2010 goals

"Create the kind of life you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." Foster C. McClellan If you've been reading this blog long, you probably already know that I'm passionate about self-improvement. Part of that is liking a challenge, but the bigger part is I get high on accomplishment. Accomplishments are to me what endorphins are to an athlete. I love to set a goal and work toward it. "All lasting inner change requires time "* I know how discouraging it is to set a goal and fall flat. I've done it plenty of times. But somewhere along the way I figured out and internalized that moving in the right direction is good, really good. Now I can be happy making improvement even if I don't reach the goal. "Daily incremental... Read more →

baby steps quote

I want to acknowledge that making changes in your life is never an easy task. The key, however, is not to get caught up in the distance you have to go to get to where you want to be. Nor should you despair over the amount of control you have over your circumstances. Progress is made in the small, intentional steps, and chances are, you have more power than you think. By focusing on little steps you can take every day, the progress you make will motivate you to continue your journey, and eventually, you can go wherever you want to go. The important thing is simply to begin. ~~ Stephen Cherniske, M.S Read more →

thursday thirteen

As you know, I'm diligently striving to get fit. There are a number of resources that I've called on to help me in my numerous times of need. Among those are quotes of encouragement. I have these stuck on various places of my desk. I just counted them, and guess what, there are thirteen. Perfect for a Thursday Thirteen. I hope these encourage you like they do me. 1. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Ernst 2. Every day that you do the right thing is one day closer to the results to want. – Jeff on My Super Charged Life. 3. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln 4. Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. – Henry Ford 5. Your outer world reflects... Read more →


"The subject of self-esteem is a topic that has generated a fair amount of controversy over the last few decades, but one thing seems clear: you don’t get healthy self-esteem from constantly telling yourself how great you are, or even from other people telling you how great you are. You get healthy self-esteem from behaving in ways that you find estimable. In other words, the best way to feel better about yourself is to do something worthy of your own respect: keep a difficult resolution, meet a challenge, solve a problem, learn a skill, cross something unpleasant off your to-do list." - Gretchen Rubin I read this little gem this morning on the happiness project. Great food for thought. Labels: quotes Read more →

what says love

These are some answers from 4-8 year old kids asked to define love. There's some good insight here. When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other. Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. Love is what makes you smile when you're tired. Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is OK. Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want... Read more →

winston churchill quotes

1. The more knowledge we possess of the opposite point of view the less puzzling it is to know what to do. 2. You cannot deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing. 3. When the cliche' "familiarity breeds contempt" was used in an argument against him, he thundered, "I would like to remind you that without a degree of familiarity we could not breed anything." 4. Never good with math, he called it, "the dismal bog of sums." (I love that.) As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he nearly brought financial disaster on England, making one bad decision after another. Out of that position he said, "Everyone said I was the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer that ever was and now I am inclined to agree with them." 5. We are worms but I intend to be a glowworm. 6. When... Read more →

a christmas story, by hannah

To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult every year. -- E. B. White Is it everywhere or just the pagan city I live in? Christmas is so not a religious thing anymore. I have seen no front yard nativity scenes anywhere. None. Zero. Zilch. It was this way last year too and I told Gordon I wanted to have one made for our yard, but I never did. I wish I had carried through with that. Perhaps that should become one of my New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I think I'll include that. Surely I can pull that off if I try hard enough. Last night I found a report that Hannah had to write for school about a true Christmas story at her house. It amused me. I didn't know this story had happened. It sounds just like my girls, but it surprised me still. I will write... Read more →

happy canadian thanksgiving

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. - Jacques Maritain Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. People ask me often if my countries celebrate Thanksgiving the same way. Yes, they do, but it's a bigger deal in the US. In my ideal world, our family celebrates both. Admittedly though, it's unusual for Gordon to have both days off, making it near impossible to celebrate both. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and because of that, I do make a bit of effort to pull off two celebrations. One of our traditions, and one that I look forward to from year to year, is our prayer of thanks before we eat. We go around the table thanking God for the things that mean the most to us. It's simple, but very meaningful. Every Thanksgiving, I set aside some time to write out things I'm most thankful for. I could write for hours about... Read more →


Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" (I have no idea who originally penned that). When I was pregnant with Deborah, I developed allergies. My sinus area would sting for days. Instead of taking medication, I implemented my own home remedy. I stuffed my nose with toilet paper wads that stuck out my nose like walrus tusks. It was an effective remedy, albeit one that made me very thirsty (breathing through one's mouth all the time does that) and less than attractive. Self-conscious when I look like a walrus, I only wore my toilet paper when I was home alone with my children. They thought it was... Read more →


Success, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Read more →

happy birthday stephanie

(Me and Stephie Pooh, 1985. A glorious day.) When you were born, everybody was smiling and you were crying. Live your life so that when you die, you're smiling and everyone around you is crying.- Old Indian saying 21 years ago today our world became richer. Stephanie Elise gushed painfully into our world at 7:05 in the morning. She weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces and had dark black hair. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I loved her with all my heart from the first moment I laid eyes on her. Soon after her birth I cross-stitched a poem entitled, Daughter. It read: "God never loved me in so sweet a way as when he brought you to me and said, Behold your Daughter." All the emotions that swelled in me were profoundly powerful. God's love for me suddenly became more real. My mother's love for me... Read more →

lifelong learner, i am

"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything." Laurence Sterne I have a number of interests. More than I can name. (Hannah making her 4th birthday cake, 2000) Since Rachael's first birthday, it's been a family tradition that the birthday girl decorates her own cake with only a little guidance from Mom. Well it so happens that the girls have bumped up against my own cake decorating knowledge so I can no longer help them develop new skills. This has been bugging me for a couple years. A few nights ago I went to Safeway and saw a help wanted sign in the bakery. I thought the following selfish, self-centered thought: "If I work here, they'll teach me to decorate cakes AND they'll pay me to learn." I came home and ran it past Gordon.... Read more →

mother teresa and tom fox

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~~ Mother Teresa Mother Theresa is my modern-day hero. I love a number of things Mother Teresa said. This particular quote I read today for the first time. It reminds me of how wonderful she was. The body of a peace-loving American activist was found in Iraq. Tom Fox died for what he believed was right. I admire that and want to be that committed. He wrote a paper before he went to Iraq saying: "But if Jesus and Gandhi are right, then I am asked to risk my life, and if I lose it, to be as... Read more →

growing older under mrs lindberg's tutelage

I just finished reading Anne Morrow Lindberg's book called Gift From the Sea. From her book, one would never know of her accomplishments. Married to Charles Lindberg, the famous aviator, I was surprised to learn through an internet search that she accompanied him on his historic flights. She too had a well-established career in science and technology. If I had these accomplishments to my benefit, you can be sure I would find a way to bring them into my book. I was impressed by her humility and her femininity. Her book, Gift From the Sea, (she wrote a number of books, but this one was her most well-known work) is a contemplative, slow-moving, thoughtful look at life and the cycles life brings. She explores different sea shells and draws lessons from those shells. It is definitely not a book for the easily bored or fast-paced reader. I read it twice.... Read more →

i'm in love

(Gordon and me, 1993) Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. -- C. S. Lewis Love doesn't just sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new. -- Ursula K. LeGuin The love we have in our youth is superficial compared to the love that an old man has for his old wife. -- Will Durant I woke this morning to my husband's valentines to all his ladies. Rachael, Deborah, Hannah, and I had our little gifts of chocolates and cards waiting for us on the kitchen counter. It's a delightful way to wake up. I'll take Hershey's Hugs and Kisses for breakfast any day. Gordon is a good husband, father and friend. I am very thankful for him. I appreciate his intelligence, his commitment to... Read more →

quotes of the day

God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn't come our way for no reason, and He seems especially efficient at using what we endure to mold our character. -- Frank Peretti I have had prayers answered--most strangely so sometimes--but I think our heavenly Father's loving-kindness has been even more evident in what He has refused me. -- Lewis Carroll There's nothing like a good crisis to increase my energy and remind me how much I need God. -- Anne Christian Buchanan Read more →

