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Day 142 - Invictus

>> Friday, January 29, 2010

Saw the movie "Invictus" yesterday. If you haven't seen it, stop reading this and go see it . . . right now. It's an amazing movie - about Nelson Mandela, about South Africa, about Rugby, about inspiration, and about breaking down the barriers between races and classes.

Also - believe me when I say it's worth the price of admission alone to hear Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela recite the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. I'd never heard that poem before, but once I heard it I knew it would be a poem I'd remember for a long, long time . . .

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Day 140 - aka "I'm so excited I could pee my pants"

>> Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finally another post! I haven't had a lot of time recently - too much to do and not enough time to do it in (and honestly not much to write about!). However . . . . I do happen to have some exciting news today! Chris and I booked a vacation for my 30th "Champagne" birthday this year!!!!

I knew I wanted to do something big, and we've been talking about going away on a real "lay on the beach" kind of vacation since before we got married, so . . . Mexico here we come!

We've booked a week-long stay at an all-inclusive resort in Xpu-Ha in the Mayan Riviera. It's called the "Catalonia Royal Tulum", and it's apparently on one of the most pristine, gorgeous beaches not only on the Caribbean coast side of Mexico, but in the entire Caribbean! It's an 18+ hotel, but isn't at all a party hotel, which suits us just fine as we're looking for a really quiet, relaxing vacation. The reviews I've read have been fabulous, and one word people keep using in their reviews to describe it is "zen". As we both need a little "zen" right now, it seems to be right up our alley. I think I've looked up every single picture and video that's available about this place on the net, and as the title of this blog states - I'm pretty much so excited I could pee my pants! Neither one of us has ever been to Mexico or done an all-inlusive vacation before, so to be able to stay at a place that looks this nice, on a beach that looks this incredible, is pretty cool.

We don't leave until Easter, so I still have over 2 months to go, but it'll give me something to look forward too (and make turning 30 not so bad) - plus, it'll give me a really good reason to exercise and start taking better care of myself!! Yay for vacations!!


Day 132 - Uganda

>> Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So I've been thinking a lot about Uganda lately - how much I miss it and how much I want to go back.

I know now that as much as I loved being there last year, part of me was overwhelmed by some of the things I saw and felt, and I think in a way it kind of surpressed the "powerfulness" of the experience and how connected I feel to Uganda and Africa in general.

It really hit home for me though last week when I saw the coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. I wrote in my last post about how I so wanted to just get on a plane and go there to help, but knew that financial aid was and is what they need right now. At one point while watching the footage, Uganda popped into my head - I think it was seeing an image of some young kids just sitting there, dazed and not knowing what to do - just physically they looked like some of the kids I met at an orphange in Uganda. I knew in that very instant that if something like that ever happened in Uganda, there is nothing that would keep me from getting on a plane and getting over there as fast as possible. The connections I made, the connections I'm sure we all made over there are still so strong and so real, and so comfortable and well - they're family. Even though I was only there for 2 weeks and some things there are so different, at the same time it was just so familiar. I'm not one to believe in past lives or anything, but in a sense I feel like I really belonged there - that that is where I'm supposed to be.

Anyway - I'm sure I could go on and on about this, so I'll end this posting by attaching some pics of my trip last year and saying that I'm very, eternally grateful for my experience in Uganda and am counting down the days until I can go back to my Ugandan sisters (Lilian & Betty), Damali, Baby Justine and Pastor Robert, Henry, Ivan, Farouq, and everyone else I met who touched my heart and started something wonderful . . .


Day 130 - Haiti

>> Sunday, January 17, 2010

I haven't written much lately 'cause I really just haven't been in the mind-frame to. I've been a little distracted by what's happened and what continues to happen in Haiti, and I'm sure (like most everyone else out there) it's been weighing heavily on my heart.

I was seriously ready to just jump on a plane and go down there and help in whatever way I could, but I know that right now what they really need, and what they'll continue to need is money, so I will continue to donate whatever I possibly can to world vision or the red cross, or the UNHCR and other organizations I trust and believe in.

I feel really connected to this - I'm partly ashamed to admit that I feel more connected to this than I even did with the Tsunami and the victims of that disaster. I think that maybe it's because I travelled last year to a third-world country and saw with my own eyes and felt in my own heart how we are all the same and all connected. I think that's why when I saw the videos on cnn and read the news in the paper, my heart broke and I was short of breath. Those kids lying dead in the street are my kids, that mom screaming, throwing her arms in the air is my mom, that girl staring vacantly into space is my sister.

I really feel this. I'm upset, I'm angry, and in my anger I question a God who could cause so much anguish and so much pain.


Day 122 - Spontaneous Ridiculousness

>> Saturday, January 9, 2010

I think the world would be a much better place if we all just indulged in our natural inclination towards spontaneous ridiculousness a little bit more.

Now, although I really can't say whether or not we are all wired this way, I do think that deep down, everyone has a goofy, silly, dorky side that's just dying to come out and be released into the free world.

I, for instance, am always feeling the need to break out into song or dance. I personally believe that things are simply much more fun to sing, rather than to simply say.

