Four Tips to Help You Enjoy Winter.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell

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See the complete drawing at the bottom of the post. I’ve been inspired to make a bigger painting from this small section of my drawing.

It’s December 1st.  Yay! The charmed month that brings us the sparkling holidays, fresh snow, and the winter solstice.

In some ways, I find November to be kind of tough: it’s not winter yet, but one can feel that autumn is making its gracious exit, leaving the land vacant and ready for winter to settle in.  The hardest part, for many people (including me), is that the days get drastically shorter, especially with daylight savings time. Suddenly, it’s 4:30 pm and it’s already dark.

But now it’s December, and with winter around the corner, I have to admit that, over all, I have come to like winter.

So, today I wanted to share four things that always help me to enjoy winter more, and dread the short days less.  Here are the four simple things that make the biggest difference for me.  Maybe they’ll help you like winter more, too:

~  I’ve learned to look at these short, cold days as the temporary season of coziness: dress in warm, cozy clothes, eat comfort foods, and create a cozy atmosphere at home.  This doesn’t have to cost much at all: play nice music, and keep soft, cozy blankets and throw pillows handy.  And hey, since it’s dark anyhow, just settle in for a movie night on Friday.  That’s right, unabashedly embrace and focus on all things cozy!

~   Lighting changes everything!  (Yes… everything!  Barbara Walters once said that good lighting can do more to help us look attractive than make-up can!)  Anyhow, during the shortest, coldest months, I love using this easy DIY trick to create a joyful glow (see photo below). It’s also helpful to decorate with an attractive lamp that bathes the room with a soft, warm light.  And, of course, consider safely lighting candles every now and then.

An EASY DIY!  Remember that you can produce different moods depending on the colour of light that you choose:

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Multicoloured lights in a big, glass vase are an easy way to make a room feel festive.

~ Make some time to connect with others during the colder season… even if you are a bit of an introvert like me!  In fact, whether it’s family, friends, or a beloved pet, spending time together in a cozy environment can do wonders for our spirit.

~ It’s good to try activities that will help you enjoy winter itself.  Getting outside into the natural light, even for a short amount of time, can transform how we feel.  This can be as simple as bundling up for a short, invigorating walk in the brisk air.  Keep in mind, though, exercise is a wonderful mood enhancer, whether you do it indoors or out.  So, if you prefer to get active inside, that will still help you feel better about winter.  Check out this link to the mood enhancing benefits of walking.

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A detail of a drawing I made. The complete drawing is at the bottom of the post.

Now, here are some lovely words of collective wisdom shared by others: 

Quotes on The Changing Seasons:

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

Yoko Ono

“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”

~Jared BrockA Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer 

“…Never in any of the four seasons
Should you neglect your gifts for any reasons
The world needs you to make it a better place
Don’t pack out; run your race”

― Israelmore AyivorBecome a Better You

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

~Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

She enjoys rain for its wetness, winter for its cold, summer for its heat. She loves rainbows as much for fading as for their brilliance. It is easy for her, she opens her heart and accepts everything.”

― Morgan LlywelynBard: The Odyssey of the Irish

 “SEASONS OF LIFE

Sometimes I fall
And feel myself slowly wilt and die,
But then I spring back on my feet
To go play in the sun outside.
I am no different than the weather,
The planets or the trees;
For there do not always have to be                                                                         reasons for the seasons                                                                                                     turning inside of me…”

~ Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

“All seasons have something to offer”

― Jeannette WallsThe Glass Castle

One Last Thing…

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This is a detail of a drawing that I made late last fall. I had fun working from my imagination on this one.

One last thing!  Late last fall, I made the drawing featured in today’s post.  It was from my imagination; a fun and spontaneous process.  Kind of like a big doodle.  It’s not quite finished –  I will probably go back and edit a few things, eventually – when the mood strikes me, but I’m focused on other projects, now.

A Time for Home

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Take care!

Pondering Peace ~ Lest We Forget

St Vital Park Peace Pole.
A Peace Pole dedicated in a popular Winnipeg park.

