Where Do You Go?

For me, there is something captivating, even comforting about migration.  Even though my life on the ground may have changed over the year – I’ve lost loved ones, my father is in palliative care – in the spring, the birds return.  And while it does not make the losses easier, there is a serene kind of solace found in the predictable beauty of the cycles of nature.

Depending on the conditions of their geographical location, some Golden Eagles migrate, and some do not.
Depending on the conditions of their geographical location, some Golden Eagles migrate, and some do not.

The arrival of the migrating animals after their long journey exemplifies courage, and life’s triumph over adversity.   We look up and welcome the geese, not only as a sign of the changing seasons and spring’s renewal, but simultaneously as a symbol of perseverance, and life’s constancy.

A family of geese

That’s the thing about migration – it heralds change, but also continuity.  It is a process that transcends our existence here on earth: Migration was here before us, and continues without us. Just like when children grow, they make us more aware of the passage of time, migrations orient us to the seasons of life and create a sense of connection between the passing years.

There is something so worthwhile, so healthy about pausing, and remembering the processes in nature that transcend our own lifespans

Alicia and Neil’s Photography

Migration also reminds us of unseen bonds that connect us to other parts of the planet. We share something beyond ourselves; We share a living species that calls both of our lands home.

“Where Is Your Home, Restless Wings?”

In the modern era, it is harder for us to grasp the magic of migration.  We have developed the remarkable technology to connect with almost anyone, anywhere, instantly, but in so doing may be forgetting a time in recent history when distant lands were still mysterious, and the world felt much bigger.  Less than a century ago, simply receiving a letter from a different part of the world was an exciting event.  In some ways, migrating animals are like living, timeless emblems from distant lands; messengers reminding us of an intricate connection with people we will never meet, and places we might never see.

Reader Julia shared this picture of a beautiful Monarch, know for its epic migration.
Reader Julia shared this picture of a beautiful Monarch, known for its epic migration.

And just as I finished writing these reflections, the world outside my window was transformed over night by a fluffy snowfall, and the words on this post are now a farewell to fall.

How wonderful that the timeless truths of nature are right at our doorstep, and the simple act of stepping outside and looking at the sky can help us find comfort and perspective in our modern, everyday lives.

Mountain blue bird ANP
A beautiful Mountain Blue Bird:  Alicia and Neil’s Photography

Unless otherwise indicated, all of today’s photos are from Alicia and Neil’s Photography.

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Last winter, I heard this song for the first time.  This song may have helped inspire this post.  I have to add that I love this band, and they seem to share my poetic obsession with birds.

Would you like to learn more?  Here are some links to organizations that are working hard to preserve habitat so that life on earth can stay diverse, and migrating animals can persevere.  Every bit we do helps, and these organizations are making a real difference.

World Wildlife Fund

World Wildlife Fund International

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sign a petition to protect Caribou habitat or  Learn more about CPAWS

Thank you for stopping by!

Playing It By (Y)ear.

Post by Carina Spring.

“…if one is lucky enough to be blessed with good health, growing older shouldn’t be something to complain about. It’s not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be so fast on your feet, and the image in the mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”

~Betty White at 89 years of age.

A few years ago, I was listening to a program on CBC.   The lady speaking was a breast cancer survivor.  She was talking about how most people complain when their 40th birthday rolls around, but her experience had changed her perspective. As she approached her 40th year, she felt the birthday was a gift.  She threw a party for all of her friends, and family, and joyfully celebrated the start of a new decade in her life.  I’ve tried to remember her message of being thankful for each year.

March 20th was my birthday, and I looked forward to it all week.  It was also the first day of spring, the International Day of Happiness, and a Friday!  When I got home, I went on the Internet to check out one of my favourite blogs, http://thecreativitycauldron.com/, and learned that the blogger – the lovely Bekki Hill – had included me in her nominations for the Liebster Award.  What a timely coincidence: Preparing a post with my responses will give me a unique way to reflect on the year that’s past, and the year to come.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to find a musical keyboard set up in the family room.  A fantastic gift because I’ve always wanted one, but never felt I could justify buying one since I don’t actually know how to play!  I really enjoy figuring songs out by ear and, now that I have a keyboard, I might even take lessons at some point.

