Best Foot Forward!

Chemotherapy was a special kind of mixed-up experience.  Before starting it, there was no way I could have anticipated the insanity that was going to be tossed my way.  What I did know, was that I needed to give myself something else to focus on besides the actual appointments.  I needed to think about something that made me happy instead of putting my energy into trying to figure out how any spell from Harry Potter could get me out of having to go at all. 

The needed distraction I would choose was an obvious one (at least for me!)... I would put the focus on my tender tootsies.  The question I asked leading up to each chemo appointment was: what shoes am I going to rock today? Because shoe love is true love!  They give me that same powerful, dizzying, 'bring it on' feeling Kate had when leaning over the front of the Titanic bellowing, "I'm flying"!  

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The truth was,

I couldn’t change the fact that I had to be at chemo.
But I could manage how I approached it. 

I have always been a big believer in the fact that there is power in how I choose to react to situations, but I began to see the strength that came in how I was approaching them as well.

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What was really neat to see, were all of the other positive added bonuses that appeared from my fancy feet distraction:

  • They ended up being conversation starters allowing me to meet some wonderful people I never otherwise would have met.
  • People close to me were texting to ask what was on my feet instead of focusing on their concern about my appointment.
  • It gave something for the nurses to laugh over.
  • They allowed me to sidestep some of the anxiety that built up leading to an appointment.
  • And they made me feel like… me.

Just feeling like me was freeing.  I wasn't a cancer patient, I wasn't trying to figure out how I should act, I just got to be me through it all.   I was able show cancer that although it had set up camp in my body, it by no means was given the power to change who I am.  

The reality is, things happen in life I don't see coming, but I get to choose how I react to them; and when I have to do something that I would rather avoid, I get to choose how I go through it. 

And I have decided to do it all with my best foot forward.

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Attaching to Non-attachment

I have been looking forward to this day for months, longing to hear those four magic words... you are done chemotherapy!  In reality I have one more round to pump into my fighting body, but because I am an overachiever when it comes to side effects (this girl always gets her A+), stopping before the final round would help to avoid any permanent damage.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed the nausea, numb fingers, constant fog and Hulk like bone pain, but I am more than happy to hear that chemo is behind me.  Sayonara! Adios! Arrivederci!  

Now, I am well aware that I still have three other major treatments to get through in order to rid my body of this craziness, but to have chemo behind me is exciting and a milestone I am eagerly anxious to celebrate.  Wahoo, one down, three to go! 

What does this tell me about myself?  How easy it is to get attached to an outcome of something I desire!  Blinders go on, I focus in on what I want and I push forward with great gusto and non-wavering determination.  Yet this hyper attachment to an outcome often leaves me feeling exhausted and disappointed because most times, I have no control over what is really going to happen anyway. 

Just because I want to be done chemo, doesn’t mean that is the best thing for me.  And to truly feel peace about what my Oncologist is going to say, I need to release myself from the attachment I have to this favored outcome.

So, I now rely on the power of trust.

Trust of course involves three of my least favorite things: releasing control, not over planning for my next steps and letting someone else take care of me!

But when I look at the alternative all I see is wasting time,

  • figuring out next steps that don't even exist yet.
  • worrying about outcomes that may never happen.
  • chasing an outcome I have no control over.
  • going in circles fighting an outcome I don’t want when it could be the best thing for me!

When I release myself from being attached to a desired outcome I experience blessings I didn’t even know where available to me and no matter what the answer, I get to feel peace.

Letting go of what I think I want will always allow me to
appreciate getting exactly what I need.

So, bring on the outcome of today's appointment, because I know that no matter what my wonderful Oncologist tells me, I will leave her office with peace and a whole lot of gratitude!

 Just another day in the chemo suite!

Just another day in the chemo suite!


Narnia Doors & Boogiemen

I love living on the lake front trail where I enjoy cheering on the teams of bikes going by, saluting them with a cookie from my comfy chair.  I myself retired from running the trail a few years ago and am now a walking enthusiast who gets to leisurely enjoy the surrounding community and organized trail.  I went from focusing on my running time and icing my hips to smelling the roses and becoming a nosy neighbour who judges gardens, window treatments and can’t help but search out the bizarre. 

When I do find something unusual, I quickly jump into concocting story about it, getting nitty gritty with the details of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of it all.  It is a spin on the classic people watching in a mall while eating a cinnabon, except this involves petunias, garage organizations, and lawn ornaments. I truly never know what I will find during my treasure hunt of nosiness!

Currently there are two observations in particular that have the attention of my childish imagination:

Story Numero Uno… smack dab in the middle of a disorganized garage stands a door; just a random door with a frame around it.  I have attempted to peer around it to see if there is something on the other side, but I just can’t seem to get the right angle from the street!  And although this garage is anything but organized, there is a ring of space around it, so like the proverbial cheese, it stands alone.   My current top three possible stories for it are:

  • they are building a safe house in their garage and clearly know something I do not!
  • it is the beginning of one of those pieces of art that make millions but make no sense.
  • it is the door to Narnia… all of my will goes into not attempting to see if this one is true!

Story Numero Dos... there is a man in his late 60’s that I've caught in the mornings sleeping in his car out front of his house (or so I assume it's his house).  I am sure there are rational reasons for his situation, but my brain is playing with the following more irrational wonderings:

  • he is the world’s worst private detective who no matter how much caffeine or chocolate covered coffee beans he downs, his narcoleptic ways always seem to get the best of him.
  • his rolling pin wielding wife changes the locks whenever he stays out late at night so he is stuck there until forgives him… yet again.
  • he shares his home with a boogieman and it is just easier to give him the house at night.

Coming up with the stories during my walk keeps me amused and helps me exercise my over active imagination along with my calves!  

The problem with having an imagination that is always on a sugar high kicks in when I start doing this with my own life.  When instead of discovering the truth, I choose to make up a story which paints me, life or the people around me in an unflattering light.  For some reason, these stories always assume the worst and question my worth, make me feel insecure in a friendship or feed an irrational fear.  They are easily made into excuses and yet another creative way to beat myself up.

The one question that has saved me from going down this rabbit hole of made up stories is simply... is that true?

Is it true I’m not worthy?
Is it true I’m not good enough?
Is it true I’m too afraid?
Is it true I’m alone?
Is it true they have better things to do?
Is it true they don’t care?

And when I’m really honest with myself, the answer always ends up being a resounding, no! So then I need to get parental with my brain and say, ‘thanks head, that isn’t helpful’, letting it go and being brave enough embrace the truth.  Because the truth is always kinder than any worst case scenario story I can make up.

For as much as I love to spin a yarn, when it comes to how I see myself or those I love, the truth is always so much more wonderful than fiction.

Smiling's My Favorite!

Today I decided to gather up some books, wrap my shiny head in a funky scarf and take myself to a coffee shop.  I love frequenting cafes in different towns and today I chose Starbucks in the booming downtown of Oakville because I was craving their Jasmine Mint tea and a big comfy chair that looked like it was plucked right out of a TD Bank commercial. 

It turned out that two of these chairs were setup directly in front of the main doors with a grand view of the bustling street as well as the faces of everyone who walked in desperate for a caffeine fix.  I decided to take advantage of the spot and exercise my face muscles by smiling at everyone that walked in the door, which basically made me the unofficial Barista greeter.   I get a kick out of trying to get the most miserable of faces to crack a smile, it's a bizarre victory for me!  Plus like Buddy the Elf, smiling really is my favorite. 

I took a break from my self-designated greeter post to freshen up my tea mug when I felt a gentle hand touch my shoulder and a kind voice whisper in my ear, “you are going through chemo, aren’t you?”  I turned to see woman a little older than me with a beautiful head of hair (when you don't have it, you notice it!) and her warm expression looking back at me; “I’m two years past my breast cancer battle and I just love your energy”. 

I melted and immediately felt like I was having a reunion with a long lost friend.  We quickly jumped into girly chit-chat mode where we discovered that we both chose to fend off this pesky thing called cancer in the same way; by being out in the world as much as we could, by choosing to make happy our goal and letting smiling be a form of medication.  

I left the conversation feeling uplifted and appreciating the power of connection.  We didn’t know each other, but our experiences automatically allowed us to understand the other.

My favorite definition of connection comes from the researcher, writer and woman extraordinaire, Brene Brown:

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.

I love this.  

In reading between the lines of this definition, an authentic connection means:

  • I never have to work for approval.
  • I never have to be pretend to be someone I'm not in order to fit in.
  • I can be completely vulnerable and feel safe.
  • we are cheering each other on, pom-poms and all!
  • there is a balance of give and take in the relationship... connection is a two way street!

When the lady cheerfully left the store I couldn't help but be grateful for the authentic connections I already had in my life, but had a new appreciation for the unexpected connection I could make with a stranger who I simply shared a journey with.

It was a lovely reminder that often a connection is a smile away.

Great Big Shoves!

It had been a full day zip lining through the lovely lush forests of Costa Rica & my fellow geek in crime (my Bestie) and I were quite pleased with ourselves.  After all,  we had just flown miles above forest floors, soaked in the breath taking views and spent a lot of energy avoiding the question, "are their safety regulations as picky as they are back home?"

We were hiking out of the wild forest exchanging our adventure stories when our guide surprised us with a final stop.  They were going to give us one final opportunity to test fate and see if we could still leave the forest in one piece. It was... the Tarzan Swing. 

And it's exactly what you are imagining; a wooden platform that jets out over a bottomless valley, a harness around the waist, and one think long rope that is tied up so high you can’t even see where it's anchored.  Then, you jump, drop and swing out... and yes, we were told this would be fun.   But even my inner daring wild child was asking, "REALLY?" 

I decided to keep an open mind about it, and although I loath big drops, I said to myself with a very shaky confidence, ‘when in Costa Rica’!   So, it was with great trepidation that I inched my way to the end of the wooden platform where I could clearly see the immensity of the drop I would have to experience before the rope would loose slack and allow me to swing free through the forest. 

I froze. 

Two men busied themselves attaching this carabiner to that and harnessing me in when I had a loud screaming epiphany... I am allowed to change my mind!  With all the assertiveness I could muster (which was a challenge through chattering teeth and knee knocking) I anxiously told these fine gentlemen that I had changed my mind and I would not be connecting to my inner Tarzan today, thank you ever so much. 

For a split second I was relieved, I had exercised my right to change my mind, be clear about what I wanted and everything was going to be okay.  But it was during this relief that I also heard these two men giggle like school girls as I felt their hands on my back and shove this non-consenting Canadian off the ledge. 

 The PUSH!


 Surviving the push with very little dignity. 

Surviving the push with very little dignity. 

Needless to say, my dropping was anything but ladylike!  I screamed like a howler monkey, creative language rapidly left my lips and I was beating myself up for not writing my will before leaving for this trip!  I was terrified.

... until I made it to the part where fear was behind me and I could relish the the reward of the glorious swing.

These men didn’t know me, to them I was just another fearful vacationer who was way too willing to let this experience pass her by.  What they did know, was me getting past my fear to experience something amazing was just one big shove away.  I just wish they didn't get such a sadistic satisfaction from it! 

As I walked away from the experience with legs still shaking and heart beating out of my chest it was hard not to wonder,

What else in life had I missed out on because I said a loud and fearful no?

How often does fear win and hold me back from new levels of joy and experience?

Do I really want to limit myself to challenges that aren't really challenges at all?

Where else in my life to I need a great big shove?

There have been plenty of experiences that have presented themselves to me in life that I wouldn't have taken on if it hadn't been for someone loving me enough to give me a good shove.  And that is what separates a good friend from a great one; a good friend listens and supports me in whatever I want to do, but a GREAT friend knows when I am making excuses, letting fear hold me back and shoves me anyway. 

It is so easy to get comfortable within the limits I set for myself, but there is so much more to experience on the other side of my fear.  And truthfully, fear is often just excitement in different shoes.

Although Tweedledee and Tweedledum were not thinking past doing their job and getting the raving redhead off their platform, I am grateful to them for doing so.  Because it wasn't a challenge that I wasn't capable of conquering and it was definitely time for me to push the boundaries and show myself the joy on the other side of my fear.     

Sometimes a Great Big Push is Necessary to Experience Great Big Joy.




To know me is to know that I love my car. She is the right snazzy colour, hugs me in all the right places and her power makes driving so much more fun … ahhh the glorious stick shift!  She’s my happy place and I rely on her for so much more than to get me from point A to point B.  She's my...

  • own personal dance club where I get to boogie down shamelessly. 
  • karaoke bar where to sing recklessly at the top of my lungs. 
  • hiding place where I can shed a few tears when I am away from home.
  • bestie who patiently listens to me bicker endlessly about how rediculous other drivers are. 

Honestly, I don't know how she puts up with me!

When I bought Joy (her official name after many a creative suggestion) I was given a list of what sounded like very impressive qualities that glorified what she is capable of doing. During this sales pitch I did what any self-respecting new car buyer would do, I nodded, smiled and focused on the fact that she was the same red as my toenails.  For all of the excitable stats the car guy gave me (let’s be honest, he had me at ‘big sale’) there is one thing she will always require in order to show off her great and almighty strength… fuel. 

I have discovered that my own strength works in the same way.  This became obvious to me when I was driving away from a typical Sunday dinner involving babies giggling, a niece dancing to Justin Timberlake and friendly debates over broccoli being cooked in plastic bags and was struck by how great I felt.  I had originally arrived exhausted and completely spent, but the time laughing, making fun of my brothers (something I will never be too old to do) and dancing with my niece truly filled my depleted tank.  Then I saw a bigger picture.    

I realized that through all of my crazy wack-a-do experiences, leaps of faith and surprise journeys, it wasn't just my own strength that got me through.  I was drawing on the support of others and the many different joys in my life.  They were fuel for my strength. 

Needing fuel does not mean I am weak, just wise enough to know that my ‘push through anything’ ability isn’t enough.  Me thinking I SHOULD push through life all on my own and not accepting help or rejuvenating just leads to me beating myself up when I find myself completely burnt out.  I became a stronger person when I realized that,

Strength Requires Fuel.

Strength being fueled can be seen every where, from a crowd cheering on runners during a marathon, to the simple gesture of telling a friend you are there for them.  It is the fuel that makes me feel braver and I get stronger each time I fill up.  It is the reason I can keep going even when I feel overwhelmed and like I can't carry on. 

So, how do I fuel my strength tank?

  • the kindness and encouragement of others
  • time laughing with friends
  • snuggling my niece’s or nephew
  • family dinners
  • doing something meaningful or wildly obserd

I don't doubt my own personal strength, but I also humbly recognize, and am grateful for, how much stronger I am because of the fuel I gain from those around me.  

In realizing that Joy and I have something in common, I have decided it is time to treat myself as well as I treat her; regular check-ups, give myself the good car-washes, and keep my tank FULL!

Eating an Elephant

If I had to choose just one famous elephant as my favorite, I'm not sure I could!  The first that comes to mind is the classic Dumb and his Mom, Mrs. Jumbo, who completely make the heart melt with all their Disney goodness. But, then there's Horton with his great curiosity for new worlds or the French Barbar with his sense of adventure, sophistication and leadership abilities.  And although more like a woolly mammoth, I can't help but love the devoted friend Big Bird has in Sufffleupagus!

The elephant is a symbol of strength, stamina, size and ability to work well with each other.  It's because of these admirable qualities they have been made into many a cliche. 

When someone references 'the elephant in the room' we all know that means something is looming in the air people are avoiding talking about.  It is an insurmountable issue that makes people uncomfortable, puts them on edge and forces them to put crazy work into pretending to ignore it in hopes someone else is brave enough to say something.  

When someone says 'an elephant never forgets' we know it's a reference to their enviable memories (which of course means that the elephant in the room isn't going anywhere!)

When an ex-boyfriend used an elephant as a reference to my backside, well, lets just say he is an ex for a reason! 

But the elephant reference I use when people ask me about something I haven't experienced yet on my journey is...

it's like eating an elephant, I'm doing it one bite at at time.

It's easy to get caught up worrying about how I've dealt with something in the past, or the 'what ifs' of the future, but the truth is, the only moment I have any control over is the one I am currently in.  

It means I choose not to waste my energy on the unknown, or what has already happened.  The past is behind me and the future will take care of itself, but the challenges that face me today are the ones I can do something about and need my attention.   It doesn't mean I'm ignorant about future happenings, it just means at this point, I can't do anything about them! So I ask myself,

what can I deal with in the here and now?  
This is the bite I take.

With each 'bite' I gain confidence in my ability to handle craziness and better prepare myself for the next challenge around the corner.  I take the energy I would have wasted on worrying and put it into the task at hand.  

I want to make the most of what I can accomplish now, and to do that I need the daring of Dumbo, curiosity of Horton and sophistication of Babar.


Take the Compliment!

Why is it so hard to take a compliment?  I know I LOVE to give them, I enjoy making someone else feel good. But taking them?  

There is a very sweet group of teenage girls at work who so eagerly tell me every day how much they like what I am wearing.  They actually get excited to see my outfit and enjoy telling me why.  But one day after one of their kind observations, a girl stopped and pointed out to me, "Miss, do you realize that every time we compliment you, your reply is always 'oh, I'm just comfortable'."

It was then that I realized that I was blowing off the lovely comments these girls were so enthusiastically giving me.  My inability to just graciously take the complement was making these girls feel like their kindness wasn't appreciated. 

There seems to have evolved a very bizarre formula around taking a compliment:

  • Someone gives a compliment
  • The receiver is surprised (and sometimes uncomfortable)
  • The receiver then is quick to brush it off by putting themselves down
  • The receiver often deflects the attention by saying by tossing a compliment right back
  • The giver is left wondering why they gave it in the first place!  

Where a compliment should build someone up, we are all so quick to use it as an opportunity to prove how unworthy we really are.  This happens by how we quickly dismiss the compliment by saying:    

  • this old thing?
  • oh, this was so cheap.
  • yeah, when I bother to make an effort I can look half decent.
  • yours is so much better than mine.
  • actually, no, I'm a mess today.

We are so out of practice appreciating ourselves that when someone else goes out of their way to make us feel good, we just see it as another opportunity to point out our flaws.  

We are telling that other person we aren't worthy of their thoughtful observation and end up robbing them of the joy that comes from being kind to someone.  And often we scramble to compliment them in return so we redirect the focus onto them and off of ourselves.  But nobody gives a compliment expecting one in return.  They simply want to feel the joy in making someone else feel good about themselves.  We need to allow them that joy and start agreeing with them!!

So, it is time to take the compliment!  And the only two words that are needed to do that is... 

Thank You.  


The 'P' Word

I could feel it all the way down to my toes, it was going to go off at any second... it HAD to!  Even though it felt like I had been sitting there for hours, I knew the evil oven timer was only set for a 30 minutes.  But what if someone accidentally added more time?  Or worse, what if someone added more time intentionally?  I was always so careful to watch the ceremonial setting of the timer to eliminate any funny business, but I knew my mom was a wily one and if she didn't hear me working, she would add time; and I did have two brothers lurking around the house.  Seriously, I was already prepared for my upcoming lesson, why do I need to sit here and continue to work on it over and over?  

I loved playing the piano... but the practice part, well, that was another story!

My ultimate lesson in the power of practice came years after mom's oven timer when I decided I was going to prove to my hard nosed piano teacher that I indeed was practicing plenty.  I had no problem playing my pieces perfect at home and it was only when I arrived at her house with her hovering over me, breathing disapproval down my neck did I actually mess up.  

So, I set up a tape recorder (pause for a brief moment of respectful silence for simpler times) determined to record myself playing perfectly so when she accused me of not practicing enough, I could make a grand scene by pulling the cassette tape from my pocket and proclaiming, "a-ha, proof that YOU are the one tossing me off my game". 

Instead, I had played the pieces so many times to get the most perfect recording I could,  that when I played it for her she just said, "good, lets move on".  The wind was knocked out of me, I was so sure she was the problem.  Instead, I was the with the epiphany that deliberate practice (not the actual practice I was doing) really could get me the results I wanted... who knew?! 

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Now that I am a 'seasoned adult' I appreciate how deliberate practice can be used beyond my physical skills; it helps me become the person I want to be.  

  • I learn to be brave by doing things that I am fearful of.
  • I learn patience by choosing to be patient in uncomfortable situations.
  • I learn to be kind by doing acts of kindness.
  • I learn to love by practicing loving what is hard to love.

As for courage, that is a funny one.  Often being courageous is seen as something we are or aren't, but it's like everything else I want to be; if I want to be it, I have to practice it.  

Each time I have chosen to have courage I learn that I am a courageous person and with each small act of bravery, I prepare myself to be brave with the bigger things.   I guess there is always the option to practice fear, anxiety or anger, but if I am going to put the energy into practicing anything, I might as well chose what will bring me more joy.  

My years of practicing the piano never made me into Mozart, but it gave me one of my most valuable lessons,

Whatever I choose to practice, I become good at;
so I need to chose wisely what I practice.


Lovin' it Out of Me

As I stood there looking around the two large rooms filled with people hooked up to IV drips and baring beautiful bald heads, I couldn't believe that I was the sickest person in the room.  How can this be? I feel FINE and look healthy... yet here I stand, observing the next step in my journey having to accept how backwards it all is.  I have to make myself sick to be better.

Time has become an enigma, as everything seems to have unfolded at lightening speed yet painfully slow at the same time. Often I am rushing to stand still.  And although there have been many appointments and phone calls during this time, the one that continues to echo in my mind came on January 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm.  It became official.  I have breast cancer.

It is like I have been airlifted out of my life and dropped into one that is full of wild unknowns and grand question marks.  Except for the fact that I am completely clear on how this story is going to end (with great health and peace), getting from where I am now to the beautiful end result is new territory.  

The most important decision I have made to help me brave this new wilderness is about how I want to feel.  So many people feel anger and hatred when they hear the word 'cancer', and I totally get it, there is nothing nice or attractive about this word.  It is an unwanted guest.  But what I realized is that the surgeon can remove my tumor and my oncologist can zap away the cancer, but in the end, I am left with my emotions. So if I focus on hating cancer, then when it is gone, I am left with the hate.  So right from the start I decided I was going to,

Love it out of me.

With love as my chosen emotion, I can allow the frustrations and overwhelming feelings to move through me instead of sticking to me.  Because when I am at the other end of this journey, all I want to be left with is love.   I didn't truly appreciate the depth of this over used word until now, nor did I fully comprehend the power of loving an enemy to the point of making them my friend.  

Love is the answer to the crazy question, how will I get through this? 

Whether it is the love I choose to feel from myself, accept from family and friends or from the amazing team that is supporting me at the hospital... my ONLY job through it all is to...

Feel the Love.

Hairy Roommates, Detours & Marmalade

I have a very peculiar roommate who wears red rubber boots (which I assume are Hunters), a bulky, yet ever so stylish blue duffle coat, and is constantly moving  around my home carrying a torn, well used brown suitcase.  He never complains about my dust bunnies, or my single girl ways, and although he is from England, never criticizes the fact that when I make tea I don’t put the milk in the cup before adding the properly steeped tea from a teapot that has never been washed... after all, it is a true crime to put soap in a teapot!

His name is Paddington. 

 Having tea and Victoria cake at Kensington Palace with the slight hope of the Duke & Dutchess of Cambridge joining us... after all, this is their home!

Having tea and Victoria cake at Kensington Palace with the slight hope of the Duke & Dutchess of Cambridge joining us... after all, this is their home!

 Wandering the streets of London and pausing at The Ritz where we delusionally plan to stay during our next visit.

Wandering the streets of London and pausing at The Ritz where we delusionally plan to stay during our next visit.

We share a love for London, enjoy following our curiosity and are both loyal to our sticky food of choice.  And while his sticky food choice is marmalade and I am a Nutella girl, we agree that the only way to eat either of these tasty delights is straight from the jar. 

And to answer your question, no, he isn’t just for kids. Frankly, I believe adults have more to learn from this anthropomorphised traveling ball of fur then any child does.   

And what is exactly to be admired about an animal who sees the importance of footwear and not pants?

  • His wonderful regard for politeness… please and thank you are used in excess and he always addresses people by their proper titles (mine being ‘Her Royal Highness’ according to my account at Harrod’s in London!)
  • Kindness is always his motivation…even if his good intentions turn into chaos.
  • Being different doesn’t hold him back, being different is WHY he fits in.
  • He sees beauty all around, is inspired by curiosity and always has a marmalade sandwich in his pocket in case of a hunger emergency.
  • He chooses to be his 'own bear'... doesn't bend to the popular stereotype of eating honey, doesn't hanging out with piglets and tigers, and has no interest in picnic baskets or scaring happy campers.

Finally, when it comes to his attitude towards his infamous adventures, he is a constant reminder that sometimes the journey we find ourselves on isn’t necessarily a journey we have chosen. 

Some journeys are chosen and others are thrust upon us.

Although I love every journey I have made for myself, it is often the ones that I don’t expect to go on that have the most profound effect on me.  These adventures were not on my bucket list or even something I would ever consider (and may actually want to run from!) but for some reason, they present themselves to me.  These surprise detours tend to have a powerful impact on my perspectives and even if I can't appreciate them at the time, serve to make me a better version of myself.  

I embrace the notion of things happening FOR me and not TO me. Believing that things happen TO me just makes me feel like a victim, where knowing that things happen FOR me allows me to remain positive through the crazy, optimistic through the wilderness and feeling joy no matter what the circumstance. 

So as I take on a journey I never signed up for, I take the attitude of Paddington with me;  I am grateful for the amazing people in my life who are always there to cheer me on, my eyes remain open for new lessons and I promise myself to enjoy the food along the way!

 Although Paddington always has his trusted suitcase by his side... I chose a Harrod's bag instead!

Although Paddington always has his trusted suitcase by his side... I chose a Harrod's bag instead!

Voiceless for THE Mouse!

There I was standing on a street in Toronto, somewhere in the Business district I had never been before looking up at this tall, daunting, nondescript building.  I was there to audition for Disney, but the building was anything but magical; no colour, no joy, no character to greet me at the door and nowhere could I hear It's a Small World After all playing.  But no matter, I was there for an audition, and I mean, why not?  I was in my mid-twenties, I have a background in theatre and who wouldn't want to spend a year playing around with princesses, pixie dust and talking animals? 

I arrived with:

  1. A head shot... which I had thanks to the Much Music VJ audition I did the year before. 
    (Yup, I will pretty much audition for anything that involves me making a fool out of myself!)
  2. My resume... okay, so my experiences came from my degree in music and countless school productions, but they HAD to mean something, right?
  3. Some over confidence... after all, that degree in music was an honours degree, and I have a killer smile! This audition was in the bag, and I thought the only thing I had to decide on at this point was what park I wanted to work for.

After signing in with the front desk with an overtired stage hand who was being pulled in multiple directions, I was escorted into a small gymnasium where I would sit for my call time with the other anxious thespians waiting for their chance to evoke 'oh's & ah's' from the casting crew of Disney.  

I stopped dead in my tracks when entering the room at the sight of parents coaching their kids, others kids stretching like they were made of rubber and seeing that these kids were actually, kids! The average age of my fellow auditionees was 13!  I felt like I should grab a walker to assist me, after all, 30 was around the corner and I was old enough to already have a career, vote, serve on jury duty and was actually able to drive myself to the audition!  

I placed myself on an old old elementary school gym bench praying I wouldn't get a sliver in an uncomfortable place and tried to slouch enough as to not tower over the young-ins on either side of me.  I sat there in a state of shock for countless minutes and then something funny happened, the kids who were there on their own started to gravitate towards me.  They were craving a pep-talk, confidence boosting and a few even cornered me into giving them guidance counselling for their future. Although I wasn't at work, I was still very much a teacher and it ended up being good familiar diversion as I waited anxiously to show the good employees of THE mouse what I was capable of.

Then it happened... my name was called and it was my time to audition.   I was placed in front of a panel of 4 extremely intimidating people from Disney in grey suits all holding pens poised ready to judge me, and a piano player set to put music to my craziness.  As he started to play, I opened my mouth but.... NOTHING came out!  I stood frozen, wondering why these words I knew like the back of my hand had run for cover somewhere in the recesses of my mind.  The jovial piano player continued playing, bopping his head back and forth and when he got to the chorus, I was finally able to at least belt out the final words.  In the end, the only words I sang were:

pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

The music stopped, I thanked them for their time, and I laughed my way out of the room where dreams where meant to be realized.  

Although I didn't leave the audition with a new career at Disney, I did leave feeling the following:

  • pride in myself for not leaving when I realized I needed to be between the ages of 10 & 14 to audition!
  • gratitude for meeting some really neat young performers and being able to help them. 
  • appreciating my ability to stick through the entire audition even-though I was voiceless for the majority of it!
  • loving the opportunity to try something uncomfortable, failing, and simply being able to laugh afterwards! 

Following my curiosity is one of my favorite things to do.  I never know where it will take me, who it will introduce me to, what lessons I will leave with or what new perspectives I will learn.

In the end all I could do was laugh and follow the advice of the song. So...I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again with new adventures.


Confessions of an Over Apologizer

Sometimes I apologize so much I annoy myself!  Seriously, I apologize for:

  • being early (I have no memory of apologizing for being late!)
  • my house isn't clean enough (EVEN if I just finished cleaning!)
  • for doing more than I am asked to (basically I apologize for going out of my way to make someone else's life easier!)
  • for apologizing too much (yup... I understand the crazy here). 
  • when I give a gift I don't think is perfect enough even though I went out of my way to research the gift, had it imported, paid extra for duties and had to drive to the States to pick it up (yes, this has happened to me more than once, and most recently, this Christmas getting my brothers Christmas gift!)
  • needing a pedicure when I have to expose my feet and they aren't perfectly red and chip-free (my osteopath gives me a funny look every time I apologize to him for this!)  
  • for not giving a cashier the right amount of change ...or for using a $20 for a small purchase and I am the first customer of the day.
  • to make others feel better when THEY are the ones who screwed up!
  • to make a situation more comfortable... nothing like an apology for nothing to keep things less awkward!

This list really could carry on in an embarrassing way, but I think it is clear....I have a problem!
(and I didn't even include my habit of apologizing to furniture when I bump into it!) 

An apology implies I have done something wrong and need someone else to release me of my shame, guilt and feeling like a silly billy (these last two words are the ones we are using around my two year old niece so she doesn't pick up the really 'good' words!).  Yet, when I look at this list, I really don't see actions that require forgiveness.  So, why am I apologizing? 

What am I saying about myself when I am living a life apologizing for each and every move I make?  Am I looking for approval or could it really be that I feel, 

no matter how hard I try, I'm just not good enough?

Just HOW HIGH are these crazy standards I have set for myself?  I would never judge others the way I judge myself; with others I am compassionate,  remind them that perfection is a myth, and give them permission to be happy with who they are.  So why can't I do that for myself?

Instead of apologizing for:

  • being early, I need to just enjoy the fact that I arrive places calm.
  • how clean my house is, I need to just enjoy the fact that I have wonderful people who visit me.
  • going above and beyond, I need to be proud of my attention to detail.
  • apologizing... well, this just needs to stop!
  • a gift I give, simply enjoy telling the story of how it came about.
  • my toes... well, I just need to RELAX!
  • not having the right change, just thank the cashier for the change she gives me.
  • someone else, give them the opportunity to own their actions.
  • the sake of making a situation more comfortable, l need to simply be present with how each situation feels without attempting to control it.

It is time to stop apologizing when there is no apology to be had and accept that even if I make a mistake, stumble or do something completely silly billy... I am enough.

I Do!

This past week I binged watched one of my favorite cheesy Hallmark shows, The Good Witch. For me, this show has it all: the main character is a modern day witch who lives to help those around her, the dialogue is always polite, it has wonderfully, often predictable happy endings, AND it is filmed in my home town!  Bring on those heart warming moments Hallmark!  What isn't there to love?!

One particularly warm and fuzzy moment happens during a wedding being officiated by the towns ever boisterous, kooky mayor.  She reads a poem that, of course, the good witch herself provides:

They are about to say 'I do', three little letters, two little words. 
Its the simplest part of the day; but there is nothing simple about the things
that will remain unsaid.
'I do' means I do know I could be hurt, but I am ready to be healed with you.
It means I do want to try, even when the fear of failure holds me back.
And I do not know the future, but I am ready to be surprised along the way.
'I do' means I do want your love & I do give you mine.
And nothing we do will ever be the same, because we will be doing it all together.   

Seriously, these lines just warm the cockles of my heart and I can't read them without tilting my head to one side and saying, 'ahh'.  I am a big old sappy romantic and I just soak it in! 

Of course, I am not getting married any time soon (not that my brother hasn't attempted to find me someone... a whole other story for an entirely different musing day!) so I tried to look at it from my every curious, out spoken, single girl eyes.  The question was simple.. what are my I do's?

It is so easy to get caught up focusing on what we don't want that we don't always take the time to really look at what we DO want.  And it doesn't have to be as grand as a life purpose or how we are going to save the world; rather, what do I want right here, right now, where I am?  

And for me, I DO..

  • want to follow my curiosity no matter where it decides to take me.
  • want to live in the present moment without getting carried away worrying about what comes next.
  • want to keep myself open to new directions, new possibilities, and not always take the obvious next steps. 
  • want people in my life to know how much I appreciate them.
  • want to take on the worlds challenges with grace and a sense of humour.
  • want to screw up once in awhile because those are always my best lessons.
  • want to be grateful for my unique opportunities and experiences.
  • want to laugh at my own crazy!
  • know that I never need to do anything or go through anything alone.

They are only two words, but the power is what comes after them.  And I always want those words to be filled with hope, gratitude and fuel me on this wonderful JOY ride.


Good Witch Filming Location:
The main house of the show, Gray House in Dundas.
...yes I had to climb up a little hill & I am hiding in the bushes!!


Good Witch Filming Location:
Stephanie's Bistro on Locke Street!

What Did Ghandi's Wife Do?

Years ago, my teaching partner in crime Cramer (no kidding, that is actually his last name) and I ran trips to Europe for high school students.  It was his brain child and my highly obsessive organizing skills fueled the wild adventures.  

While organizing the final trip, I went completely nutty attempting to make sure our paperwork kept up with the ever changing Board of Education regulations (don't even get me started!).  After many an hour of making it all look pretty and ensuring that it was overly clear we were never EVER going to take students swimming, I kind of snapped.  I walked into our office and let the frustration loose!   I became quite creative with my complaints, added in flailing arms for dramatic effect, and didn't have many nice things to say about the photocopier that just couldn't keep up with me!  It was an impressive hissy fit if I do say so myself!  But lets be honest... a ginger knows how to snap ;-) 

I was mid-gripe when Cramer cut me off by saying the following:

"I am going to tell you what Ghandi told his wife when she complained about cleaning the toilets, you do it with joy or don't do it at all!"

How did I respond?  By simply asking, "so, did she clean the toilets?"

Cramer said those powerful words to me five years ago, and they have haunted me ever since.  To this day, the moment I consider complaining about something I am doing I hear him in my head shouting:


I have to say, those eight words completely changed my perspective and caused a never ending ticker-tape of questions to run though my head ever since:  

  • HOW many things in my life have I said 'yes' to when I really wanted to say 'no'?
  • WHO is the one in charge of my actions?
  • WHY do I force myself to do things when my heart isn't into them?
  • WHY do I give away my time so freely and ignore my own desires?
  • If I have offered my help and I am complaining while doing it... then that makes me a hypocrite and actually, a bit two faced! 
  • WHY wouldn't I want to focus on doing what DOES make me happy?

I realized just how clear I need to be when it comes to choosing to do anything.  I need to be brave enough to say 'no' when I don't want to do something, and strong enough to bring joy to actions that aren't on the top of my list, but are necessary (jury duty was a BIG one!)   

For me, life is all about feeling joy.  So that is where my focus needs to be.  And no matter what actions I am doing, it is my responsibility to, 




Go On, Push Me Again!

There's no secret that I adore my niece Elena and love being an Aunt.  It is the best 'job' in the world; all of the fun and love, while getting a full nights sleep and not having to pay for their future education!

My Wednesday nights consist of following this two year old around the house, dancing to music that comes from stuffed animated toys and pretending I understand her ability to talk in fluent Klingon (because truly, what IS the babbling language of a toddler?).

The other day she climbed up onto her parents cozy, pillow filled King size bed and decided that it was a good idea to hop up and down.  I mean why not?  The mattress allows for a great bounce and there is nothing like the feeling of wind in the hair!  But being the ever attentive Aunt that I am, I saw this situation in a very different light and my mama bear instinct took over as I envisioned her launching herself off the bed and her parents calling the police to report my neglect!  So I quickly weighed my options:

  1. talk calmly to her and explain the dangers of not sitting lady like on a bed.
  2. tackle her head on!
  3. join in on the fun ;-)  
  4. give her a good quick shove so she would fall safely into the pillows.

Yup, the glee-filled muchkin got herself a good shove that landed her on a soft mound of pillows.  But what followed the fall was her laughter and joy hitting a new height; in my mind I was saving a child from grave danger, and to her, she had an adventure that was more fun than the one she was currently on!  I accidentally created a game.  She continued to stand-up and look at me with a flirtatious stare that said, "go on, push me again, I dare you".  No matter how she landed or how many times I pushed, she laughed and got up each time with infectious joy.  She even got to the point that she enjoyed falling so much that she would stand, and just fall backwards on her own. 

