Tribute.

Well friends, It’s been a while…longer than I’d like to admit, since I’ve written much of anything. Today has been the first day in a while that I’ve been able to properly gather my thoughts and share them with you all. I have been so preoccupied with life that up until now, I forgot just how much this outlet helps build my spirit and give me purpose…whether it’s writing it in my notes or writing it here, it brings me peace and helps me work through the emotions stirring in my perpetually overactive brain. For those that have been following my blog (and are still hopefully with me), you may remember that I wrote an entry on my stepfather George some time ago. I wrote of his courageous journey through cancer and shared his inspirational blog he kept which detailed his ups and downs through his long battle. It is with great difficulty, and I am so very sad to say, that on January 25, 2018, with myself, my sisters, and mother surrounding him, George passed away. I have grappled with the right way to say this and am still unsure I can ever find the proper words. It remains surreal, and maybe it will for a while. Grief works in mysterious ways, and seems to attach itself to many things. Day-to-day activities, music, and the moments when you are just desperately trying to get through your day without breaking down. Grief remains unseen and without notice. I’ve recently had many moments in inopportune places where I’ve needed to hide and just feel. Confusion, anger, sadness, acceptance…all emotions that I have felt through grieving the loss of someone so important in mine and my family’s life.

But…

All sadness aside, George has left behind a legacy, he created a bucket list foundation for adults who are terminal so that they can have a chance at experiencing a little bit of magic in their life. How amazing is that? While struggling with his own misfortune, he created a foundation that could help others attempt to improve theirs. He shared his beautiful writings with the world through his blog https://colontosemicolon.com and as a result has been an inspiration to others fighting serious illnesses, or for any curious minds who simply wanted a small glimpse into his life. I guess I can’t speak for others but I can say for certain that he changed my life, not to mention introduced me to some pretty kick ass music…and herein lies the reason I began writing this entry in the first place. I was on my way to the grocery store today when a Pink Floyd song came on the radio. Like I said, grief attaches itself to many things, and for me this is primarily music. George introduced me to Pink Floyd in my teen years and so, when this song came on the radio, it really hit me….but it also will forever remind me of him. I suppose it’s kind of special in a way, the fact that a person’s memory can be kept alive through music among many other things.

I have felt George’s presence the last while, the sunsets have been a little brighter, birds have flocked closely and seemingly deliberately and I truly believe that it is him reminding me and others that he is in a better place, eating cake, drinking a glass of laphroaig scotch and playing an intense game of scrabble. I can still hear his infectious laughter as he tells a story of his rebellious younger days or mid conversation with my fiancé who was also an important person in his life. They had a relationship that was so special and for the short period of time that him and I were apart, George reassured him how much he would always mean to him – something my fiancé shared with me recently and something that truly solidified their bond. In many ways they are similar and I believe part of George will always live on through him. When he joined my family he became a stepfather, proudly Grandpa George to my niece and nephew and most importantly, my mom’s soulmate. They shared the truest form of love you could imagine.

Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of him, of his bravery, smart wit and sense of humour, his advice, and love for his family. For now, my heart breaks to know that he is no longer in our lives, but I take comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain, and resting easy where he is meant to be.

In every sunset, in every familiar song, I will think of you ❤

– Amy

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” – Maya Angelou

In My Life, I’ve Loved Them All.

As I’m gearing up to celebrate my nephew Cohen’s 7th birthday celebration this weekend (Celebration #3! – the joys of my sister having multiple extended families!) I can’t help but feel a little bit emosh (typical Amy for those who know me…). Mostly because of Facebook memories reminding me how fast time has flown and how quickly he is growing up. Specifically, it reminded me of something that happened about 5 years ago to date. I sadly had to say goodbye to a pet that was my very best fur-friend and partner in crime. To cheer me up, my sister had filmed and sent to me a video of my nephew saying in his adorable 2-year-old voice “I love you Auntie Amy” …waterworks ensued…and it was just what I needed to hear to make my heart feel full again. Kids can so effortlessly make you feel better when you’re in a bind or having a rough time in general. To be honest, I can’t remember what life was even like before being an Aunt. I don’t have kids yet, but the feeling of unconditional love is real when you have nieces and nephews, so I imagine it will be tenfold when I have a family of my own.

