We all need a little lovin’ sometimes!

Those of you who know me well are highly aware of my “peace, love and happiness” hippy nature; the following is a testimony of this fact…

As I was going about my crazy-busy daily business yesterday, I stopped to ask myself what I could do this year to “give back”; I was struggling to find something new and out-of-the-ordinary when I remembered the Free Hugs Campaign.

I stumbled upon a few “Free Hugs” videos a few years ago, and they’ve left quite the mark on me. Juan Mann started this campaign when he needed a hug the most, in an attempt to reach out to humanity. I welcome you to read the full story on the official website: http://www.freehugscampaign.org

As it is mentioned on the homepage of the website, we live in a society that is, to say the least, disconnected. Giving a hug is the most simple gesture, but also one of the most profoundly appreciated; The more I think about it, the more this seems like the perfect “giving back” opportunity. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to orchestrate my own Free Hugs bonanza here, in Montreal, but I’d sure love to try!

I’m convinced that I can get a few people on my crazy boat…

All I need to do is find a good time and location to get this show on the road, and then work my magic to convince a few friends that givin’ a little lovin’ to a whole bunch of people is an awesome idea.

While all of you invisible readers wait for an update, I leave you with a short video that might just inspire you to spread the love, too.

Cheers!

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Oh, how I long to remember…

what no-stress, childless, take-advantage-of-the-end-of-daylight-saving-time sleep is!

We’re turning back our clocks tomorrow (Sunday) at 2am. Doesn’t the idea of having “extra time” sound exciting? I get pretty excited about it, myself. I immediately think: SLEEP!

It never fails, though. Every year, I tell myself that one extra hour of sleep will do my mind, body and soul some good, but I never seem to be able to catch the sleep I need in the first place.

Before my son was born, I was too busy going out with friends or spending my time doing “fun” things; my extra hour went into extra “fun” time or real, blissful sleep.

Now that I have responsibilities, I have to squeeze work, school, homework, housework, wifey and mommy duties into a day that is already far too short. As any parent would know, sleep becomes a rare commodity once children come into the picture.

I love my family, I love my son dearly and I very much enjoy my life, but I have to admit that I sometimes wish I could get a nice hotel room somewhere and sleep an entire weekend away! Just me, and a good book (for when I wake up -if that even happens!). How wondrous that would be!

Now that daylight saving time is ending and we’re “gaining” an extra hour, I have a feeling that I’ll be losing out this time around… again. I’m so envious, though. I hear everyone around me saying that they are going to sleep.

Really? Will they?

I keep saying that it’s what I’m going to do, too, but I never do it. Instead, I start/continue/finish whatever, or rarely, enjoy a bit of solitude. Perhaps I should stick to my guns and sleep this time. Wouldn’t that be miraculous!!

Am I really the only one who doesn’t usually sleep this precious extra time away?

What will you be doing with your extra hour?

Outrageously Disturbing!

Oh, the GALL!!!

I didn’t have the time to write about this outrageous and appalling story when it first came out, but here it is…

Apparently, two people – who are clearly missing a history lesson, cultural sensitivity, half a brain and some overall humanity- thought it would be a great idea to dress up in the most offensive costume EVER for Halloween. Two men went to a Royal Canadian Legion Halloween party in Eastern Ontario dressed as a KKK member (in full-out KKK attire and with a confederate flag tied around his neck) holding a black man (a white man in black face paint) by a noose!

WHAT?!!!!!

Wait! It gets worse!

They won first place in the Legion’s costume contest! People actually condoned this!!!!

According to some guests at the Legion, few walked out and no one spoke out against this obscenity of monstrous proportions.

What’s even more alarming is that the KKK guy’s son was ranting about how it’s Halloween and about the idea that people should be free to dress how they please. He added that he didn’t understand why his father was under so much fire, how he really didn’t see the big deal in dressing up like this and that it was “just a costume”.

Really?!

How sad is this? This is so appalling and disturbing that it should be considered a hate crime!

The president of the Legion issued an apology, the day after the event, stating that this behaviour was not promoted or condoned by the members of the Legion and that it does not reflect the overall values and beliefs of the Legion itself. Well, in my humble opinion, there’s a load of B/S if you ever had one! If it really didn’t reflect some underlying beliefs (including those of the Legion’s members – who were silent and willing bystanders), those held responsible for the party would have never allowed this pair through the doors, much less awarded them the FIRST PRIZE in the costume contest!

Granted, many individuals in the community in question are as outraged as I am; the fact remains, however, that no one had the cojones (or worse, the desire) to speak out against this disturbing and hateful act.

This is simply atrocious and abominable.

Alas, as sad as this situation may be, let us use it as a lesson.

We need to invest more time, energy and money into educating the general public and creating more awareness of cultural issues. It is imperative for us to promote more cultural sensitivity and to instill a climate of peace, kindness and compassion in ourselves, our homes, our communities and our nations in order for any harmony amongst our global population to be possible.

It all begins with each and every one of us.

Links to the story:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/kkk-costume-at-legion-halloween-party-disgusts-many-in-ontario-town/article1783090/

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/costume+causes+outrage+during+Ontario+Legion+contest/3767227/story.html

Tending Your Garden: What It Takes to Make A Marriage Work

How do you define a good marriage? What makes a good marriage?

I’ve been thinking about this very issue for some time now, and I have found it difficult to find the right words to translate my thoughts and feelings.

As I was watching Dr. Phil, yesterday, *POOF!* I found my answer! (note: I don’t usually have time for T.V., and I won’t get into a discussion about how I feel about his show, but I will say that I do appreciate some of his analogies and some of the things he says). Essentially, this episode was about personality types and compatibility; I thought it was interesting, but what spoke to me was the analogy Dr.Phil used to describe marriage. I will expand on his analogy…

Basically, what was said is this: marriage is like a garden. Once our garden is complete, we need to tend to it to keep it alive and beautiful.

