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

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Life As I Know It (for the time being..)

Writer’s block can be a real jerk am I right?? Life has also been exceedingly busy lately, and it’s made it more difficult to take time to dedicate toward my blog – may be a crappy excuse, but it’s the one I’ve got! This year has been a rollercoaster, and right now I feel like I may be at the peak, I got engaged on my Disney vacation(doesn’t get much more magical than that!) so of course I am all twitterpated and distracted – BUT! A friend of mine said I have an excuse to be for at least a solid year now, so I figure I can relish in it for the time being 😉 …and so perhaps life is no longer feeling like a rollercoaster but more so a smooth sailing ride onward and upward with some bumps here and there along the way – there goes my mother’s words again…

I’ve realized that the bulk of my earlier 20s were essentially a part two to my teenage years, maybe this is normal since they’re still somewhat attached…but ohh the melodramatics and the insecurities, and the feeling that your youth is passing you by when you haven’t even come CLOSE to the much greater moments you’ll soon have …of course this is something I can laugh about now but I really didn’t have a clue then. I thought I knew it all, and yet I still had and continue to have so much to learn. This year has truly put new meaning into the expression “this too shall pass”. If it’s taught me anything, it’s to not be too discouraged when you’re at a lower point in your life, because while it may seem impossibly difficult to see that life could turn around, it is strengthening you, and it is helping you become the person you’re supposed to be by testing you in the more challenging moments.

I am privileged to have not had life deal me the cards that some others have been dealt. I really am fortunate and I know that, I also know that each of us have our own misfortunes and we are all entitled to feel emotions no matter how minor they may seem. But then putting things into perspective comes in, and it is always important to consider. There has been an awful lot of tragedy happening in our world as of late, and sometimes it makes me think twice about the negative energy I’m putting toward situations and just how much time can be wasted in doing so, especially over things that in actuality are pretty minor. I am an over thinker, a worrier and I have been known to dwell longer than I should, but I watched a video that was circulating social media recently; I listened to how powerful the words were, and how they posed as a reminder to myself and many others to not allow hatred and evil to overcome us, to instead focus on kindness and unity. It sounds so simple and that’s because it is. Something I’ve realized is that a lot of what each of us have in common is who/what we don’t like, what irritates us and grinds our gears etc. We continue to put more and more negative energy into the world by doing this and feeding into “it”, until it becomes so strong and powerful that we forget about what we are really here for, and what our purpose is. None of us were born prejudice or hateful, it is learned behaviour, and it is behaviour that unfortunately may always exist. That’s not to say that I think we can all float through life without falling short at times, but this video that I watched made me realize how we all have the ability to change and make a difference and to turn our attention to what is more important. Something I will always believe in and preach is love and kindness because it’s simple, it’s effective, and it makes a positive impact on the world around you. Perhaps our world will never be a judge-free zone, but I can say that I will try my best to make a difference if I have the ability to, and I encourage everyone to do the same. If we’re able to have a voice that can be heard, why not use it?

– Amy

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Venice Beach a week ago…missing this beautiful place today ❤

Do Everything With Good Intentions

What drives you to be the best version of yourself and how do you see yourself getting there? Do you worry about outsider’s opinions and judgment or doubt your own capabilities?

If you do tend to gravitate toward worrying and doubting yourself, then take it from someone who has and at times continues to care a little too much sometimes (curse of the INFJ in me) and just focus on your intentions. If you have decided to delve into something that brought you joy in some type of way, then does it really matter what anyone else may think or say? Gonna go with a hard NO on this one guys! Most of us are on different paths and won’t always understand another person’s for lack of a better word “journey” …and we really don’t need to; it’s not something that needs to be understood. I’ve opened myself up to this outlet for my thoughts in hopes that it may help someone else who could be experiencing something similar, and this is what has driven me. I have an inherent passion for helping people and as much as I tend to ramble I also am a big believer in unfiltered points of view. I prefer to discuss topics on this blog authentically without second guessing myself but I can also respect that this isn’t everyone’s preference. Without trying to sound too repetitive, put your energy into creating your own path instead of judging another’s.

Something I’ve had to learn is not to wait for praise in order to feel like you’ve accomplished something. I have been so lucky to always have a support system but I know it’s not always the case for everyone. As long as you feel that you’re doing something that matters to you then pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward. It is great to have encouragement, but it can’t always be a requirement in your personal growth. Maybe this is why some people love inspirational quotes so much, and share them on social media. Words can resonate with you and mean something when you aren’t used to hearing them yourself. If you can use relatable positive quotes to your benefit rather than those with negative passive aggressive connotations then I say press on! As long as it’s for the right reasons and if it‘s purpose is to positively enrich your life and others.

But I digress!

Sometimes we all need a little push, if you don’t have someone in your life to help you out then I hope you can find the courage within yourself to go after what you want in life and make it happen. A lot of our goals are so attainable, just takes the decision to want it enough to try.