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Cohen through the years…be still my heart ❤

Time really is so valuable. As much as I already feel this way, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of family and keeping them close to you, especially my relationship with my siblings. My sisters and I were always close as kids and despite the 5+ year age gap between us, we really made our time together count – even when I was (occasionally) the annoying little sister trailing behind them. We were adventure seekers, imaginative and lived our best childhood going anyplace our bikes could take us. Side note: Does anyone else love the scenes from ET where the kids are riding their bikes through the forest?? There’s just something about it that gets me feeling all nostalgic.

I like to think that I’m a sentimental person and due to that I guess you could say I’m a keeper of mementos. They’re reminders of a time in my life that was special and preserve the memories attached, at least for me and my forgetful brain. I try not to go overboard since I’ve been practicing minimalism, so most of what I have can fit in one box (perhaps on the larger side..). Possibly one of my best kept memories between myself and my sisters is a cassette tape in which we recorded what I would say was our adolescence in a nutshell. And yes you read that right, a cassette tape! Such a thing of the past…I have truly aged myself! We didn’t realize at the time that we were creating something that we would one day look back on and laugh hysterically over, we were just having fun. The three of us recently got tattoos to symbolize our sisterhood and it was a decision I’m certain I’ll never regret. We may not get to spend the time together we once did as kids, but the time we do share is always well spent. Also, I can confidently say that no one can appreciate and take pride in quoting classic movies quite like we can. 😉 “Keep the change, ya filthy animal” 

-Amy

Birds who flock together❤️Our Tattoos

We’re Going To Disneyland!

It’s booked! September 30th to October 5th to be exact, and I am no less excited than I was 17 years ago when I went with my family for the first time. When they say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, they surely weren’t kidding. I never met a Disney movie that I didn’t like, and if you haven’t either, then perhaps a trip there should be in your near future as well!

For as long as I can remember, I have been a Disney fiend. Being a 90s kid I was fortunate enough to be raised on all things Disney, and I think that’s what has attributed to the wild imagination that I have always had. This will be my 4th trip, and I have to say the most memorable was the one I was lucky enough to take with my niece and nephew a few years ago. Honestly, when you can witness the innocence and unfiltered excitement from a kid, it is quite simply the BEST! We went in the height of the Frozen craze, and my nephew Cohen who was 4 years old at the time, fell in love with Elsa. Prior to meeting her he broke down into tears because he was afraid she wouldn’t like him…this kid ❤ as if that could even be possible! He waited in line for over an hour to meet her and here’s the magical moment I was able to capture when he saw her for the first time 🙂

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I meaaaaaan..❤️

The first trip I took however, was many moons ago and was pretty epic… AND worth sharing! It was comparable to a National Lampoon Griswold movie including loads of bad luck and shenanigans but a happy ending nonetheless. I was 12 years old then, and rather than travelling by plane, my parents decided to drive our brand new 25 foot motor home down the coast to California – and to give you a visual, this included all SEVEN of us – myself, my two older sisters, their s/o’s and my parents. My dad was perhaps the most excited of all and upon being questioned where we were off to by the Border Guard, he quickly responded in THE most animated voice “We’re going to DISNEYLAND!!” I truly don’t think I can ever forget the tone of his voice in that moment, it was hysterical and still makes me laugh to imagine it.

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Disneyland circa 2000. Including a creepy brother-in-law lurking in the back 😉

The road trip was one for the books, stopping at sand dunes, seeing the Oregon Coast for the first time and having my dad teach me all about “sneaker waves”. It was running fairly smoothly until we discovered the faulty transmission and became stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere…but by some stroke of luck there was a gas station not much further down the road from where we were and we had a tow truck take us to the local repair shop. This hiccup slowed down our adventure a little but as always, we made the best of it. After 3 days of travel we finally made it to our destination at an RV park, where we would later discover was infested with ants..and wound up with an entire colony inside our motor home. I still cringe remembering the feeling of ants crawling on me in the night..granted the ant traps did end up working – thank the lord!

