Cultivating a Thankful Heart Cultivating a Thankful Heart during Hard Times I’m especially thankful for my family. We have been through a lot together and we have had (and still have) more than our share of hardships, but those hardships have bonded us together like glue, and not just any ordinary glue—it’s a Crazy Glue kind of bond. There is very little that can separate us—we’ve already been through the fire and survived.

Cultivating a Thankful Heart during Hard Times Read More »

You are Loved, Small-Town Girl at Heart You are Loved Imagine reading the words, “You were created to be loved,” at a time when you feel like nobody loves you. Then imagine hearing a whisper in your ear, “Lovely child, I love you,” after spending years believing the lie that not even God loves you because of who you are. How would those words make you feel? Would they lift you from the drowning depths of despair? Would they illuminate a ray of hope in the darkest shadows of your soul? Would you cling to them like a lifeboat in a choppy sea? Would you be saved from drowning in the sea of your sorrow? I would like to tell you a story about an awkward teenage girl who believed she was unloved, even despised, because of who she was: a girl on the eve of womanhood; a girl who would become a woman with no place in a world…

You are Loved Read More »

Be Still_Finding Peace in Times of Trouble_Small-Town Girl at Heart Be Still: Finding Peace in Times of Trouble A little more than three weeks ago, I had a panic attack as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic pressed down on me. Prior to this, I hadn’t given the pandemic much thought. The lockdowns haven’t inconvenienced me all that much since I’d already been working from home when businesses started closing down. On top of that, I’m an introvert, so staying at home for extended periods of time doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, being ordered to stay home has taken off all the pressure of feeling like I need to get out and be social. This is an introvert’s dream come true! However, the reality of the pandemic hit me fully when I joined an online discussion about the impacts of the pandemic in people’s lives. I started listing my own concerns and worries about how the pandemic is affecting my family and friends, people in my…

Be Still: Finding Peace in Times of Trouble Read More »

Cultivating a Thankful Heart

Cultivating a Thankful Heart during Hard Times

I’m especially thankful for my family. We have been through a lot together and we have had (and still have) more than our share of hardships, but those hardships have bonded us together like glue, and not just any ordinary glue—it’s a Crazy Glue kind of bond. There is very little that can separate us—we’ve already been through the fire and survived.

Read More
You are Loved, Small-Town Girl at Heart

You are Loved

Imagine reading the words, “You were created to be loved,” at a time when you …

Read More
Be Still_Finding Peace in Times of Trouble_Small-Town Girl at Heart

Be Still: Finding Peace in Times of Trouble

A little more than three weeks ago, I had a panic attack as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic pressed down on me. Prior to this, I hadn’t given the pandemic much thought. The lockdowns haven’t inconvenienced me all that much since I’d already been working from home when businesses started closing down. On top of that, I’m an introvert, so staying at home for extended periods of time doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, being ordered to stay home has taken off all the pressure of feeling like I need to get out and be social. This is an introvert’s dream come true!

However, the reality of the pandemic hit me fully when I joined an online discussion about the impacts of the pandemic in people’s lives. I started listing my own concerns and worries about how the pandemic is affecting my family and friends, people in my community, and small businesses in my city. Up until this point, I had been maintaining a positive outlook on the situation, but then fear took hold of me, dragging me beneath its black waves.

I started to panic. It wasn’t a full-on panic attack like I’d had in the past, but my heart rate increased, my breathing became heavy, my muscles tensed and I started to cry. I became paralyzed with fear much like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. I spent the next three days grappling with my fear, disappointed with myself for opening the door a crack and letting fear get a foothold. I knew from prior experience that once fear sticks its foot in the door, it’s nearly impossible to shut it out again.

Read More
New Beginnings, Small-Town Girl at Heart

New Beginnings

J.P. Morgan once said, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” As I write this blog entry, I have finally decided to not stay where I’ve been for the past twelve years of my life.

Over the past several years, I have been asking myself the same questions over and over again: Is this it? Is this all there is to life? Work, sleep, prepare for work, eat, and cram the rest of my life and relationships into the one or two hours left of the evening and on the weekends? Is this really the meaning of life? If it is, why do I have this nagging feeling like I’m missing something?

