everything looks better on a sunny day.

i live in southwestern Ontario.  that means that  we live in a world of unpredictable weather.  the joke is if you don’t like the weather, wait a few hours and it will change.  it’s quite true.

i get up early and head for work about 7:30 am.  from late october until march, i do this mainly in the dark.  there are three reasons for this: one is that the change of seasons makes for a shorter day of light.  the other is the time change.  we “fall back” in the fall and “spring forward” in the spring.  the third reason is that we have a lot of cloudy days during the fall/winter weather.

many people head south for the winter.  they don’t like the cloudy, cold weather. i can’t say as i blame them but i’ve decided that one can’t really appreciate the sun until you have lived with clouds.  it’s been very cloudy the past few weeks. this morning, i went to warm-up my car and as i stepped out the door, mr. sun hit me in the eyes! i was so happy to see him!  it was cold but it was sunny!  as i was driving, there he was peering over my shoulder.  i was pretty enthused by this simple, yet wonderful orange ball in the sky!

i actually feel sorry for those that head south where the sun is always shining and you miss the seasons changing.  there is an appreciation for simple things like sun and a temperature above 0 degrees C when this is everyday life.  it’s like we wait for something great to happen and that greatness can be as simple as a sunny day!

i also think that one can’t appreciate good until bad has been experienced.  we all want an easy life but i think that we don’t know the greatness of love until we’ve experienced hate.  we don’t know the greatness of wealth until we’ve experienced poverty.  we don’t know the greatness of friendship until we’ve experienced loneliness.  we don’t know the greatness of sun until we’ve experienced the clouds.  life experiences dictate whether we will choose to live in the sun or in the clouds.  i choose to live in the sun because everything looks better on a sunny day.

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Choose to be positive

i’m a social media junky.  i love facebook and follow twitter and instagram and watch the news on-line.

i started to wonder why i was feeling so down the past few weeks and then it dawned on me that my attitude was being decided by what i was seeing and reading on these sights. so, i made the conscience effort this week to be positive and instead of fueling the fire of controversy – something i have no control over – i would post a picture or at least a few words of positivity each day and see what happened.

monday i posted birdie prints in the snow. tuesday i thanked the plow drivers for doing such a great job so i had a safe communte the next morning.  wednesday i celebrated my 6 year work anniversary.  thursday i celebrated tim horton’s roll-up-the-rim contest starting.  today i’ve celebrated that it’s friday and i have a free weekend.  these are all very simple things but something has changed.

what has changed is that my soul feels better.  i don’t feel anxious as often and i don’t feel as angry or upset as i did when i let those things dictate me. i’m monitoring my time on any social media.  i’ve turned off notifications for everything on my phone.  i only check if and when i have time.  i now dictate to them…. they don’t dictate to me!

this is so small, yet so simple.  it’s a simple step in becoming a calmer person.  i #choosetobepositive for my own well being.  i’m in control of how i feel.  others can’t decide that for me.

Siham

she stands about 5 feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. i’m guessing on the weight because she wears the same long blue winter coat everyday be it warm or cold.  her head is covered with a hijab but i’m pretty sure her hair is grey. her face is wrinkled showing the years of a hard life and somehow she doesn’t look her age of 51.  she doesn’t speak any English but her smile says “hi” and it’s a smile that would make any crotchety old coot find one, too.

her life has NOT been a life of luxury.  while she was pregnant at a young age, her husband was killed in a country where unrest is a horrible way of life.  she raised her son with the help of family but one could never get back the years that should have been spent with a father.  she is kind but shy.  a new country, a new way of life, new food, new experiences.  who wants that at the age of 51?  but a war ravaged country is not the place for anyone and she was one of the lucky ones to have been chosen to come to a country with open arms, love, and protection.

it’s hard to learn a new language, let alone when you’re past the spry age of a good brain without any trauma that has set in.  as Siham struggles with learning, i struggle with the feeling of failure as day-after-day i say “good morning” to her and she just smiles.  where am i going wrong?  why won’t she even try? i know that repetition is the key to learning so i preserver with her.