I can’t wait to make more memories on this next Disney adventure with some of my family and one of the most special parts of all, is that I finally get to experience this magic with my kid-at-heart boyfriend, whom I know will have just as much fun as me! Let the September 30th countdown begin 😀

-Amy

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“In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn and fairy tales come true.” – Walt Disney

 

 

Namast’ay Inside

Pluviophile: a lover of rain;someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Call me crazy, but I have always been a bit of a pluviophile, of course I love my sunny days most and the motivation they bring, but there’s something very calming about a rainy day. It might stem from growing up in a family that went camping all year round rain or shine. A little bit of rain never stopped us, even if it meant sitting by the campfire with oversized umbrellas roasting hotdogs. To most, this wouldn’t be appealing, but to me it was what built my childhood.

I don’t camp quite as much now, a few times in the summer if I’m lucky, but I still find the same comfort in the rain that I did during these times – only now it’s usually while looking at it through a window from my warm condo. When I find myself moving too quickly and not taking enough time to myself, the rain almost makes it ok to take a day off from the usual hustle and bustle. Maybe I shouldn’t see it this way, but it validates staying indoors, and focusing on my introverted pastimes ie: reading a book, shamelessly binge watching a Netflix series or writing like I am now. Here’s the thing, I don’t let the rain stop me from getting out and living my life by any means, but sometimes these guilt-free inside days are much needed for me to feel centered again. That being said, I am ready for sunshine to return, we are all lacking some serious vitamin D in Vancouver!

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to have a co-worker come in on her day off and put a few of us through a yoga session. We had limited time but were able to do a few Sun Salutations and it’s amazing what a difference it made to a day that had a bit of a rocky start. We left energized albeit very relaxed. This is why I love yoga so much. It serves as a form of meditation, lowers stress and anxiety and improves your sense of well-being. To some it’s a mode of improving flexibility, strength and health, while also exercising the mind. For me it is all of the above, but most importantly it is a way to cleanse my brain of the overload of thoughts I occasionally have and brings me peace of mind.

What motivates you and gets you through the day? Maybe it isn’t yoga, but it’s good to find something that brings positivity to your life and to set aside time for it. If you do decide to give yoga a try, don’t feel discouraged if it takes a little longer to work through some of the poses. Most people aren’t born with the kind of flexibility that it requires but you can work your way up to it.

And for all you dog loving yogi’s out there, here is an adorable frenchie working that cobra yoga pose 😉

-Amy

frenchie

Positive Vibes Attract Your Tribe

Sometimes I have to slow down, take a breather and have some time to myself and that time is now – self-care is so needed every once in a while! I haven’t written in quite some time and it is simply because life has been a bit busier these days. In the past little while things have been looking up…way up! The pieces to my puzzle are seemingly coming together and I’m truly in a good place, a place I didn’t anticipate being in just yet, and for that I am so happy and grateful for life’s recent events.

I feel very fortunate to have such supportive people in my life. It isn’t always the case for everyone though. Something I’ve learned a time or two before, is when you are in a good place and you’re truly happy, certain people aren’t always genuinely happy for you. Misery loves company perhaps? Something that I try to take away from situations like this is that it’s merely a reflection of their own insecurities and certainly has nothing to do with you. You just have to be sure to keep those close to you who value your happiness and root for you every step of the way. They’re the ones that deserve your time and energy. People will always talk, people will always have opinions and advice on how you should live, but you don’t have to listen, and you absolutely don’t have to let it affect your life. Maybe it’s the INFJ in me, but people’s opinions have affected me to some degree throughout my life. It is an extremely freeing feeling though, to no longer care and it is something I’ve been consciously doing.

My mom is quite the wordsmith and we both laugh our heads off at some of the things she can come up with on the fly, but she said something to me tonight that I wanted to share: “It’s funny how you can be in a terrible storm but all of a sudden the fog lifts, and in front of you there is a beautiful oasis and it’s just a wonderful sight” – true that mom 😉 and she is so right..I always remained hopeful that my experiences would all line up and make sense to me one day, that there was a reason for the occasional storm and I needed to embrace it because eventually the light would come through again. Well it did, it has been and continues to. Hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂

-Amy

PS here’s a lovely song I’ve had on repeat for days – seriously amazing ❤

The Space Between

For those that have been following me from the beginning of this blog, you’ll probably know that I previously mentioned being an auntie to two kiddos, a wonderfully brave, precocious 10-year-old girl Nevada, and an equally precocious and sweet 6-year-old boy Cohen.

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Photo credit goes to their mom and my sister 🙂 – how cute are they!?
Nevada has always been a performer and loves to sing, she recently auditioned for a talent show and was one of the 12 kids selected to perform. She will be singing Fight Song by Rachel Platten in front of her entire school….is this kid brave or what?! Now I realize that I may sound biased because I am her aunt, but she is AMAZING! She is so full of artistic and musical talent for a girl her age and never ceases to leave me in total awe. I really admire her courage because it’s something that I definitely struggled with when I was her age…public speaking – no thank you!! So needless to say, I am a pretty proud auntie right now.

As adults we could learn a great deal from kids, their ability to not take life too seriously and how they are so capable of living in the moment without looking so far into the future. Yes, with age comes added responsibility and our outlook on life changes when we’re more in touch with reality, but as we get older it seems like we forget about what we need right now. There is this need to focus so much on a destination, and reach for something in order to feel whole only to be disappointed and let down if we don’t get it. It’s difficult to be truly happy if you’re constantly looking ahead for something that you don’t have rather than enjoying where you currently are in your life.

It’s easy to look at the big picture and see this life that you envision for yourself. As a little girl I knew that one day I would want a family of my own – ideally my 4-year-old self planned on marrying Jordan Knight from New Kids On The Block or Johnny Depp but that didn’t pan out 😉 … I am really working on trusting the “journey” (I’ve watched way too many Bachelor episodes!), enjoying today and focusing on the blessings that have come my way recently. I used to get myself stuck in this space between where I currently was and where I wanted to be, but everything happens for a reason…maybe in order to discover that reason we have to just be. 🙂

-Amy

In the end, she became more than what she expected.
She became the journey,
and like all journeys, she did not end..
She just simply changed directions and kept going.

– R.M. Drake

TGIF!

This week was a short one with Family Day cutting into it on Monday – thank youuuu Canada! And thank you to this magnificent weather we’ve had throughout the week! The snow is melting and it’s starting to look and feel more and more like spring which is an absolute delight👌🏼I spent Family Day with my sister and her dog Piper, and the glorious weather we had warranted a walk along a dyke nearby. Sometimes it takes days like this to really make me appreciate where I live, and this was SUCH a beautiful day.


On another note, I don’t know about you guys, but most of my deepest thoughts occur at night – this excludes my moments of googling a symptom I have at the time and self diagnosing myself with some terrible disease that I clearly don’t have(a real problem!!). The other night I was laying in bed wide awake and got to thinking, mostly about my life and how far I have come in the last little while. I have been discovering new and older passions of mine while embracing my true self, but I also thought about some of the things I am lacking. Comparison is truly the thief of happiness and I think it’s easy to say to yourself “why not me?” but this is the quickest way to get yourself into a negative place…and I’m telling you, if you find you are falling into this pattern, do yourself a favour and dig yourself out of this hole. Choose to flourish and let your experiences shape you and consider them stepping-stones to becoming a better you. 9 times out of 10, whatever is causing you to feel this way probably won’t matter so much a year from now. Be proud of the progress and while it may be easier said than done, try to trust that everything happens for a reason and look for that silver-lining 🙂

This is somewhat of a cliché overused phrase but one that always reigns true..the grass is never greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. Manblog-pics-1200x675-greener-grassy of us search for an ideal life that is usually pretty unrealistic, rather than embracing what we have and allowing it to grow. I think one of the reasons for this is because we live in a world that is so consumed by social media and it can quickly cause a lot of self-doubt and comparison. But what’s important to know is that what is portrayed on social media isn’t often a true depiction of a person’s life even if we perceive it that way. We tend to be very selective in what we share with the world, and rightfully so, but each and every one of us struggle, there’s no denying that, even if the struggles aren’t what we advertise.

I decided to make a list of some things that I am currently grateful for, and I am going to make a point to do this more often. I recommend you guys do the same if you feel up to it 😀

1. My family, whom I may not get to spend as much time with as I’d like, but don’t love any less because of it
2. My health
3. My friends who have become family
4. Grandma’s shortbread
5. Yoga and the little studio I’ve found that I absolutely love
6. All the bunnies and puppies of the world
7. And last, but certainly not least, discovering this outlet to spill my thoughts into, which I may still be a little rusty with, but love none-the-less! 🙂

Till next time 🙂

-Amy