Accomplishment: Reaching Goals

Accomplishment: Reaching Goals discusses the importance of follow through to reach goals.

It’s been a busy week and I didn’t find the time before today to come up with a blog post idea so I had two options: not post anything, or, write something quickly.

This blog is new, and I know that my audience is small right now so it’s unlikely anyone would notice, or care, if I didn’t post anything today, but when I started this, my goal was to write on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and if I didn’t post anything today, I’d know, and I wouldn’t reach my goal.

It’s so easy to get bogged down by life and responsibilities and sacrifice your own hopes and dreams, isn’t it? Okay, okay, I know that’s a little dramatic because after all, it’s JUST a blog post. Not writing one today isn’t exactly a matter of life or death and won’t be life changing, exactly, or will it?

Each post is a small step toward reaching my goal of building my author platform, so that when I finish my book(s) (another goal) I will, in theory, have a network of people to tell about my accomplishment, and hopefully they’ll be interested!

Small steps count. Try weight loss for example. With each cookie or chocolate bar that is passed up, a weight loss goal becomes more attainable.

It’s not complicated, and it does get easier – with practice.

Have you ever reached an elusive goal, something that seemed so overwhelming and impossible, but you focused on it and did what you had to do to achieve it? I have.

Moving to England was like that. Friends and family thought we were nuts to do it and my father even made a comment that he’d believe it when he saw it. After we moved there, every time we came home to Canada for visits, I’d tease and ask him if he believed it yet. Living in England was a dream, or goal, come true. It was a truly amazing experience.

There’s no feeling quite like accomplishing a goal, is there? The more elusive the goal, the more exhilarating the sense of accomplishment.

So, remember, small steps, one foot in front of the other and keep going forward.

You know how it goes!

Photo credit: vongvanvi | Free Digital Photos

In Search of Happiness

In Search of Happiness suggests several sources for information on happiness.

Did you know that extensive studies have been done into what makes us happy?

Well, we know what doesn’t make us happy, don’t we? If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of the news. It’s depressing. And, this week with winter’s sudden and dramatic return in many parts of the continent, just sticking your head out the door can make you want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head.

Yeah, life sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? And, when it sucks the most, it can be very difficult to remember to stop and smell those roses. But it’s important that you do remember, so how do you get happy?

I could ramble on at great length about what works for me but I think it’d be easiest just to point you at a couple of websites and books, the latter being great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Happiness Websites

The Happiness Project

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness Books

Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

The Serious Pursuit of Happiness

Just Do It

So there you have it, my best tips on how to get happy.

Turn off the TV and go find those roses. You’ll be glad that you did.

Photo credit: Chatchai Somwat | Free Digital Photos

In Remembrance, 2014

We lived in England while the United Nations was actively involved in bombing raids during the Bosnian war. There were several American air force bases around our village, and one in particular regularly sent bombers flying overhead, so low that you could almost see the pilots’ faces as they flew over.

It was an uncomfortable feeling, not only because we knew where those planes were headed and what they would do when they reached their destination, but it was uncomfortable for us because we were from Canada, and although we had relatives who’d served in our armed forces during wars, we had never witnessed the machinery of war in action before. It felt very different actually witnessing even that much. It was closer to an active conflict than I’d ever wanted to be.

The experience made me look at the beautiful green countryside dotted with ancient thatched cottages differently, and I would try to envision what it must have looked like, all those years ago, to see not only allied planes departing, but to watch helplessly as Hilter’s fighters flew overhead.

The area where we lived was steeped in the history of the world wars. Our village, Thorpe Waterville, in Northamptonshire, was a stone’s throw from Lilford Hall. I passed it regularly. A magnificent building, it had been used as an American field hospital during WWII.

The village of Polebrook, a few miles away, had an airfield during the war. Clark Gable, the well known actor, had joined the American Air Force and was stationed in Polebrook. I was told that Jimmy Stewart who’d also enrolled in the Air Force, had frequented the nearby city of Peterborough during the war.

Glenn Miller, the famed band leader, boarded a plane at an air force base not too far from where we lived, enroute to Paris, France on December 15, 1944, never to seen again.

I mention Clark, and Jimmy, and Glenn, not because of the importance of their service above all others, but because they are names that you will recognize. We once visited a pub called The Vane Arms in the small village of Sudborough. It was filled with reminders of the service of nameless individuals. Pennies are wedged into a beam over its fireplace. The pennies were placed there by airmen before their missions. If they returned, they removed their pennies from the beam and purchased drinks with them. If they didn’t return, the pennies were bent over in remembrance and remain there to this day. You can see pictures here.

While we lived there, we were privy to many other sites and stories about England during the wars, sites and stories often unknown to North Americans, which helped us to gain a fresh perspective of something so old. We were able to experience what it would have been like to walk through a WWI trench, or sit in a bomb shelter during a WWII air raid at the The Imperial War Museum in London. And, I will never forget the sight of small graveyards in the middle of farmers’ fields visible from the roadways in France, or the humbling magnificence of the Menin Gates etched with thousands of names of the dead and missing British and Commonwealth soldiers from WWI. The Gates are found in Belgium in the town of Ypres, a town that was reduced to rubble because it was bombed so heavily during WWI that a man on horseback could see across the entire town.

I’d had uncles who’d served overseas, one joined the navy and drove boatloads of soldiers to the beaches on D Day, another was involved in the liberation of Holland. As a child, I’d heard their stories, rarely shared, and they were horrifying.

