#WATWB, Quotes

Truth and Reconciliation #OrangeShirtDay #EveryChildMatters #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and Peter Nena.

Our next post will be on October 26th, 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

Those who know me know I am a proud Canadian and a huge history buff. There is, however, a shameful and deplorable period of history that spanned over a century and not many Canadians are aware of.  Between the 1870s and the 1990s, the Canadian government was financially responsible for Indian residential schools. These residential schools were found in most of our Canadian provinces and territories with the exception of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.   Indigenous children were sent to these schools, taken from their homes, separated from their families, stripped of their culture, beliefs, and language while enduring horrific mental and physical abuse which many did not survive; all in order to assimilate them to “fit” with European Christian ideals.

To some, this might not seem like an uplifting post but to me, it is, it’s starting a dialogue which will hopefully bring awareness, offer hope, healing, reconciliation and a level of understanding so events like this will never be part of our history again.

Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a result of residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad sharing her experience of the day she arrived at a residential school. Webstad shared her story at a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams LakeBritish Columbia, Canada. On her first day at Residential School Phyllis’ had her new orange shirt taken away from her which was just the beginning of what she would lose. The date of September 30th was chosen for the annual event because it is the time of year in which Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes to residential schools. Phyllis’ experience is used today to teach students about residential schools and their assimilation practices. In 2017 Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services and Carolyn BennettIndigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister encouraged people across Canada to participate in this commemorative and educational event.

On September 30th by wearing an orange shirt, you are recognizing the survivors of residential schools and helping to bring communities together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope.

For more information about #OrangeShirtDay: http://www.orangeshirtday.org/

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#WATWB, Quotes

Never Giving Up on a Dream #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Simon Falk, Andrea Michaels, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and myself.

Our next post will be on September 28th 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!”
Jo Franz (via Goodreads)

At 18 years old singer and songwriter Mandy Harvey lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disease.   Born with near perfect pitch, Mandy had dreams of one day becoming a choir director and was working hard towards her goal. Without her hearing Mandy resigned to her situation, thought her reason for living and dreams for the future were gone.  But that’s not what ended up happening.  Mandy found a way to “hear” music, just not through her ears, but through vibrations.

Having my husband, several family members and friends be musicians I know how to most of them music seems almost as necessary as eating. It nourishes them body, mind and spirit and without it they struggle or feel as though something is missing.

After years of giving up and accepting her situation Mandy’s love of music, optimism and determination helped her find a way to still pursue her dreams. Although not a choir director, Mandy has garnered a great deal of attention and it doesn’t look like her music career is slowing down anytime soon.

The video below tells Mandy’s story…

Mandy’s Original Song “Try”  (P.S. Get the tissues ready…)

Mandy Harvey’s Official Website: https://mandyharveymusic.com/

#WATWB, Quotes

Overcoming Obstacles by Finding a Way #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Peter Nena,
Inderpreet Kaur UppalShilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Sylvia McGrath and myself.

Our next post will be on August 31st, 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


 

“If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Ryan Blair

In life, many face challenges that to some would seem impossible to overcome.  Whether it’s health-related, situational, financial…sometimes many just give up. Not Thirty-three-year-old Laurel Burns though. Laurel recently graduated from college with a degree in Medical Administration. Laura did it as a single mother of two children who attended night classes towards her degree, helping her children with homework, driving them around, doing her own homework and understandably multitasking in order to accomplish her goals. Although there are many single-parent families who face the same rigorous lifestyle, Laura faces another challenge, she was born with no arms.  Laurel doesn’t let anything stop her and although she admits at times she faces anxiety she also tries to push herself to find a way to overcome obstacles.  She has learned to type quickly and has also found time to draw and paint and she sells her artwork on her Facebook page (see link below). Laurel is one of those people whose enthusiasm and determination inspire all those who face challenges they think are insurmountable.

The video below tells Laurel’s story…

Check out Laurel’s Facebook page to learn more about this incredible woman. https://www.facebook.com/laurelshome/

#WATWB, Art, Chronic Illness

Giving Artists with Disabilities a Place to Thrive! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.
To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Although, due to health and personal reasons I had been taking a brief hiatus from #WATWB this video passed through my feeds and I just had to share.

