Change that Inner Voice: “I’m Enough!”

Like most women, I often look in the mirror and am immediately drawn in by the flaws I see. You know the bags under my eyes, my aging skin, the blemishes, the extra 5 pounds, etc. So often, as women, we seem to have blinders on when it comes to our own self-concept. We have difficulty recognizing, let alone celebrating our own attributes. We are so much more than these “body suits” we wear ~ we have an inner strength and beauty that makes us shine from the inside out. How do you feel when you look in the mirror? I love the message of this empowering video….”I’m Enough!

1st Mission: Accomplished!

CelebrateScreen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.13.08 PMHey all! It has been one year since I officially launched my blog. I met my first goal of sticking with it for one full year without missing a day….that’s 365 posts in a row!  This summer, my blog is taking a bit of a detour as I attempt to explore our beautiful province ~ Manitoba! Of course, I still hope to have time to do some DIY projects, try some new recipes and get my house organized, but there will definitely be some “Manitoba” content this summer. It will give me a bit of a chance to unwind and enjoy my holiday and yet not totally lose touch with my followers. If you would like to help me celebrate my 1st Anniversary, just share my link with your friends and family and sign-up as a subscriber, if you have not already done so! My goal is to dramatically increase both my subscribers and my daily views this summer and I need your help. You may even want to copy and paste the URL from the address bar at the top of the page of your favourite post.

The Next Steps:

Want to know how you can help? Here are a few things you can do to help me take my blog to the next level:

1. Share my link with friends and family via email or social media:

2. Think of your favourite post and type the key words in the search bar. Once there, copy and paste the URL and share it with friends.

3. Subscribe. Sign-up as a subscriber and my blog will show up in your email as soon as I post each day. Take a quick look and see if the content is of interest and then decide if you want to visit the site or not. To see all of the videos and pictures you will need to click through to the site by clicking on the post title.

4. Let me know what your favourite topics and posts are by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. I love to hear from my readers and want to take my blog in a direction that appeals to the largest number of people, so I need your feedback.

Thanks so much for your support through the last year! I know that my content is a bit of a “mish-mash” at times, but I need to keep my content quite wide open, so that I can continue to post while working (just shy of full-time) and managing my family life. I enjoy blogging, but in order to post regularly and keep my life in some sort of balance, I need to keep my options open. However, I know there will come a time when I need to have a more specific focus and I would love your thoughts regarding your favourite content. Thanks for your continued support!

Summer Screen Time

empowering parents

Click the image to find out how to tame technology and create balance in your home.

Of course, this type of post is not new for me. I am one of those parents who is very uptight when it comes to screen time. I hate what it is doing to our children and it has become a huge bone of contention in many families. I’m not even going to attempt to paraphrase this letter….you must read it in its entirety. Renee Robinson wrote this letter to her boys to explain to them why she restricts their screen time. I honestly have never read anything more in line with my beliefs about screen time. This letter is the perfect portrayal of what so many parents feel, but can’t seem to put into words. It’s easy to see why her post went viral.  Here is a short excerpt from her letter, but you really must read the whole thing.

Well, boys, it’s not you. It’s me. Me being selfish maybe. You see I can’t bear to miss a moment with you. Let me explain.

I want to talk to you when we are out to eat. I want to listen to your questions. I want to have training opportunities. I want to allow space for conversation that can take us deeper. And if you are always distracted with electronics, well… I might miss those moments.

I could give you all the statistics about how damaging it is to your development, your attention span, your ability to learn. While all of those are valid reasons to keep electronics away, that is not my primary reason why I say no to you so much. It’s more than that. Much more. I need you to understand this.

As we head into summer, please consider Renee’s letter and although it is much easier to give in, lets all make an effort to limit screen time, for all the right reasons!

Is Good Enough?

I serve at church in the Nursery 2 room and we always have a pre-service team meeting. The meetings start with a devotional and then one of the leaders does a very quick teaching prior to heading back to our classrooms. Yesterday, there was something said that really stuck with me. She is used the line “Good is the Enemy of Great!” and I thought it was brilliant. This morning I got up and googled it to see if this was something she may have come up with or if the origin could be found. My search led me to a site with a post from a man by the name of Tom Lemanski. I was so intrigued by what I saw because it is the essence of what I believe. In fact, the title of his post was “Working Smart”.

A few years ago, a colleague and I led a group at work called “Work Smarter, Not Harder”. The concept behind this was to pool our ideas through brainstorming sessions and learn how to streamline the things we do by working smarter and more efficiently. Our goal was to establish specific systems to follow that would essentially help us to share our workload in a more efficient manner and with better results. Basically, figure out what works and what doesn’t, learn from our mistakes and continually tweak what we do, so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated. We sought to increase our work potential, efficiency and the overall “product” by learning to do the same things in a simpler and more productive way.