the sea

"Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choice-less as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea." Anne Morrow Lindbergh I read that a few days ago and I've been thinking about it. Just as I can't tell the sea what sea shell to bring me, I can't tell the day what to give me. I can't dictate sunshine and a warm breeze. I can't demand only good things come in the mail. I can't legislate that only pleasant things come my way today. But I can be receptive and open to whatever washes up on my beach of life. I can even view whatever washes up as a gift. I can greet each day with the attitude of expectation. I want to become more open to the gifts from the sea of life. Read more →

nature and the present

(My humble little garden, 2005. When I accepted that I'd probably never get a little farm, I adopted Bessie, my cow. As far as cows go, she's pretty low maintenance.) In 1875 John Muir asked "what is the human's part in the mountain's destiny?" I read that question last night and took a little bit of time to think about it. I remembered what Wordsworth said, "Let nature be your teacher," and Psalm 19, "The heavens tell of the glory of God." I suppose everyone could have a different answer for John Muir's question, but for me, the answer is simple. Nature can teach me about and point me to the glory of God. I very much desire to be a good student in God's classroom of nature. Annie Dillard wrote, "I have experienced the present purely through my senses." The "present" has much to offer. Right now, I'm at... Read more →

from my front porch

"Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there." Annie Dillard Mosquitoes are on their annual manhunt here in Alberta and even though the outdoors is so beautiful and inviting, I've been avoiding it to escape the wrath of these insects that I abhor. I have been an ardent whiner and complainer about mosquitoes for years. Last year, under the tutelage of St Francis of Assisi, I vowed to "embrace" mosquitoes. How does one embrace mosquitoes? For me it means that I stop whining and complaining about their existence. To accomplish this, I wear pants, socks, and long sleeves lots more than I have in the past. Less exposed skin equals fewer mosquito bites. It works! I'm bummed by my new dress code, but I'm enjoying the victory of accepting this tiny creature. (This is my... Read more →

Interesting News Quips

On CBC.Edmonton this week, I read about the tragic death of a young prostitute. The cause of her death hasn't yet been released, but her body was burned as was the patch of earth around her dead body. The last line of the news article was, "The police are calling her death suspicious." I was tempted to write a letter to the editor to say, "You reckon?" I also read an ironic piece of news. The largest abortion clinic in the city is closing its doors. It will reopen under the same staff as a different medical practice. Guess what it will be! A fertility clinic specializing in in-vitro fertilization. Isn't that an irony of ironies? "...only by journeying all the way to the river, where it swirls and rumbles and still carves its way through some of the oldest rocks on earth, can you fully appreciate the work of... Read more →


"May the outward and inward man be at one." Socrates "The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask." Anne Morrow Lindberg "More of us in America [and I add Canada] than anywhere else in the world have the luxury of choice between simplicity and complication of life. And for the most part, we, who could choose simplicity, choose complication..... But if one accidentally finds it (simplicity), one finds also the serenity it brings." Anne Morrow Lindberg "Ask how little, not how much, can I get along with. To say --is it necessary?--when I am tempted to add one more accumulation to my life." Anne Morrow Lindberg I love each of these quotes. I desire to be a person who chooses simplicity, to think how little can I get away with, rather... Read more →

family and movies

(Diane, me, Stacie, Mama, Michael, Daddy. 1980) I just got off the phone with my sister Stacie. She's been way too busy and I've missed our regular talks. We have a delightfully fun relationship. There's much to be said for sharing a family of origin. Families share a common style of communication, body language, insecurities, and even humor. My siblings and I do and say stuff regularly that would require an explanation to an outsider. I know other families are the same. Stacie and I share an idiosyncratic bond in that we often quote movies, and occasionally a book, to drive a point home. When we don't really get along with a person, "There's a wall." (The Emperor's New Groove). When someone gets what they deserve, "There's a price you pay for the life you choose." (The Godfather). When we are in circumstances that put us way out of our... Read more →


I'm still reading Walden and finding it challenging and thought provoking. Henry David Thoreau says: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach...I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so steadily and Spartan-like as to rout all that was not life... to drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms.... Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be 2 or 3, and not 100 or 1000." I like that. Read more →