– Amy

….and because it’s Monday and Frankie the Frenchie agrees that Mondays are hard, here’s some cuteness to get you through the rest of your day! ☺18699780_10156122260596102_4093546845355822388_n

 

Life lessons I’ve learned in my (almost) 30 years

IMG_4702The big 3-0 is quickly approaching. Might not sound very daunting to most people but it does to this 29 year old…maybe it’s that it’s such a milestone age? I don’t know, but I do still get ID’d wherever I go – bless you kind souls who think I’m significantly younger than I am – I’ll take it! And I will admit, I have found life hasn’t always worked out the way I may have anticipated when I was younger. When I was a little too naive to know what my future could really hold, and you know what? That’s ok, because I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that life really is all about timing. My 20s have been years to educate myself, to discover my true passions, to grow up and find my independence. I really consider this decade of my life to be a decade of learning and making mistakes that I would one day learn were crucial to shaping me into the person I am today – a person who continues to grow and make mistakes, but maybe also a person who understands and accepts them a little more so now than I did before.

I had my first dog, my first true heartbreak which wouldn’t be the last, I bought my very own car and apartment on my own, and I also found love – the kind of love that I didn’t think I’d ever find and am lucky enough to have. So many firsts, so many experiences which were so foreign to me at the time. I remember wondering if life could get any better at times. If only I could tell my younger self that it would and to hang in there; that I would one day understand why some things didn’t always work out, and the reasons for the struggles.

Soon I’ll be bidding adieu to my 20s. I might check the rear view a couple of times on my way out, but I know that I am ready for this next decade of my life because it’s bound to be even better than the last. So now without further ado, 30 lessons I’ve learned in (almost) 😉 30 years:

1. Do not under any circumstance change who you are to conform to society

2. Never lose yourself in another individual

3. Be true to yourself even if it means removing toxic people from your life

4. Always listen to your gut. It’s usually the keeper of your truest feelings

5. Dance in your kitchen every once in a while, it’s good for the soul. This is especially effective if you have the song Green Light by Lorde playing in the background

6. Sing it loud and sing it proud

7. People aren’t always meant to stay in your life, but they were there when they needed to be

8. Even if life gets hectic, make time for those you love

9. Be present

10. Be you and be a little wild sometimes if necessary

11. Taylor swift really can get you through many of life’s tough situations. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

12. Create a life you will love

13. Get a dog

14. Find your passion and don’t forget to make time for it

15. Decluttering your space will help declutter your mind

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff

17. Be yourself unapologetically

18. Remember you are human

19. It’s ok to admit you are wrong and have a little humility

20. Don’t take yourself too seriously

21. Make moves that will scare you, because they will enrich your life

22. Be fearless

23. Realize how beautiful life is and cherish it in whatever way you can

24. Keep your faith in humanity. Even when we disappoint ourselves and others, we can pull through for each other in tough times

25. Sometimes the best moments in life don’t involve technology – unplug yourself from it or you might miss them

26. Don’t leave anything unsaid, it’s better to say how you feel than live with regret

27. Cherish your family and friends and tell them you love them

28. If you feel alone, remember you aren’t. There are people who care about you even if you are so consumed in your thoughts that you don’t realize it at the time

29. Live and learn and understand that things will get better, your heart will heal, you will be ok

30. Don’t regret anything you do or say because in that moment you did the best you could for yourself

Have a great weekend all! 🙂

-Amy

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

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

Thursday Thoughts.

So we have this one life, and it can change so quickly and drastically from circumstances you experience. It really puts things into perspective when you witness someone you love suffer without being able to offer anything but your unconditional love and support. My stepfather George, is currently fighting a battle with stage 4 cancer…and as expected it hasn’t been an easy road. He has undergone several complicated procedures, and has been fighting so incredibly hard the last year and a half. He continues to fight through the bouts of chemo and radiation treatments that prove to be both mentally and physically exhausting along with debilitating surgeries. One thing that is so inspiring about George though, is that despite the crippling effects cancer has had on him, he has not lost his sense of humour, nor his will to face this battle head on as best as he can. At the beginning of it all, he decided to start writing a blog dedicated to his journey with this very difficult disease in hopes to reach out to others who are suffering or for those that want to simply follow along and learn more about it. And what better outlet for him to have as George is truly one of the best storytellers I know…just ask him about the “hamburger” he had from a rural town in Australia 😉

George has yet to face his obstacles alone and has the support of his family and friends to give him all the positive energy and strength they possibly can. For those of you that are interested in reading his blog, feel free to take a look. I can guarantee you will find it inspiring even if you have yet to be affected by cancer in one way or another.

https://colontosemicolon.com

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I snagged this shot of an unsuspecting George 🙂
Sometimes as humans we take things for granted or sweat the small stuff far too often. I am still battling with this one and try to work at it a bit more everyday. Each of us struggle with our own personal woes but when do we learn that sometimes it is simply not worth the mental anguish that all too often consumes our minds? When do we decide to stop putting negative energy into moments we’ll never get to do over. We need to remember to be grateful, and honour this life of ours and not take anything for granted. Life can’t always be peachy but it can also be pretty great once we understand how powerful our thoughts and outlook on life can be on our existence. I think we are at our best and happiest when we realize that everything we need is what we already have. Happiness isn’t tangible, it’s a mindset, and that is something each and every one of us have the potential to hold.

-Amy

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be. – The Beatles