Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vote for Me!

Okay - my submission is officially up & running! Voting starts today. You can only vote once so please feel free to share the link with everyone you know!
The way the contest works is that the top ten vote-getters will receive a signed copy of the album. The Grand Prize winner is chosen by Yo Yo Ma and will get to go and record with him.

You can follow the link or click on the widget. Enjoy and share!
Thanks and have a great new year's eve! Stay safe.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Holiday Blues

So yesterday I was walking through the mall - first time I'd been to any store since before Christmas. I found myself rather disillusioned. It felt like we spend so much time getting ready for Christmas and then after 24 hours, it's back to life as usual. Spend, spend, spend. Did you know that Mastercard was open on Christmas day? Why?? Who wants to be dealing with bills on Christmas day?? Isn't that the day we are supposed to take off? I find it disheartening that the retail stores open so early on Boxing day. We get such a small window of time to spend with our families and now we expect those who work in retail to be up at the crack of dawn to pander to the masses looking for a good deal.

For me, it was a little different. We went to Troy's parents' place on Christmas eve and then had my family to our place on Christmas day. On Boxing day, I woke up and said to myself "I don't want to do anything today!" and I didn't. Other than getting on the elliptical for half an hour, I spent the day in my jammies hanging out with my family. On Saturday, we went to the country to Troy's parents' place again. Then yesterday, I ventured back into the world of retail. I actually got to rest and spend time with my family. It felt great.

I am also working on a song. One of the holiday specials we watched this year (another thing I love doing!) was the making of Songs of Joy and Peace - Yo Yo Ma's new album. The documentary was fascinating. There was the most amazing quote, which I immediately said to Troy, "I wish I had written that down!" So I went online the next day trying to track down video clips to see if I could find the quote. In the process I found a contest that Yo Yo Ma is running where he has recorded the cello line for Dona Nobis Pacem and wants people to record their versions along with it & submit them. So I was musing over what I wanted my submission to encompass. This actually came to me while walking disillusioned through the mall. Dona Nobis Pacem means "Give Us Peace." So I have juxtaposed this peaceful music with the sounds of war. I think this is the dichotomy we feel - we want peace in a world that is racked with war and unrest. I hope that I have captured it well. I'll try and post it once it's all done.

In the meantime, I hope that you found some rest and peace during this Christmas season and that you have hope for the coming year. Once I find the quote from the documentary, I'll share that too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Did It!!

I have officially earned President's Club for Discovery Toys! This is a goal I have had in the past and set as my minimum goal for this year. Not only would I earn the incentive trip to Acapulco but I would go on to earn President's Club (Double PC was my stretch goal). I have to tell you that the main reason I earned this was because I had made the decision that is was going to happen - no matter what! We had our monthly meeting last Tuesday and I had just found out that one of my fundraisers hadn't gone as well as I had hoped. So I was battling with still believing it was going to happen. I needed $6000 more and it was already December 16th. One of the girls at the meeting asked me how much I had left. My response was "Don't ask me what I have left; just ask me where I'm going!"

And then it happened: my last charity order closed at $5000 (on a side note - I donate my commission on all charity work; it does however still count towards my sales total as I do still submit an order for it). I was elated! Only $1000 left. I now knew it was going to happen, although I still didn't know where the last $1000 would come from. Well, I picked up the phone once again and managed to generate another $2000 donation! Now I have to say that the joy of earning President's Club is not overshone by the fact that I have also raised over $7000 for local charities. It is also a goal for me to do this every year and I am very thankful to my corporate sponsors for their generosity.

So here's my point - and I'm going to pick on one of my team members (I won't name her but you know who you are!). She congratulated me today and said she hoped to be with me next year on the trip. Well, girl. Hope will only get you so far. It really is a decision. No matter what your goals are, when it becomes a way of thinking, it will come to fruition. Ever since I earned my first trip, my mindset has always been "I am going to the Bahamas. I am going to Brazil. I am going to the Claremont Spa on that private jet. I am taking my kids to Disneyland." Our minds are powerful things and we need to give heed to our self-talk.

Now I'm going to pick on my mom. I was talking to her last week and she asked me what the chances that the kids were going to get sick before Christmas were with all the flu and everything that's been going around. I said there was no chance. They were very healthy and would stay that way. She asked me how I knew and I said I just did. She mockingly said "Oh yes, you and your positive thinking. It's not like you did something concrete like got them a flu shot!" :)

I have learned to focus on what I want and not on what I don't want. For instance you'll never hear me say "I don't want to get sick. I hope I don't get sick." Instead you will hear me say "I am the picture of health! I am so grateful for my health!" You might think it sounds hokey, but just try it. I know from past experience if I feel a tickle in my throat and I keep thinking about it and how I don't want to get sick, I quickly deteriorate.

