Celebrate the Human Spirit

For the past few days, many of us have been holding our breath as we have been watching the coverage of the rescue attempt of 12 boys & their coach from a cave in Thailand.

After 18 days, thankfully & miraculously, all 13 have now been safely brought to the surface through the efforts of thousands of volunteers.

As this international team of volunteers assembled, gathering their expertise to work towards a common effort, it struck me that if this is not an example of how we can work together as human beings collectively towards a positive outcome, I don’t know what is.

We can & should learn from this experience.

Regardless of where we come from, what religion we practice, what colour our skin is or what culture we happen to immerse ourselves in, if we all work together as human beings, what we can accomplish is nothing short of miraculous.

I encourage you to give some thought to this & transfer those thoughts in a positive way as you go about your day.

Celebrate the human spirit!

Hugs,

L❤

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When Life Throws Us a Curve Ball

Despite our best intentions to find balance in our lives,  sometimes life throws us a curve ball we didn’t see coming.

A wild pitch that can throw us off kilter, causing us to dig deep within our ourselves to find the courage to face that challenge, rather than giving in to the urge to duck & run.

With the support of family & friends, we attempt to gather the necessary equipment to help us cope.  To find the strength to continue, to work towards resetting our balance so that we can once again stand upright & get back into the game.

None of us are immune to having curve balls thrown our way, I have received my share of them this past year.  Thankfully, I am blessed with a wonderful support team who keeps tossing equipment into my bag.

I urge you to make yourself part of someone’s support team.  Offer them whatever equipment they might need to reset their balance.  In doing so, it may mean the difference between them falling face first into the dirt or having the ability to dust themselves off & try again.

Hugs,

L💛

 

 

 

 

 

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Meeting the Man in Red

Despite his hearty HOHOHO & promises of treats & toys to be left under the tree, many a child can be found desperately trying to escape the lap of the bearded jolly old Saint Nick all decked out in his red suit & jingling bells!

And so when the big man himself offered to take time out of his busy schedule to drop by our home for a personal visit with our wee little LAM this past weekend,  we welcomed the opportunity for her to meet him for the very first time.

Our neighbour & friend, who happens to have a very close & personal connection with the man in the red suit, came through our front door & headed upstairs to work his magic in calling Saint Nick to appear.

As LAM heard the jingling of bells coming down the stairs, she stood mesmerized as Santa appeared.

Are those bells I hear?

To see the wonder in the eyes of a young child is like being gifted a little bit of magic.

Who is that man in the red suit coming down the stairs?

So as not to overwhelm LAM, Santa crouched down & quietly introduced himself as she stood checking him out.

First introductions.

He even offered up his jingle bells to play with.

Perhaps if you rang my jingle bells, I would appear a little less intimidating.

Feeling slightly resistant LAM did her best to sit in his lap & put a smile on her face.

Hurry up & take a picture!

Before long, she decided she had sat in his lap long enough & planned her escape route.

Okay, I’m out!

Once on the floor, she determined Santa was much less scary with Mom & Dad by her side.

Smiles all around with Mom & Dad

It’s funny how Santa can bring out the child in all of us, inviting children of all ages to sit a moment & recall a time we dreamed of he & his team of reindeer magically flying through the night to deliver a thing or two from our wish list.

Santa brings smiling faces to adult children too!

I think Santa may have been tickling me!

Thank you to our dear friend aka Santa, for not only taking the time out of your very busy schedule to stop in to meet our little LAM, but for all of the children over the years you have gently & wholeheartedly embraced.

Hoping you & yours find a little magic in the season with the ones you love.

Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year!

Hugs,

L❤️🎄

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Memories of Africa

It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since my daughter & I set out on an incredible adventure together; a dream we had shared for a number of years to travel to Africa became a reality.

Watching the sun go down on the Shamwari reserve.

I am not certain what was more precious, the adventure itself or the opportunity to spend 2 glorious weeks exploring another part of the world with my grown daughter.  Such precious time together & a journey I shall hold very close to my heart for years to come.

Reflecting back on our pictures, it struck me that we were not the only family members sharing this journey together.

Everywhere we looked when we were on safari, we witnessed the strong connection of family.  The unbreakable bond formed between loved ones.  Nurturing our young, protecting each other from harm, & sharing our love for those we hold so dear.

Mama looks like she might be asking to tag out while her babies share a romp with her in the grass.

Finally, a little quiet time.

This proud papa sat quietly in the grass, looking magnificent & fearless, as we came around the corner.

Yup, they’re over that way!

Mama, on the other hand, quickly shooed her cubs into the bush for protection.

Can you spot one of the curious cubs checking us out?

After tolerating our presence to take a few pictures & have a look at his beautiful family, Dad gave us an indication that perhaps it was time for us to move along.