As many are aware I am a huge advocate for art as therapy. Art can help us make sense of our lives and ourselves, can uplift us on the darkest of days, can be healing and transformative but most importantly it can give us a voice. At Creative Growth Art Center a non-profit in Oakland, California it does just that. Since opening their doors in 1974 the centre has worked with hundreds of artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities providing them with tools, space, inspiration and support to thrive as artists. Serving approximately 162 artists a week they cater to a multiple of mediums from painting and drawing to wordworking and fashion. Although many of the clients are non-verbal, here, art is the common language.

Today, artists represented by Creative Growth have been invited to the Venice Biennale, have had their works acquired by MoMA, and remain are making a wonderful name for themselves among collectors around the world.

To learn more about the centre and their programs click here: http://www.creativegrowth.org/category/news/

#WATWB

Armchair Archaeologist~ Helping piece together the puzzle. #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein, Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti and myself. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Talk to those who know me and they can tell you how passionate I am about history and archaeology. I study archaeology, read about it and even write fiction about it. I also include the term “armchair archaeologist” in most of my bios, so when I found this video…well, I just had to share it. 😊

Meet Sarah Parcak, a modern-day Indiana Jones whose job title is space archaeologist. Space archaeology uses satellite imagery in order to find hidden ancient sites throughout the world. With GlobalXplorer, an online platform, which uses everyday people working together online to protect and monitor archaeological sites. Through GlobalXplorer Parcak is empowering others who might not be able to run off and “play Indy” to become “armchair archaeologists”. One such person is 90 year old Doris Jones. Doris is one of the leading contributors to GlobalXplorer, having mapped out thousands of sites using her home computer she has helped Parcak gain valuable information to help the archaeological community. Thanks to people like Jones and Parcak, more and more pieces of our human history are being put into the puzzle that is our past.

Please check out this video…

To learn more about GlobalXplorer or join the mission click here: https://www.globalxplorer.org/

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot
#WATWB, Quotes

The Power of Forgiveness #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena, Eric Lahti, Roshan Radhakrishnan and Inderpreet Kaur Uppal


In 1995, Ples Felix’s 14-year-old grandson, Tony Hicks, as part of a drug and alcohol-fueled gang initiation shot and killed Azim Khamisa’s son Tariq in cold blood. Losing his son was perhaps one of the worse tragedies any parent could endure. It could have spawned more hate, more anger which under the circumstances would be expected. However that is not what Azim Khamisa wanted for his life, or his son’s memory. Azim decided that anger would not be the solution, both boys were victims. In the same vein Felix had to face the fact that his grandson was responsible for killing another person, an innocent teen. Both teens had a life ahead of them, that would no longer be. Felix and his grandson met with Azim from there life changed for all of them. Khamisa and Felix both had to travel down paths of deep meditation and prayer to focus on forgiveness, instead of issuing blame and both chose to become part of the solution. In a courageous act of these two men are working together, using their story to cultivate a more empathetic, peaceful and compassionate society showing victims of tragedy that they can grow and heal. They started the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to educate, counsel and support children and teens on how to live life with peace and empathy. The video below tells their story….

“Peace is possible,” Khamisa says. “How do I know that? Because I am at peace.”

Visit The Tariq Khamisa Foundation website: tkg.org

#WATWB

Five Incredible Tales of Human Kindness! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa GargSimon FalkLynn HallbrooksEric Lahti, Damyanti Biswas and Guilie Castillo. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


After a break last month, #WATWB is back and ready to start 2018 with not one, but five stories of incredible human kindness!
Many of us in North America are experiencing a very bleak and cold winter, what better way for us to warm our hearts than to hear about five incredible tales of human kindness! This video introduces us to five amazing individuals who use their passions to help others.  We hear about a theatre company that views disabilities as special abilities, a retiree who makes socks for the homeless, a surf instructor who teaches others to ride the waves in and out of the water and a dance instructor helping refugees express themselves through dance.  We also hear more from Magic Wheelchair who I featured in my October #WATWB post. 🙂

