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Thursday, October 30, 2014

What 3 Things Can you Do?

Over the summer, this purple 3 kept popping up around town, and it's picture appeared on social media every time it was in a different spot.
This is of my favourite pictures, since it has some wonderful people in it who do so much for our community. You can often see their smiling faces volunteering at a variety of events around town. So you can go to to find out more about this idea. But basically it is a challenge for people to go out and do three things for their community, or for the people living in it. I fell in love with the idea right away, and kept wondering how our family could do our three things and somehow challenge others.

Fort McMurray has been so good to us since we moved here, and in our times of trouble in the last few years, we felt supported and loved. I have been noticing with the challenge that some companies and radio stations have taken it on, and have done some fantastic things. But the thought kept popping in my head that not everyone can do "big things", and sometimes the best things in life are the little details. And something clicked. A few weeks ago everyone was challenging three people to share what they were grateful for, why not do three things, and pass on the challenge to three people? Then go to the website and tell everyone what you do, when you share, you inspire others.

We all do our regular everyday things, but why not step outside our boxes and do something different? This weekend our family is going to volunteer with the new build that the Habitat for Humanity is working on in Fort McMurray. If you want to sign up to help out, here is the sign up page.

Also this weekend we will be volunteering for the Keyano Gala, and if you want to lend a hand at that, please email me, at And our third thing is that we signed up for the annual Syncrude Food Bank Drive. It's a great way to get the whole family involved as there are jobs for everyone! And here is the link to sign up!

And lastly, I am going to send out my challenge to three families, and I would encourage everyone to do the same, even if you don't live in Fort McMurray, why not challenge the residents of your community? Positive deeds for others can only bring good feelings, so we all win. So my three challenges go out to the MacLeans(John, Kerin, Sam and Colin), more MacLeans...(John, Andrea, Brandon, Tyler and Alyssa), and lastly the MacLeods(John, Kim, Brooklyn and Morgan). And yes, we know a lot of Johns, lol. Let's get creative and have fun with this, and remember to share what you do, and pass the challenge on to three others, via Facebook to make it easy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Following my Heart.

The emails or comments that I still get the most are from people who say that they miss my column in the Cape Breton Post. Many of the people who I hear from are parents or even grandparents of people who are living out here in Fort McMurray. They liked getting the news from out here so that they could carry on conversations with their loved ones about the town they are living in. And at first I thought I would keep posting here just like I did in the paper. But then the self doubt crept in, and I thought that no one really cares about the silly things that I write about around town, so I let it go. In fact, I let a lot of my writing fall to the side, as I found myself writing about things that were not as interesting to me.

I stopped posting about local Fort McMurray news, East Coast talent, my journey in weight loss and even my person of the week idea. A few months ago a very good friend asked me what did I really want to do with my blog. What purpose did I want it to have, why did I start it in the first place? And because I value this friend's opinion, and he often makes me think about things, I kept thinking about his questions. And the one thing that kept coming up for me was that I started the blog to share whatever was happening with me so that if someone else was going through the same experience they would not feel so alone. So while it may not have any great "purpose", it's honest, and real and even silly at times, and I will go back to writing whatever moves me, and I will keep people posted about local events.

I am creating a schedule that I hope to stick to, and have several pieces ready to go. I will continue to do my person of the week, and that person can be from any where, you never know where you are going to meet someone wonderful, or how someone will impact your life in a positive way. But I am also going to start writing about groups or people that may need help. I want to write about volunteer opportunities, fundraising events that strike a chord with me, and groups that need people to help out in different ways. I always have loved talking about ways to volunteer or help out, and I am hoping through the blog to tell you about some wonderful groups that are always working so hard in communities right across the country.

So if you have a parent on the East Coast that once read my column with the Post, please feel free to send them this blog link and tell them to follow along, I am pretty excited to go back to my old ways.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Looking through someone else's eyes.

The last few days on Facebook everyone has been posting their pictures of their kids since most are getting their school pictures back. I remember always buying the boys a new tie or shirt so that they could be all dressed up and looking clean for their school photos. I have them all layered, and hanging in the hallway. Each year brought a new look, even if it was just that they looked older. This year I will be adding Mitchell's final picture, his grad pic. I commented on a friend's picture of her girls the other day that I thought they looked even cuter since I have gotten to know them a bit more. They are two girls that are always well-behaved, well spoken and just pleasant. Their mother responded to my comment by saying that since she sees them every day, she did not always see them the same way, but that I could be right. Her comment kind of stuck with me the last few days, and I thought of it again last night as I sat at the Sawridge, and took in the evening's event. We can often be our own worst critics, and I think that at times we can do the same to our children. Last night, as Mitchell was presented an award for being an "X-Ceptional Kid" I watched it unfold not as a mom, but as an observer.