Tom’s post was based on the first sentence from Jim Collins’s book called Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t. He basically goes on to talk about how in the business world, government, schools and life in general, it is so easy to settle for good. If you attain a level that you believe to be good, progress simply stops. In order to be great, you must seek to continually make things better. To look for ways to improve and enhance what you are already doing. In fact, to truly be great, you must look at it as a journey and not a destination. It is an end that will never be achieved because the premise is that you can always improve. You know the old saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I think “GOOD” is much like that.

It is quite easy to be good at many things, but it takes so much more to be GREAT at even one. So, I too believe that good can in fact the enemy of great. Of course, this does not imply we can be great at everything, but more so that we need to really focus on one or two things that we can become really great at. Status quo is easy and it’s where most of us stay. I have learned that perseverance is truly one of the most difficult qualities to attain. We can all be great for a moment or a season in time, but to persevere is the true test. I can say that I did P90X and that I didn’t miss one workout in 90 days, but that was 4 years ago and now I can barely commit to 3 days of exercise per week. So, woopty-do! I was able to commit full heartedly for 3 months, but that has little impact on me today. I really don’t want to “hang my hat” on something I accomplished 3 years ago. Whether it be in our eating habits, exercise regime, business ventures, career or basic daily habits, it is the ability to persist even when faced with obstacles and challenges that really sets the standard for greatness. Greatness isn’t about being perfect, but more about striving for excellence.

Sometimes it can feel like there is a fine line between perfectionism and excellence, but there are some major differences. Perfectionism is a losing battle with oneself. It is a result that ultimately can never be achieved and the pursuit of it often leaves a wake of destruction in its path. The pursuit of excellence is more about doing the very best that you can and learning from your mistakes. As you pursue excellence you know and accept that there will be challenges along the way. I found this great article on perfectionism on a site called the University of Exeter. This table was taken from the article and shows an excellent comparison between perfectionists and healthy strivers. Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.30.38 AM Ultimately,  before you can be great at anything, you must first decide that good is not good enough. Decide what you want to be great at: gardening, parenting, marriage, your career, a business venture, whatever. Once you’ve prioritized and made some decisions, get started right away. Get a vision, read, study, practise, stumble, fall, get up, REPEAT. Remember, persistence is the key to be all that you can be!

Jesus Take the Wheel!

got favor?I thought I’d share a story …. one that will likely transcend time. You know those stories that begin with, “Do you remember that time….”. Perhaps my children will one day tell their children of our little adventure and miracle. If you read my blog regulary, you will know that I have a strong faith and I learned many years ago, that there is no request too big or too small for God. It was from our pastor that I learned there was no such thing as “wasting” a prayer. Thanks to his stories about his wife Sally praying for parking spots, I have also found that with a little prayer, I too can have “rock star” parking! We have taught our kids the power of a prayer and when any situation arises….we pray, trust, believe and then wait.

No Gas…Are You Kidding Me?

Our family made a day trip out to my Auntie Lynn’s funeral on Friday. The weather was good, the service was beautiful and the hours after spent with family were wonderful. After a full and very long day, we got back in the van to begin the 3 1/2 hour drive back to Winnipeg. We were heading out about 7:45, so knew it would be 11:15 or so before we’d get home. Tim is a night hawk, so the thought of driving back after a long day really wasn’t a big deal. Our route took us along #1 Highway, past Brandon.

I’m not one to play around with the gas gauge, I will always play it safe and fill up long before the needle gets close to the big “E”. However, I was not driving and therefor not really paying attention to the gas. We got about 15 minutes past Brandon when Tim casually said, “Oh, we’ll need to stop for gas.” Tim is a born and raised city boy, used to having access to whatever he needs 24/7. I am a country girl. When and where I grew up, the stores were closed Sundays and Mondays and there was no such thing as a Convenience Store. Clearly things have changed in my home town as well, but I knew this highway well enough to know that there weren’t many gas stations along it and I would venture a guess that those that existed, closed early.

So, as we tooted along on our very low tank of gas, we came to the town of Carberry. Carberry sits along the highway, but you have to exit and travel off the highway a bit of a distance (which seemed like a mile or two, especially when you’re running on fumes) to get into town. Our gas was low enough that we were already nervous about making it in to town and finding a gas station before we ran out. We found the two town gas stations, but both closed at 9 p.m. and it was now around 9:30.  As were driving down the street, we saw two guys outside the town bar. We stopped and asked them how far to the closest gas station, but they weren’t much help. I’m not sure if their “bellies were already full” or what, but they were zero help and did nothing more than waste our time and gas as we sat idling while they tried to think outside the borders of their small town. One actually thought he might be able to tell us how far to the closest gas station if he had a calculator. Ugh!  We moved on and went back to the first gas station, as there were a few lights on even though the sign said “closed” and it looked to be closed. Tim knocked on the door to see if anyone was inside, but no one was there. A local man pulled in the parking lot and told us we would have to go back to the highway and head to Austin (Manitoba….not Texas, thankfully!!) He said it was about 20 minutes down the highway. The man left and we prayed. We knew there was absolutely no way we had gas to get there. We had been on empty for longer than seemed possible and there was no way we could make it 20 minutes more.