Today is Remembrance Day, here in Canada. It’s a day to reflect on the lessons that we’ve learned from war, especially since World War I; to remember and honour the sacrifices that were made by so many so that we may live in freedom; and to consider the suffering that conflicts are still causing in modern times.   The hope is that, in remembering all of these things, we will continue to work toward a more peaceful world.

In these times, it seems especially important to take a moment to pause and remember.

St Vital Peace Pole.
Peace Poles can be found in more than 180 countries to promote peace, understanding, and goodwill.

I took a walk in a popular Winnipeg park today, where a Peace Pole was dedicated in 2015.  Have you heard of these?  The inscription explains that they are “found in over 180 countries to promote peace, understanding, and goodwill.”

This Peace Pole was added to a beautiful little garden in the park that, in the summer, radiates colours and delightful fragrances.  Since it’s November, many of the flowers and plant life around the pole lie dormant amongst the evergreens, waiting to bloom again in the spring. A fitting symbol of life, perserverence and hope.

“LEST WE FORGET”

 

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A little down the the main road in St Vital, we see the Red River through more November trees.
A little down the park’s main road, we see the Red River through more November trees.

In the meantime, in the nearby pond, all sorts of birds gathered to prepare for their autumn  migrations.  It felt good to pause and reflect, as I watched with interest how the animals in nature – ducks, geese, and seagulls – managed to share this space in the park.

Seagull flying takeoff, ducks and geese, in St Vital Pond.

St Vital Park, ducks and a seagull on the pond.
Ducks and a seagull.

Pond at St Vital Park on Remembrance Day.

May we humans continue to learn how to treat each other, our planet, and all life on it with empathy and compassion.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 

~Martin Luther King Jr.

The pond at St Vital Park.
Long shadows at noon in November.
November in St Vital park, long shadows on the pond.
November shadows on the pond.

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img_4351A little down St Vital park's main road, we see the Red River through more November trees.

Two Things in Three Blocks.

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Today, just a little show and tell to share with you.  By the way, when I publish this post, I will know if the tech-problems on the blog are finally, actually fixed!  Or not.

Recently, we made a little discovery, here.  When we were in the process of getting our 13 year old son his first passport, we learned that his birth registration form had been transcribed incorrectly.  My maiden name had been misspelled with a “u” in place of a “v”.  It wasn’t our mistake, but we needed to correct it officially, if we wanted our son to have his own passport.

So, last week, I headed downtown to the Department of Vital Statistics.  65 dollars, and a couple of hours later, I got this bureaucratic error corrected.  I had parked my car only three blocks from the building, but that was a long enough walk to wind up with two things to share.

The first thing that got my attention was a small, diverse crowd that had gathered in an alley, by an old pub.  Turns out that I’d stumbled onto the ‘unveiling’ of an enormous picture of the queen of England.  This painting has a special history in this city because it used to hang in Winnipeg’s old hockey arena.

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Years ago, when the old arena was knocked down and a new one was built, this painting of the queen was put into storage. (I think it eventually wound up in the province of Ontario).

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Recently, two Winnipeg businessmen bought it back, and they plan to permanently hang it in a public place where anyone can view it, for free. A generous gesture, I thought.

There was one lady in the crowd who had heard about the unveiling less than an hour ago, and had dropped everything to show up and see it in person.  She told me that she had been collecting royalty memorabilia, and following their stories, for the last 28 years.

Anyhow, readers might know that Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s symbolic head of state because Canada is a constitutional monarchy, and the queen is represented here by the Governor- General.

Fans of hockey and royalty alike seemed equally pleased to see this painting returned to the city.

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The other thing that caught my eye was this mural.

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I was intruigued by how the images painted into the mural seem to blend in with the real-life cars and roads!
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…and how the building’s real windows blend into the mural’s painted windows and walls.  Very cool, I thought.

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Murals are such a great way to beautify an old urban area, and there are quite a few in Winnipeg.  For now, I’ll say this might be my favourite Winnipeg mural.  Now that I am paying attention, though, I might find other contenders for first place.