Read More
Rose-Coloured Glasses - Small-Town Girl at Heart

Taking Off My Rose-Coloured Glasses

Reflections on Systematic Racism and Oppression in Canada

Have you heard the phrase “looking through rose-coloured glasses?” It is an idiom that has been used since the 1840’s to describe a way of looking at life with optimism and cheerfulness. According to Grammarist, a person who looks at things through rose-coloured glasses “looks on the bright side, sees the glass half full and looks for a silver lining in all things.” This type of person sees the world as a good place, is upbeat and hopeful, brimming with optimism and positive thinking…

When my social media newsfeed began filling up with posts about racism and systematic injustice and oppression about a month ago, I commented on several of these posts expressing my shock that racism against the black community still happens in the world today.

I had several conversations with family members on this subject and made the claim that racism against the black community doesn’t happen here at home in Canada.

My father-in-law graciously pointed out that, while I may not have seen racism happening against the black community at home, it is very evident against the indigenous community in our country.

Read More
First Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask

First Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask

Last week I shared an article about what self-care is and what it is not (see blog post here) and the week before I shared a story of my own self-care journey (see blog post here). Today, I want to provide self-care ideas that you can adapt to your own self-care journey to living a better, healthier life.

I mentioned in last week’s blog post that all aspects of our well-being are dependent on how we feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If any one of these areas is not functioning properly, then the other areas will start working harder to compensate for the part of us that’s not working well. If this continues on for a prolonged period of time, another area might breakdown and then another until we have a complete breakdown and stop working altogether.

This is why it’s so important to take care of all aspects of our life and not just focus on one area or another. In order to live the best life we possibly can live, we need to maintain our health in these four key areas…

Read More
Self-Care: That Thing You Do To Keep the Motor Running

Self-Care: That Thing You Do To Keep the Motor Running

Last week I shared a story about my own struggles with self-care and how I fell prey to the lie that productivity is the key to success (see blog post here). Today, I want to explain what self-care is and what it is not, as well as how you can develop healthy self-care habits to improve your own life.

Let’s start with what self-care is not…

Read More
The Lies Productivity Whispers in Your Ear, A Self-Care Journey

The Lies Productivity Whispers in Your Ear

I’m terrible at self-care and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I never really understood what self-care is. I’ve always had this impression of self-care as “girly-girl” activities, such as manicures, pedicures, facials, spas, hair dos, body sugaring, etc…

Somewhere along the way, however, I began to subscribe to the lie that productivity is the key to success. I don’t know exactly when this idea took root in my life. Perhaps the seeds were planted in university when I spent all my free time studying and writing essays, or perhaps it started in my first professional job.

Slowly, I began to stop doing the activities I loved, the activities that made me happy, and replaced them with “productive” habits…

Read More
Mother's Day without Mom, Small-Town Girl at Heart

A Mother’s Day without Mom

Mother’s Day during a pandemic is new territory for many of us, although the absence of our mothers may be familiar territory for a few of us. Some of us have the opportunity to live in the same house with our mothers during this pandemic, while some of us live apart from our mothers—short or long distances—and will not be able to spend Mother’s Day in close contact with our mothers because of the pandemic.

For those of us who can’t be with our mothers this Mother’s Day, whether it’s because of the pandemic or because she is no longer with us on this earth, we may have feelings of grief or loss. We may miss being in her presence, hearing her voice or being wrapped up in a tender embrace. We may feel sad that we’re apart, perhaps even angry because our lives are on hold for an indefinite period of time.

Mothers, who are missing their children due to social distancing regulations or for other reasons, may also be feeling loss this Mother’s Day.

For me, Mother’s Day will be bittersweet this year…

Read More
Cultivating a Thankful Heart Cultivating a Thankful Heart during Hard Times I’m especially thankful for my family. We have been through a lot together and we have had (and still have) more than our share of hardships, but those hardships have bonded us together like glue, and not just any ordinary…

Cultivating a Thankful Heart during Hard Times Read More »

You are Loved, Small-Town Girl at Heart You are Loved Imagine reading the words, “You were created to be loved,” at a time when you feel like nobody loves you. Then imagine hearing a whisper in your ear, “Lovely child, I love you,” after spending years believing the lie that…

You are Loved Read More »

New Beginnings, Small-Town Girl at Heart New Beginnings J.P. Morgan once said, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” As I write this blog entry, I have finally decided to not stay where I’ve been for the past…

New Beginnings Read More »

Rose-Coloured Glasses - Small-Town Girl at Heart Taking Off My Rose-Coloured Glasses Reflections on Systematic Racism and Oppression in Canada Have you heard the phrase “looking through rose-coloured glasses?” It is an idiom that has been used since the 1840’s to describe a way of looking at life with optimism and cheerfulness.…

