The Sunday 7

  1. Well hello there, it appears it has been a while! The past couple of weeks have saw me on the road and really what feels like this, there and everywhere. I proudly became an aunt on April 2nd to sweet baby Claire (congrats Justin and Meghan!). I can't believe what this year has brought for our family #Blessed
  2. If your in southern Ontario this weekend, your probably experiencing the same freezing rain/snow storm we are, which has had everyone indoors for the past 48 hours :S We are actually now currently siting here without power which means all our candles are out and lit up. Its actually quite romantic for a Sunday evening ;) But really, where the heck is #Spring?!!!!
  3. I've been meaning to blog lately but I'm been finding it hard after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy that took place last week in Saskatchewan. I've sat down so many times to try and put words down and for some reason, I can't put the words together to express my emotions and the emotions of so many of us Canadians after seeing something like this shake our country to its core. But I want too and I will this coming week. At least I know one thing - we are truly an incredible country after seeing how we've rose collectively as a country in a time like this #United
  4. One thing that the Humboldt Broncos tragedy reminded me to do is check my organ donation status after one of the players, Logan Boulet saved 6 lives through his organ donation. I checked tonight and I was already signed up, thankfully. Sign up today to give the gift of life #BeaDonor
  5. Keeping in the hockey spirit, now that the NHL playoffs are here, we're cheering on our favourite team #GoJetsGo
  6. I recently finished this book and it is hands down, one of the best books I've read. I'm now on to this book.
  7. Today, I listened to this podcast on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Gretchen Rubin (Author of The Happiness Project). So many good lessons in this one, it wanted me to pull back out my Happiness Project book and read it again. The biggest take-away? Happiness is like a muscle, you must work at it and exercise it. It was a perspective I needed to hear and be reminded of right now.

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Food for Thought [volume 8]

+ Most of us believe my generation, millennials spend the most amount of time on social media but what if you learned that Gen X actually consumed more content online?!

+ The majority of people equate success to wealth, status in their jobs/careers or their happiness. But is our generation of millennials redefining success differently than previous generations because of our hunger for work-life balance? Ask yourself what success means to you after reading this article by Careergasm author Sarah Vermunt.

+ A valuable reminder for us social media users to keep in mind - don't feed the trolls. Dairy farmer Tim May who does a fantastic job on his social media feeds as 'Farmer Tim,' makes a great point in this blog post that there is no point in wasting time and energy in arguing with extremists.

+ I was so intrigued after reading this piece, I ordered (and will hopefully soon!) read Canadian YouTube sensation Lilly Singh's new book - I'm sure there are going to be some awesome laughs!

+ With all the conversation around the buzzword "Fake News," I thought this was clever of Facebook to share a number of tips on how to spot fake news especially on a platform like Facebook where a majority of us derive our information from each day. This couldn't be more timely. Its hard to believe that the phrase 'Fake News' wasn't even a thing 5 years ago...

+ After recently starting to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, I discovered Mark Manson's podcast which is brilliant. These podcasts about "What's the Problem with Feminism" and "What's the Problem with Men" have a lot of truth to them and make you really think about the role women and men play in typical gender roles.

Summer Searching

I've been struggling with words lately. How to find the right ones - how to string words together to create a well-articulated thought. Words just aren't flowing as easily as they typically do. I'm not sure if its because I'm 'baby drunk' (drunk on the baby, not alcohol), sleep deprived, stepping outside of my comfort zone or what. It could also be that wordsmithing, what I did in my 'day job,' has taken a back seat to motherhood as of late.

I start the day with such intention to write, only to be met with mid-day fatigue (or a hungry baby). This leads to another day gone by, resulting in me lying awake at night with what feels like hundreds of ideas being thrown around by my brain. To the point, I've put a notepad beside my bed to write everything down, afraid that it can't wait until the morning to document (or in case I don't remember).

I'm sure you've been there with me.

Blog posts unpublished; tweets sitting in draft form; instagram posts deleted because you didn't think the photo was 'good enough' for its angle or lighting and you couldn't put your own unique words/thoughts to the picture.

Writing is a lot like a muscle. To get stronger or in the case of writing, better at it, you need to work at it and eventually you'll see results. My writing will never be perfect but doing more of it will help to get better at it.

So I'm going on that basis for my writing this summer - its better to put thoughts out there as they are, imperfect with errors, rather than have the ideas sitting in the draft folder. I'll keep going with my #Blog452 commitment - blogging every week, for 52 weeks of the year.

I love that summer as a season allows us to do this - relax and be easier on ourselves. Summer is a time for welcomed self-reflection for our society - we are just too damn busy the rest of the year.

Summer is the only time of year (besides the two weeks at Christmas) where we as a society see it as 'acceptable' to unplug. We accept that people are away on holidays and relaxing during the summer months. It is almost a societal norm that everyone takes it easier on each other during the summer.

The summer also allows us time to rest our brains, self-reflect and take stock of what we love about our lives and also, what are the irritants/things we want to change, or wish we could change. Its probably because we have the time to finally think and self-reflect while we feel at peace and ease... or its the beer or wine that helps to stimulate our thoughts and relax :) I think its why so many of us come back in September recharged with motivation to want to tackle our goals.