Anyways, I am rabbit trailing. What I am trying to say is that we all have the ability to achieve our goals. We just need to believe it is possible and be willing to do what it takes to get there!

Go for greatness - you've got it in you!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Public Domain

I have a coffee mug that I really like. It is light blue and on one side says "Smile" and on the other side says "Life is good." I like to use this mug whenever I can to have my morning coffee in. It is a visual reminder that yes, life is good. As I sit there in the quiet moments with a hot cup of coffee and a good book enjoying the peace and possibility of another day while everyone else is still in bed, I can be reminded of all the goodness surrounding me.

Today, however, I noticed something I hadn't before on my mug. I was looking at the "Life is good" side when I noticed something at the end of the phrase. I brought the mug up closer only to discover a capital "R" with a circle around it. You know the one I mean: Registered Trademark. I thought to myself "How can a phrase like 'Life is good' be a trademark??" Then I looked on the bottom of the mug only to discover that the name of the company that makes the mug is called - you guessed it - "Life is good."

Now I'm not sure how I feel about the mug. My opinion is tainted. Yes life still is good but I feel a bit ticked off that someone would make that a registered trademark. On the other hand, what a great name for a company. Now when I look at my mug I see the "R" more than the sentiment.

So I am hereby reclaiming the phrase "Life is good" for use by public domain. It is yours to use abundantly. Go and spread the word! And don't forget to "Smile."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Gift of Time

So I was sharing on another blog yesterday about Christmas memories and I thought I would share here too.

One of my favorite memories from when I was a kid is trekking out to the forest about an hour away from our place and then trodding deep in the snow to find the perfect tree, which we would then cut down. In retrospect, this is of course appalling that we would do this. Often, we would have to cut down more than one tree to find the one we wanted and then of course we would just lop the top off of it and leave the rest there. After hauling the tree out of the bush and attaching it to the vehicle, we would drive home for hot chocolate and an evening of decorating and listening to Christmas LPs.

The point is this: I can remember the time spent together way more than I can remember individual gifts under the tree. We spend so much time trying to find the perfect gift that we end up sacrificing the perfect gift - time. I am sure if you think back, those are the types of memories that stand out. I also remember our summer trips to Waterton in the big van. I remember going for breakfast at the Calgary Tower and hiking up Bear's Hump. The tangible things I remember are the ones that hold special meaning. For example, I had a bear that I took everywhere with me. It was an absolute travesty if he was ever forgotten at home. Well one summer on our way to Waterton, we were half way across Saskatchewan (I grew up in Manitoba for those of you who don't know) when all of a sudden I realized that he was back at home. Well there was no way that we could go back to get him. I was devastated. When we got to Waterton, we were poking around in the stores and I remember seeing this very cute stuffed pig (I had a thing for stuffed animals...). Well when we got back to the hotel that night, there was that pig on my pillow. My dad is a big softie.

So as you are in the throws of the Christmas hustle and bustle, remember to spend some time with your family. We often say that that is one of the things that happens at Christmas but it ends up being a small part. Don't worry so much about what is under the tree. It is the time we spend together that they will remember long after the tinsel has been packed away.

So what are some of your favorite memories? Please share!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Lost Art of Imagination

Okay, so we've often heard our kids have no imagination these days. Well, no wonder! I saw a commercial over the weekend that made my jaw drop. It is a new game for the DS called "My Baby."
Check this out:

What the hell ever happened to playing with an actual doll? And I'm not talking about the ones that walk, talk, pee, poop and speak spanish. I mean the cloth dolls that don't do anything - except what we imagine they do!

I was so appalled by this! One of my passions, of course, is teaching parents how to play with their children. Well, let this be a lesson in how NOT to play with your children! Give them something tangible that they can hold and actually play with.

I understand the lure of video games and there is nothing wrong with them in and of themselves. It is when that is the only thing they do and the only toy they have that it becomes a concern.

Freckles, my daughter who is about to turn 9, was asking for a DS this year for Christmas several months ago because, of course, all her friends have them. They play with them on the bus to school. Troy made a comment jokingly, "But then you won't look out the window at nature and you won't talk to your friends!" Her reply? "I've been doing that for eight years! I'm tired of it!" But here's the thing - we have held off on the video games and I am very proud of that fact. Our children both have such vivid imaginations. I remember when we lived in the country (it was a half-hour drive into the city) and I could hear my daughter in the back seat (about 4 or 5 at the time) telling me stories that would last the whole drive in. Now one of her favorite things to do is write and draw. She is a wonderful story-teller and has written prolific amounts. It is one of the things her teachers praise her about.

So if you have young children, the choice is yours - not theirs! Just because they want something doesn't mean you have to cave. Use your best judgement for your kids this Christmas. Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with video games! But make sure they also have a good stack of board games and play together regularly. Family games night is one of our favorite pasttimes. It is amazing the conversations that will happen around the board.

