Monday, January 31, 2011

January Reads

I always seem to lose track of what books I've read when so I thought each month I'd give a brief description of each book I read that month. Here's the month of January's!

1. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton - I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was an easy read and wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be.

2. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck - I actually forgot how much I enjoyed reading Steinbeck. I'm pleased a friend lent me a book that had this and East of Eden in it so I could enjoy 2 more stories by him.

3. The Shack by W.M. Paul Young - I enjoyed this outlook on religion, it was well written and had a positive message. Lots to take away from this book.

4. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson - Hubs REALLY wanted me to read this tiny book. It tells you stuff you should already know but it's good to have someone force you to remember it.

5. The Diviners by Margaret Lawrence - This was one of the books in my 501 Must Reads list, I was surprised as I didn't find it to be anything special. Some good ideas but I felt it never really went anywhere worth tagging along.

6. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - Not at all what I expected from a 'dog point of view' book so I was pleasantly surprised. Good, easy read.

Have you read anything interesting this month?

Monday, January 17, 2011

I've Found My Passion, Have You?

When did you realize what you were passionate about? I didn't realize what really filled my tank until the spring of 2004. I was working in a job that meant nothing to me; I felt that my job had no purpose and was struggling to find what my passions were.

After experiencing some health issues I quit my job, took a month off and decided to evaluate my life before applying for new jobs. After a long talk with the Hubs I expressed my interest to him about changing my career direction to do something worthwhile. He fully supported the move and I started applying for jobs in non-profit. The Mustard Seed gave me my first chance at my dreams. It was the most wonderful job I ever had and filled my tank like no other job or activity ever had.

After leaving The Mustard Seed to start a family I still always kept up with my volunteer work and helping out wherever I could. The more I started being a volunteer rather than a employee, the more I felt I was on the right track. One weekend I was listening to a presentation about a man that raised $20,000 for a charity after his wife died. I was struck by how sad it was, not just that his wife passed, but that we all tend to wait until something tragic has touched us to do something about it. I couldn't get this out of my head so I decided to start a volunteer group comprised of the wives of my Hub's coworkers.

JACKPOT! I had finally found my calling. This is what I'm good at. This is my passion. I get to incorporate my organizational skills, my knowledge of the workings of non-profit and my passion to motivate others to be active NOW. 

Since moving to Edmonton it's been on my mind to get another volunteer group started and now that I have I feel so inspired by the number of people who want to help in their community. It is my dream and passion to help motivate others and in return I find they motivate me - how wonderful is that?

So a little later in life than maybe most but I've finally found my passion. Have you found yours? What fills your tank and helps you to fill others?

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's a New Year

That time of year has rolled around again; it's the beginning of a new year with new hopes and expectations. I've never been one to make resolutions in the new year but I think most people usually try to plan out their year and see if there's somewhere new they want to travel, a new activity to start or something new to try. 

We sat down and took a quick look at the year and planned out our trips together as a family, as just a couple and individually. Then we looked at what things we'd like to try with our children and what we think they might enjoy experiencing. Then personally I looked at what things I want to spend my time on most.

I love planning out my year! I love having activities to look forward to, a general idea what I want to focus on and a feeling that I'm moving towards growth. It still leaves tons of time to fill in the spaces throughout the rest of the year but also gives us some direction.

I thought I'd list some of the things we're doing this year that I'm excited about:

1. DD is taking skiing! Hubs is the one that really wants to drive this so he's taking her every Saturday for lessons. Her first class was last week and she loved it!

2. Introduce the kids to skating, and reintroduce us to it as well! I haven't been skating in about 6 years so it should be interesting for all of us ;)

3. Take the kids back to Winnipeg this summer to visit their Great Grandma and Grandparents.

4. Hubs and I have booked a trip to Cancun for 7 days in March, we need some time to reconnect, relax, and enjoy some time being just 'us'.

5. Start my volunteer group. My main passion in life is making it easy for others to make a difference in their community. If I had my way I would LOVE to start up an organization that motivated Edmontonians to volunteer and then helped place them into volunteer opportunities that interest them. That's a very, very long-term goal so presently I'm just focusing on starting small. I've started a group I've named Because Edmonton Cares (BEC) and I'm so excited to help a few people make a difference in this city and in their own lives.

6. Exercise and stay healthy. Last year was a tough year for me, I was able to spend the first 2 months of the year working out 5-6 times a week but then got pretty sick so was told by my doctor to hold off on exercising until I'd been cleared to proceed. I was finally cleared in September and then ended up with a 2 month cold and then after 2 weeks of not being sick I got sick again for the past 4 weeks! My goal is to try my best to listen to my body, rest when I need to rest,  exercise 3-4 times a week, watch what I eat (enjoy my treats but in moderation), and make sure that sometimes I put myself first.

Have you set out any new things you'd like to try this year, places you'd like to visit or things you want to do as a family? How are you hoping to grow in the next year?