Only By the Grace of God:

So, we did the only thing we could and prayed that we would make it to Austin and find an open gas station. Shay has a great sense of humour and is definitely the family clown. For months now, he has been looking for the perfect scenerio to use the tag line from Carrie Underwood’s song “Jesus Take the Wheel”. Well, you can bet you picked up on this right away and declared it “Jesus Take the Wheel!” and thankfully, he did.

We got back on the highway and tried to pass the 37 km by playing games, singing and telling jokes. (Shay provided most of the entertainment.) We pulled up to the Co-op gas station just outside of Austin at 9:59 p.m. and Tim began to pump the gas. In the middle of pumping, all of the lights on the pumps went out as the station closed at 10:00 p.m. When the pump stopped, it didn’t go unnoticed that our 75 litre gas tank accepted 74.87 litres of gas before it automatically shut off.  We were literally down to 1/2 cup of gas and had we been even a minute later we would have been out of luck. Thank the Lord for taking care of all of the circumstances and giving us yet another example of his faithfulness. I love watching as miracles unfold, both big and small for it is through the smaller miracles like finding a parking spot, that you build your faith and belief for those bigger situations.

When I was looking for a gas gauge picture for the post, I found one on The Heart of Abba and pastor Ron told a “running out of gas story” as well. I loved this quote that was taken from his article.

The favor of God is not even affected by our immediate circumstances… our job, our family, or even our gas gauge. The favor of God is about His goodness and His faithfulness. We receive God’s favor, not because we are good, but because HE is good.

Hopefully this has inspired you. It doesn’t matter what you are going through, there is no circumstance too big or too small. Just have faith and believe. Be patient and know he is acting on your behalf.  Enjoy your Sunday!

True Friendship: An Awesome Act Against Bullying

My friend Pat shared this video on Facebook. It is such a great example of the power of the human spirit. Some how the fact that it is boys gives the gesture even more impact. I think that experiences like this obviously have a huge impact on the victim, but I would expect that it was also a very powerful experience for each of the boys and their families and may even have a life long influence on how they treat others. Wow!  A real testament to the power of friendship and uniting for a great cause.

Life Lessons

Although it may seem strange, I sometimes find myself looking back over the times in my life when things seemed really bad and surprisingly it is with a thankful heart that I recall many of these milestones. I have certainly had my fair share of events that seemed to temporarily change the course of my life and leave me feeling disillusioned and some what helpless.

Occasions such as Mother’s Day remind of those days when I was able to share my sorrows and celebrations with my mom. Losing her at the age of 30 was not easy. I remember being so sad that she would never know my children and that my children would never be blessed with her presence in their lives. However, as tough as losing her was, I look back on her passing with mixed emotions. I think of her often and speak of her regularly. My kids have grown to know and respect her through me. They often speak of their Grandma Ruth as if they’ve grown-up with her by their side. They make comments about what she was like or how she did things or the kind of person that she was, and I am often amazed at their ability to capture the essence of the incredible woman she was. Despite the fact that she has been gone for over 15 years now, in so many ways she lives on.

Over the years, I have found that the biggest obstacles and toughest situations are often the catalyst that takes you to a whole new level in life. It is in the face of adversity that we gain an inner strength that perhaps we didn’t even know we possessed. I’m a very reflective person, and for almost every difficult situation, I am able to look back and see how each of those events helped me to grow and change, and ultimately have shaped me into the person I am today. I have found that when hopelessness seems to settle in and you feel like things can’t get any worse, it is with your next steps that there is often a break through. For me, it’s usually when I feel that I’m at my breaking point, that I dig really deep and completely rely on my faith to get me through. The most amazing part of this is that for every storm I whether in life, my faith and confidence grow. You come out the other side a stronger and often better person.

When my mom died, I missed her tremendously and was very sad, but embedded in her passing were circumstances that were more than coincidence and the way the days and details of her passing all mingled together so perfectly was nothing short of a miracle. I know it seems strange, but I have often said that losing my mom was one of the most difficult things I have ever been through and yet one of the most miraculous. For me, I have found that my strength can always be traced back to my faith. I know for certain there is a God with a much greater plan than I can ever imagine. I find it so intriguing that losing my mom young was in many ways the event that absolutely solidified my faith. Every detail seemed to perfectly orchestrated in such away, that I am unable to look back without being absolutely certain there was a higher power at work. I’m so thankful for my faith, for without it I’m nothing.

