Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present … YOU

If you had the privilege to be an honoured guest at an amazing event that you have always dreamed of attending, your first thought may be ‘what will I wear?’

When we go to fancy places, or have an opportunity to see people we admire, we pay attention to how we present ourselves.

Yet, when we don’t have any plans, or any where to go, we tend not to care how we look, how we behave, or how we are perceived.

It’s true we shouldn’t depend on others’ views, but in a world of social media and strong opinions – others’ views can make or break us.

“You should treat everyone like the Queen of England,” my uncle once told me. I was too young to understand what he meant. So I dismissed his advice.

It boils down to a personal value system. Who is worthy of our best, and who can we dismiss as not being important, valuable, or worthy of our time?

I don’t always present my best. These last two years have really proven that to me. The comforts of old shirts and sweat pants have been my go-to wardrobe. I never bothered to take the time to wear clothes that are more presentable because “I was just going here, or just going there.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t care about the people I saw, I just didn’t think much about it ~ I guess I dressed according to how I was feeling, which was un-energized and un-inspired.

One of my favourite storytellers is writer, filmmaker, director and producer, Steven Spielberg. An opportunity to meet with him would have me running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That would inspire me to wear my best, be on my best behaviour and present the best I have to offer.

This is what my uncle meant. Though many people don’t care for monarchies or political leaders, there is someone You admire. Someone you would dress your best for, and want to present your best to.

Saving our best for that one chance meeting seems like such a waste of time. It’s too bad we didn’t have the energy or desire to be our best everyday for everybody.

Everyone is worthy of being treated like kings and queens ~ I hope someone presents their best to you to show you just how worthy you are.

Convenient Times

Looking back on my grandmother’s era it’s hard to believe how much society has advanced. She was born before cars were on the road and died shortly after the Blackberry made its debut.

All of our grandparents lived a hard life. They physically struggled. They worked so hard to make our lives better. I wonder if any of us really appreciate their efforts.

Most of us would love an opportunity to go back in time to experience their life style. A weekend of inconvenience is probably all most of us could handle. [Survivalists excluded of course.]

Think about it, using simple tools they cleared lands and farmed fields. They raised barns and dug wells. They rode horses through woods to get to the next town to buy and sell their goods. And what do we do?

We turn up the heat when we’re cold. We turn on the air conditioner when we’re warm. We turn on the tap if we’re thirsty. And, if we’re hungry; call Grub-hub.

It’s hard to appreciate all these modern day conveniences because we have grown so accustomed to them. We rely on them. And if reliance = needs. Needs = basic necessities. Then why doesn’t every third world country have these basic needs?

Are modern day “conveniences” considered luxuries or basic needs? Who decides?

Shared Experiences

One event with multiple people can produce countless views and very different opinions. A sporting event, a concert, or an annual community picnic can elicit the same amount of complaints as praise.

A family wedding can stir up gossip, hearsay and a few drunk relatives who somehow believe their loud words can’t be heard.

Unfortunately, the bigger the crowd, the greater the chance the overall experience is described more with grievances than appreciation.

How can such a beautiful wedding, with delicious food and gorgeous decorations become a toxic environment?

Recalling events I try to remember more of the good than the bad, because I would rather remember the occasion as beautiful and not ugly. During my recollections I began thinking of all my one-on-one experiences I have shared with total strangers. Like the time I stepped out from the mall and found my car was covered with a blanket of snow!

As I began clearing my windows with my jacket sleeve a few other surprised shoppers arrived at their cars that were parked close to mine. We all chuckled as we tried our best to clean off our cars. One remarked, “Who ordered this? It’s only November.” The other replied, “Ya, it’s not supposed to snow yet! Who the hell’s been praying for snow?”

These words the others spoke clearly sound disgruntled, but I can assure you, they were said with a playful tone, a pleasant attitude and were accompanied with infectious laughter.

Before any of us left the parking lot we checked with one another to see if anyone needed a hand, then we bid our farewells and wished one another a safe trip home. This was a ‘shared experience’ I will never forget, yet I have no idea who these people were.

We had plenty of reason to complain. None of us were prepared. We were all under dressed and were wearing inadequate footwear. We were cold, wet, and caught off guard – yet together, we made it an enjoyable moment.

