Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Happy Birthday Mom.

“A mother would have been always present. A mother would have been a constant friend; her influence would have been beyond all other.” – Northanger Abbey.


This is my mom. Isn’t she beautiful? A candid moment captured at my wedding. She has her granddaughter in her arms and her own mother looking across the table at the two of them. I’m so thankful for this picture. (Thank you Justina Phippen Photography)! It also makes me realize how few pictures I have of my mother. That needs to change.

Today’s my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! In honour of that, it would be my pleasure to share 5 of the most important life lessons I have learned from her. Of course, I have learned so much, I could be making a list of 100 things… but I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 that have shaped me and stuck with me the most as I’ve entered into my own journey through motherhood.

1. Follow Your Dreams.

My mother has shown me that being a mother is all about helping your children find their own path, and supporting them in it no matter how it makes us feel. Over and over again she has proven this to me, as I know I have made a lot of choices she wouldn’t necessarily have agreed with, except she knew — these were my choices; my dreams. She has been my biggest supporter through everything – having Gigi, my relationship with K, finishing school, moving to Calgary… I know she had strong opinions about it all (and that’s only an assumption, she was so careful never to share them with me). Instead of casting a shadow on my choices, she chose to lift me up in each of them, bringing out the best of me and giving me the strength to pursue each one, even when it meant her grandchildren moving across the country.

2. Be Positive.

We are all dealt challenges throughout our lives. Only now, as a mother myself, am I finally getting a glimpse into the challenges my mother has had to face and the ones she is facing now. I would never have known otherwise, but I am now blessed to be able to call her one of my closest friends, switching the gears from a strictly mother/daughter relationship to one of friends. I am thankful for her honesty, and that, as friends, she is able to share with me in her trials, as I’ve always shared with her in mine. Because of this, I am able to see how she exudes positivity. I understand how important it is not to let our challenges dictate our worldview. This doesn’t mean we have to live our lives pretending to be perfect, but be upfront about the difficult hands we’re being dealt, and show how we refuse to let them get us down. I only hope my children see this in me someday, where they can sit back and say, “you went through that? But you were always so happy… I never would have known.”

3. Listen, Really listen.

This could be my favourite. By listen, I mean with your ears, as well as with your eyes and your heart. That’s how she listens. She’s very careful to really hear me. She takes into account my feelings before giving her opinion. She has this uncanny ability to know when to say something, and when not to. I think she gets this from HER mother. I desperately hope I’ve inherited this.

4. Work Hard to Play Hard.

This is the one I have trouble living in. I think my generation is guilty of getting a lot of things EASILY, and not having to work for much. My mother shows me how rewarding it can be to work hard. She rarely stops, even when I tell her to. She can’t. She doesn’t know how. But she knows what’s important. And she knows how to enjoy life. She seems to live in these little moments that sit within hard work. Sunny days, a lake-side breeze, her grandchildren’s smiles… all of her hard work makes these moments worth it. Boy, do I want to live like that.

5. Take Care of Yourself.

My mom wants to be around for us for as long as she is able. I am in awe of how proactive she is about it all. She really takes care of herself, and I can only dream of being like her. Exercising, eating right, testing for this, that and the other thing… I can’t keep track. But I know she is doing it to be on top of her health. She takes care of herself so she can keep taking care of us, and I can’t think of a better reason than that.

Happy Birthday mom. Thank you for being you, everyday. I love you.

I’ll have the cupcakes ready to eat by 6:00.
The kids will be thrilled to blow out the candles for you over Skype… and even more thrilled to eat a cupcake in your honour. 

Wish you were here everyday. Oh wait, you are. In me.

To wish was to hope and to hope was to expect. – Sense and Sensibility

This is one thing I am most guilty of – having expectations. It’s easily done, unconsciously done, but boy is it dangerous. Expectations unknowingly creep up on you where you don’t even realize you have them until you are disappointed by them. I refuse to be disappointed by expectations anymore.

In an age of Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram – expectations are the worst. We are constantly “looking” into the lives of not only our neighbours but of perfect strangers. We see what they have – children, clothes, vacations, homes, cars, careers… and we are reminded of what we are missing.

If we maintain our focus on what we see them having… we unintentionally begin to wish for things, hope for things, and develop expectations for these things. Unhappiness is quickly invited into our hearts, wishing for the life we see others enjoying and think we deserve.

This is easily prevented – first, avoid social media. Okay, okay – that’s a tricky one… I’ll be the first to say how much I love social media. Then, we must keep in mind that the “life” we present on social media, isn’t always an accurate reflection of our lives at all. We are knowingly presenting ourselves in a very specific/purposeful way. It’s not that we want people to look at our lives and say – I want what they have… perpetuating that cycle of unfulfilled expectations (well, maybe someone out there does…). We just naturally  want to showcase the BEST parts of us.

Once we can stop attaching “wishes, hopes, and expectations” onto the social representations of our friends and followers, we can start looking inward – where we should be maintaining our focus anyway.

Spend your time looking at the things you already have, and being thankful for them.