My uncles were still teenagers when they served. As a child, I couldn’t appreciate just how young they were, but now, as a mother of children in their 20’s, I understand now how young they were and how horrific it must have been for all concerned to send their children on their way to war, still so wet behind the ears not knowing much of life, without knowing if they would ever come back to join the family circle.

I think about these people and places, and the pennies, especially at this time of the year and I remember.

Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev |

A Message from the Other Side?

Do you believe in ghosts? In “A Message from the Other Side?” Shelley Sturgeon tells how her attempt at communication with the dead might just have been heard on the other side!

In the spirit of Halloween and because I’ve decided that on Fridays I will blog about whatever topic I want to, today I thought I’d talk about things that go bump in the night. Well, I mean ghosts and I suppose it would be more accurate to say things that go bump at any time of the day because my experiences, if that’s what they indeed have been, with the other side, if that indeed exists, have happened at various times of the day.

Intrigued yet?

I am very intrigued by the subject and have been for as long as I can remember. Do I conclusively believe in ghosts. No. But I believe in the possibility of their existence. I believe that there’s a possibility that there are more things to be known about what happens when someone dies, about what happens to their soul or their spirit or whatever you want to call it depending on your religious beliefs.

I also believe that it’s easy to dismiss things we don’t understand or can’t see. I mean, come on, they used to think the world was flat, right, and that you could fall off the edge? At that time there was no way to see the world as a whole so that conclusion was based on the information that was available at the time. So, is it so impossible to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is more to understand about what happens to a person after death?

Okay, okay, I suspect some of you are snickering by now and shaking your heads at my ridiculous theory.That’s okay. I’ve been laughed at before! And, in fairness I should also say that I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine tonight as I write this!

So let me tell you about one of my experiences. This happened this past summer and I swear this is absolutely true – no exaggeration or embellishment – cross my heart and hope to… well, you know how the rest of that goes!


But first a bit of background. My husband and I have done a lot of genealogy research over the years. And as anyone who has ever done any genealogy research knows, you often need to go to cemeteries as part of your research. Our poor kids were dragged to cemeteries regularly during their childhoods – even before they could walk! And, when I served as president of our local genealogy society, I was actually interviewed on television–in a cemetery! It was my 15 minutes of fame, edited down to about 90 seconds, broadcast to the nation!

We’ve come across some great stories about people in our families and made some fascinating discoveries. About twenty five years ago, while doing some work in a local cemetery here in town, we discovered the graves of my husband’s great grandmother and her daughter. Elizabeth (the mother) and Susanna (the daughter) had died on the same weekend in October 1918 so that in itself was suspicious and warranted more investigation. Was it an accident, a fire perhaps, or maybe a contagious illness? Continue reading “A Message from the Other Side?”

Thoughts on Being a Canadian

I don’t want to make a point of getting too serious here on my blog. Ideally I want to keep things light and write about the adventures of writing and social media marketing. But, the events here in Canada this week that unfolded while the whole world watched, were not ideal.

These two tragic events, the deliberate targeting and murders of two young men in our military forces in Quebec and then Ottawa, by two crazed radicalized individuals defy logic, but the same can be said about a lot of events worldwide since 9/11, can’t it?

I won’t get into my thoughts about those responsible or the causes they supported in any detail. To do so would be to dive into the conversational taboos of politics and religion, and while I suspect that most people would be on board with my thoughts and opinions, I have no desire to waste my time or yours further discussing the insanity and evil that lurks in the hearts and minds of these rejects of society who thrive on being in the spotlight of social media as though it were the milk of human kindness.

I am a proud Canadian. We don’t often wave our flag for all to see, perhaps we should. We have our issues between citizens within our borders, but what country doesn’t?

We have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and as a woman I have the freedom to attain any level of education, rank or position, or public acknowledgement that a man in my country can, if I wanted to. I don’t have to hide in the shadows or cover my face. I used to take this as a given but more and more I’ve come to realize that in many countries, such opportunities are not open to women simply because of their gender.

I am proud to wear the maple leaf when I travel and have experienced the welcoming reactions of others in the countries where I’ve gone when they’ve seen that maple leaf.

Having lived in the UK for several years, I believe that Canadians are a bit of a hybrid – part British, part American, in our thoughts and mannerisms. We “get” British humour – a lot of Americans don’t. We “get” American humour – a lot of British don’t. We spell some of our words like the British, like colour and humour and labour, but we also spell some of them like Americans do – recognize and lovable, and for the most part our pronunciations of words tend to be closer to Americans than the British. If you don’t believe me discuss dynasties, aluminum and jaquars with the Brits.

Now, to lighten this a little bit, I feel compelled to tell you that not ALL Canadians live and die for ice hockey despite what the voice over for Hockey Night in Canada might tell you. (I am a Canadian and couldn’t give a toss about it.)

And, since I know that we’re a bit of a mystery to our neighbours to our south these videos might help you to understand us:

But mostly today in light of these tragic events ,and every day, I want our friends throughout the world to know that we as Canadians thank you for your support and friendship and for reaching out to us in our time of tragedy. Thank you for crying with us, and even for making us cry this week with your words of kindness and support by reminding us that you’re there for us. In these days of turmoil and uncertainty, it is comforting to know that.

Thank you.
Photo credit: scazon via photopin cc