I’ve never really been interested in maps. And therein lies my problem with navigation. I’ll be the first to admit that I am ‘directionally challenged’. And quite frankly I’ve never made any effort to learn primarily because I’ve managed very well to circumvent the problem by asking questions (lots of questions) befriending someone who was map-oriented, or just plain ole calling a taxi whenever needed. Truth be told though, while living abroad, I was constantly lost. But you know what? By the time I left I knew every nook and cranny, knew where all the out-of-the-way shops, groceries, cafes were. And most importantly the local bars and ‘liming’ spots. So there! There’s some value in being ‘directionally challenged’.

But recently maps have engaged my interest. It has finally hit me how vast and extensive this world is and I want to see as much of it as I possibly can. Realising at the same time, however, that I need to temper my expectations, for at my age, it may not be entirely possible. Case in point, a few years ago I spent one whole month travelling Australia. My family and I drove over 1,000 miles across the Kimberley, hiked, swam in a different gorge almost every day, walked the stretch of the Bungle Bungle, and much more. At the end of it all, the journey represented just a bit more than a scratch on the surface of Australia, let alone the rest of the world.

Rather than let this get me down, I made a pact to continue my quest. I have a feeling though due to some financial limitations, I may need to depend on ‘National Geographic’ and lots of reading, to help complete my bucket list.

But apart from their functional value, to me maps are synonymous with adventure, excitement and wonder. What about you?

Who are the Millennials….

When I was having my children, I was determined not to have a generation gap. I was determined to share as much as I possibly could with them – their world was my world and vice versa, or so I thought. With my parents the difference was so obvious – the music, the openness of thought, the freedom of action. Women were now coming into their own and surprisingly, in my family, very much encouraged by my father, well to some extent anyway, once we did not stray too far from the norm. My dad wanted only the best for his children and he gave into their wishes, with reservation, knowing he was backed by the copious prayers of my mother. So really what could go wrong?

So with my boys, I was determined that there would be no such gap. I would make sure that there was freedom of speech, thought and action – of course within the realm of respect, honesty and integrity. We liked the same music, we enjoyed the same activities and we told them they could be whatever they wanted to be. We encouraged freedom of thought and spirit. We holidayed together until they were in their teens and even now in their twenties, we enjoy spending time together doing what we love best – exploring the outdoors.

Then they became adults. And started doing what we brought them up to do. Thinking on their own, making their own decisions, in a world that was remarkably different from the world in which I grew up – one where technology had changed every aspect of our lives, right in front of our eyes. Without even knowing it, our boys were growing up in an era that we would find difficult to understand. We would certainly pretend to belong, but the truth is that we have been tainted by the past and, like a tattoo, we cannot erase what’s ingrained in us.

As my eldest son once said while I thought I was imparting some much needed advice – “Mom your model of success is not my model of success.” That hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was thinking we were on the same page, but my word, I wasn’t even reading the same book. I wasn’t even in the same library.

So what do you do? Well you take a deep breath. You step back. You let them be, as best as you can. And you observe. You learn. It’s really the only thing you can do. And I’ve been observing and learning for some time now. And you know what? Secretly, I admire the Millennials.

I admire their freedom of spirit. I admire their self confidence, their courage. And, quite frankly I love being around them. Both at home and in the work place. They bring a new way of thinking to your otherwise mundane life. They have energy. They open doors where there weren’t any. And if you let them, they bring you along with them. They teach you everything they know, because they are on a path that you could never keep up with. They don’t want your job.  They don’t even want your life. They have other plans. The life you hope to have when you retire, they are living now.

The Millennials. We would do well to keep them close. For we can learn a lot from them.

Finding Dory

When my youngest son was 8 years old, he promised me in all sincerity that he would always go to see Disney movies with me. No matter how old he got. I was extremely happy at that thought as I love a good Disney movie, especially animated. Well that promise turned a bit sour for more than a few years after he turned 12, but today, 12 years later, he kept good on his promise. He took me to see ‘Finding Dory’.

And what a lovely movie it was. Not so impactful as ‘Finding Nemo’ but still funny and filled with undertones – no pun intended for those of us who have seen the movie.