 

#WATWB, Information, ProfessorOwlsBookCorner, Writing

Wrapping up 2017! #AmWriting #Coaching #Studying #BookReviews

 

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” ~ Maya Angelou
December

Hard to believe that 2018 is just around the corner.  This past year has definitely had some huge challenges on all fronts, as well as having to say goodbye to some dear friends and loved family members.  There have been days that have seemed darker than others, but there comes a point where you have to take what you’ve learned, pick yourself up and do your best to make your own happiness.  Personally, I am looking forward to 2018 and I am hopeful for what it brings.  Although this year saw some plans change or be delayed,  I have found that challenges often provide windows of opportunity and I am so thankful for those.  I am setting goals and will be exploring those opportunities in 2018!

In the new year, I hope to resume studying, volunteering and writing as well as launching some new coaching programs over at  IgniteYourCreativity.net.   Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy”  will be relaunching and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring. 

This year I also beat my 2017 Goodreads Challenge of reading 125 books in the year. I don’t know if anyone else finds reading fantastic therapy, but it definitely helped this year. I also began doing more book reviews for NetGalley and I plan to continue. 🙂

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we recently published our December 2017 NewsletterThis month features some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

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On November 24th, we celebrated our ninth instalment of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB.  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated.  

My November post was titled It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #WATWB”  about an inspirational man who overcame two back-to-back tragedies with grace and humour became a motivation speaker helping others.

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. #WATWB is taking a break this month but we’ll be back on January 26th, 2018!

I would like to thank all those who have been so supportive this year, your love and kindness mean the world to me (you all know who you are).

Wishing everyone a wonderful December and Happy Holidays!

Cherish your loved ones and may you make some new and heartwarming memories! Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are making each and every moment count.

Live, laugh & love!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ~ Christopher Reeve

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy

#WATWB, Quotes

“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.


Meet W. Mitchell a former US Marine, San Francisco cable-car gripman, small-town mayor and now a well-respected keynote speaker. W. Mitchell has endured a great deal in his life but lives and breaths his motto: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”

In 1971 he had a horrific motorcycle accident, the first of two life-altering and tragic events. While driving home he was involved in a blazing motorcycle accident leaving him to cope with devastating burns to over 65% of his body. After a painful rehabilitation, a plane crash four years later left him with a spinal injury, unable to use his legs and confined to a wheelchair.

W. Mitchell didn’t let his challenges stop him, he was determined to gain control, adapt to his new situation, and thrive. Since his accidents, he has become an internationally acclaimed mayor, responsible for saving a mountain, a successful businessman, a highly respected environmentalist, an author and an international keynote speaker. He even continued to be a commercial pilot and a whitewater rafting enthusiast. Today, through humour and compassion his message empowers others to accept challenges, embrace change and take action and is living proof that life is what you make it.

Check out W. Mitchell on YouTube:


You can also visit his website: http://www.wmitchell.com

#WATWB, Information, ProfessorOwlsBookCorner, Writing

Making it a November to Remember! #AmWriting #Coaching #Studying #BookReviews

“Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” 
~ Gilda Radner

November Collage

 

November is here, and in Toronto, we are finally getting some crisp autumn weather. Although I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo my main focus will be writing this month. As usual, November also brings with it more, studying, coaching, blogging and books to review but also a few new projects in the works.

Things are busy at IgniteYourCreativity.net both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy” are available this month. Both of these programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, put your dreams into action, and ignite your creativity!

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we recently published our November 2017 NewsletterThis month features some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring information about NaNoWriMo and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

On October 27th, we celebrated our eighth instalment of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB.  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated.  My October post was titledMagic Wheelchair, Putting a Smile on Children’s Faces! #WATWB about an incredible organization that creates fabulous Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs.

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Next post is November 24th, 2017!

Wishing everyone a wonderful November and may you make some new and exciting memories! Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are living in and loving the moment.

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” 

~Groucho Marx

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy