What a year it’s been. On January 1st, 2016 I wrote my first blog entry. And today I will write my last one until 2017. Three mornings a week I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and stared at a blank page. I had 30 minutes to figure out what to write before the “get-to-school” madness began with my three kids. Some days I was inspired by my children, my mom, a heartfelt quote, or a person gone too soon. I was touched by famous failures, people who never gave up and those who did what they loved to do. Continue reading
I grew up listening to Careless Whisper, Freedom, Faith, Father Figure and Last Christmas. George Michael’s music was weaved into my Walkman’s mixed tape beside Michael Jackson, Boy George, David Bowie and Prince. The soundtrack of my youth.
As I heard the news of George Michael’s untimely passing on Christmas day, it reminded me how short life really is and how everyone will have a last Christmas. We just won’t know it.
George Michael broke a lot of barriers and created a lot of magic during his short life.
He once said, “You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”
We can all take note of that. Our heart decides and it is up to us if we will listen to what it has to say.
We must have faith in our abilities and that is the key to our freedom. That is what will set us free.
George Michael once said, “I’ve achieved what every artist wants, which is that some of their work will outlive them.”
We will be listening to his songs for many years to come. And while we do that, let’s make our own plans to do something that will outlive us. Let’s make our mark. Share our gift. Create some magic. Find our peace. Wake up before you go.
Last night my 9-year-old-daughter and I went on a holiday date night to watch the musical Matilda. What an amazing production.
I love how the story shows an empowered little girl trudging through her challenging life. Always trying to do what’s right.
The lyrics to the Matilda song ‘Naughty’ say, “Just because you find that life’s not fair, it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it. If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.”
You don’t have to accept things as they are. You can blaze a trail in a different direction.
Like Matilda you won’t always have support. You won’t always be surrounded with positive energy. You won’t always know the answer. But if you take a look around, there is always inspiration. The librarian believed in Matilda, told her she was a gift, and listened to her stories. Who is your librarian? Who is that person who always asks you about the things you love in life? Who sees you for who you truly are?
As Jim Henson once said, “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”
What will your ending be? Never stop believing.
We wrote our letter to Santa the other day. Asked about Mrs. Claus and the elves. Told them a little bit about our year.
There is something so magical about sending a message to the North Pole. Asking for a few wishes to see if they’ll come true.
What if we also wrote a letter to ourselves putting a few dreams down on paper? Seeing if what we want most might head our way?
Of course, writing it down would just be the first step. Then we would have to be the little elves in our own lives and work away at the list. Take steps every day to make the wishes come true.
As Louisa May Alcott said, “We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.”
Do you believe in the magic that tomorrow holds? Write yourself a letter of wishes for the year to come and never stop believing.
A story in the news last month broke my heart. A little 10-year-old girl riding her bike to school was run over by a school bus.
Her helmet saved her head and neck but because of the lack of blood flow to her spinal cord, she will most likely never walk again.
Two of her school friends decided to do something to help her. To turn their sadness into action and make a difference. Along with their moms, they organized a raffle and bake sale. They found a venue at a local store and started planning.
When I heard about the event through a fellow dance mom who is part of that school community, I donated a necklace and bought some raffle tickets. A few days later I was at my hair salon and I mentioned the story. The girl doing my colour said she would donate a gift certificate for a service. The lady sitting beside me at the salon, who was a stranger before I started telling the story, said she imports furniture and would donate two leather chairs. By the time I picked up the chairs, she had mentioned the story where she was having lunch and the restaurant owner gave her a gift certificate for the raffle as well. A grocery store where I often shop also donated a basket to the cause.
Strangers rallied. Friends organized. People donated. Cookies were baked. Tickets were bought.
And at the end of the day, $18,000 was raised for little Rosie.
There are so many good people out there. Every single person can make a difference in this world.
As Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
There is no greater gift we can give this season than the gift of ourselves.
We are sending you positive thoughts Rosie. Be brave and remember that anything is possible.
I grew up watching Growing Pains. Jason Seaver, played by Alan Thicke, was every dad. You watched how he parented, the advice he gave, how his children acted around him. It was a peek inside another family going through the same issues we were all going through.
Alan also wrote the theme songs for two other shows I watched religiously in my childhood. The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes. I will recognize those tunes for the rest of my life.
From all accounts, those who knew Alan say he was a lovely guy. Humble, friendly, talented, helpful. Seems like the character he played on Growing Pains wasn’t too much of a stretch.
Since his untimely passing of a heart attack, a 2012 tweet he sent out has emerged. It was an anonymous quote that said, “Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal.”
Epic advice. Leave it all on the table. Be kind. Be brave. Be creative. Take chances. Make mistakes. Love fully. Forgive completely. Speak your truth.
May we all survive the growing pains of life and live every day like it’s our last. RIP Alan Thicke.
The holiday season is here in full force. Trees are up and halls are decked. Soirees are booked and gifts are bought. Visits are planned and cookies are baked.
But what do we really want for Christmas?
Peace, hope, inspiration, truth.
The best gift we could ever receive is the ability to be who we truly are. To tell our own story without worrying how we might be judged. To live every day with authenticity.
And the best gift we could ever give is acceptance.
Jim Valvano once said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Who do you believe in? Have you told them? Have you reminded them that they are magical and exceptional and blazing a trail? And what can you do today to share your true self with the world?
Let’s remember the reason for the season. And unwrap the gifts we already have inside.
Thomas Merton said, “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
What are we living for and what is stopping us from living fully?
Are we doing things a certain way because someone, sometime, told us we couldn’t do it differently?
Are we waiting for an answer that we most likely already have inside?
Are we searching for a treasure that is buried in our own backyard?
Pope Paul VI said, “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it, I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
So as the year winds down and the new year approaches, decide. What makes your heart sing? Then give your soul the lyrics and the tune and listen to the beautiful music.
Forty-four years ago, on December 9th, 1972, a song written and sung by Helen Reddy called I Am Woman hit Number One on the Billboard Hot 100.
She sang, “Oh yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I gained. If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.”
A pretty powerful anthem that we should all be singing in our heads.
We are strong enough to make it through. We have to remember that there will be pain, setbacks, falls and failures. But your strength increases as you walk through those moments.
As Ernest Hemingway once said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
So repeat those lyrics as you go through your day. Remember you are as invincible as any super hero. You are stronger than you know. And if you have to you can do anything.
Stuffing Christmas card envelopes, cooking dinner, making sure the dance bags were ready, facilitating homework, washing dishes, folding laundry, signing forms, doing some writing work, and getting the licence plates on my car changed as they disintegrated. That was the afternoon agenda yesterday.
The treadmill under my life was moving full force and I was running around the house like a wild woman.
After dropping my oldest at his activity, I returned home to find a note from my 9-year-old daughter on my computer. It read, “To Siobhan. Just remember you are doing great!”
Almost brought me to tears. So many times we are beyond busy trying to tick off our to-do list and we miss the ta-da moments. We aren’t necessarily looking for thanks or validation, but when it comes, it is enough to break us.
She noticed my frenzy and she reminded me that I’m enough just the way I am.
Out of the mouths of babes.
Gratitude for the busyness is paramount. We have dishes because we had a meal. Laundry because we have clothes. Homework because our kids are learning. It seems so simple, but being grateful for the half full glass changes everything.
Melody Beattie once said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
What can we be grateful for today? And who can we write a little note for? To tell them they are doing great? It will make someone’s day and remind you both that you’re more than enough.