Friday, December 5, 2008


So I thought I would at least talk about why I'm doing this. I have wanted to write a book for many years. I have many great ideas in my head but that's where the inspiration seems to stop. I get a page or two down and then it just sits there collecting dust in the filing cabinet of my computer. So that's why I thought this would be a good medium - it's about ideas. It's short. It's meant to be a first draft without a lot of extra editing or polishing. My kind of writing.

As I mentioned I get a rush from helping and inspiring others. Maybe I like this because it is safe too. I can say anything I want to you as a reader and there is a distance between us. So I can be more blunt and open than I might be face to face. Call it a cop-out, if you will but I feel many times I am talking to myself just as much as I might be talking to anyone else.

So I talked about the Angel Train. For me, my angel train leaves the station at 10PM. That just means I need to be in bed by 10 if I am to be at my best the next day. I get up early every morning (with the exception of a few days this week as I was a bit ill & thought the extra rest would be more self-care than getting up). I get up at 6:20 - about 50 minutes before anyone else is making demands on me or needing me. The house is quiet and calm. I get to drink a cup of coffee all the way to the bottom while it is still hot and I get to spend a few minutes just for me.

Now I have to say, this morning thing is new to me. I have never considered myself a morning person and I had heard this idea many times but was never able to do it (certainly not if it was to exercise!). Finally something clicked and I got up one morning and that did it. It was such a peaceful way to enter the day that it was worth getting up early for. Now it is a habit. If I don't get up, I feel like I've missed something. So what do I do in that time? I read both my bible and an inspirational/developmental book of some kind and I also pray, meditate, visualize, journal...whatever I feel I need to start that particular day.

When it's time to wake up the kids, I go in and cuddle them and wake them up with kisses - a much nicer alternative to "KIDS! Get up! We slept in!! Hurry up or you'll miss the bus!" Now I am not saying that every morning is rosey and problem free (or that we never miss the bus!) but I am saying that in looking after myself at the start, I have the clarity to get through the day feeling much more balanced.

There it is! Balance. I set it as a goal at the beginning of the year. I have been striving for it this year and seem to be getting closer. In her book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver says this "Here's something else I've discovered about balance. Being balanced is not so much a matter of staying in perfect equilibrium as it is a matter of finding the right rhythm for our lives." She refers to a time when her and her sister would try to find that "sweet spot" on the teeter totter that would keep it balanced perfectly in the middle and how even when they found it, it didn't last very long. It's about the ups and downs and accepting that sometimes, one arena of our life will have dominance and sometimes, the pendulum will swing. But it always crosses the middle and sometimes it stops a while there.

So where is your sweet spot? It is the season of Advent - a time to pause and reflect and prepare. Unfortunately, the "prepare" part seems to take over and become a harried frenzy of rushing around, getting swallowed into the commercial abyss...It has become a time of self absorption instead of self-reflection.

Ready my heart for the birth of Emmanuel.
Ready my soul for the Prince of Peace.
Heap the straw of my life for His body to lie on
Light the candle of peace; let the child come in
(from Steve Bell's Ready My Heart)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Third time's the charm...

Well this is the third blog I have started. But I've learned a few things. The first thing I learned just this evening - blog about my passion. Well, my passion is helping other women realize their full potential and encouraging families to be families again.

So with that in mind, I am venturing off again. I will do my best to let my passion shine through. I discovered this passion I think by accident. Most people think my "job" is "selling Discovery Toys". However, that is only a small part of what I do. It is also where I discovered my passion. There is nothing that gives me greater joy than when someone on my team reaches a goal. My favorite part of what I do is training & helping women figure out their goals and dreams and then help them find a way to get them.

However, I want to move beyond just my DT team. I have realized in talking with women over the last 5 years how many of us are searching for ways to find our passions. We are so often at the bottom of our own "to-do" lists, which of course we never get to.

It's like they say on the airplane - put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Have you done that yet? When was the last time you scheduled time just for you? When was the last time you took a walk by yourself? Had a date with yourself? Exercised? Sat down and actually tasted your food while eating?

We as women think we are pretty damn important, which we are, but we treat ourselves worse than anyone else in our families. Why is that? What reward to we get out of this masochistic behavior? I've learned that we don't do anything - positive or negative - without getting some kind of a reward from it, even if it is on a subconscious level.

So here's my challenge to you: do something just for you! It's not being selfish (although there is nothing wrong with being selfish every once in a while!). It is called self-care. It's a phrase and a lifestyle I want you to adopt.

Well it is almost 10PM and that's when my angel train leaves the station (you'll hear more about that later - or you can read Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff).
Good night. Take care - I mean it.