

I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me'
Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer'
Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything

I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything

I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

Let us reach out in unity to our sisters across the world today bringing us together as a force to be reckoned with!

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Little Knee Update

This picture at left is a prosthesis used in a Total Knee Replacement (TKR) and has given me back the mobility that I haven't had in three years.

It astonishes me that this device can be surgically implanted to replace my knee and give me the ability to walk normally, climb stairs (leg over leg) and not even hold onto the railing.

Today it has been 20 weeks and 3 days since I had my knee replaced and my physical therapist congratulated me on my bend. When I lie on my stomach I can bend my good leg and my new knee up equally. This according to my therapist is better than expected after TKR surgery.

Normally a 110 degree bend is achieved. I am able to get just over 120 degrees and with a little push I can achieve 125 degrees. My goal is 140. May be a little ambitious, but I am a determined lady.

My exercise program consists of walking on a treadmill 4 times a week for between 15-20 minutes at 2.2 kph. As well I ride a recumbent bicycle every morning for 10 minutes. This really helps with my knee mobility. I sit on my couch with my leg on the coffee table 4 times a day with a 10 pound weight resting over my knee to stretch the muscles and achieve a really straight leg. As well there are numerous weight bearing and stretching exercises done twice daily.

All of the time spent in therapy as well as exercising is paying off as today I graduated to 2 treatments per week with my physical therapist - down from 3.

I think I just might break out a little bubbly tonight to celebrate.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Let's Talk Birth

This little film speaks for itself. It is just a small portion of a full length film but watch it and see if you don't change your thinking about how we in North America are birthing our children.

Just click on the picture to view the film.

Having been privileged to attend the births of my grandsons, two of which were home births attended by a midwife and doula, I find myself fully supporting natural home birthing.

After all isn't a birth all about the mother and baby?

You'll see after watching this film how the medical community has commercialized this most natural event.

A woman's body knows what it must do to birth a child. Only in rare circumstances when labour and birth is allowed to progress normally is medical intervention required.

Why do we rush everything? If the baby doesn't come on time, let's get things moving by inducing or encouraging contractions with chemicals, if the labour is too long, let's get it over with and perform a Cesarean section. Then, as soon as the babe is delivered, does the doctor wait for the cord to stop pulsing delivering those all important nutrients in the blood to the babe - no it's clamped and cut immediately.

When labour is induced babies are usually in the wrong position. These unnatural labours frequently end in a C-section giving North American the highest rate of delivery by C-section.
In 1965 according to the World Health Organization, the C-section rate was 4.5%. In 2007 they found that one in three woman gave birth by C-section. The United States is now performing C-sections at record levels.

Why is birthing this way? Once again business and commerce steps in and the $ rules.

A home birth is such an empowering experience.

At the birth of two of my grandsons, my daughter moved around as she pleased, sat in a warm bath to ease her contractions, then moved to the bed when delivery was close. She was surrounded by midwives, her doula, me and of course her husband. We were not told to step back out of the way, we each sat on the bed touching Sebrina letting out strength flow through our hands to her, speaking calming and encouraging words.

It was a powerful, quiet and moving experience for each of us in that room. It made me see that we are woman are unique, strong and so fortunate to be able to experience the creation of life.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Improve Your Vocabulary & Feed The World

By taking a few minutes to play a word game, you can help donate rice to the United Nations World Food Program.
This website takes you to the game or click on the Free Rice picture.

For every word that you guess the correct definition, 20 grains of rice are donated.

I played for approximately 10 minutes tonight and donated 3160 grains of rice.

FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site,

FreeRice has two goals.

1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Here are the rice donations to date.

10/07 - 537,163,380
11/07 - 4,768,969,790
12/07 - 6,948,988,060
01/08 - 4,551,581,980
02/08 - 3,893,361,180
03/01/08 - 81,426,180
03/02/08 - 81,305,920
03/03/08 - 132,758,120
Total 20,995,554,610

Take a few moments, go to Free Rice, improve your vocabulary and donate some rice. It's fun and it will make you feel good.

Learn To Be Still

A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle has been read, re-read and re-read. I sat reading with a highlight pen and actually ran out of ink and had to grab another. There was so much noteworthy comments in this jewel of a book. There are very few pages where I didn't find something worth noting.

Then today I listened to the podcast covering a discussion of and review of Chapter 1. This discussion was lead by Oprah Winfrey & Eckhart Tolle.

I found this book illuminating, enlightening & uplifting, enjoyable, thought provoking and hard to put down.