For me, the keyboard is also a symbolic reminder to learn as I go, rather than wait for circumstances to be perfect. To jump into another year enthusiastically, as it unfolds, one moment at a time.

Every year, it is worth embracing the renewed opportunity to experience our existence: with all the beauty and joy, the imperfections and uncertainties. It is another chance to learn, and to grow into who we are, to breathe fresh air into our lungs, and laugh with a loved one.

It will take a little while to get my response post ready for the Liebster Award.  I’ve had a busy week, and won’t have time for a few more days.  Nonetheless, the questions that Bekki provided were great, and I can’t wait to get to it!

Ps: Above is a picture of my new keyboard.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Post written by Carina Spring.

Canadian winters. What an experience. Do you like winter?  How do you survive it?

I was listening to CBC recently and a guest speaker was talking about the possibility of making downtown ice trails so that people could skate to work.  He made an interesting point: Winter cities live in freezing conditions for many months of the year. Why focus on the 10 days that are really, really unbearable?  Instead, focus on getting outside and embracing the season.  I couldn’t agree more!

There was a time in history when people enjoyed winter. Regular winter festivals were the norm, people bundled up and walked outside, played outside, and just all around made the best of the season.

I know winter can be hard, and driving in it is the worst part for me. But enjoying the season is a mind-set. If one dresses for the cold, and I mean REALLY dress for it, it is fun to be outside. The quality of light, the crisp, cold air, the brilliance of the snow. It’s invigorating and magical!

Okay, when it gets ridiculously cold (for me, that is when the temp goes below -32 C with a windchill) it can be too much. But normally, it isn’t that bad. When it is, I try to get cozy and kind of hibernate. Wait till the cold snap breaks.

Anyhow, here’s to winter and making the best of it. The way I see it, if I’m going to live somewhere this cold, I might as well really experience it. There are many people in the world who will never know the joy of walking in the picturesque beauty after a fresh snow-fall. Lucky us!

btw I snapped the picture with my cell phone camera on my way home from work. I was not dressed for it so I could barely hold on to the camera. My point? I will make the best of winter, but will LOVE summer when it comes! 😉

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Well, just in case it’s too cold for you to go outside, here are a few versions of that song to keep you smiling!  Take your pick.

I had no idea that Lady Gaga had done a version of this song!

Have you heard this version?  It’s a classic.

Or this one?

Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com, I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

 

How to Make Better Decisions and enjoy life more: Love vs Fear.

Post written by Carina Spring.

This stunning photo by:  http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

“Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much…all there will ever be is what’s happening here, in the decisions we make in this moment, which are based on either love or fear… Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart. ”

~Jim Carrey

Love vs. Fear

Today is Valentines. Whether you are single or partnered, a person who ignores this Hallmark holiday, or one who decorates for it, this is the day to talk about the idea of love.

All pink hearts aside, whenever we are faced with fear and uncertainty in life, there is an antidote: we can base our thinking, our decisions and actions on love. I am not talking about co-dependence, or turbulent infatuation.  I am talking about real love: the life-enriching condition that is healthy, and inspires and comforts us. In fact, approaching life from a place of love will help you find more overall joy and fulfillment.

What do I mean?  Here is a  personal example.

Years ago, I made a decision to intentionally approach my career obligations from a place of love, and a genuine caring for others. Inevitably, this soon extended to include compassion for myself (Acknowledging that I am not perfect, I can’t do it all, I am doing my best even if it doesn’t always match some “ideal”, and I also have to take care of myself).  Suddenly, my career life transformed. I have become one of those people who truly enjoys her time at work.   That doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect, or that I don’t have ever have ups and downs. The thing is that facing all aspects of my job with love- the exciting and interesting stuff, as well as the tedious or difficult stuff- brings meaning and motivation to my task. I forget my fears, my shyness, and my insecurities and focus on the the job with passion and dedication.