That’s close enough!

Watching as a herd of elephants emerge from the bush, our ranger asked us to just sit quiet as this matriarch passed by to check us out.   My daughter could not believe her eyes as this beautiful creature strode alongside our vehicle, so close she could have simply reached our & ran her hand from tip to toe. Respecting the strict guidelines of not interfering with the wildlife on Shamwari, she did not!

You can see how close she was based on the mirror or our vehicle

It wasn’t long before this little one came trotting into view, assured by his elder that we posed no threat to the herd as they passed through.

Wait for me!

This was the second time we had the good fortune of coming across this mother & son. Mom appears to be enjoying every single one of her son’s kisses.

I love you Mom!

Even the zebras were feeling the love that day.  This guy looks like he has fallen asleep as his friends lovingly groomed each other.

I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine.

For as long as I live, I will never forget this remarkable experience with my daughter.

I think it’s time we starting dreaming of another, don’t you?

Hugs,

L💛

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A Little Snow on the Mountain

Although I have visited the Western area of Canada a few times, I have not had the opportunity to hike in the mountains.

On a recent visit with a very dear friend of mine, I had put in a request that perhaps we could fit this in to our itinerary, weather permitting.

With the sun shining & the promise of a glorious day, we packed up our vehicle & ventured off to to beautiful Lake Louise.

With its stunning backdrop of the mountains, its pristine glacier lake & the gorgeous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it seemed a perfect place to spend the day together.

This jaw dropping view never disappoints

Proper boots, poles & supplies meant we were good to go!

Because of the amount of snow that had fallen in the mountains this past year, we thought it wise to check in with Parks Canada to ensure it was safe to head out on a hike.

Confirming we had all of the proper gear, our Canada Parks representative assured us that, although there was a little bit of snow up on the mountain, we had on proper attire & so, were good to go.

Making our way along the lake, the view is incredible & the colour of the water will take your breath away.

As we starting heading towards the trail, we weren’t very far along when we came across this sign.

It seems our friend from Parks Canada didn’t get the memo!

After speaking to a few hikers coming back down from the trail, we decided to ignore the warning & take our chances!

Such daredevils we are!

It wasn’t long before we came across the first evidence of a recent avalanche.  Although a little tricky to maneuver, the smell from the freshly fallen trees was heavenly!

The power of an avalanche. Hopefully our bodies would not look like this at the end of our hike!

The snow definitely made for some challenging hiking, sometimes feeling like we should have included our snowshoes with our gear, but we were not going to let a little snow stop us form enjoying this spectacular day!

After trekking for awhile, we sought out a little spot for lunch, each finding a rock sticking out of the snow to sit our butts on to as not to get soaked.  When in Rome!

It may have not been the most comfortable of seats but the view sure was spectacular!

This looks like a nice spot for lunch.

We came across this little guy when I put my pack down to take a few pictures.  He was determined to get into my pack but there are strict rules about not feeding the wildlife in the national parks which sadly for him, we chose to abide by.

I must admit, he was hard to resist!

 

After enjoying a yummy packed lunch, we continued trekking further up the mountain, finding the “little bit of snow” increasing as we climbed.

Yodel-ay-hee-hoo!

At times, it seemed the trail was non-existent but we managed to find little glimpses here & there.  You’ll notice the change in attire from the photo above to the one below.  Off in the distance, it looked like a storm was coming in so we chose to layer up a bit rather than get caught on the side of the mountain in a shorts in a snowstorm!

Where is the trail?

Thankfully the storm blew off in another direction so we decided to take a break to shed a few layers & enjoy a little champagne.

As we sat sipping our champagne & talking about how incredibly grateful we felt to share this experience together, we heard rumblings off in the distance.  You can imagine the look between us!

Thinking about that warning sign (we ignored), we agreed if we were to buried in snow, this appeared to be a beautiful spot to do so!

We were relieved, none the less, when the snow coming down the mountain was a little further away from where we were sitting.

Snow coming off the mountain in the distance

Taking this as our cue, we thought it best to pack up & start making our way back down the mountain.

Can you spot the Chateau off in the distance?

The Chateau coming back in to view.

Safe & sound at the bottom of the mountain.

What an incredible day spent with an amazing friend.  Lake Louise was already a very special place for the two of us, this hike only made it more so!  Perhaps next time we’ll try rock climbing!

Have you ever found yourself in challenging hiking conditions?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Hugs,

L💛

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Accumulated Baggage

baggage.quoteAccumulated baggage.

The stuff of life that stays packed in our cases, like the outfit we took on a trip, but never wore.

Some of us only accumulate a small carry-on, while others tip the scales with the weight of our baggage.

The key in lightening our load seems to be in how we deal with that baggage as we move forward in life.

Do we continue to heave more weight into our bags or do we make some attempt at unpacking it along the way.