Dory was her beautiful self, filled with wonder, fearless in her ‘living in the moon’ kind of way, a leader, a true friend, a heart full of love. You watch the movie with a smile on your face, most of the time anyway for yes, there were tear jerking moments, even for my son.

But Dory taught me a few lessons. She taught me (the always have a plan person) that you don’t always need to have a plan. You can wing it taking one step at a time, making one choice at a time. She taught me that there’s always a way – to never give up – you just need to look at things from a different angle to be able to move forward.

She reminded me that family is everything, that going home has got to be the most reassuring feeling in the world. And this took me back to my late teens when I was studying abroad. The reassurance I felt during those moments when you weren’t too sure what your next step should be. When you found yourself in situations that were touch and go. When you felt that you needed someone who knew you inside out to bear your soul to. The reassurance that home was always there and you could always go back.

Knowing this kept me going, experiencing, learning, winning, growing up. Dory had certainly grown up by the time she went back home. She had crossed the length of the ocean twice in her lifetime, overcame many hurdles, uncertainties, moments of loneliness, and because of her fearless nature, and subconsciously her knowledge that home would always be there, she was able to return home to parents whose love, devotion and faith in her never waned.

Pretty deep for a child’s movie but if we take the time to look at all Disney’s animated movies there is always a lesson for the parents. Lessons that we would do well to learn.

If we were having a cup of tea right now…

I’d tell you that you’re right, your grandsons all look just like you – in mind and spirit. That they’ve grown into fine young men you’d be proud of. That they tell your stories as if it were yesterday. That they love your sense of humour and rely on your constant support and love. That they love that funny ‘last lash’ game you always play.

We would watch the ships way out in the ocean, and you’d count them as you always do. You would remark on the flowers in my garden that remind you of dancing ladies and laugh your ‘ha ha’ kind of laugh, knowing that it would take a great stretch of my imagination to see them as you do. We would admire the humming birds as they sip the nectar of their favourite flower and we would reminisce our lost love.

You would tell me what you did this past week – stories that seem to be the same, but I would listen as if they were exciting and new. We would sit and enjoy each other’s company knowing that the time was drawing near.

If we were having a cup of tea right now, I would not be afraid to tell you that I love you. That you’ve always been my pillar of strength. That I would miss you when you are gone.

If we could only be having a cup of tea right now….

Listen to the sun set…

It’s kind of silly I guess, but whenever I’m watching the sun set, I imagine its warm rays opening the day in another part of the world. I think of what my day was like, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and I wonder what the person on the receiving end of the sun – what their day will be like. It’s almost as if we have a connection.

Can I send you a warning, I wonder. Can I tell you to stay calm, to stay focussed, to enjoy the moment, for we don’t really know what the day will bring. Can I reassure you that there’s someone on the other end thinking of you and wishing you well. And in response they are saying thanks – thanks for the thoughts and guidance. Thanks for being there. And they too offer some words of wisdom and consolation.

I always awake with a smile knowing you are thinking of me, for I too was dreaming of you – experiencing your day as if it were mine. I laughed when you laughed. I cried when you cried. And I too was looking forward to watching the sun rise, as I knew you were on the other end thinking the same thoughts.

As the colours of the sunset intensify our thoughts are connected and come to life. My day darkens and my friend’s day brightens and the days blend one into each other. We move on with our lives looking forward to that special moment of sharing.



My dear son ….

I would guess that you love me as any other child would love their mother who has spent every moment of your life ensuring that you are fed, clothed, housed and educated. That you have everything you need and most of what you want. That your experiences are mostly happy and that you learn from your mistakes. That you grow up to be honest, loving, gentle, trustworthy. That most of all you know what it means to be truly loved and what it means to truly love.

I would also guess that there’s a lot of me in you. That may or may not be a good thing. But when you laugh at silly jokes, I see a bit of me in you. When you stand your ground (whether you are right or wrong), I see a bit of me in you. When you appreciate the glows and colours of a sunset, I see a bit of me in you. Most of all when you open your heart to love another, I see a bit of me in you.

The thing is you’ve filled my life with very many precious memories. I have so many stories to tell and as I think of them all, I smile. I smile loudly. I smile because you’ve made me laugh. You’ve made me cry. You’ve made me happy and sad. You’ve made me angry and scared. But most of all you’ve made me love. Love without knowing it was love. It just happened. From the very first moment I laid eyes on you. Your crinkly face. Your perfect fingers and toes. Your warm little squirming body.

And as you grew up, so did I. I grew strong and confident so I could protect and guide you. I learned how to cook so that I could make sure you were healthy. I became wise and discerning so that I could show you the way. And most of all my heart grew larger so I could love you more and more each day.

My wish for you is that you embrace life with open arms. Love as you want to be loved. Be generous of heart, mind and spirit. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh every single day. And take the time to bask in the glow of the sunset.

Love as always

Nuff’ said

Saw this tweet

“In our universe a star explodes and dies every single second and there’s you, worrying about work tomorrow.”
Nuff said indeed.  Be grateful for what you have and don’t have. Cherish your blessings and your woes, for they are yours. You deserve them. You can handle them.

Does Inspiration need a space…

Deciding where and when to write, for me, just takes the will to do so. Much like every other decision in life, your mindset, desire to achieve and of course passion, is pretty much all you need. Pictures of the perfect space overlooking the ocean, a soft gentle breeze caressing your body, the sound of birds chirping in the background all conjure up the ideal space for inspiration.

But in essence all I need is a moment to think, a moment to notice, a moment to put it all down on virtual paper. Most times I’m writing while sitting up in my bed with the family busy bodying around, watching their favourite TV series, asking questions, telling stories about their day. If I couldn’t find a moment within that familial chaos, I’d never find the time to relax and share my thoughts.

Growing up in a large family, you soon learn how to zone out to spend much needed time in your own world, to virtually go where you want to go. To that dreamland where everything you’ve every wished for comes true. To that tennis match where you’ve served yet another ace and won the final in shiny glory. To that mountain top gazing upon the ocean view watching the sun set. To that small but intimate group of friends where you laugh, share and learn to love.

So do I need a special space to write? I guess not. Wherever I am, I make it that special space not only to write, but to simply be.

What’s your CHOICE

This morning at work, one of my colleagues asked me with acute curiosity and a bit of disgust – “Why are you so cheerful this morning?” And without thought I answered, “This morning I woke up and chose to be happy.” There was nothing different about today. It was raining cats and dogs (oh and by the way, I love the rain). There was no great bit of news. I did not win the lottery. I did not get a raise. And I still don’t have any grandchildren.

But just the act of choosing to be happy. I. WAS. HAPPY.

And that’s the power of choice. Life is all about choice in everything that we do. And there are always only two choices.

To be happy or sad
To move forward or stay where you are
To forgive or to forever be resentful
To love or to hate
To drink red wine or ice cold bubbly
To exercise or to lay on the couch
To sit on the sand or to swim in the sea
To tell the truth or to lie
To laugh or to cry

Our life is one choice after another. The hard part is taking ownership of our lives and realising that the choice is always ours.

My love of lists

So I’ve been wanting to get back into my blogging for a while now and to do so I realised I needed a little help.  Well maybe a lot.  OK !  I needed a great big fire under you know where to start again.  So I’ve enlisted with WordPress to send me topics every day to get me going.

Lo and behold I’ve been sent the greatest of gifts.  I need to make a list.  You cannot imagine my joy.  Just to put things into perspective.  I’m the type of person who will leave home on a Saturday morning with a list of things to do and, as I complete each task, I take enormous pleasure in crossing them off.  So much so that if I do something that’s not on the list, I immediately write it on the list and then, with the greatest of satisfaction, I cross it off.  LOL. I laugh at myself all the time, so you can too.

So here are my lists for today’s writing challenge:

Things I Like
Ice cold Bubbly
Unexpected visits from friends
Fam Jams (family get togethers)
Things I’ve Learned
Trust your judgement
Parents are your biggest fans – appreciate them
Honesty, integrity and hard work will get you everywhere, eventually
You can be your worst enemy – stop beating up on yourself
Always but always do the right thing
Things I Wish
I could see into the future
I could protect my children forever
I could fly
I understood the value of my parents while they were alive
I could see how people see me
Things You’re Good At
Bringing people together
Drinking ice cold bubbly

Go ahead! I dare you to make your own list!