How to Apply the Antidote

In your life, when you are feeling tense, facing  a difficult decision, or feeling afraid, take a soft breath and take a few moments to reflect.

1) First, think about self-love. Not selfishness, but selflove. Act with compassion and kindness.  This doesn’t mean you don’t push yourself to be better.  You want the best for yourself; you want to grow and learn. But to make real progress, you need to accept who you are and how you feel. Even if it isn’t what you’d like it to be, you have to work with what you’ve got. You have to love and understand who you are in order to make the right choices for yourself.

2) Act with regard for your own health, safety and respect. Kindness for others should never mean accepting abuse.

3)  Next, consider how your actions will contribute to the well-being of others.  It helps me to remember that most people are just doing their best. Forget fear, forget boredom, and focus instead on caring. That intention is what counts, and will bring more meaning to everything you do.

4) It’s more fun to approach a task with the feeling that it can help others!  It helps you love the task itself.

5) Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an insignificant kindness. Maybe you are a clerk or waiter who makes someone’s day by providing great service, a doctor who listens to and cares about her patients, or a CEO who treats his employees with generosity.  Maybe you return a lost purse at Safeway.

6) As a final thought, let’s remember that love – the unconditional, real bond that happens when a healthy connection flourishes – can be found and expressed in many ways: in the trust between old friends; in the familial love between a parent and child, siblings and relatives; in the companionship of a loyal pet; and, of course, in romantic love.

How great that this Valentines Day falls on the Saturday of a long weekend! No matter what you are up to, enjoy!

Happy Valentines Day!

Today’s quote was from a graduation speech given by Jim Carrey. Who knew he was so profound!

Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.” Do you recognize those lyrics?  His voice is a honey sweet treat:

Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com!

 

 

Series: Can A Song Connect You to Home? Today: Chuck Mangione

The picture above was used with permission: http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

Do You Have A Special Song?

“What song makes you think of home? It doesn’t have to literally be about home. Just a song that somehow embodies the concept for you, or makes you feel at home in some way”.

Just for fun, since we are in February, the month of Valentine’s Day, I decided to ask one of my best friends the question above.

We’ve been friends since university.  She is smart, hilarious, and looks remarkably like Audrey Hepburn.  Lucky her!

This was her decisive answer:

“Feels So Good, by Chuck Mangione”.

This instrumental piece reminds my friend of her childhood on the Canadian west coast in Vancouver. It conjures that feeling she loves of experiencing nature in a lively urban setting, and images of the beach, the ocean and the mountains.

“To me, home is more than just being in a house. I feel at home when I am outdoors, in nature.”

What do you think?  Is there a song that connects you to home?  Feel free to leave a comment.

Enjoy!

BTW…

My friend didn’t yet know about my blog when I asked her the above question, so I had to smile when I thought about my own answer from December 1st:

http://www.homehurrah.com/?p=93 )

No wonder we’ve been friends for so long.

A Song Called “Going Home” by Kenny G

Kenny G: Best-Selling Artist and a World Record. 

Image by Nuchylee, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I just discovered this song a few minutes ago. I wasn’t looking for music, I wasn’t even on YouTube, but it turned up on an unrelated search and, with a title like “Going Home”, you know I would have to check it out! I did, and I loved it. It’s an instrumental piece.  According to Wikipedia (I confirmed this fact by checking two other websites), Kenny G is the “biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era and one of the best-selling artists of all time, with global sales totaling more than 75 million records.”  

Kenny G was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 for playing the longest note ever recorded on a saxophone. Apparently, he held an E-flat for 45 minutes and 47 seconds!  How can he hold any note for so long? Circular breathing. I’ll admit, I don’t really know what that means (yet), but it makes more sense than him simply exhaling for that long.

Enjoy this beautiful piece of “smooth jazz”.  I love the tap dancing.

