Stuart, Dave and Morley

Yesterday, I lost a beloved friend. I’d never met him, but his voice and his stories had been an integral part of my life for over 40 years. Stuart McLean, like Peter Gzowski before him, had a remarkable ability to weave together all the diverse threads that make us Canadian. Peter accomplished this through his Morningside program on CBC Radio; Stuart through his stories of Dave and Morley and smalltown Canada.

Many times, I remember driving home listening to CBC and The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean, tears streaming down my face, laughing hysterically, and nearly having to pull over as he told tales of Dave cooking the turkey, or Dave and his neighbour’s bike, or Dave on the roof.

One year, we went to his annual Christmas show. He would tour the country, sharing old and new Dave and Morley stories with audiences young and old. He’d also feature Canadian musicians, and that’s where I first heard the lilting music of bands like The Good Lovelies and many more.

Yesterday, I drove home, listening to CBC, tears streaming down my face, nearly having to pull over, as I heard that he had passed away at 68.

Thank you, Stuart, for the stories and the memories and, above all, the laughter.

Stuart McLean book cover

Thanks for the stories, Stuart. May you rest in peace.

Embrace!

It’s Valentine’s Day. A day for sharing loving thoughts with those around you. Just wondering…how often do you treat yourself with loving kindness? When you look in the mirror, do you see beauty and joy? Or do you notice extra weight here, a few new wrinkles there, maybe some gray hairs peeking through?

I’ve been following Taryn Brumfitt on Instagram (@bodyimagemovement), an Australian who joyfully embraces all that she is. Through her documentary film “Embrace”, she encourages all of us to recognize that our bodies are “the vehicle to our dreams”.

Tonight, in honour of Valentine’s Day, she has organized a “Girls’ Night In” across North America. You can download her film on iTunes or Google Play or Amazon, watch it at 8pm EST with thousands of people across the continent, and join her for a Q & A session after on social media.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Maybe it’s a good night to snuggle up with the one you love, or host a get-together with friends and check out “Embrace”! I know I will.

poster for Embrace documentary

A Valentine’s Day special just for you!

Sunny Days

After almost a month of days of endless gray, the sun peeked out through the clouds yesterday. I’d forgotten how bright and warm even winter days can be when the sun is shining.

I stood by the window, eyes closed, and soaked up the rays for the few minutes that it shone. Such joy!

And captured the brilliance on the sun-kissed blossoms of my bougainvillea.

bougainvillea blooms

Sun-kissed bougainvillea. Photo by J. Wise

Amazingly Awesome Days

I’ve been reading a book by Pam Grout in which she suggests starting every day with the thought that something amazingly awesome will happen today. What’s cool about this is that you begin to look for amazingly awesome moments in each day as a result. As the old saying goes, “Seek and ye shall find.”

I’ve been having so many amazingly awesome days ever since I started doing this.

Here’s a photo of one such moment: a kookaburra that “adopted” me while I was in Australia. It would land right beside where I was sitting and we would have a “chat”. If I moved to the back verandah, it would follow me there. If I went inside the house, it would hop along the railing so it could see through the open door and watch what I was doing. It would fly down and land beside me as I was hanging laundry.

Amazing…and awesome 🙂

What amazing and awesome things have happened to you recently?

kookaburra on railing

My new best friend! ~ Photo by Julie Wise

Savouring Summer

When it’s cold outside, and the winter wind is blowing snow around, it helps me to remember that it’s always summer somewhere!

Perhaps this photo, taken as I walked on a long sun-drenched beach in Australia, will bring warmth and sunshine into your day.

Australian beach

Summer’s pleasure – a walk along a solitary beach. ~ Photo by Julie Wise

Sunrise, Sunset

I love sunsets, and sunrises (although I’m not often up early enough to see sunrises!)

Each one is unique. Each holds a surreal beauty, subtly shifting from moment to moment, ushering in a sense of peace and serenity. A feeling that all’s well with the world.

Is there anything more beautiful?

sunset

Sunset at Smiths Lake, Australia. Photo by Julie Wise

Giving Thanks

This weekend in Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving.

There are so many things to be thankful for…family, friends, good health, the beauty that surrounds us, walks in nature, a country at peace.

And this weekend’s weather: picture perfect!

trees changing colour

A Canadian Thanksgiving postcard moment!

Double-Dare You!

Sometimes a song or video captivates me and fills me with joy. If it’s music, it makes me want to get up and move, sing like no one’s listening (trust me, it’s better than no one listens…I have no musical ability!), and let loose.

In such moments, joy fills me to overflowing.

Here’s one of those videos, shared with me by a friend (ignore the political affiliation, watch the moves, and let the beat take over).

I double-dare you to watch it and not feel joy, exhilaration, and vibrant happiness 🙂

Go ahead…try and stop your toes from tapping!

Define Joy, If You Can

What does joy mean to you?

Is it a feeling? How do you know when you’re experiencing it?

For me, joy is often a quiet inner knowing; a feeling that bubbles up from deep within and expands until it bursts out all around me. The whole world seems brighter and lighter in that moment and I feel like I’m being carried on the wind.

Sometimes I experience joy in certain places, or with specific people. Other times, it comes upon me unexpectedly. I find it’s elusive, hard to define, yet unmistakable when it arrives.

What brings you joy?

sailing

Flying across the water, wind in the sails … that’s joy!