So what is the life lesson? 

Don’t let the obstacles in life bring you down. You may feel brow beaten with what life throws at you, but I encourage you to push on and during the process reflect on the situation, its impact on you and your response to it. Through your reflection you too may be able to find the good in what seems like a horrible situation. It is so much easier to move on when you can find something to be thankful for. Just try it ~ think about what you learned about yourself, others or life in general. What would you do different? How will you prevent the same problem from happening again?

Did you know that one of the greatest predictors of success isn’t your IQ, but rather your AQ. Your AQ (Adversity Quotient) is your ability to rise-up in the face of adversity, to process the situation and learn and grow from the experience. Those that are most successful will often say that they have just failed more often. So when faced with a difficult situation, try your best to stand strong, face it head on and know that if you persevere, it may be the catalyst that takes you to a whole new level in life. 

Have a great day and hang in there!


Dr. Kevin Leman

One of my all time favourite speakers is coming to town! Springs Church is hosting Dr. Kevin Leman for several sessions at the end of April. He is the author of dozens of fabulous books on parenting, marriage and other self-help topics and he is absolutely hilarious. He has a wealth of information, but delivers in “stand-up comedy” fashion. I have heard him speak a few times before and came home with a tummy ache from all of the belly laughs. I am so excited he is coming back and his topics sound great. I just purchased my tickets and am inviting my readers to join me for an evening of fun.  This is one of his best selling books which I have read and loved, but he has written numerous. There is literally something for everyone.  Click the book image to check out the book or follow this link to see his best sellers.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Click on the excerpt from the Springs Church website to take you directly to the link where tickets can be purchased.

If you decide to purchase tickets, let me know and perhaps we can arrange to sit together! For those of you that can’t make it, I highly recommend Dr. Leman’s books as they are both informative and enjoyable to read. Although his books are filled with his humour, nothing beats his live delivery. Hope you can make it!

Happy Spring!

I love the look of the hoarfrost on the trees and am generally accepting of winter temperatures above -5, but aside from that I can honestly say “I’m not a fan.” Unfortunately, we don’t get many of these days. I don’t like being cold and find the short days and extended darkness almost unbearable. It has been a very long winter for everyone, even those who profess to love it. I am so excited to see the slush and melting snow that I might actually join the kids and dance in the mud puddles this spring!

You know you have survived one of the coldest winters ever when it wasn’t uncommon to hear weather reports stating claims that the thermometers were registering temperatures colder than both the North Pole and the surface of Mars. At least once, we were also recognized as being as the coldest place on earth! So….Happy Spring!

Happy SpringI was looking for a cute little spring poem and found this. Isn’t that sweet….a daffodil stem peeking through the brown soil on the first day of spring. Is that some kind of a sick joke? My yard is still waist deep from one side to the other and believe me, there are no daffodils to be seen. I think we are still weeks away from that, but none the less…spring is here.  I took these shots of the kids out in the yard yesterday. Go figure, spring is here and it is finally mild enough for them to play outside. (We actually had so much snow that we let them jump into the drifts from the garage roof.) The temperatures were mild at plus 1, the sun is shining and there is finally hope in the air. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a great angle on these shots as the sun was shining directly in my sight line and I didn’t have much room to manoeuvre from the narrow path (remember, we still have 3 feet of snow in our yards.)

Cheers to sunshine, smiles and warm weather. Have a happy day!


“WELL” Informed: The Billboard Project

A friend shared this link on Facebook and I was intrigued by the caption and just had to check it out. I absolutely love this concept and am fascinated by the creativity and ingenious of the team behind this idea. Water is one of the very few basic needs we really have in this world. These engineers figured out a way to convert air into water ~ amazing!  For most of us, we are immersed in a world of wants and desires and have completely lost sight of our true basic needs. I teach “Wants and Needs” in Kindergarten, so at least once a year, I do a bit of a reality check and remember that we don’t need a new car, flat screen TV, a puppy, a new pair of earrings, etc ~ we want them.

Billboard That Produces Water:

This video not only highlights a brilliant concept that is helping to provide water in Peru, but also forces you to take a moment and reflect on how easy we actually have it. I am almost embarrassed to admit that we have one of those water/ice dispensers on our fridge, and Eden would probably say we need it. We live in such an indulged society ~ makes me a bit sad. Check-out this video. I am not sure what this could mean for other countries in which water shortage is such a huge problem, but perhaps it can help in other areas as well.

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