 

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 Comfort ~ Inspiration ~ Ideas

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Learning to Blog: Reflections on My First Month

Learning to Blog

On Christmas Eve, it will be exactly one month since I published my first post on homehurrah.com.  It’s been an exciting month for me.  I have learned a lot about blogging, and the process of preparing my posts has been interesting.

Starting a blog has taken some time and effort, and I still have much to learn! The good news is that there are many sources of support. If you happen to be interested in starting your own blog, one of the reference books that I found most helpful was: “WordPress, Absolute Beginner’s Guide”, by Triss Hussey. When getting started, it also helps to refer to informative blogs and websites on the internet. I looked up a whole bunch. http://startbloggingonline.com/ was just one of the many good resources out there.

As I reflect on this experience so far, I want to say thank you to those of you who are reading the blog, and to those of you who have left comments – you made my day!

Looking Forward

As I head into my second month of blogging, I continue to look forward to posting regularly on a variety of topics related to home.  Over the next few months, I will also be including interviews with people who are finding ways to incorporate their passions into their home life: a visual artist, two photographers, and a published author.

I invite you to let me know if there is a topic you would like me to write about, or the name of a song or artist that connects you with “home”. I will do my best to include your suggestions in future posts!

Above image courtesy of desktopocean.com.

Little Drummer Boy – Walk Off The Earth (Feat. Doggies)

To sign off today, here is a very nice version of the Little Drummer Boy, with a fun video that makes me smile! Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com, and I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

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Home, Life, and Living.

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Another Song Called “Home”

Phillip Phillips, Greg Holden, and “Home” Videos.

Image by digitalart, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com

This song, “Home”, is from a few years back. The talented Phillip Phillips, winner of the 11th season of American Idol, made it famous as his coronation song and debut single. The song was co-written by Greg Holden and Drew Pearson, who produced it

A friend recently told me, “This song settles me.”  I agree – it’s a comforting song.

Maybe you’ll enjoy a relaxing listen – click on the links below. 

I am posting two videos for you:

The first one is Phillip Phillips’ official video.   The images of rainy windows and distant mountains, in the video, remind me a bit of road trips to the mountains when I was growing up.   I remember the first time I saw the mountains – it felt like coming home in a way that no other place ever has… but that’s a topic for another post.

BTW: The comedy “Parental guidance” plays this song at the end of the movie.  

 

The second video features Greg Holden, the co-writer of this song, performing it live. That video was posted on Youtube by Greg Holden himself. The footage shows a great performance by Holden, but the camera is a bit shaky at parts. That’s when I just close my eyes and listen.

I am curious to know: What do you think of Greg Holden’s version? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Song Called Home.

“Well, Sometimes Home Is a Person.”

~ Beth Revis, A Million Suns.

 

Today’s song, “Home”, by the indie band Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, reminded me of the above quote.  It’s a fun song (a bit strange at parts, but maybe there is a story behind falling out of the window?),  with a cute little video featuring the large, exuberant band (Currently at 10 members).  My husband recently heard this song included in a playlist, and thought I might want to share it on my blog. He was right, and it’s really worth a listen.

Sometimes, home is a person.  Enjoy!

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 Home, Life, and Living.

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Series: Can a Song Connect You With Home? Today: The Wailin’ Jennys

The picture above was used with permission: http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

Do You Have A Special Song?

“What song makes you think of home? It doesn’t have to literally be about home. Just a song that somehow embodies the concept for you, or makes you feel at home in some way”.

In this series, I am asking the above question. The idea of home is complex, and there are many ways to define it, and connect with it.  Sometimes, a certain song expresses this connection  for us.

Today, I want to share one of several songs that does this for me. The lyrics of this melody describe how I see the world at my best moments; when I am authentic and at home with who I am.  It also expresses a connection and oneness with nature – the change of the seasons and the beauty of life – that feel like home to me.

As the poet Gary Snyder said, “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. ”

Here it is:

The Bird Song, by the remarkably talented Wailin’ Jennys.

 

Thanks for visiting homehurrah.com and I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

If there is a song that answers the above question for you, leave a comment with the name of the song and I will see if I can include it in a future post!

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Home, Life, and Living.

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