I hope you get the chance to share joyful and memorable experiences that you too can cherish forever.

The Vaccine So-Called Tracking Device

There is a lot of information out there and it can get confusing. I know a lot of people don’t like vaccines in general, and I would never want to push anyone into doing anything that made them feel uncomfortable.

I got it, my choice, and yes I was hesitant at first – I felt it was rushed. Then I learned that this virus had been on scientists minds and lab tables for decades. Around the world thousands of scientists were studying its make-up.

When Covid-19 began to spread, scientists from all over the world quickly collaborated by sharing their data. It was years of research, not just a few days worth. This was not a mad-scientists-around-the-world-evil-comic-book-style-master-plan to infect the world. It was a way to find the cure for a virus that caused a pandemic.

When the vaccines were ready to be shipped out a special barcode tracking label was put on every box. Why? The vaccines needed to be stored at a specific temperature. Similar to, but more sophisticated than, the packages you are able to track as the products you ordered online are on route to your home.

The boxed up vaccines were shipped in freezer-style containers and went by land, by sea, and by air. And sometimes they took all three of these routes in order to reach their destination. The delivery driver could easily scan the box barcode and know the temperature of the package to assure it’s safety.

So, if my suspicions about the vaccine being rushed, was wrong. And others’ suspicions of a tracking device were misunderstood. Maybe there are other suspicious ideas floating around in cyberspace.

Flexing My Muscles

Trying new things seems to get harder with age, especially when it comes to high-tech gadgets and gizmos. But I knew I had to bite the bullet sometime. And late, is better than never.

Since March 2020, Covid has prevented me [understandably] from going into the schools to promote my books. I patiently waited over a year for an opportunity to do Author Reads of my children’s book; Did You Call For Me?

Not knowing when that day may arrive, I knew I had to look at other avenues. And today I can say that I have achieved success! [Well, that’s what the website told me, so I am taking their word for it]

I managed to create an e-book and uploaded it onto the kobo online bookstore.

After uploading my children’s book, I went straight to work creating an ebook of my short story; Forever Green. Forever Green should be available on August 12th.

So if I can manage to do that – then You too can step out of your comfort zone and try something new!!

~ I hope this inspires you

Heads Up!

“Chin up.” Is an old expression adults would say to kids who were feeling sad or disappointed. It was an attempt to lift the child’s spirit out from their misery.

Likewise, “Put your head down!” teachers would say when they wanted a child to focus on their work.

Heads up vs heads down. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Lately I find myself having to tell myself to, “Get to work! Focus! The job won’t finish itself.” [ I sound like my old cranky teacher. ]

I am easily distracted. Always have been. I like to look around and observe things. And I have noticed, I really enjoy thinking about what I have observed and am eager to comment on it. This is great for starting a conversation, but having my head up looking around all the time is not so good when I have projects that need my attention.

I know when I do put my head down and focus solely on the work at hand, I can accomplish things and feel a sense of satisfaction.

I also know, having our heads down all the time can narrow our vision. We don’t see much beyond our own work, or our own thoughts. Constantly keeping our heads down while sitting at our desk can lead to a dissatisfied humdrum state of existence.

I spent an entire year with my head down. My father passed away when I was a teenager. I recall the ‘woe is me’ feelings. Most of those days I was in my room with my head down having no interest in anyone or anything – it was a dark time. “Chin up!” was not what I wanted to hear.

It took some time, but I eventually started to live a normal life again. I grew tired of that closed off feeling of sadness – I was eager to feel joy and appreciation.

The isolation of Covid has reminded me of those dark days.

I think we all need a little time with our heads down to feel and acknowledge our pain, sorrow, and sadness, so we can take the time we need to heal before we can focus on the things we want to accomplish.

And we all need a little time with our heads up optimistically looking around to refresh our stale point of view so we can leisurely enjoy and appreciate the newness of the day and the people around us before getting back to work.

Here’s hoping your days allow you to see amazing sights when you look up, and I hope your work brings you satisfaction when you look down [or possibly up] at what you have accomplished.

~ Cheers

A Penny For Your Thoughts

After we joyfully make a wish and playfully toss a penny in a wishing well we curiously watch where it lands before we walk away feeling satisfied.

It isn’t long before distractions consume our thoughts. Long line-ups at the check-outs, noisy traffic, the neighbour’s cat clawing at your garden, etc.

