Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Live Your Life on Purpose

While pondering what my New Years Eve blog should be I decided that I wanted to avoid anything too cliche and perhaps focus a bit more on the personal for 2009.

2008 has been a wonderful year for me, perhaps even one of my favourites. It has been a year full of opportunities, adventures and growth, family, fun and friends. In a sense, a near perfect year.

As I gaze upon 2009 there are some thoughts that I have for myself, and one of them is that I would like to be more forgiving. Learning to forgive through out my life has enriched me, my experiences and my relationships in so many ways that I can only be grateful for that first awkward attempt at real forgiveness - an action that brought my best friend of 24 years back into my life after two years of bitterness. All in all I think most people I know would call me fairly forgiving already... but it really is a "work in progress." Just before Christmas I heard a story on the radio about an Amish family who publicly forgave the man who killed their children AND went to his funeral. Knowing what resentment remains in my heart means knowing I have a long way to go to being a forgiving being. I'd like to work on this.

When I think of the people who inspired me in 2008 I find Randy Pausch and Barack Obama topping my list. What I learned from both of these people, for different reasons, was to believe in myself and dare to dream, for if you neglect the dreaming part of life you really can't get where you want to go. My motto for 2009 should be "follow your dreams, they know the way."

The source of my content joy and happiness this year has certainly been my family. We have all grown up in some fashion but have been able to grow together at the same time. Our bonds have grown stronger and that is something I would like to continue building on in 2009. Life has shown me that no matter what else you have going on in life if you don't have your family close to you there is no such thing as true happiness in your heart. This year I got a job that I thought was my dream job and was everything I had been waiting for, but when I saw how much time it was taking away from my family I chose my family. And that should be the case every time: Family First.

As I said so eloquently to Edmonton's Brittney LeBlanc, if I were to describe this year in one word it would be "Change - for good or bad, or perhaps even both, 2008 was about change." Now, as is the result of opportunity that change brings us, 2009 will be clearly what we make of it.

I wish you all a safe and peaceful year in 2009. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Makes a Difference to this One

A few days ago Raven and I were returning home when we noticed that there was a fish tank set out beside the big garbage bin. Even though it was -25°c I trudged over to investigate - mostly out of curiousity more than anything else. as I got closer I noted that there was still some water in it and when I lifted the lid off I was horrified to see there was a goldfish in there - nose down and barely moving in the freezing water. I picked the tank up and struggled back over the snow and ice to my home, where I put the tank on my table for it to warm up and hoped that it would be enough for the little guy to recover.

I don't understand how someone could do this. To me it seems a horrific disrespect for life - to leave an unwanted pet outside to freeze when I am sure, with a little bit of effort, a home could be found. It's a act of cruelty devoid of compassion. Sure, it might seem like one tiny insignificant life, an inconvenience easily discarded... but the reality is that we are no more or less important than that one fish. We all go through life depending on the generousity and care of others, and we all have opportunities presented to us to help those we meet along the way. No act of kindness is ever to simple to make an impact in some way.

This reminds me of a fable I heard recently. "As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. He asked him why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. The old man politely pointed out that the beach went on for miles and there are millions of starfish, insinuating that the young man's efforts were futile. The young man looked at the tiny starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. It makes a difference to this one, he said."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Make Glad the Heart of Childhood

Another Christmas Zooms Past

This has been a great Christmas Season - good times full of friends, family, celebrations, traditions and food. I love the Christmas season and look forward to it for most of the year; things like decorating the Christmas Tree, sending out Christmas cards, seeing the winter come alive with bright lights, and most importantly, the excuse to spend time with friends and family. It's those memories that I will cherish always. For me, that's what Christmas is all about.

Luckily I have a generous amount of holidays, which means time to relax, get reacquainted with my family, read some books, play some games, travel south and hopefully, take some pictures. Speaking of which, my Christmas Photos can be found here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mommy, Santa Came!!!

I woke everyone up this Christmas morning

When my kids were tiny the best part of Christmas morning was being woken up by their excited declarations of "Mommy! Santa came! Santa came! Mommy ... WAKE UP!" I would drag myself out of bed, watch them go downstairs and see their faces light up when they saw the presents under the tree. If I was lucky there would be just enough time to get some coffee while they unwrapped items found in their stockings. I'm so not a morning person.

Christmas morning activity naturally evolves as children age, but the biggest change to my Christmas morning came seven years ago when Duncan joined our family. You see, Duncan does not usually sleep on Christmas Eve, being excited enough for all the children in the Northern Hemisphere. Our very first Christmas together he awoke at 4:30am and begged to wake the kids up - I resisted of course, but my resistance only bought me a couple of hours more. Fast forward to last year, where Duncan didn't really sleep at all, seems to me like he asked me every 10 minutes if we could get up... I don't know how I survived the next day! I usually employ some sort of blackmail/bribery to try to ensure my long winter's nap but it usually falls on deaf ears.

So this year I made it clear to everyone that we were going to sleep... at least until some time after a six registered on the clock. After making all the usual Christmas Eve preparations I went to bed quite late and I was looking forward to my four hours of sleep.

This morning I woke up with a painfully advanced cramp in my leg muscle - I tried desperately to hop around the bedroom quietly (I had every intention of going back to bed) but to no avail, I awoke Duncan (who had no interest, since it was 6:05am, in going back to sleep). My muffled cries of twisting agony also woke up Wesley who wasted no time in waking up his sister.

And so, ironically, did Christmas morning begin in our home this year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Warmest Season's Greetings from Canada!

Bright Nights at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, Alberta

We are celebrating Christmas Eve tonight with a lovely dinner (Duncan made a Roast Lamb!), some fresh Christmas baking, tracking Santa, carols and a sleigh ride through Candy Cane Lane. Our family would like to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.