Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The past couple of days I have been a lot of things. I have been tired, bored, uninspired, inspired. I have had a few very typical, ordinary days. I have also been happy. A real deep, life-can't-get-me-down kind of happiness. There was a time where this would not have been surprising for me, but the past few months I've been dealing with a depression of sorts, a frustration with things in my life. For some reason I have now come through the other side.
Nothing has really changed, except for my attitude, and it's amazing the difference that can make. Like I said when I started this blog, I want to focus on the good things in my life, the haves, versus the have-nots. What with Thanksgiving having occurred recently I thought I would make a list of things I was thankful for, things that make me happy here and now so that I can have a record of those things to reflect on should life start getting me down again. Here goes.

1. Faith Recent world events, conversations I've had and simple observations I've made about the world around me have made me so grateful to have the gift of faith. I know in my heart that I have a loving Father who is working all things together for my good, and the older I get, the more I experience, the more I realize just how precious and wonderful that is. I also know that despite the fact that I am *far* from perfect, He loves me anyways. That's pretty awesome.

2. Family I have two parents that love me, and three siblings that love me. Seeing what I see in healthcare, I know that that alone is an amazing gift. What's even better is that I love them back. The past few years have allowed me to develop strong, meaningful relationships with all of my siblings. I consider all three of them my friends and for that I will always be grateful. I have also reached that all important age where I have gotten beyond the simple parent/child relationship with my parents and connect more with them then I ever have before. Of course moving out a couple of years ago helped that a bit. ;)

3. Friends Over the years I have collected some wonderful friends. I have the tried and true best friend. The one who sticks with you no matter how many fights or misunderstandings you may have had over the years. The one who you always know, if you needed her, *really* needed her, she would be there. I've got the high school friends. The ones that you connect with, fall away from, and reconnect with over the years. The ones that you will always be able to say "remember when?" and you are sure to be able to reminisce with for awhile. I've got the university friends. The ones where you count the years you've known them on your fingers and go, surely I've known them longer then that! It feels like you have been close for a lifetime....and that's a really good thing. There are countless others too....the "Facebook" friends. People you know from church, from various workplaces throughout the years, even friendships formed on whirlwind trips through Europe!! You may not speak daily, weekly or even monthly, but they are out there, and they care about you in some way, and that's enough.

4. My Job This one is a bit of a surprise even to me, since this is also the cause of much of my stress! Despite that, no matter how many ulcers nursing gives me, it is still the career I've chosen and there is a reason for that. No matter how many days I have where I just want to leave that hospital and never come back, there is always something that pulls me out of the darkest hole I may get into. A patient, a family member of a patient or a co-worker, someone who reminds me that there are still parts of this job that I love. Even the stress I have had from this job has been a good thing as it has made me realize that I am not my job. I could walk away from nursing any day that I like and something about that is really comforting. I will be surprised if I ever reach the 20 or 30 year mark in my nursing career. I really don't think that's going to happen, but the really good thing is that I have finally realized that that is okay!!

5. Myself I don't know if that's the best way to put it, but I have become more and more thankful (and happy with) who I am. My obsession with TV shows, my admitted Internet addiction, my hobbies (particularly a still-growing interest in photography!), my quirky personality traits, my phobias, even my wants and desires. My good, my bad and my ugly. I am starting to see and understand the various things that make me me. I still have a lot further to go with this of course, but come on, this is the stuff people pay therapists thousands of dollars to understand! As a female (particularly as a teenager) i think we are often tempted to conform, to fit into someone's predetermined box or idea of what we should be, but I'm starting to realize that it is far more important to understand who you are, and who God made you to be. Every day I'm getting a little closer. :)

I could probably list a lot more things then this, and make this post a lot longer then it is, but I won't. It's just nice to see some of these thoughts in writing. Even though there are many things that I still long and hope for, this serves as a reminder that the here and now is actually pretty great when I really look at things so there is really no reason not to expect that the future will also be pretty awesome. God provides. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this day...

On this day in 2001 I was a week shy of my 15th birthday. I was a couple of weeks into Grade 10. I thought I was starting to get things figured out. On this day in 2001 I stood next to my parents, watching live coverage of the first World Trade Tower burning. I stood with open mouth, in shock as I watched a second plane turn around and aim, then hit the second tower. With a heavy heart, I thought of the fallen. On this day in 2001 I saw teachers, visibly frightened, escort us into the gym to watch coverage of the days events. We prayed together, we prayed so hard. On this day in 2001 I realized that I had nothing figured out.

On this week in 2010 I visited New York City. I saw it's landmarks. I fell in love. On this week in 2010 I became part of the hustle and bustle of the streets of Manhattan. I witnessed, in awe, the number of people, daily on the streets of Manhattan and realized, like never before, the sheer magnitude of how many people must have been affected by the events of 9/11. On this week in 2010 I visited the former site of the World Trade Center. I witnessed, with joy, the rebuilding of the site and the strength and resolve of the people of New York City. I visited the preview site of the WTC memorial. Never before and never since have I been in a building of that size, with that many people that was that quiet. With a heavy heart, I remembered the fallen. On this week in 2010 I visited St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopalian church across the street from the former World Trade Center that did not even suffer a broken window. I prayed, I prayed so hard.

On this day in 2011 I look back with awe on the events of 10 years ago. I watch television coverage of memorials, not only in New York, but in Virginia and Pennsylvania, Washington and all across the world. On this day in 2011 I look with pride at the small Canadian town of Gander Newfoundland which gained so much notoriety for their amazing acts of hospitality for the thousands of displaced travelers. With a heavy heart I remember the fallen.

And I pray, I pray so hard.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Heart Faces - Beautiful Eyes

When I saw the theme for this week's I Heart Faces I knew exactly which photo I wanted to enter! Sweet Alexa and her rainbow coloured eyes....and if you look real close you can see me reflected in those sweet "windows to the soul!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Just some pretties for a Saturday evening....

Since I began my foray into photography I have been more fascinated with getting a good shot of a person, rather than of a thing. Of course that doesn't mean I don't like a good photo of something pretty now and again! Here's a few from a walk I took in Assiniboine Park last week....playing with a wide aperture!

Pretty Daisies!

"Schoolgirl" by Leo Mol

I don't know what these little white flowers are, but they reminded me of something I saw in Switzerland...so pretty!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Once more, with feeling!

Look, look! Two posts in two days!! See I DO remember how do do this blogging thing.

So today I would just like to say, I *LOVE* musical theater. Like, a lot. The cheesier the better.

I'm not really sure when this started to be honest with you. My first exposure to theater would have been some mediocre Gilbert & Sullivan productions at ICS, and one or two plays that I went to with Laura when Premier gave discounted tickets to the G&S productions that happened at the Concert Hall (I think?). Of course, there was also the "Newsies," the cheesy Disney musical that I think might have been shown at every 12th birthday party for awhile, as well as other movie classics like "The Sound of Music". When I got a bit older I got introduced to the racier side of musicals, with "Chicago" and "Rent," things we could never dream of seeing, let alone performing, in our school.

I guess it was a slow development. I started to appreciate the nuances of theater, the history of old movies (not just musicals) and then I went to Broadway. I saw "The Lion King" and was officially hooked. If we had the time (and the money!) I think I would have quite happily have seen every Broadway, off-Broadway, and maybe even off-off-Broadway production while Darryl and I were in New York. There is something about a soaring voice, a blasting band, and maybe some dancing that just makes me happy! Add some jazz hands and I'm on cloud nine.

Over the past year or so I have watched more musicals on TV, and have even seen one or two in person. Watching "White Christmas" in December with Darryl at the MTC was awesome! While Darryl cringed at the silly dance numbers and actors randomly breaking into song, my smile grew bigger with each coordinated dance move. The louder and more ridiculous it got, the happier I was!

Sunday night after work I turned the TV on and was pleased to find that the Tony Awards were on. Most of it was fairly dull, as award shows typically are, but I loved the re-enactments of numbers from various musicals. It had been a busy and crazy day, I had gotten home from work late, but none of that mattered when I watched the actors sing and dance. Tonight I went to Famous Players to watch a filmed version of "Company," a musical by the renowned Stephen Sondheim. It was silly and absurd, and I loved every minute of it. I can't wait to experience more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding my Focus...

*cough cough*

Pardon me as I blow the dust of my poor abandoned blog. I've had a few times where I started to compose a post for here, whether on the computer or just in my head in the shower (where I find myself doing most of my thinking) and found I could barely finish a sentence, let alone a blog post. Lately my head has mostly been an uncoordinated jumble of thoughts, ranging from positive and exciting (I spent a week and a bit in Europe, so that was pretty cool), to the negative and not so exciting (mostly work stuff).

The negative thoughts, unfortunately, are the ones that aren't so easy to get rid of, so I've been a little leery to sit down at my blog, not wanting this to be super whiny or negative. This is supposed to be "My Pile of Good Things" after all. So why write this post now? Mostly for catharsis. I won't deny that I'm going through a bit of a mid-(twenties)-life crisis, but the one thing I remain powerfully aware of is that my life is full of good things. As much as there are things in my life that I find stressful and somewhat depressing, I have watched over the last month as friends have been dealing with far worse - from losing friends to losing the life growing within them. I am also reminded every day when I go to work how truly fragile life is - I have had patients with history of sexual abuse, to patients nearly losing their lives while trying to bring their child into this world (and that's just this past weekend!).

Okay so where's the positive in all this? That's why I've been trying to remember. The hugs from patients as they walk out the door. The sincere "Thank you's" from terrified fathers, and exhausted mothers. My co-workers. They make the days at work bearable. It's the things I fill my life with OUTSIDE of work, however, that give me joy. My photography has recently been a huge source of joy for me. And yet, at the same time, a huge source of stress. A good stress though, the kind where you are truly being challenged and the effort that you put in has a real, tangible payout. I've always longed for a creative outlet in my life. I'm not a hugely creative person, and I'm also kind of lazy. I realize now though, that the abandoned scrapbook pages that sit on my desk, and the abandoned cross-stitches that sit beside my chair in the living room are there because I was searching for something I could really pour my heart into. I think I've found that in photography. I say I *think* because I'm very aware that I am very new to this craft. One thing I know with certainty is that it has been a LONG time since I have found something I am actually this invested in, this interested in, and have this much desire to better myself in.

What else gives me joy? The people I fill my life with. My friends who I sadly don't see enough of, but treasure when I do get to see them. My family, who I am blessed to see LOTS of (and the older I get, the more I realize how much of a blessing that truly is). A church family who accepts me, flaws and all. A loving God who accepts me flaws and all!! All 202 Facebook friends who have all touched my life in various ways and in various degrees but without whom I don't think I would be me! Silly TV shows, singing along to a great song at the top of my lungs driving down the highway, talking to myself, chair dancing in front of my computer (yep, I'm doing it right now), sitting alone in a dark movie theater losing myself in a big bag of popcorn and a really good movie, a really good book, a really good cry, this kid, enjoying junk food when I really know I shouldn't, and way more things then I can even think of right now!!

It shouldn't be this hard to remember the good things in life, but some days it is. When your day grows dark, count your blessings. It's amazing how much it can brighten your day!

Two other things to brighten your day...they certainly brighten mine!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Retailers hate me...

I interrupt this blog (which lately has been a smattering of adorable pictures of Nik and Alexa) with a rant. It is spring (well, almost) and I find myself once again looking to revitalize my wardrobe. This is never an easy task for me. I am usually quite happy with my appearance. I would love if I could magically lose a roll or two from my belly, and some extra padding from around my face and chin, but overall, when I look in the mirror I think, hey, not bad. That's probably more than most women can say. Considering I'm overweight that's even better.

The fact that I'm overweight is where the problem comes in though. I wear a size 20 in pants and shorts, and a 1X or 2X in tops, depending on the brand, style and fit. For reasons that I don't understand however, it is nearly impossible for me to find clothes when I want to. Being a plus-size woman, I'm limited to a handful of stores, most filled with shapeless tops that are not age-appropriate in the least, nevermind EXPENSIVE! I understand that plus-size clothes are a niche market, and I do expect to pay more for my clothes. Unlike a thinner woman who might be able to luck out and score $10 sale pair of jeans, or even $20 jeans regular price, I consider myself lucky when I can find $35 jeans. Some of the prices are ridiculous though! At a plus-size store it is not unusual to find tops marked at $50 or $60 and jeans marked as high as $90. Is that REALLY necessary? The sad thing is, I would be willing to pay that if they actually fit!

Well just lose weight some people might think. Yeah. That's definitely part of the solution, but I am not destined to be on "The Biggest Loser" or on the front of some women's magazine. I will never drop from a 20 to a size 6... unless you shave some bone off my shoulders, ribs and hips. Could I drop a few pant sizes? Definitely. But I'll tell you a little secret. Many overweight people are emotional eaters. I know I am. I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I'm sad, sometimes I just eat when I'm bored. It's definitely an issue that I have to work on, and I will be working on probably my whole life. Here's the rub though....filling the stores with clothes that overweight people look terrible in is NOT going to help them. It will likely make them feel fat and depressed, and go home to a comforting bowl of triple chocolate ice cream.

What I find even more frustrating is that I know it's possible to make clothes that are actually flattering. The good ol' US of A has more stores selling plus-size clothes, and as a result there actually appears to be a bit of competition resulting in cheaper, cuter and better quality clothing. Canada is not that far away. While Canada probably has a slightly slimmer population, there are definitely tons (heh...tons) of overweight women searching for decent clothes! Why can't they come here?

Ugh... well there won't be a solution overnight, and the more I think about it, the more I want to eat M&Ms so I guess I should move on. In the meantime I will dream of a day when I can leave my house and buy clothes within a 20 minute drive of my door, while planning a trip to Grand Forks where they actually have stores that love me. Or at least don't hate me.  :)
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