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Thanks for stopping by –  hope you have a great rest of the week!

If you enjoyed reading, you are welcome to subscribe – please see the menu box at the top.

Two Things in Three Blocks.


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Today, just a little show and tell to share with you.  By the way, when I publish this post, I will know if the tech-problems on the blog are finally, actually fixed!  Or not.

Recently, we made a little discovery, here.  When we were in the process of getting our 13 year old son his first passport, we learned that his birth registration form had been transcribed incorrectly.  My maiden name had been misspelled with a “u” in place of a “v”.  It wasn’t our mistake, but we needed to correct it officially, if we wanted our son to have his own passport.

So, last week, I headed downtown to the Department of Vital Statistics.  65 dollars, and a couple of hours later, I got this bureaucratic error corrected.  I had parked my car only three blocks from the building, but that was a long enough walk to wind up with two things to share.

The first thing that got my attention was a small, diverse crowd that had gathered in an alley, by an old pub.  Turns out that I’d stumbled onto the ‘unveiling’ of an enormous picture of the queen of England.  This painting has a special history in this city because it used to hang in Winnipeg’s old hockey arena.

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Years ago, when the old arena was knocked down and a new one was built, this painting of the queen was put into storage. (I think it eventually wound up in the province of Ontario).

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Recently, two Winnipeg businessmen bought it back, and they plan to permanently hang it in a public place where anyone can view it, for free. A generous gesture, I thought.

There was one lady in the crowd who had heard about the unveiling less than an hour ago, and had dropped everything to show up and see it in person.  She told me that she had been collecting royalty memorabilia, and following their stories, for the last 28 years.

Anyhow, readers might know that Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s symbolic head of state because Canada is a constitutional monarchy, and the queen is represented here by the Governor- General.

Fans of hockey and royalty alike seemed equally pleased to see this painting returned to the city.

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The other thing that caught my eye was this mural.

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I was intruigued by how the images painted into the mural seem to blend in with the real-life cars and roads!
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…and how the building’s real windows blend into the mural’s painted windows and walls.  Very cool, I thought.

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Murals are such a great way to beautify an old urban area, and there are quite a few in Winnipeg.  For now, I’ll say this might be my favourite Winnipeg mural.  Now that I am paying attention, though, I might find other contenders for first place.

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Thanks for stopping by –  hope you have a great rest of the week!

If you enjoyed reading, you are welcome to subscribe – please see the menu box at the top.

A Little Wanderlust.

Here are some of my thoughts and pictures from a long walk I took in Winnipeg, last Saturday.  Hope you enjoy…

~ Carina Spring

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In my last post, I announced that my blog’s technical troubles were finally resolved.  Turns out that my celebrations were, um… premature. Yes, after my gleeful announcement, I joyfully pressed “publish”, and soon realized that the email was not getting delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes.  Every time one problem gets resolved, another one pops up!

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Honestly, autumn has brought a few challenges with it, and not just with my blog.  When I stumbled on these words, yesterday, the mindset struck me as helpful:

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.  Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.  Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”

~ Jim Rohn

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Anyhow, on Saturday, when I went for a long-overdue haircut, I decided to walk home.  I have been going to the same hairdresser for 15 years.  Her salon is downtown, a fair few kilometres from my home, and in a different neighbourhood.  It was a gorgeous day.  Without thinking much about it, after my haircut, I strolled into the fresh air and started my walk.  It took several hours to get home, though I don’t know exactly how long, because I didn’t pay much attention to the time.

The sun was in my eyes and I carried my big purse over my shoulder, and I felt kind of free: no plans, no car.

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By the time I got home, around 5:00 pm, I’d taken a bunch of snapshots with my cell phone (those are the pictures in today’s post), and I’d accepted a friend’s spontaneous dinner invitation for 6:00 pm.

Hiking, even the urban kind, can be so relaxing. There is something therapeutic about walking by yourself, for hours, like a tourist in your own city.  Now, I feel a vague kind of wanderlust.  Like I want to wander. Everywhere.  Even if it’s only around here.