To discard those things that no longer have the same hold on us.

I encourage you to purge that baggage.

To let go of the things that no longer matter, to find forgiveness for the people who may have disappointed us along the way & to seek help & guidance for those items that may weigh a little heavier on our hearts.

Imagine how much lighter we would feel to let go of some of that accumulation.

Free to continue our life journey without all of that heaviness weighing us down.

Hugs,

L❤️

 

 

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Love the Life You’re In

Despite our best efforts to embrace each & every day, some days can be more difficult than others, in seeking gratitude for the life we have been given.

To love the life we are in.

In a world where we are inundated daily with images of people seemingly living much richer, happier & fuller lives, it is easy to fall into the mindset that we are somehow missing out.

But the truth is that challenges come to all of us in some shape or form.

Life is not perfect.  For anyone.

Nor does it last forever.

Recently, I have sadly been reminded once again, of how very precious each & every day we are given in life is.

How one moment we appear to have an infinite number of days to embrace the dreams we hope to fulfill, only to suddenly have that option taken from us.

How important it is to to spend time with the ones we love, to share with them how much richer our lives are for having had them in it.

How we must grab hold of not only the opportunities presented to us, but to find a way to seek the ones we so hope to attain.

I encourage you to be present in the life you have been gifted, for however long you are meant to be here on this earth.

Whether it is full of everything you envisioned or not, squeeze the life out of every moment.

Embrace it & find joy in it.

Love the Life You’re In.

Hugs,

L❤️

 

 

 

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Mom’s the Word❤️

 When I began this blog 4 years ago, this was one of the first posts I wrote. As we approach Mother’s Day this weekend, I thought it was worth a re-post with a few updates.  

May 6, 2013:

We don’t need a calendar to know it’s Mother’s Day this weekend. The media have been attempting to sell us on Mother’s Day pretty much since the Easter Bunny dropped his basket of treasures and retreated back to the safety of the woods for another year.

The media suggests that we need to buy that special something in order to demonstrate how much we love our Mom. From cards to flowers, gift cards to diamonds, the sky’s the limit.

On my drive into work this morning I heard an ad claiming that by buying your Mom a diamond necklace, she will know how much she is loved.  In their words, “it will be a daily reminder close to her heart of her children’s love”.

What an utter load of nonsense. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against diamonds, but I certainly don’t need my children to buy them for me to be convinced of their love. (insert a sigh of relief from my children here)

I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure most mothers don’t need diamonds to be convinced their children love them.  A simple hug will do. Regardless of how old your children are, there is no feeling in the world that compares to your children wrapping their arms around you and saying “I love you Mom”.

I am just one mother, but I am happy to share my perspective for all of you racking your brains this week, trying to figure out what to do or get for your mother on Sunday.

The answer is simple.  Give her the gift of time.  

Time means different things to mothers depending on what stage of being a mom you are at.

Early days of motherhood with my 2 year old son & brand new daughter 💛.

When I was a young mom, there could have been no greater gift than someone giving me some “me” time.

When you are a young mom, you rarely have a moment to yourself, spending most of your waking hours & sometimes your night time hours, tending to your children.

To gift a young mom an hour or two to call their very own, is like being given a little piece of heaven.

Alternatively, for us “older” moms, time with our children has taken on a whole new meaning; there never seems to be enough time spent with our grown children.

I have two beautiful grown children, each with a wonderful spouse & now a precious granddaughter.  There is nothing I treasure more, than just having the opportunity to spend time with them.

Me & LAM checking out a micro brewery. I think she likes this one!

Celebrating your Mom should not just take place on a Sunday in May.

Our moms deserve to be showered with love throughout the year, finding ways to express our appreciation for everything they have done & continue to do for us.

Their love is not one to be celebrated in a single day.

I would ask you to pause for just a moment or two & think about what your Mom has meant in your life.

I invite you to ask any person who no longer has their mom, what they miss most about her.

I guarantee you it won’t be about how a “mother’s day” was spent with her.

A vintage shot of me showing my Mom some love!

Most will tell you how much they miss their mom.

How they long to hear her voice & her laughter, how they miss her unwavering support & her guidance, or perhaps her never-ending sense of when you just need a Mom hug to make the stresses of life melt away.

No diamonds involved.

So I encourage you to stop fretting about some material bobble to present to your Mom on Sunday. Trust me when I tell you, the most beautiful gift you can share with your mother, is simply the gift of your time .

Take a moment to visit, to call & try the words, “Thanks Mom, I love you!”

The only diamonds you will see will be the ones sparkling in her eyes due to the words spoken by her children who taught her how to be a Mom.

Wishing you a beautiful Mother’s Day.