This cheeky monkey had discovered that there is no fear in falling!

This Aunt was struck by the fact that a two year old had already learned how to deal with fear and uncertainty better than most adults I knew.  And, she kept coming back for more!


What I learned from the wise Elena that day...

  • just because I want one thing and get another does not mean I didn't get exactly what I needed.
  • adventures are more fun when you keep an open mind. 
  • just keep getting yourself back up!
  • just because I have been pushed off course does not mean I'm not going in the right direction.
  • never underestimate how a good push can save me from unknown craziness.
  • there can be true joy in a fall.

We are nine days into a new year, and no amount of planning or organizing on my part can guarantee where it will take me.  I am going to approach this year with the same vim, vigor and heart as my niece does.  

Bring on the pushes, new adventure and surprising JOYS 2018!

Lesson from a Knitter!

Nothing is better than talking geeky with people who share our unique interests. My merry band of like minds comes in the form of my knitting group!  Us three ladies are united by our love for fancy yarn, the frustrations of dropping a stitch and the joy of finishing a project no matter what imperfections it has!  Our evenings together involve eating, drinking tea, chitter-chattering to solve the worlds problems and pausing mid-sentence to finish counting a row.  We speak a secret language involving cable stitches, cross-overs and wacky pattern lingo.  And the best part of it all is, we just 'get' each other.  

Each time we meet up the biggest question is, what do we eat?  Because lets be honest, no matter how much we adore hanging out with our 'interest sharing peeps', it's the food that we are really all showing up for!  I get the great joy of being being the hostess to our secret gatherings, and although we take turns bringing in parts of our grand feast, it's a delight when I can say to my loyal knitting partners in crime, "just show up, I've got it taken care of".  I get such a pleasure from caring for others, making their day easier and simply doling out joy!  But this very festive Christmas version of our usual get together involved a great lesson for me in receiving.

A couple of days before our meet-up we experienced the very rare occurrence of passing each other in the hallway at work all at the same time. The topic of food came up instantly and the most experienced knitter of our trifecta said, "don't worry Lori, we've got it".  To which I replied as quickly as possible and without missing a beat, "no, seriously, I can take care of desert or something".  I instantly went into a nutty over-controlling panic because I didn't want to put them out, or worse appear lazy; there had to be something I could do to contribute! 

It was during that irrational moment that my dear astute friend replied with a shocking truth: "oh, so it is okay for YOU to say you have it taken care of, but not us?"  My jaw dropped, my heart sank and I had the most profound 'a-ha' moment.  The  only response I had for her was, "you just called me my mother!"

I walked away from our conversation being pelted with realizations exposing themselves to me:

  • can I really understand the power of giving without being able to graciously receive?
  • I adore supporting, giving and solving problems for others because it brings me joy.  But when I stop others from doing the same for me, I am denying them that same elated feeling. 
  • Is being a gracious receiver the best way to truly experience humility?
  • Do I get overwhelmed with the vulnerability it take to receive?
  • Why do I not think enough of myself to allow someone to support me the way I love supporting them?

I often find my first response to someone doing something nice for me is to jump right on how I can do the same for them in return:

  • Now what can I do for them to show them I appreciated their kindness?
  • How can I make us 'even'? 
  • How can I make sure I don't look ungrateful? 
  • How can I prove that I love them as much? 

But what craziness, that isn't what it's all about.   There is no owing involved, no score to even out, no extra reassurance that you are indeed grateful.  To receive with grace is to just be present with the present.

That day I discovered the power of two words that are often taken for granted... thank you.  Often when we say them we don't feel like they are enough.  But a heartfelt 'thank you' is the most meaningful thing a giver can receive.

Here is to a season of thoughtful giving, gracious receiving and basking in the joy of it all!


Gumption Filled Gran!

We all have inspiring wonderful people in our lives that spur us on to be better people, and one of mine I call Gran.  She isn't the mother of either of my parents, but she is an 85 year old woman who knows how to speak her mind, can best me in a crossword puzzle and does not know the meaning of 'I shouldn't'.  Besides the tenacious gumption of this remarkable woman, I'm infatuated with the fact she began following her dreams at the spring chicken age of 62.  

Gran devoted her life to her family, but once those three tots were out and taking over the world in their own way, Gran realized it was time to finally pursue that passion she had been pushing aside for so long.  You know, that thing we keep telling ourselves we would love to do but it isn't the right time?  It was finally her time, and her dream was to be a watercolour artist.  It is like her hands were meant to hold a paintbrush and the second she focused on painting, they breathed a sigh of relief. 

After only one year of painting she received her first commission from one of the spectacular wineries in our little wine filled part of Ontario.  They requested that she make the painting to represent the energy of the winery and for it to be 22 x 30 in size (which is massive for any artist let alone a 63 year old one who had only just begun painting!)   It was to be the focal point for the main hall of the winery and yes... a big freakin' deal! Gran says that she was overwhelmed, freaked out and...

refused to back away from something because she was afraid

She proudly states that there is absolutely no room in her life for regrets and I have actually watched her roll her eyes when the topic of fear comes up!

Gran continued to immerse herself into learning new techniques, seeking out teachers with fresh perspectives and was known for jumping out of bed at 3 am because inspiration was striking!   Her walls are the perfect Tetras game of her devotion to her artwork (her framer must love her!)

Whenever I leave from a visit with Gran I am a whirlwind of mixed of emotions.  On the one hand I am completely inspired and ready to take on any new adventure and tell fear to get in the back seat because I am driving this crazy car.  On the other, I feel small, embarrassed and ashamed for all of the times I know I let excuses get in the way or think that at 43 I am what I am and I should just accept it.  Ultimately, I leave her home with a choice...

be brave with my life or settle just settle for it.  

And after hours of tea, and a belly full of scones, it's truly impossible to do anything but ride the wave of her inspiration and choose to be brave.  Because if a 62 year old woman can follow her dream and not let popular opinion or her fear get in the way, then why can't I?   

Of course, the lessons from Gran don't end here, this paintbrush wielding Granny bubbles over with wisdom:

My Favourite Lessons From the Gumption Filled Gran

  • If I am not feeling uncomfortable, then I am not growing.
  • What is the worse that can happen if I do something that freaks me out?
  • Do I want excuses or regrets?
  • Follow my curiosities, you never know when you will uncover a true passion.
  • If people judge you, find other people (I love this!)