My childhoold was spent in an extremely rigid, religious home where if you did not believe the way my parents and their church did, well then you were just wrong and doomed to the eternal fires of Hell.

This book really brought to my attention how organized religions are divisive rather than unifying forces.

They are ideologies, belief systems people identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them they can make themselves "right" and others "wrong".

Eckhart Tolle states, "The more you make your thoughts (beliefs) into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension within yourself ..... Unless you believe (think) exactly as they do, you are wrong in their eyes, and in the not-too-distant past, they would have felt justified in killing you for that. And some still do, even now."

Learn to live in the "now". There are three ways in which consciousness can flow into what you do and through you into this world. The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to ensure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all -from the most simple of tasks to the most complex.

Acceptance - Whatever you are endeavouring to do right now, accept that this is what this situation, this moment requires you to do and do it willingly.

Enjoyment - Whatever you are doing, be in the moment and enjoy it. When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do increases dramatically.

Enthusiasm - This is the third modality of awakened doing. Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or vision that you are working toward.

Here are a few of my favourite points from this book .....

You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.

You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it is the ego. And you are never really attached to a thing, but to a thought that has "I", "me" or "mine" in it.

When I criticize or condemn another, it makes me feel bigger, superior.

Non reaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.

Non reaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for non reaction is forgiveness.

The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only a grievance about the past can do that. What is a grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.

The fact that you temporarily know more or that you are bigger does not mean that a child is not your equal.

See the fullness of life all around you. The warmth of the sun on your skin, the display of magnificent flowers, biting into a succulent fruit, or getting soaked in an abundance of water falling from the sky.

Laughter is extraordinarily liberating as well as healing.

You are never more essentially, more deeply yourself than when you are still.

Some changes may look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.

And lastly, my favourite .....

One With Life. Being one with life is being one with now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy Family Day

Thinking back on our time in Ethiopia seems almost dream-like, driving to the orphanage to pick up Gabriella, tucking her into the sling that Sebrina brought along and then taking the cab ride back to the guest house. Were it not for Gabriella, the whole trip I'm sure would fade into my memory like a forgotten dream in the night.

I remember wondering would my heart would open as widely for this child as it did for my first 3 grandchildren. Once I saw her and held her in my arms, there was no doubting that this little girl was meant to be part of our family. She too filled up my heart just like my boys.

This is indeed a happy day today as I remember sitting with Sebrina in the guest house waiting for the driver that would take us to pick up Gabriella. That day as we waited I was transported back to when Sebrina was my little girl who couldn't wait patiently for very long for something that she wanted.

Finally, the driver arrived and we started our journey through smog so thick it hung over the city like pea soup, then the drive down a very dusty road, through very tall metal gates and into the yard of the orphanage where Gabriella was waiting.

Sebrina has invited us to share in this day's celebrations for a lunch. (Mammy made her devils food chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberries).

As well, I painted a special picture for Gabriella to remember this day. I can't share it with you because her mom hasn't seen it yet.

Here are some of the things I absolutely love about Gabriella.

G - She's Girly

A - Angel

B - Beautiful

R - Rambunctious

I - Delicious - I know it doesn't start with I, but it is what she is.

E - Enchanting

L - Lovable

L - Lively

A - Always smiling

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

One year ago today is the day that I saw you for the first time.

You were a wee little thing – just 12 pounds, you didn’t smile very much and constantly had your fingers in your mouth.

You couldn’t hold your head up very well. But you had these eyes … eyes that looked deep into my soul and from the very first second had me hooked.

The weeks spent in Ethiopia were special, watching as you unfolded like a flower opening its' petals to the sun.

Within a couple of days you were smiling at your mommy and me.

Within one and one half weeks, we had you laughing out loud.

Your mommy kept putting you on the bed on your tummy, so you could learn to hold your head up.

I remember laying in the bed beside you at night watching you sleep and thinking what a miracle you were and how fortunate we were to have you in our lives.

Here we are one year later and you are growing into such a big girl.

You aren’t so wee any more – nearly 30 pounds.

You smile non-stop especially when you see your daddy or your poppa.

You hold your head high now and you are running around the house with your three older brothers.

Sometimes they can’t even keep up with you.

And those eyes ... they still look deep into my soul, touching and awakening many emotions and yes dearest Gabriella you still have me hooked.

I loved you from the moment I saw your first referral picture and that love has grown deeper over this past year.

What a precious girl you are – mammy’s love.


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