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

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 ❤

You Belong Among The Wildflowers

Have you ever experienced something so wild that it was sure to be fate because there just couldn’t be an explanation for how it could possibly happen to you? Me too.💁🏼

Specifically this past weekend. The bf and I went to Seattle to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with The Lumineers as the opening act – our personal fave. And the entire experience was nothing short of magical. Let me tell you why!

The concert was at Seattle’s own Safeco Field and can I just say that this was the most EPIC venue – aside from The Gorge amphitheater – that I’ve ever been to. We were among 40,000 people and it was surreal to hear just about all 40,000 of us sing Free Fallin’ in unison. I’m telling you: pure magic. But that’s not how it began…dun dun dunnn…

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Pre-concert photo – before we knew of the chaos we’d be in for…

We arrived at a time we thought might be early enough…spoiler alert: it was NOT! The lineups were like nothing I’d ever seen. I’d say most of said 40,000 people were in line with us at this very moment. I would later find out that security were performing some new methods which caused the major delay getting in. Both of us were worried and came to terms with the notion that we would likely miss the opening act entirely…disappointment ensued….but….by a stroke of luck we finally made it in.

At this point it was 8:00 and the Lumineers came on stage at 7:30. We knew we had missed a few songs but hoped we would at least make it for some of our favourites. Once we made it passed security, Ramsey took my hand and we raced as fast as my ankle boots could take me – impressively fast might I add – up many stairs and through crowds of people to discover we were just in time for the next song. We were beyond thrilled! And this next song that we had arrived just in time for just so happened to be it…the one…the one I’ve proclaimed to be ours. I can’t begin to express the sappy typical-emotional-Amy feelings that followed. Many months of anticipation and excitement led to this moment and we hoped for nothing more than to be able to hear one of our favourite bands play this particular song. It proved to be one of my favourite moments we’ve ever had together.

The concert was nothing short of incredible and I’m so grateful to have been able to experience it with my person. I gotta say, I really do live for moments like this with people that mean so much to me.

That’s what it’s all about ❤️

-Amy

PS – couldn’t end this one off without a Tom Petty classic:

 

Renovations and Revelations

Well, on this beauty of a Tuesday morning, excluding one carpet installation nightmare, (another entry in itself!) I’ve realized how much I’ve neglected this blog lately. We are already halfway through the last month of summer, and it has made me aware of what little time I actually have to get sh** done and still make time to see my friends and family. My boyfriend and I are currently in the middle of renovations in order to list our condo. We are ready for a new home, a more spacious home, a home which allows us to house his not-so-small minion collection and my art supplies – pushing 30 but still children at heart! I am finally on holidays and am happy to have some downtime, because aside from the renovations, this downtime has also brought new revelations!

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Let me tell you, I’ve battled with this for quite some time. Learning to accept that I cannot change another person’s behaviour hasn’t always been easy. What I’ve learned is that it’s not up to me or anyone else to convince someone that their behaviour is toxic or wrong. You can voice your feelings, but ultimately it’s for them to decide. If it’s not something they can recognize then you must swallow your pride and move on because from that point forward it is out of your control. Difficult to adjust to as it may be, focus on what you can change, that being your response, your attitude and possibly how you interact with others in the future.

But let’s be honest, we’ve probably all had life experiences that have left us feeling bitter with negative thoughts and as such said things we maybe wished we hadn’t… “foot in mouth disease” as my mom calls it. It’s a real thing folks! If I can leave you with one piece of advice today it would be to be careful with your words, sometimes having a filter is important in situations, and sometimes not, but just be mindful of the situation you’re in and trust your gut – if it feels wrong, it probably is. Allowing yourself time to think before you respond can save you from grief later on too. I’ve come to the realization that it does not serve me or anyone else when so much negative energy is put out into the world. And I know I tend to preach a lot about positivity but I also can recognize when it’s perfectly ok to have an off-day. I think it’s just important to remember to bounce back from it. It’s really tough to live a peaceful life when you have unresolved feelings and are dwelling on things you have no control over.

 

Be Grateful. Be Present. Be Kind. 🙂

– Amy

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

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