I say that I visit Gran to keep her company and bring joy to her day, but the truth is, I go for my own selfish need of inspiration and for her light a fire under my behind!


Rogue Samosas!

This meat and potatoes girl has a very sensitive palate which the simplest of spices can set on fire!  That is why I was excited to discover a sweet little Indian restaurant near my house that makes samosas that I can actually handle.  Don't get me wrong, I still need to soak them in the sweet sauce and sweat like I just ran a 10k while eating them, but I can actually enjoy them without giving up after one bite!  It is quite the victory for me.

The other day I decided to bring some home for a shin-dig I was hosting at my place.  As I attempted to balance the bag of yummy goodness on my already very full front car passenger seat, a little voice inside my head began to very loudly warn me: “you know that the moment you get out of the car and open this door they are going to be all over the floor, don't you?”  But I did what we all normally do when this inner voice of wisdom attempts to help, I reassured her that there was no way that I would forget they were there, I had the situation under control.  So I put them dangerously on the seat and motored home.

As always, the inner voice was right.  I parked, toddled my way around my car (all the while admiring the fact that she was newly spankin’ clean), threw open the door & as the voice inside my head screamed, "but you said you would remember, DON'T OPEN IT", two samosas toppled out onto the ground (I was grateful only two of them escaped).   I did attempt a mid-air winning rescue, but it was anything but successful.

The samosas officially went rouge and landed on the cement floor of my indoor parking garage. 
The wee wise and wondrous inner voice shook her head at me and said those very powerful four words, “I told you so.”  Yup, another win for intuition!

So then then question became… DO I STILL EAT THE SAMOSAS? 


  • my underground parking garage was just power washed two days previous so the floors were ‘clean’... at least as clean as a parking garage floor can be!
  • the two samosas were only on the ground for 3 seconds and therefore WELL within the limit of the 5 second rule (that glorious rule we invented to give ourselves permission to be gross once in a while!)
  • Past camping trips have involved me eating much worse that has fallen on a much dirtier surface; but lets be honest, there are no rules when it comes to the wilderness!
  • I eat unwashed grapes as I drive home from the grocery store… but of course once I am home it would just be gross if they weren’t clean first!

What I began to uncover was a series of rules that each included exceptions I attach to them when I want to get away with something... and I was only focusing on the rules I have attached to food!  What other rules did I claim to have that I continue to bend and shape for my convenience?  And more importantly, why do I feel I need to justify my actions?   

  • Do I make rules for myself because I feel it makes me a better person?
  • Do I make exceptions for myself to feel better when I break them?
  • Do I use rules and exceptions in order justify my actions to people around me to avoid judgement?
  • Do I use rules to judge myself?
  • Do I use rules to measure whether I should judge someone else or not?

WHO are these rules really for?

I do love my order, organization and having my ducks in a row (it is a twisted hobby of sorts), but a life where I have to tell people I have set rules I follow or need to justify my actions because they do not appear conventional in order to just fit in, well, that is not a game I'm willing to play.

Fitting in means:

  • I am trying to be someone other than myself to be accepted. 
  • I care more about what you think of me than I think of myself.
  • I’m not brave enough to explore my own path in life.

The truth is, I am just not interested in fitting in... I am okay being uniquely and wonderfully different.  I want to serve the world by spreading joy, and there is no joy in exhausting myself trying to blend in and be carbon copy of anyone else. 

So, yes,  I will always have some quirky rules in my life that I will continue to bend and work for myself in any given moment, but they are there to discover more of who I am, not help me become more like anyone else.




Worst Mathlete EVER!

This artsy actually really enjoyed math in high school.  But there were a number of signs along the way that gently shoved me into the creative world and away from a life full of wacky formulas and great mathematical expeditions.   

One sign came as a comment from my grade 12 calculus teacher: "it baffles me that I can watch you teach other students how to do the math perfectly, but when you have to write a test it's like you know nothing".  At the time I wasn't clear on how to take his razor edged compliment but I did feel it confirmed the cliche of "those who can't do, teach!"  

The other waving red flag was when I signed up with great enthusiasm for OAC Physics and the teacher was more shocked that I signed up for the class than the fact that I dropped it two weeks later.   The day class started he looked blankly into my smiling eager face and asked, "no seriously, why are you here?" I actually just really enjoyed using a different part of my brain and hanging out with the science types; but yes, my romantic notion of a life exploring structures formed by particles exerting electrical forces would go unrealized. So, I replaced it with another music class!

Turns out I didn't abandon my math skills entirely after high school.  Without realizing it, I ended up redirecting my poor mathlete abilities into finding happiness and developing a road-map for my life.

With happiness, the formula was:


I was filling the '...' with taking copious amounts of courses, and doing projects I felt would support me achieving the second half of the equation, which was always happiness.  I had myself convinced that happiness was a feeling I had to earn or discover. Yet, the harder I tried to find happiness (longest game of hide-and-seek ever!) the further away it seemed to be and more frustrated and annoyed I became!  Then, like any good mathematician or physicist,  I stopped to re-adjust my calculations and reset the formula to be much more simple and elegant:   


I gave up the chase, and decided that if I'm not happy in the space I am currently in, then I'm not finding it anywhere else! 

I made happiness a choice instead of a search.

The other formula I developed for myself ended up being a road-map of sorts.  It simply stated that:


I would start with the results I wanted, DEF, and then would figure out what ABC would get me those desired results.  And it has worked my entire life, because so much of what I have wanted to achieve has been familiar, so determining the ABC has been quite easy. 

But... what if what I want to experience something I have never attempted before? 
What if I want to achieve things outside of my usual endevors?  

One of the hardest things I am having to realize is that if I want something new and different in my life, I won't get there with old ways of thinking or do-ing.  Which means, I don't have a road-map!   To say this is unsettling is a gross understatement.  This redheaded Scorpio likes her organization and familiar patterns!

So what is required of this lousy mathlete if she is going to wander in uncharted territories?
I must...

  • be brave enough to step forward without a map or checklist.  
    ...yeah, NO small feat for this checklist addict! Seriously, if I do things that are NOT on my checklist I add them JUST to have the satisfaction of checking it off!  
  • be open to knowing I will stumble (and that is often the fun part of the journey!)
  • remember a sense of humour is a powerful weapon.
  • know when to ask for help... and ask often!
  • remember that happiness isn't the end result of the journey, it's what's driving the car!

The formula's I choose to follow now are less technical, but for me more powerful: