A Birth Day – September 24, 2017

A child is born.

My child’s child…my granddaughter.

She is precious and beautiful, as are all children. And a joy to behold.

Each child is a miracle – a miracle that takes your breath away, brings you to tears, and fills you with unspeakable awe.

For her, and all the children in the world, I offer this blessing:

May you know peace,

May you have joy in your heart,

May you be surrounded by love and laughter,

and may you always feel at home in this world

no matter where your journey takes you.

Welcome to the world, little one!

sunrise on the day of my granddaughter's birth

Sunrise on September 24, 2017

 

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Joy Is All Around

Have you ever been surprised by joy? Picture yourself loading up a canoe with folding chairs and a picnic, and paddling off to a small island.

You arrive, unload the canoe, and set up your chairs. Lo and behold…attached to one of the folding chairs is the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly!

Just look at the perfection, and the detail, the tiny decorations of gold on the soft green. Only in nature can you find such beauty and magic. And be moved to tears of joy at the wonder of it all.

the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly

The perfect design of a Monarch’s chrysalis ~ photo by Julie Wise

The Meaning of Life

I used to think that I needed to do a lot of soul searching, look for the deeper meaning in my life, find the “reason” I was on this earth.

While I still believe that self-reflection and slowing down to see things from a new perspective is important, I’ve come to recognize that life’s messages surround us every day. We don’t have to look very far at all.

Recently we were checking into a hotel in a small town. A splash of vibrant colour caught my eye and I glanced over to see this card sitting in a holder on the reception desk. I picked it up, intrigued by the message. On the back, it reads “Keep or pass along to a friend as a reminder to always choose love.”

Although I have kept the card, I’m now passing along the message to you…always choose love. For me that, if anything, is the true meaning of life.

card

Always choose love.

 

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