For example - "could you feed the dog dear?" doesn't sound nearly as naggy to someone if you sing it to them in your sexiest Barry White voice instead. Plus, it's just way more fun. "Have you seen my black sock?" sung in a falsetto opera voice is wayyy more entertaining than a simple, spoken question.

I have also found that adding a little jig at the end of any phrase is guaranteed to make someone laugh or lighten any situation (except for maybe at work, 'cause your boss might just think you're weird). I especially recommend doing the "robot" if you find you've just put your foot in your mouth and need to quickly distract the person you're talking to from rehashing in their mind what you just said. (Not that I ever put my foot in my mouth - it's too stinky).

In all seriousness . . . why are so many people so darn serious all the time? I am a total goober - and I wish I could act out my complete gooberishness all the time and not feel like I need to censor myself 'cause it wouldn't be "appropriate". Who ever lay there on their deathbed and thought to themselves "well I'm glad I acted appropriately - thank the heavens for that!"

I saw some really cranky people today out and about and just kept thinking to myself "man - that lady needs to sing more" or "wow - that man needs to do a little tap dancing more often".

Singing = happiness
Dancing - happiness

Singing + Dancing + doing both whenever you feel like it = a perfect moment, (whether it's appropriate or not).


Day 119 - Living in the absence of Fear

>> Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Seriously - if fear did not exist for you, what could you accomplish that you could not, or would not, now? Who would you be?

Chris bought us a great book from the Faith Christian bookstore in Scarborough a few days ago called "Fearless" by Max Lucado, and it's had me thinking about the fear we all harbour in our souls all the time. Here's a quick excerpt about the book I just pulled off of the website:

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, when you could trust more and fear less. Can you imagine your life without fear?

I wonder who I would be if I could just trust in God all the time and not let even the thought of being afraid enter my consciousness. What new adventures would I go on? What leaps of faith would I take? Who would I approach / talk to that I wouldn't now? How far out of my comfort zone would I go? And would I even have a comfort zone?

As I approach my 30th birthday (less than 3 months away now!) I've been wondering about what my 30's will hold. My twenties have been quite eventful - and although I haven't done a lot of the things I thought I would have done by now, I've done a lot of other things I never thought I would have done by now! I think one of the main things my twenties have taught me is that we are all responsible for who we become, and for where we take our lives. While I believe God has a plan for us all, we are still the vessels for that plan, and have to take responsibility for ourselves and follow that path we know we should be following.

In my early twenties, I really truly believed that things would just happen. Although I'd always been focused and a hard worker, there was always part of me that would hold back. When I wanted to be an actor, I kind of just thought to myself "well I'm talented, so something will happen, some door will open for me!" I was always afraid to take those steps for myself. Well eventually I learned that while sometimes doors will open for you - most of the time you have to open them for yourself, and sometimes just getting to that door requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. When I decided to become a singer/songwriter instead, I still held that belief inside me. And even when I worked hard and doors started opening for me, I was afraid. I held back, and guess what? Certain doors that had been open closed again. This was a few years ago, and it's really only been in the last year that I've gained the confidence and grown up enough to really make a go of it and pushed those fears aside.

I still let fear hold me back in other areas of my life though. I hope that as I enter this new chapter of my life I will be able to put my whole trust in God and let myself really be myself in every situation and with everyone I encounter.

Imagine a world where we all did this? Where we all stepped outside of our self-consciousness and really stepped up to the plate? We all have so much to give and it's a shame when we hold ourselves down and don't really live.

Life is short. I don't want to live my life at 50%, 75% or even 99%. I want to live life, not just go through it, not just going through the motions and getting through the day.

Anyway - perhaps I'll do a review of "Fearless" when I'm done reading it. I'm not expecting some great "ah ha!" moments or anything, but I am hoping for some good insights into why we live with fear the way we do, and what we can do to cast those fears aside and really just live in the trust of God's plan (while still being responsible for our own lives and our own happiness). It's a good read so far, so I have high hopes for you Mr. Max Lucado.

'till next time . . .


Day 114 - Hello 2010!!

>> Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and was able to welcome in 2010 with friends or family (or both!)

I was going to start off the decade (ahh - so crazy and exciting that we're in a new decade!) by doing a big, long post about all the eventful things that have happened in my life and the lives of those around me during these last 10 years, and what I was most grateful for, but then got a little intimidated by that idea as, well - 10 years is a long time and a lot has happened!

So instead, I've going to keep this short and sweet so I can get back to spending the evening with my hubby.

We've all had ups and we've all had downs. Some of us have lost people, and some of us now have new members of the family. Some have their health, some struggle to get through the day, some of us have found our purpose, and some of us are still trying to find our voice.

Through the next year and the years to come, I hope for both myself and for my family and friends (and, well everyone!) that we are all blessed with clarity and simplicity. Clarity to decide for ourselves what we should be focusing our energy and aspirations on, and simplicity so that we can see we already have everything we need to be happy and fulfilled.

I am thankful in every fibre of my being for everything I have seen, experienced, felt and thought over the past 10 years. I know I have a long way to go, but I also know I'm already there . . .

Happy New Year


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