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When I was in my late teens, I figured life out by running  kilometres and kilometres at a time.  In those runs I found my strength, and I figured out that life was short, and that it all comes down to the present moment.  I think walks like this one are another way for me to better understand life.

Here are a few more snapshots that I took with my cell phone, if you’d like to see what Winnipeg looked like, from my perspective, last Saturday.  It’s a pretty diverse place.

If you enjoyed the post, please feel free to subscribe (see the menu box at the top).  Thanks for the visit!

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Yay… Finally!

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

~Melody Beattie

I can’t believe it!  After all of the emails, phone calls, and much research, the technical problems on my blog have finally been resolved!  All in one conversation with one talented technician who really knew what he was doing, and took the time to help.  In a matter of 20 minutes, the last of the problems were sorted out!  YAY… it’s finally behind me!

Now, I am looking forward to reconnecting with all of you, and posting regularly!

A water damn in the town of Winnipeg beach. The beauty of autumn in Manitoba.

Today is Thanksgiving, here, in Canada.  This has always been one of my favourite holidays.  We are enjoying the long weekend – it’s amazing what a difference an extra day off makes!   Our family celebrated on Saturday.  My husband prepared an amazing supper, and we all relaxed in the cozy warmth of our home.  Life may not always be easy, but we have a lot to be grateful for around here.

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I went for a bike ride to enjoy this beautiful Saturday. Birds, colourful trees, unbelievably blue skies.
The beauty of autumn in Manitoba.

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!  

A Walk with A Stranger, and The Bizarre Story of Good Memories from A Bad Evening

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After my walk with a stranger, I saw this huge caterpillar, and decided to bring out my cell-phone and take some snapshots.

I had an unusual experience last Saturday morning, When I went for a walk.

Just as I entered the park, I saw a woman, probably in her late 50’s, walking a little, white dog.   I casually commented that her dog was cute, when – much to my surprise – the woman began to tear up.  Apologizing, she explained that tomorrow would be 8 weeks since her husband had died of cancer.

Trees at St.Vital Park in September, in Winnipeg.
Trees in the park on a September day in Winnipeg.

I really felt badly for her.  I lost an aunt to cancer a year and a half ago, so I have some understanding of just how hard the whole experience can be.  I gave her a hug, and we started to stroll together.  Wound up doing a lap of the whole park. Mostly, I just listened.

When our walk was done, I felt good that I was able to lend a friendly ear to someone who needed it.  It got me thinking about how acts of kindness really do make both the receiver and the giver feel better.  Actually, this unexpected walk with a stranger also got me thinking about a remarkble experience that happened to my family, years ago.

imageI used to live in the city of Edmonton, Alberta.  One evening, my mom, grandma, brother, and cousin were on their way home after a day-trip to Drayton Valley, when they were rear-ended by a distracted driver on the highway. My mom’s car was a total write-off.  The policemen said how incredible it was that no one had been injured.

The accident occurred in front of a campground about 200 km from Edmonton, so my mom called my oldest brother to ask if he could come and give them a ride back home.  He immediately went to pick them up.

But.

He was a student at the time, driving an older vehicle and – shortly after picking everyone up – his car broke down.  What an evening, right?

Now, it was past 11:00 p.m.  This was the age before cell phones, so my family stood stranded by the side of the road, assessing the unfortunate circumstance in which they found themselves.

That’s when a young farmer stopped to help. He drove my family back to the city, more than an hour and a half in one direction (never mind that he still had to drive all the way back to his farm).  When my mother offered to pay him for his troubles, or at least for the gas, he refused to accept.  No, he said.  Pay it forward.  Help someone who needs your help in the future.

That is not the end of the story.

When the accident occurred, my mom’s car got towed away. In the stress of the moment, my mom wound up abandoning a bunch of the stuff that was in her car.  Some of these items were kind of valuable, like tools.

The following week, my mom and her best friend returned to the site of the accident, in the hopes of recovering some of the items. My mom entered the campground, and asked around a bit, just in case.  Turns out there were a number of seasonal workers who were living in the campground while they worked in Drayton Valley for the summer.  Everyone was so nice.  They had collected all of her belongings and, expecting that she might come back, had stored everything neatly under a tarp.

And there’s yet another twist.  On this trip, my mom had been driving a rental car provided by the insurance company.  Believe it or not, it also broke down while they were out there! Seriously!  It had to be towed, but, fortunately, the rental agency had an outlet in Drayton Valley, and my mom and her friend were able to get a replacement vehicle right away.

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What a strange experience, don’t you think?  Such a bitter-sweet combination.  They had a terrible accident, but, miraculously, no one was hurt. Every car that went out there had to be towed away!   Yet, the kindness of strangers transformed the memories of this negative experience into ones that are warm, and rather positive.

There is something very touching, even powerful, about an act of kindness from a stranger – extended without the hope of any retribution.

Sometimes, it can even be simple gestures that make a difference: being patient and present for others, or smiling at someone whom you sense might be feeling alone.

Kindness has a way of coming back to you in mysterious and beautiful ways, and studies show that helping others increases our own happiness.  It has a way of restoring hope, not only in the receiver, but also in the giver.

I am not sure why, but when I was done this walk, I knew it was time to start blogging again.  I am excited to be here, and I look forward to sharing the simple, everyday adventures that challenge, comfort, and enrich.

By the way, after I said goodbye to the woman last Saturday, I decided to do another lap of the park.   This time, for me.  I’d had a stressful week, and needed to process it so that I would have more energy to give to my family and my work.  Even though I had not planned on it, during that second lap of the park, I took a few snapshots with my cell phone.  Those are the pictures in today’s post, in case you wanted to see what one of Winnipeg’s city parks looks like.

Oh, just thought of one more thing!  While we are speaking of the kindness of strangers, have you heard this story of a life-changing phone call?  Not exactly light-hearted, but it gave me goose-bumps.

A caterpillar in St.Vital Park in autumn

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How’s Your Summer So Far?

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My dear blogging Friends!  You may have noticed that I have been away from my keyboard for the last while, and I will be away for just a little bit longer, but I sure am looking forward to connecting with you again, soon!  In the meanwhile, I hope that you are all having a refreshing summer and enjoying it in your own way!

And…

Before I go!  Here is an eclectic collection of ‘homey’ links, in case you are in the mood to explore the web a bit (and the links should work this time!):

transparent house?  

Her work and photographed spaces are the most repinned Pinterest posts ever: See Jennifer Harrison-Ciacchi’s inspiring home.

Feels like home to me.

Placemats: a neat idea, and a way to remember vacations.

Have you been noticing any of these home trends this year? (My bathtub stays!)

This was the first video I ever posted on homehurrah.com.

Would you live in a house like this? (It is surprisingly inviting and spacious!)

…(Or check out this tiny village!)

My unexpected discovery:  I’d love to live in the Flintstones house

For those who like this kind of thing, here are 8 really creepy secret rooms found in houses.

You can’t always trust your eyes!

(…Okay, the one above was not about homes or secret rooms, but it is a mystery to me!)

On a Final (Musical) Note:

This is such a fun song!  “Home“, by the indie pop band Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

Growing up, my mom would play an eclectic range of music in our home – from classical to country.   That is how I came to love John Denver’s sweet melodies.  It was my mother’s favourite tape cassette (hehe, remember those?) for some time, and I remember Denver’s soothing voice frequently playing in the background of our everyday activities.

A different kind of song about summer and home…

Just for fun, a classic rock song

Thank you so much for the visit!  Take good care!  

Oh… and if you enjoy the blog, you are most welcome to subscribe (See the first item on the menu).

🙂

5 Neat Things a Dog Will Bring Into Your Life

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Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?

Me?  I can’t choose… I like them both!

Earlier in my childhood, we had a variety of pets, including dogs, but after the age of 10, we’ve really only had cats.  I enjoy cats because they are low-maintenance, elegant, and very loving animals with a complex charm.  So… I guess I would say that I have become more used to having cats around.

Until this year, that is.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember my brother’s dog, Carlita.  You can read more about her on my first (and so far, only) Scribble Share.

My brother and his family went to live in France for the year, and they left Carlita with my mom.  Recently, my mom went to visit them in France for a month, so she left the dog with us (me, my son, and my husband).  When my mom returned to Canada, she injured her foot while working in the yard (Fortunately, nothing serious), which meant that she couldn’t walk the dog for most of last week.  So, Carlita stayed with us again until my mom’s foot started to heal.

Having a dog as a pet, albeit temporarily, has been a bit of a novelty for us.  They are a big commitment, almost like another baby!  But it is easy to see why people think of dogs as Man’s Best Friend.

This sweet little Carlita has helped me see some of the neat things that a dog brings into your life, aside from the obvious unconditional love, and loads of fun!

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Some of the neat things that a dog brings into your life:

1) A chance to be exuberantly joyful on a daily basis.

Every time I would get home, I would be greeted by the unrestrained joy that Carlita felt at our reunion. Of course, I would join in her excitement, laughing and talking to her in that silly voice that we naturally reserve for babies and cute animals.  Really, though – When else does one get to be that excited about anything, let alone something so ordinary as walking through the front door?

How wonderful that every arrival became an excuse to express unabashed joy!

2) An example of how to be totally in the moment.

One day when I got home from work, I took Carlita for a walk.  I’m usually pretty mindful of the beauty around me as I walk through the park, but on this day I was preoccupied with work, and my thoughts were far away, worrying about deadlines, decisions, and interactions with colleagues.  I was starting to get a headache. That’s when I looked at Carlita and really noticed how, as we walked, she had her nose buried in the thick, green grass.  At that moment, the grass was her world, the reality in which she was completely immersed.  I bet she wasn’t worried about whether I would give her that new canned dog food which she doesn’t like for supper, or which direction we would walk on our next outing.  No, she was just smelling that grass, giving all of her attention to the lush green blades that beckoned.

Yup. Dogs really know how to be in the moment.  Looking at her that afternoon, I took a deep breath, and remembered to pay more attention to the gorgeous, bright day around me.  We have a lot to think about as humans, and learning to take a break by being “in the moment” can be simpler than we make it. Dogs have it licked.

In fact, today when I got home from work, I went for a walk (no dog this time, she is happily back with my mom). I took a page from the book of Carlita.

I looked up at the trees, and focused my attention on the physical world around me. I noticed the shapes, and textures of the trees; the colour of the sky against the miriad of greens; the sound of birds echoing above. I noticed the sensation of the breeze against me, and the drifting fragrance of the flowers.

And I felt relaxed, joyful, and better prepared to take on the rest of the week.

3)  A dog encourages you to get outside and walk.

This is especially true with Carlita, who simply will not pee in the yard.  (I don’t know why! I certainly wished that she would, late on Friday nights). She is a dog that needs to be walked, several times a day. Sometimes long walks, sometimes short, but walking became an obligatory part of my day, every day.

4)  The vitality of a new perspective.  

This relates to the previous point.  With a dog around, I had to walk at times of the day when I normally wouldn’t. Like first thing in the morning, before heading to work.  These morning walks were not long, just a couple of blocks, but instantaneously de-stressed me.  To step outside and move a bit, smell the fresh morning air, and listen to all of the birds chirping their lovely melodies was remarkably relaxing.  And it only took a few minutes.

I also had moments of bliss walking Carlita early on Saturday mornings, when I would normally be sitting on the couch, drinking a coffee. One morning, it had rained, so the bark of the trees was dark, a deep contrast to the rich, green leaves.  The wood chips on the path looked exceptionally reddish, and the air felt soft and fresh. If it hadn’t been because of Carlita, I would have missed the joy of walking in the park on that drizzly Saturday morning.

Sure, I have taken morning walks in the past, and I used to jog in the mornings.  But now days I tend to reserve my walks for the afternoon.  It was revitalizing to change up my routine, and head out for walks when I normally wouldn’t.

5) And let’s face it, dogs sure know how to relax after a good walk!

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Oh Carlita, that funny, sweet little dog! (Ps. My husband took these yawning pictures.  They made me chuckle!)

A dog can teach us a thing or two about living well, and I’m not too proud to learn!

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Enjoying Spring in Winnipeg

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“The sun has come out and the air is vivid with Spring light” 

Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

 

Mahalo. Have you heard this word before?

In my latest post, I talked about the presentation I saw by Chad Pregrake, the 2013 CNN Hero of The Year.  I found his story encouraging because it showed that each of us has the power to act on the things that matter, and that small actions can add up to make a significant difference.

I closed that post off with a song by a famous Hawaiian musician (It’s a medley of two songs: “It’s A Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow“).  My oldest brother, who loves to visit Hawaii, left a comment on that post that introduced me to the concept of Mahalo:

“In keeping with the Hawaiian theme of your closing, they have this concept of Mahalo, which translates to ‘thank you’ but also can mean gratefulness or thankfulness, and can be expressed as simply as picking up trash and leaving the place better than you found it.”

Mahalo.  I love it.  The soft sound of one word to remind us of our own power to make a difference.

What a wonderful wor(l)d.

And while we are speaking of gratitude…

Spring has settled in around here, and made itself right at home.  We’ve passed the May long weekend, which is when experts announce the official start of the “frost-free” season in Winnipeg.   Gardeners can start planting!

So, today at Home… hurrah!, I am in the mood for a light-hearted celebration of all things Spring, with a Winnipeg twist! (In case you are not familiar with Winnipeg, it’s an interesting little place.)

1.  Spring officially started more than 2 months ago, and this is how the various regions in Canada looked on that first day of Spring.

2. I love birds, and I am always thrilled by my first sighting of geese flying over us, returning after a long winter! Some thoughts on migration here.

3.  In the spirit of spring, I recently tried painting a bird.

It started like this….

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Then it went through a few phases.  Can you guess how which one of the two was the final painting?

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*See answer at the the end of post.

4. This morning, as I woke up, the fragrance of lilac blossoms reached my senses before I even opened my eyes.  My husband had put some fresh blossoms  in a vase, in our bedroom.  Ahhh… Fresh lilac blossoms, outdoors and indoors!  Love.

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“Every Spring is the only Spring – a perpetual astonishment.”  

Ellis Peters

5.  Barbecues!  Actually, this past Friday, my husband made the best burgers ever.  I am not always the biggest fan of burgers, but these were amazingly delicious.  I will soon tell you how he went about making them… if I can pry the secret out of him!

6. I’ve been using my favourite emojis again! 🌸🌷💐🌱

7.  Oh, the joys of being outside on a warm evening…

sunset at the lake, spectacular cloud
An unusual and lonely cloud, illuminated by the sunset (last summer), looked spectacular.

8.  … in sandals!!!  Aaaahhhh…

People who have to layer up in parkas, scarves, hats, gloves, long underwear, two pairs of socks, and boots, can really appreciate the care free experience of slipping into sandals!  (No matter what our feet might look like!)

feet in sandals
It’s so easy to slip into sandals! And the air on our toes feels so good.

9.  When celebrating Spring in Winnipeg, it is not always easy to decide what to wear.  For example, according to Wikipedia, temperatures for April in Winnipeg range from −6.3 °C (21 °F) to 34.3 °C (94 °F), and can change rather quickly.

10. Green!  Everywhere green! We are embracing this glorious season as the dormant world becomes vibrantly awake in May.

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…The trees outside my window are dressed in their magnificent, leafy green garments.   (Do you notice the trees around you, too?)

Tree lined streets means lots of trees right outside my window.
Trees ask for so little, but give so much. You can see them here in action… beautifying the city and cleaning the air!  They provide a home for birds and other backyard wildlife, and shelter us from the hot sun.

 

This list could go on, as I do love Spring, and the joy only increases as it transforms into summer.  So, today, I will leave you with the bottom line:

“That is one good thing about this world… there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M. Mondtgomery, Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)

Answer – This was the final painting:
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