The awards are held by the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce every year, and it is a night where local businesses and individuals are recognized for all their hard work, dedication to the community and they present various awards to the winners. Nexen was the sponsor of the award presented to Mitchell, and to another well-deserving young woman from Fort McMurray, Sam Wells. Sam's mom, Theresa, is a well-known blogger/communications woman from Fort McMurray, and someone at the table joked during the evening that with two bloggers at the same table then the event should be well covered. I think it's wonderful that Nexen would take the initiative to recognize local youth, because really, they are truly our future. There were two young interns at our table from Nexen, and if they were any indication of the quality of people that work for Nexen, then it definitely must be attracting the cream of the crop. They were both so engaging, and spoke so highly of their work, where they were from, and of Fort McMurray. It's always fun at these dinners when you are in arranged seating and get to meet some new people. 

When I first told Mitchell about the nomination, he was his usual humble self, and we talked about what it means to win such an award. Mitchell has done so much for his community in the last number of years, and has shown me on many occasions that when you give your time and heart, you really do feel better about those around you and your community in general. I cannot count how many conversations we have had after an event and Mitchell has started the conversations by saying, "You wouldn't believe the person I met that...." and he would then go on to tell me about meeting someone who shared their story with him during their time together. It has been all those people that he met and interacted with over the years that kept inspiring him to do more, to be more and to dream more. I have often said that Tim and I have little to nothing to do with how great our kids are turning out. While we have provided the love and stable home for them, we have had support and inspiration from teachers, coaches, the cadet group, and all those people who share their time and their hearts with our children. So I guess we all play a part in nights like last night. 

Years ago Tim and I received lots of advice when we first had Mitchell and then Nathanial, and it always stayed with us. The first piece of advice was to pick our battles, if it was not something that would matter five years from now, then don't argue about it. So hair styles, clothing choices, and silly things were never argued over. Another tidbit was when you felt yourself getting upset, pretend there's a video camera on you...if you were being taped, would you be okay with showing the tape to your best friend or a teacher tomorrow? I caught myself on more than one occasion finding better words when I thought of a video tape showing up, lol. But my favourite piece of advice has always been to build up your child, tell them you love them and that they are amazing, because no else has to. As a parent, it's our responsibility to make sure their self esteem is the best it can be, because when they go out in the world, too many bad things can happen and life can be cruel at times. But if they feel good about themselves, than they can handle the bad stuff. That's our job, as parents, give them the love they need to help them realize they can do whatever they want, and that they are loved. 

So am I proud of Mitch? You darn friggin right I am. He is everything we had ever hoped for in a child, and he is now a young man, who's ready for the world, and I can't wait to see what he is capable of doing with his life, and for his community. But even in receiving this award last night, Mitch still pointed out in his humble way that there are so many other great kids in our community. Ones that may not have support at home, who still have jobs, volunteer and do great in school. So if you know a great kid, please tell them you think they are doing a great job of growing up. Help build up that self-esteem, because we all benefit from having wonderful people around us. 

Below is a picture from last night of Mitchell, with one of our local MLAs, Mike Allen. Thanks again to the chamber of commerce, with it's sponsor, Servus Credit Union, Nexen and whoever thought of Mitchell to nominate him. It was another memorable evening in Fort McMurray. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

My weekly confession.

My weigh in at Tops this week was not as great as I had hoped. I was down only two pounds.

The hard part about it was that I walked every single day, and at the end of the days, if I did not have my 10,000 steps in on my Fitbit, then I went for another walk, even in the rain. So I had hoped the results were be a bit more on the scale.

But if I am honest, I have realized over the last few years that I am an emotional eater, and with sad news this week, and Tim out of town, my friends, carbs, were more than willing to comfort me. So this week I will try to watch a bit more closely on what I am eating, and really try to stay on track.

I have to go out of town for a few days for some fun "work", and while others may say that they gain when they go on trips, I tend to be the opposite and I hope that I will be just as good on this trip. It probably has something to do with the fact that I love to walk through new cities and discover what their streets hold.

The hardest hurtle that i will have to face now is that the weather is getting colder here in Fort McMurray, and my rosacea does not like being out in the cold. After just a few cold morning walks, I look like a clown with my rosy cheeks. So in the next few weeks I may have to come up with some alternatives. Maybe start hitting the walking tracks to stay warm so that I don't lose my motivation?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Going to Try Again!

The Ultimate Blog challenge started again today. It's a way for bloggers to connect, and for more people to find your blog. But the big thing for me is that the challenge pushes you to be more consistent. And for anyone who already follows this blog, you know that's a challenge for me. But the last few weeks, since school started, I have become a bit more consistent in somethings in my life again, like exercise, house work, and healthier eating. And for those who know me, you know that I do none of those things very well.

To be honest, today was one of those days where my heart and my thoughts and everything in my life was focused on other friends of ours that are currently going through a terrible nightmare, every parent's nightmare. So while I have been sitting here trying to force myself to write something, anything, it just won't come tonight. So all I can say is give your kids a special hug tonight, because you are lucky you can, and tomorrow I will try to be more professional, and yes....consistent.