The second I heard this, I immediately thought: “Ohhhh… I like this!”

As we all know, planning, growing and maintaining a garden takes quite a bit of  investment: becoming a good gardener takes patience, time, energy and plenty of practice; no one becomes a “pro-gardener” overnight. Usually, you learn to become a good gardener through trial and error, and you learn to perfect your craft over time. It takes much time and practice to “get it right”.

Gardeners who “complete” their layout plan, the flower selection and all the nitty-gritty details of their garden can – and should – sit back and bask in their accomplishment. Once a garden is complete, however, the gardener can’t sit back for too long; in order to keep a garden alive and thriving, it must be tended to. (Note: A garden is rarely “complete”, avid gardeners may add/remove things over time, and try to perfect their creations. Marriage is very much the same.)

Different gardens exist, as well as the types of flowers within each garden. People can be various types of flowers and need different care. For instance, my garden is comprised of both common and tropical plants. My husband, God bless him, is like a common plant. He needs watering, maintenance and care, but he is robust and endures through all kinds of different circumstances. I, however, am like a rare tropical plant; I’m delicate, need special soil, constant care and attention and the right amount of water. If I do not get what I need, I can wither rapidly.

How does this all translate to marriage? Marriage is hard work. In my humble opinion, marriage is an important partnership where both parties must strive to become pro-gardeners. People who embark on this amazing journey must truly get to know one another, understand what makes each other tick, what each needs to grow as individual human beings, and also know what the couple needs to thrive.

To me, marriage is the ultimate partnership. In order for our marriage to thrive, we must respect and accept each other for the types of “flowers” we are. We must be a constant support system for each other, we must communicate our feelings, desires and needs on a continual basis, and we must learn how to appreciate each other actively. Furthermore, I believe that it is imperative for us to maintain a healthy sense of individuality so as to not “lose” ourselves (we must care for each plant in a way in which they will be permitted to grow into the most beautiful of their species). We must tend to each other and support each of our endeavours, as small as they may be. If we do not do this, and if we do not strive to make each other genuinely happy, then our “garden” will deteriorate, and so too will our dreams for a happy and healthy marriage.

Let us tend our garden, and reap the benefits!

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
– Corinthians 13:4-8

The Beauty of my Community

I am, as a white woman, the minority in my community and I love it.

I am surrounded by so many people from so many different places, and I think it’s simply the most beautiful thing in the world. I feel like I am a part of something special when I walk along the streets of my community. Markets, stores, shops and restaurants display an array of cultural and ethnic diversity.

In my apartment building, we have an African family (not sure which country), an Algerian family, two Mexican families, an Indian family, a Haitian family and a Vietnamese couple. I am the only white person in the building.

My elderly Vietnamese neighbours of almost 5 years speak neither English or French, but we smile at each other, wish each other a good day and gesture our way through our small “conversations”. They give us small gifts on special occasions, and the woman sometimes cooks food for us. When their grandchildren come over, they send us little messages expressing their love and gratitude, and we take the opportunity to do the same.

Multi-racial families like mine are far from being the exception here. 95% of the student body in both schools in which I work are from various countries. In addition, not only does my son have friends from different backgrounds, he also speaks fluent Spanish thanks to his wonderful caregiver!

We are so lucky! What a glorious thing to live amongst each other in harmony.

Clearly, there is not one place in the world where inequality does not exist, and this is not to say that my community is perfect. Social issues exist here just as they do everywhere else. I am grateful, however, that my son is exposed to such diversity as it will allow him to understand (perhaps with a little help from his mama) that despite our differences, we are all the same: human beings.

My Everything


Here’s a quick post before I head off for a crazy day. I  don’t usually write poetry, but I was inspired to write this for my son on August 16th, 2010. Feel free to “like” or offer some feedback 🙂

MY EVERYTHING

You are my everything.
My  very reason for living, breathing and being.

The first moment I saw you, my child,
My heart throbbed instantly and smiled.
I knew an angel had been bestowed upon me,
And although the universe clearly revealed
That you’d be one whose character would try and test,
I vowed that I’d give you nothing short of my best.

With each passing day I see you grow,
And I can’t help but want to teach you all I know,
Teach you that life isn’t fair but that you must tirelessly fight
For everything in which you believe and for what is just and right.
I want to teach you to muster the courage to chase your fears away,
To never veer from the truth and from the light never to sway,
Teach you to be selfless and to stand for the human race,
To be strong and amongst the world take your place,
To have faith in humanity and for it to do all you can,
To respect others, to value women and to be a real man…
And if you ask what my biggest dream for you might be,
I’ll say in a heartbeat, for you to always be the best man you can be.

As you go about your day, soothing me with your laughter and revelling in what it means to be a child,
I daydream about the past, the present and the future with a tender smile.
And as you sleep, I’m enthralled by your presence and gaze at your beautiful moonlit face,
And in all my humility, I thank God for filling my life with so much grace.
Because you are the source of my inspiration and happiness,
My definition of unconditional love and my very essence.
And as I listen to you breathe, I pray to be the mom that I am meant to be,
Since I know that in my hands lies an immense responsibility.

So in all of my fragility, vulnerability and humanity, I’ll teach you all I know.
I promise to be there for you, support you in your endeavours and encourage you to grow,
And although my love for you is pure, I know that I might make mistakes,
I’m not perfect, I might lose my patience sometimes but I know I’ve got what it takes.
I’ll right my wrongs, I’ll strive to be strong and show you just how much I care
Because you, my little ray of eternal sunshine, are my everything… and I’ll always be there.