Hugs,

L❤️

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Hearts Alone

When I met my husband’s family many years ago, I learned very quickly that they were a card playing family.  Euchre was & is their game of choice.

Rather stunned to hear I didn’t know how to play, his grandfather half jokingly, but rather sternly pointed out that if I was going to be part of the family, I had better learn how to play euchre.

And so I did.

As a shy, non card playing 20-year-old, it was rather intimidating to sit & learn the game with this group. They were & still are a family who are very vocal in their card playing shenanigans.

It comes as no surprise then, that our children were taught from a very young age.  Playing euchre in this family is just a given.  At pretty much every family function over the years, the cards come out, sometimes spanning 4 generations at the table.

LAM’s Daddy at the table with his Great Grandma, his Grandpa, his Auntie & his Dad.

And so it seems only natural our wee LAM is next in line to learn.  As I sat watching her in her Grandpa’s lap, cards in hand, I couldn’t help but think of the number of times she too, will find herself around the table with family, discovering the game her Great, Great Grandfather taught me how to play all those years ago.

I am sure he would be absolutely chuffed to bits to know that despite his absence, his legacy lives on as we continue to share the tradition he so loved with his family.

Holy Crap Grandpa, “I think we’ve got Hearts Alone”!

Hugs,

L/Grandma L😘❤

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Going on Safari-1st drive out

There can be no doubt that the highlight of our trip to South Africa was our safari experience.

That is not to diminish the beauty of the the other areas we explored but to come face to face with with the beings who freely roam the reserve, is an opportunity of a lifetime & one we will never forget.

Shamwari provided us with an up close & personal experience, often finding ourselves within such close proximity, we could have reached out & touched the animals we were viewing.

We did not, for one of the things we loved about Shamwari was the very strict guidelines with respect to protection of flora & fauna on the reserve.

As we set out for our first game drive, we were met with a fairly substantial downpour of rain.  These are the kind of unpredictable moments in travel where you can either allow the situation to cause you stress or you can opt to just go with it.

K & I exchanged a mutual shrug of the shoulders, a kind of an “oh well, we’re going to get wet” look & added a few more layers.  We were in Africa afterall, living out a dream we had dreamed of for some time.  No amount of rain was going to dampen our spirits.

We had barely made it out of the drive before seeing some giraffes loping across the road. They are such interesting creatures to watch, almost dinosaur like in their size.

Clouds rolling in.

Clouds rolling in.

Love how this giraffe looked against the darkening sky.

Love how this giraffe looked against the darkening sky.

Moving further into the reserve, we kept our eyes peeled for any wildlife. Clearly our ranger was much more adept at doing this than we were as we would have passed right by this beautiful creature without even realizing she was there!

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At the outset of a safari experience, guests are given a run down of dos & don’ts, both for the protection of the people in the vehicle, but also for the protection of the animals who call Shamwari home.  One of those instructions was to try to refrain from gasping or shouting when spotting an animal, thus sending them fleeing in fright. This can prove more challenging than one would think.

It was difficult to suppress startles of surprise as we rounded the corner & came to a halting stop to allow our friends to cross.

Giving our friends, the white rhinos, the right of way.

Giving our friends, the white rhinos, the right of way.

Oh, hey!

Oh, hey!

Receiving word through the radio from a fellow ranger of a sighting of the eldest male lion on the reserve, we opted to make our way to that area in the hopes of getting a glimpse of this beautiful guy.

It surprised me how camoflauged he was, sitting contently in the rain.   With his colouring, he quite easily blended into his surroundings, seeming very uninterested in us as we approached.

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Having a snooze in the rain

It was only when he gave his mane a good shake that he really took any notice of us at all, most likely because we were interupting his nap!

After giving his mane a shake.

After giving his mane a shake.

Moving along, we ran into these two, leisurely grazing on the land.  Mom & baby went about their grazing, as we sat quietly taking in their movement, giving us an opportunity to snap a few pictures, before they moved on.

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I’m coming Mama!

Squeals of delight were difficult to control when we came across this baby giraffe.  Our ranger estimated him to be not more than a few months old as he still had his umbilical cord hanging from him.  If you look closely, you may be able to spot it in the 2nd picture.

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Standing with Mama gives you a little better idea of his size.

Imagine our surprise when we came upon this rear end, quietly lolling along the road! Elephants are such fascinating creatures to observe.  It was surprising to learn how very quiet they are as they move through the bush.  With the exception of the snapping & cracking of branches, one would never know they were there.

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Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly see more than we had seen that evening, we had one last sighting before heading back.

If my memory serves me correctly, I believe these two cheetahs were mother & son.

There are simply no words to describe the feeling of coming face to face with any one of the animals we came across that first night.  To have the opportunity to sit quietly & observe them in their natural habitat truly left us in awe & at times, absolutely speechless.

Hugs,

L💛

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