she can only stay in class for half the day because she has constant back pain and i’m pretty sure lung issues.  she smokes like a chimney and coughs so hard she gags.  but physical issues aside, as she leaves the classroom each day, she raises her wrinkled little hand and gives me a smile and a wave.

one morning as she was walking down the hall, i passed by her and gave her my usual “good morning, Siham” and she did it! she responded with a weak, yet coherent “good morning” back to me.  she had gained confidence over the many weeks we had been together even though i couldn’t see it.

as an ESL teacher, any little step is a huge victory!

i don’t see Siham on a day-to-day basis.  she’s very discouraged and with her health challenges and her struggle  to learn a new language at her age. she comes periodically.

but a victory is a victory – for her and for me!

keep working at it, Siham!  you’ll get it!

12718367_1024855797572248_7204410680487283931_nThis is Siham

HOT DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i love hot dogs!  whenever i see a commercial on tv with a hot dog in it, i say to my husband, “i need to go to the 7-11 and get a hot dog.”  whenever we’re at the ball park, i indulge in a hot dog.  i even consider getting a hot dog when we, on the rare occasion, go to Harvey’s.  i only want mustard and onions on my hot dog.  no relish. no ketchup. no chili dog. nothing else. nothing fancy.

but i’m older now.  i can’t eat too many hot dogs and still live to play with my grandson.

Rats!  it sucks getting older.  i really love hot dogs……..  i think i’ll plan to eat some with him someday.

hot dogs

 

The perfect age………

a week ago, someone asked me if i could be any age, what age would i choose?  i’ll tell you my answer at the end of this blog so read on to see what it is and to see what i think of the other years i’ve lived.

i’ll start at the decade of the 20’s.  it’s not even worthwhile to mention my teen years; i thought i knew everything and didn’t listen to anyone.  in my 20’s, i became a wife and a mother.  i didn’t know anything about either of those responsibilities so i watched other women to see what to do right and what to do wrong.  i know i made mistakes but i made it through. i’d say the 20’s was my learning decade.

in my 30’s i panicked about being 50, tried to help provide for my family, and did some missions work.  i worried how my hair looked and whether or not i’d lost all of the baby weight from my 20’s.  i wondered a lot about what other people thought about me and worried too much about it. i started colouring my hair to hide the grey. i’d say my 30’s was  a very insecure decade.

then i turned 40!  i had a lot of friends older than i was so it never bothered me to hit that number.  around 45 i quit worrying about what others thought about me and did my own thing.  in my 40’s i went back to school and finally got a job that proved getting an undergrad degree wasn’t a waste of time.  i started to sign up for races and walked off some pounds.  i noticed my  hands looked like my mother’s. i noticed that things ached when i got up in the morning.  i liked my 40’s.  i think i found myself in my 40’s.

now i’m 50.  i’ve just entered this realm and i like it.  i’ll become a grandma in my 50’s.  i love my job. i love my family.  i’m proud of them and how i’ve guided them ( can i take a little credit? even a little bit?) i’m far enough from retirement to not worry about having enough money for it. (although, it’s in the back of my mind.)  We’re empty nesters.  i still don’t care what people think about me! at this age, i am who i am.  yup, i think the 50’s is my favourite decade so far.

what’s yours perfect age?

WWJD?……. (Yup, another one of these)

we teachers had a conversation in the hall at break yesterday about one of our refugee students who said she didn’t have any gloves.  let me set the scene outside for you.  we’ve just had over 12″ of snow, the temp is hovering around -12 degrees Celcius and it’s the middle of winter; it’s COLD!  we all gasped! “no gloves? but it’s so cold!”  “no gloves? shouldn’t she be able to get some free ones at one of the homeless shelters?” “no gloves? i hope her kids have some!”  (we were assured that they did.)

the conversation continued with, “well, i think i have some extra at home.” ” i can bring some tomorrow.”  my own initial thought was to go after school, buy her some and give them to her tomorrow, too.

but as i walked back to my classroom, the voice in my head said, “give her yours.”   give her mine? by doing this, i knew i’d be glove-less until i got home and anyone who knows me, knows i’m always cold and i hate the cold.  i also knew i’d be giving her MY new gloves that match my favourite sports teams’ colours and that go awesome with the whole winter fashion thing i’ve got going on.

