Act 365

Keep Calm and Carry On

I know for some this is a trivial saying but for me, it’s an anthem for overcoming adversity in difficult times. The history of the campaign inspires me to be better in my work as a designer and publisher and in my life as a mom, wife, daughter and friend.

I’ve been thinking about this post for many months. Had grand plans to thank you as readers for your support and kindness with some sort of dazzling visual doodad. But then something happened.

You see, at about 2:30 this afternoon, my husband phoned to say he’d driven himself to the local emergency room after a crash on the ski hill. He was quickly admitted and put on a spinal board with a neck collar.

In the emergency room we talked about the mundane. The dinner plans, the boys day, how to get the truck home, what time the pharmacies close on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t panic. We sat quietly and waited together. The hospital staff were amazing. The news is good. A “smushed” vertebrae (the actual term the doctor used) in the T area of the spine. No spinal cord injury. He’ll be very sore, off work for a few days and managing the injury with pain medication. A bit higher or lower and it would have meant surgery and possibly worse. That I can’t think about now.

What I can think about is that a year ago today, when I stood on my front porch and decided that on December 31 of 2013 I would find myself in a better position than on December 31 of 2012, I had no idea that it would have so little to do with money and debt given the dodging of today’s bullet.

So my new year’s resolution for 2014 is to Keep Calm & Carry on. Our lives aren’t only judged by our accomplishments, they are judged by our failures and our misfortunes too. How you deal with all of them defines you. I wish you the fortitude to stay calm and the courage to carry on.

So like the story of Keep Calm & Carry On itself, this blog has been my “very simple and warm hearted message to inspire confidence in others during difficult times”.

Thank you for everything and the happiest of new years. Your kindness and support will far outlive my debt. For that, I am eternally grateful.


PS – I will carry on. I plan to revisit previous posts and send updates about how well it worked (or didn’t work) from time to time. I’ll hope you’ll keep following and stay in touch. We’ve still got plenty of work to do.


Act 347

Look for authenticity

Today was a contrast in thanks.

This morning I helped run the annual Breakfast with Santa event. The kids were delighted and delightful. The mood was festive, calm and appreciative. The volunteers were amazing. Santa worked his usual magic. The food was yummy. The event was open and free to all who wished to attend.

This evening, I attended a corporate Christmas party (an oxymoron if you ask me). The mood wasn’t nearly as festive. Could have been the fake Christmas trees, smoke machine or flashy dance lights. Might have been the loud PA system that blared through dinner. I don’t know. I felt overwhelmed at what I can only call the artificialness of it all, as rude as it is of me to say. The food was ordinary, the drinks overpriced, the conversation impeded by all the extra noise.

Once upon a time, I would have fallen under the spell of a fancy dress up night, a big ballroom and a shiny roast beef buffet but I see now that it’s all manufactured meaning.

This morning’s event was a lot of work. But I felt the appreciation and gratitude of it. This evening’s event was genuinely intended to be a thank you for another year of hard work but, to be quite honest, I didn’t feel thanks, I felt taken, even trapped by the fakeness of it all.

I’m happy to be back in the most authentic place of all for me; my house, my ┬ájammies, my tree, my kids.

Act 282

Be thankful

On this eve of thanksgiving weekend, I attended the Annual Community meeting of the Shuswap Community Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1995 has 5.9 million dollars under management, grew 12% this last year and has donated $165,000 to community groups this year. Wow. These funds are used for many of the things we take for granted in our day to day lives. Appliances for food banks, water systems for community gardens, a roof for an historic building, funds for literacy programs and art gallery exhibits. Things we would miss if we didn’t have them. Things we don’t think about. Things we need. Things that help. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. So many of the groups that received their awards tonight shared gratitude and so many of the funders who presented the grants shared their love and high esteem of the community in which we live. It’s not all bad. In fact, it’s pretty darn good. And I, for one, am really, really grateful. Happy Thanksgiving.

Act 211

Give thanks with food

Tomorrow we head off from ten wonderful days in the maritimes. Destination – la belle province – my emotional home.

But before I head off, I tried to prepare a few bits and bites for my lovely hosts as a way of thanking them for their lovely hospitality.

On days like this, full of food and fondness, I’m reminded that we all have choices in life. My plan A was to build a life or career of corporate success. But love got in the way and with it came a life long appreciation of what matters most in life: family, friends and happiness. In many ways, it’s a longer path than that to physical wealth. But it pays off in ways that money can never measure.

Enjoy the people you love and remind them of it from time to time. It’s free and it’s priceless all at once.

Merci au maritimes. A bientot ma belle province!