My closest friend showed me an app, stop me if you’ve heard it: Gratitude 365.
Everyday, you are given free reign to jot down a little note to yourself about the things you are thankful for – even add a photo. My favourite part? Swipe to the right and you’ll get to see all of the things you’ve been thankful for set up in a nice (hopefully long) list. I’ve just started using this app. Each day in the month of February, I’ve been writing down one thing I’m thankful for and it’s really getting me to think “outside of the box”, as I’m trying not to repeat a “gratitude”.

Don’t get me wrong here, we are constantly and automatically creating expectations for ourselves, and will continue to do so. But, IF we can make ourselves aware of these expectations, we’ll be able to see them coming… and the disappointment that comes with not meeting those expectations, will hopefully become more of a… whoops! what was I thinking? I can’t run before I walk — or my favourite analogy, which probably exists and if not I made it up: I’m JUST keeping my head above water, how in the WORLD do I expect myself to WALK on it!? There’s only one guy I know that can do that! (That’s been doing the trick for me).

Hope you all have a great week – and that’s a week without expectations.

“I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly; I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage.” – Mansfield Park

I need to take this opportunity to celebrate. There is nothing greater than finding the one your heart has been waiting for. And it sounds like my precious sister-in-law has found it! I’ve just recently heard the amazing news – my sister will be married to what I understand to be an incredible man!! Continue reading

It is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible. – Northanger Abbey

We all know the world is an awful place. It doesn’t take much to tell us this. Just turn on the TV. Flip through the channels a couple of times. It’s everywhere. Ugly. Sad. Lonely. Scary.

I asked Hailey the other day what she wanted to be when she grows up. This changes on the daily – I was expecting an answer like – a teacher, veterinarian, doctor… but this time I got something different. “I just wanna be happy,” she says plainly. Happy. How does one “be” happy? Continue reading

” One cannot have too large a party.” – Emma 

We are blessed to have a big and beautiful family. Because of this, on any given month of the year, someone in it is celebrating a birthday. My kids know this, as they often get me to recite for them the list of who’s is coming next. And guess what – at this particular time, on this particular day, it’s me. Today is my birthday. It’s my birthday today.

Continue reading

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn? – Pride and Prejudice

Last week was our first week of school – and I received an alarming glimpse of what our year is going to look like.

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“But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.”  – Pride and Prejudice

When you’re a child, you dream of the day you will grow up and become an adult. In adulthood you long for the days when you were a child. It’s amazing how difficult it really is to live in the “now” – appreciating who we are in this moment. As human beings we are in this weird “state of constant change” – changing little by little everyday – even though the change is basically unrecognizable from one day to the next. Continue reading

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. – Emma

Another quote from her novel, “Emma”. This time – these words belong to Mr. Knightley, as he is finally declaring his love for Emma.

I know this is true for me. When I feel passionately about something or someone, I have a hard time expressing myself -perhaps out of fear:  fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of  the repercussions that may follow; perhaps it boils down to genetics or its just something I’ve unintentionally learned to do, picking it up along the way.

Even worse, when my passion involves a circumstance that is difficult to handle or understand, “talking about it” can be downright out of the question, making me way too vulnerable for my taste.

Communicating these difficult moments goes against our very human nature. We live in this world of instant gratification – we are looking to feel good, right now and stay that way. We stuff the difficult down and ignore it – hoping to forget and carry on feeling good, as we were.  Unfortunately for us, at least for me, NOT communicating is only a short-term solution. There is something to all this “talking”. So, what is it for me?

Well, the inside of my head looks a little like rush-hour traffic.  At any given moment, I have 4 or 5 different thoughts starting and stopping. You have the emergency vehicles who need to get through – the thoughts that take precedence – our kids needs, the to-do lists and the grocery lists. The thoughts that are left behind – trapped in the far left-hand lane with no exit in sight – are usually the ones I don’t want to think about.

The appeal to communicate these thoughts for me is this: forcing them out and letting them be my focus for more than a fleeting second, my thoughts tend to organize themselves a lot better. Because of that, I usually gain a new perspective on the subject. Feeling a little more enlightened – I can most definitely learn to deal. Also, it gives to whoever I am communicating a new perspective on me. This is usually my lovingly wonderful husband – who let’s face it, is not a mindreader. Forcing myself to communicate my feelings on a particular subject almost always helps him to better understand where I’m coming from – keeping us on the same page (note: I said, almost always).

Let’s face it, life is not fair. We are all going to experience a time where we feel completely disconnected from the life we had thought we were going to have. But, “it is what it is.” – This became my mantra as we faced each day in the NICU. And it has stuck. We need to understand that as much as we don’t like it, the circumstances won’t change (9 times out of 10). Being able to face it, talk about it, get it out there, will ultimately help us somewhere down the road. I stand firm on this point. If it hasn’t helped you, hold on, keep waiting, God isn’t finished yet. Focus on the little victories while you wait … look for them, they’re everywhere, and there are more of them than you think.

I hope you all have a great week – don’t stop loving, if anything, love harder – let’s just work on talking more.

I shall begin this process by asking…

“Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?

– Jane Austen through personal correspondence