I'm doing so much self-reflection recently thanks to summer and of course, because of Blake. Even before May, I had made a commitment in 2017 to set goals, create a routine and adjust/adapt along the way to work towards accomplishing these goals.

I think summertime reflection is necessary to a healthy lifestyle, both professionally and personally. Self-awareness is the key to happiness. Its healthy to take stock of what we're good at; what we could be better at; what we want more of; and what we could get rid of. This type of reflection allows us to enjoy more of what we love and (finally) take action on the things we want to change. This is something I've gotten a lot better at this year since becoming a mom, as I blogged about earlier - we should "Strive for progress, not perfection.'

I really love the liberating and 'free' feeling of summer. There is no better feeling than sitting on a dock at dusk, looking out at the calm waters and mentally taking stock of everything I love about life and what I want to change/do more of.

Summer searching fuels an incredible sensation to want to kick butt. I'll be so ready for fall when summer decides to be over. Until then, lets take advantage of the warm, sunny summer weather as long as it lasts.

#365DaysofGratitude: My colourful jar of daily happiness

I've promised for some time I would share more about #365DaysofGratitude, something I've committed to do this year (along with #Blog452). These were 2 of the 5 goals I set for 2017 and so far, I'm happy to say its something I've stuck to doing every night. Yay to goal-setting AND actually executing as I recently shared in my 2017 Q1 check-in!

Over the Christmas holidays, I happened to stumble upon a Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my favourite books Big Magic & the well-known Eat, Pray, Love. She talked about what she called her 'Happiness Jar' and it sparked my interest to want to do something similar. The results from something so minimal, free and easy seemed so transformational. The concept is similar to what many authors suggest in keeping a 'gratitude journal' where you write down three things you are grateful for each day.

I know, a lot of people after reading something like this think:

  1.  Its a nice thought but I don't really have the time;
  2.  I would never stick to doing this everyday;
  3. Why would I write down what I'm happy/grateful for, seems pointless when I KNOW what I'm grateful for.

But for some reason, the idea stuck with me.

It was exactly the constant daily, habitual reminder I needed to appreciate the small things that make up each day that I've perhaps neglected over the years. I think its just human nature to worry more about the big ticket items of less trivial meaning and what went wrong/what could have been, rather than what is in our control that makes us happy in a day. That despite the fast-paced world we live in, cherishing the small details along the way is what gets us through life. That, and a positive attitude.

I liked Gilberts' way of putting one thought in a jar at the end of each day, because I would be able to visually see the results of sticking to it each day as the jar get fuller.

I also loved the simple fact of using bright coloured sticky notes to document my #365DaysofGratitude. Colourful sticky notes always = happiness!  ;)

Writing down one simple thing I'm grateful for at the end of each day... or something that has made me laugh, appreciative, happy or feel fortunate for.... has been such a fun exercise since starting on January 1st.

On bad days when I've need the boost to see that 'this too shall pass,' the daily habit of reflection has provided the retrospect that was so needed in moments like those.

On the good days, it has made me love and appreciate these days even more.

And the best part about using a 'jar' is it feels a lot like the passage "my cup runneth over." Its only April and my jar is already filled, to the point that I may have just underestimated how committed I was going to be to this daily challenge, because I may have bought too small of a jar. A larger jar is an upgrade I am excited to invest in.

Not only has it changed my daily mindset of how to approach things differently in professional and personal settings, I really can't wait to get to the end of the year now so I can dump out all 365 gratitude notes on my coffee table and read them back to myself. Some I know I'm going to laugh at; others I will cry at for good reason; and I suspect that at the end of the year, I will know what areas of my life I'm routinely grateful for.

This has been one of those goals I've loved executing everyday that really, anyone that has access to pen, paper, a jar/box of some type and a commitment to do it everyday, can do.

It is a worthwhile #2017 goal that has had such a profound payoff.. and its only April!

The Daily Reminders of Life (these are ones to remember!)

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While I love the chase of my professional life and the appetite I have to learn more, be better and do so much, sometimes, there are more personal, gentler reminders of what life has in store for us.

My family recently put our farm dog Dakota to rest after 15+ years at the farm. It was the best thing for him and whether it is a cow, dog, or cat for us on our family dairy farm, it still doesn't make it any easier to put an animal like that down or experience loss of any kind. Dakota always greeted Andrew and I with the best homecoming arrivals every time we pulled into the driveway as if he was expecting us to return home to the farm. We couldn't have found a better companion than Dakota, he really was an extension of our family.

I was recently sent these 12 daily reminders and thought these would be great to share with readers especially after experiencing the loss of our 'pet' last weekend. I'm keeping these close and am going to try and remind myself of these more often.

The trivial things of daily life with work, etc that we think are a big deal at the time, don't trump the fact that we only have one life to live, we all end up in the same ground in the end and what we do before then and how we make people feel along the way is the lasting impression we can leave on this earth.

That felt good to say, Happy Friday Passionate Voice readers. Have an awesome weekend.