but as  i continued pondering this i thought:  what would’ve Jesus  done?  would He have put it off until tomorrow?  would He have winced at the thought of giving up his fav sandals and handing them over to someone with bleeding feet?  no, i think he probably would’ve taken the cloak off of his back right then and there and would’ve given it to the person who was shivering.

so, that’s what i did.  i waited until lunch, grabbed my gloves, walked into her classroom and slid them into her bag.  easy.  done.  she said, “thanks.”

it was no big deal.  i only did what lots of other people have done by giving up something to someone who needed it more. it just kept coming back to me to do something NOW!  why do we wait until tomorrow?  do it now!  you know the old saying, “tomorrow may never come.”

well, i’m really glad that i acted when i did because this student was not at school today which means she would’ve gone the whole weekend without gloves.

what are YOU waiting to do?

Robin William’s passing

this tragic event has affected anyone who has ever seen Robin in action; be it on stage, tv or the movies.  i’ve asked someone close to me if i can post his thoughts in my blog today.  he’s done a great job of voicing what many of us are feeling as we process this awful tragedy.  i thank dale elliott for allowing me to use his writing today.

My heart is heavy with deep sadness at the passing of comic Robin Williams. I sorta felt like I knew him, having seen so many of his movies…He just seemed  like a goofy and very eccentric uncle. Robin could single-handedly voice, act, sing and dance a story like nobody else! He “disarmed” us with his shockingly funny humour! And yet he battled with alcohol addiction, even though he had  20 years of sobriety!

Why is it that people with such great fame and provide so much joy, can’t handle life? Is that they shun help or those closest

As I reflect on “wacky” Robin, I can’t help but recall Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Candy and many others who’ve tragically taken their lives. Depression is such a filthy trap and lie! God loves His created ones so much and yet they/we don’t get it…

I know that Robin was around Christians at times and even talked openly about the idea of faith as an acquaintance of mine was his stunt double on the movies Night At The Museum and RV. Paul Rutledge told me of how open Robin was and that he would not be offended to talk about faith. However he was very opionated (as we all are) and did not believe in Christianity. What a sad, sad shame! Now he’s gone into eternity with no chance to be saved…

                          Paul R.                             Robin

                          Paul- stunt double                              Robin Williams

May we never forget how our lives are affected by the choices we make!         And may we love so passionately that those around us feel cared for and loved.

 

“Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away,

but love stays with us. Love is God.”

― Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur

free entertainment

there are few things i appreciate more than watching nature unfold in it’s very way.  because i have time these days to sit and watch or take a little more time to do so, i’m finding many things of nature that make me smile.

there has been a nest of cardinals in our lilac tree in our backyard.  my husband and i have been entertained watching mr. and mrs. flying in and out of the nest feeding and taking care of the little brood.  i keep watching for the little guys to learn to fly but no such luck, yet.  i’ll keep watching.

today i marveled as i watched a mother robin teaching her little robin-lette how to hunt for worms. they were hopping all over the yard poking into the green grass with the moist soil finding their lunch.  i also listened as they communicated with each other – chirping at each other off and on.  the little one wandered away too far and mommy hopped onto a pole so she could watch.

our fat feline, shelby, is quite the cat.  she’s 13 years old and i thought a year ago was dying…… not so. she’s healthy but overweight.  she’s an indoor cat but loves to lie on the back deck during the summer in the hot sun and sunbathe.  today i watched as she rolled from side-to-side giving herself a little bath in the sun.  rolling and rolling and trying to get herself clean…….

these little stories are cute but we know nature can be cruel…….  i recently found a dead toad in a jar of water on my back deck.  the water was to rid my morning glories of the stupid beetles but somehow the toad jumped in and never got out.  horrifying to find for this nature loving writer.

i have no moral to this story today. my ending consists of one recommendation: watch nature.  take the time to sit, watch, learn and enjoy.  it’s free and it’s there!  why not?

Shelby

Shelby