Taking Off My Rose-Coloured Glasses Read More »

First Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask Last week I shared an article about what self-care is and what it is not (see blog post here) and the week before I shared a story of my own self-care journey (see blog post here). Today, I want to…

First Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask Read More »

Self-Care: That Thing You Do To Keep the Motor Running Self-Care: That Thing You Do To Keep the Motor Running Last week I shared a story about my own struggles with self-care and how I fell prey to the lie that productivity is the key to success (see blog post here). Today, I want to explain what self-care is and…

Self-Care: That Thing You Do To Keep the Motor Running Read More »

The Lies Productivity Whispers in Your Ear, A Self-Care Journey The Lies Productivity Whispers in Your Ear I’m terrible at self-care and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I never really understood what self-care is. I’ve always had this impression of self-care as “girly-girl” activities, such as manicures, pedicures, facials, spas, hair dos, body sugaring, etc……

The Lies Productivity Whispers in Your Ear Read More »

Mother's Day without Mom, Small-Town Girl at Heart A Mother’s Day without Mom Mother’s Day during a pandemic is new territory for many of us, although the absence of our mothers may be familiar territory for a few of us. Some of us have the opportunity to live in the same house with…

A Mother’s Day without Mom Read More »

Be Still_Finding Peace in Times of Trouble_Small-Town Girl at Heart Be Still: Finding Peace in Times of Trouble A little more than three weeks ago, I had a panic attack as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic pressed down on me. Prior to this, I hadn’t given the pandemic much thought. The lockdowns haven’t inconvenienced me all that…

Be Still: Finding Peace in Times of Trouble Read More »

The Stress Monster Cover The Stress Monster Do you remember the opening scene in Star Wars: A New Hope when Darth Vader grips a crewmember aboard Princess Leia’s ship in a chokehold as he asks questions about where the transmission with the Death Star plans are? Stress…

The Stress Monster Read More »

Social Distancing 25 Ways to Stay Social While Social Distancing The Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) that is currently affecting the world has dramatically changed the way we interact with other people… When uncertain and difficult times charge the air like static electricity, we are susceptible to shocks of fear and doubt.…

25 Ways to Stay Social While Social Distancing Read More »

Steam Train, Image by ArtTower from Pixabay Stuck on a Crazy Train There’s a song by Ozzy Osborne with a line in the chorus that goes, “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.” For about a year and a half, I felt like this song described my life. I was…

Stuck on a Crazy Train Read More »

Not An All Weather Road Sign Not an All Weather Road I have always had an explorative spirit, although it has simmered down a little over the years because my husband, “Teddy,” doesn’t care to explore. He grew up in the city all his life and never had the privilege of…

Not an All Weather Road Read More »

Village Well, Tarlac, Philippines A Well of Hope a Philippines Travel Experience A year ago this week, I went on a vacation I will never forget. My husband and I joined several members of his family (immediate and extended) on a trip to the Philippines to visit the…

A Well of Hope Read More »

Heart-Shaped Leaf A New Year to Be It’s that time of year when we take some time to look back on what we accomplished in the past year and to plan what we will accomplish in the next year. It’s often a time of disappointment when we…

A New Year to Be Read More »

Christmas Tree 2017 A Heart That Grew Three Sizes The Christmas season is the busiest time of the year and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the stress, extra work and late nights. Don’t get me wrong: I love Christmas! It has been my favourite holiday since childhood…

A Heart That Grew Three Sizes Read More »

01_Ferris_Wheel_2011 Control Freak I loved going to the carnival when I was a kid. There was something so entrancing about the carnival—it was a whole new world full of wonder. There was popcorn and cotton candy, hotdogs and nachos, mini donuts and pork…

Control Freak Read More »

Love Love is All You Do In the summer of 1967 the Beatles released a song titled “All You Need Is Love,” which reached international success and became the anthem for the “flower power” hippie movement over that summer. The song had profound political implications during…

Love is All You Do Read More »

Giving Thanks Small-Town Girl at Heart Giving Thanks Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend in Canada, which means it’s that time of year for me to contemplate what I’m thankful for. Usually I have no trouble making a list, but these last few years I have felt it…

Giving Thanks Read More »

A Boomerang Called Kindness, Small-Town Girl at Heart A Boomerang Called Kindness The subject of kindness has been tugging at my heartstrings for a number of years, but it has tugged the hardest most recently when my husband and I walked by an elementary school in our neighborhood and found laminated pink…

A Boomerang Called Kindness Read More »