As days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into years we wonder where the time went and worse, we question what we accomplished in all that time.

A feeling of dissatisfaction looms overhead urging us to want more out of life. We focus our attention on strategies and plans. How can I get ahead? Where can I find the career I want? When will I be able to enjoy my life?

Then we remember that wish we made years before. We can still picture that penny resting on the bottom. We put so much hope, enthusiasm and excitement into that penny – then we walked away.

Just remembering the moment stirs joyful memories and boosts our spirit. Oh the satisfaction we could feel if that wish were to come true.

If we truly want to thrive, then we need to put our attention and energy on the things that we already know will bring us joy and satisfaction.

Make a wish, toss a penny and then work toward making that wish come true.

~ I hope this inspires you

All Roads Lead To Here

So many young adults are struggling at the fork in the road. Which way should they go? They feel an urgency to decide today what their destiny will be. I had a discussion recently with someone and it seemed to alleviate some of this pressure.

I told them I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school either. So I got a job as a cashier in a pharmacy. I was hoping I could save money for art college. I learned some skills [through lots of trials and plenty of errors] and they learned a few things about me. They saw I had the ability to draw. Within a year I was offered a job in head office illustrating products for their monthly flyers!

Computers were brought in to the art department. We were stunned. How on earth are we supposed to use these to create flyers? If you are familiar with type-setting machines and cutting red ruby you could imagine my concern. I find it amazing how quickly you can move past your own resistance to change when you start to see all the advantages of using new methods, new techniques and new technology. A willingness to consider and try something new is a key to expanding your horizon.

A night course in graphic design earned me a diploma. However, when I had reached the cap to my salary – meaning they were not willing to increase my pay. I had to decide, do I stay here knowing I will never again get a raise, or do I move on?

I got a job at a print shop. Again, a lot of trials and plenty of errors – but I learned, and I was good at it. A “Temp” began working with us. He was a student who needed to work in the print shop to complete his degree. He was also taking a night class in classical animation – it wasn’t long before I signed up as well.

Before I had completed the course I was offered a job in their studio! Yup, I leaped at the chance. Fast forward to being married and with a child on the way I had to make a decision. Do I stay home to raise my child, or do I go back to work to make money to pay a stranger to raise my child? It was a no-brainer for me.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I began doing editorial cartoons for local newspapers. I volunteered at my children’s schools. I got involved in dinner theatre. I joined a writers’ group and before long, I started writing my own plays.

Looking back at my timeline it is easy to see that the skills I have learned over the years have all been pointing toward my destiny. But I didn’t get here on my own. I didn’t decide this would all happen. There were plenty of people along the way who deserve the credit. They were the ones who offered the jobs, taught me the skills and told me about opportunities I never would have known about.

We can’t decide our future until we step out into the world and explore what it has to offer. The preferences we have help us to choose what we like and don’t like. Dentistry? Veterinarian school? Art college? Our own interests can lead us to open doors where we meet people who will guide us to new places.

Today I write and illustrate children’s books. It is easy to see how all roads lead to here. But I know there are more roads that lay ahead.

I don’t think everyone needs to make a weighty and permanent decision today of what their future will be. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? I truly believe small daily choices will help lead you to your destiny … and beyond!

~ I hope this inspires you

A Sense of Self

We are all aware of the five senses we humans have, and some believe there is a sixth sense that we possess, but I think I found another – a seventh sense!

We feel, we taste, we smell, we see, we hear, and sometimes we know we know something without really knowing why we know it. We don’t always make a comment about these things we feel, taste, smell, see, hear or know. We may notice them with a smile, or a frown but they seem to come and go like a gentle breeze. I wonder if that’s because another sense takes over – the sense of self.

I could be wrong, but I started to wonder if the sense of self, and how it interprets the sights and sounds, overpowers the other senses.

I think therefore I . . . lose the beauty of the rose and it’s amazing fragrance because I thought about it more than I simply enjoyed it.

If we put our sense of self aside and placed our whole attention and appreciation on the rose, would it look more beautiful, would it smell more amazing?

I believe it would.

The next time I am out in nature I am going to try to see, feel and hear more of my surroundings, by accepting and appreciating things as they are, and try to think and interpret less.

~ I hope this inspires you