Tell Me A Story

As we head into a brand new year, I’ve been reflecting on how I want to shape my blog moving forward. When I started back in 2013, my impetus was only to kick-start a personal creative practice. At the time, I was a full-time stay-at-home mom with a burning desire to honour the inner voice that was declaring a need to express more than just breast milk : )

I have always wanted this to be a space where I could share not just recipes and quick fixes – but also the real nitty-gritty of everyday life. My favourite blogs are always the ones that tell the truth about the tough stuff. The brave people who write about the messiest and most vulnerable situations with a sense of humour.

This has led me to memories of my sweet Grandma Mary. She was the kindest women I have ever known. Sadly she passed away when I was only twelve years old, but in those twelve years she made an indelible imprint on my life.

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Grandpa Ken and Grandma Mary

Aside from her killer baking skills (ginger snaps and homemade donuts!), the loving relationship she shared with my Grandpa Ken, and her gentle disposition, the thing I remember most was her passion for storytelling. She would literally spend hours snuggling in bed with my sister and I while we listened with rapt attention to the slow cadence of her voice.

I never once felt like she was in a hurry or that she wanted to be anywhere else in the world. She just seemed so perfectly content perched on the side of the bed sharing the tales of her childhood- anecdotes of her life on the farm with her many siblings and the misadventures of her dog Tupper. And when she had exhausted her reservoir of memories – she’d even recount the plot of a recent episode of The Littlest Hobo or sing us a song when we begged her for “just one more”.

Grandma Mary offered me a precious gift in those simple moments – the gift of stories. She showed me that one of the most important and powerful things we can give each other is the truth of our experiences.

Good stories afford us a place to laugh at ourselves and to share a good cry. We can marvel at the wonders of brave adventures, learn from mistakes made in the past and develop deep empathy by being invited inside the journey of another person.

So that’s where I plan to focus my writing in 2017. I want to share my stories. The ups and downs, the struggles and victories, and even the epic fails……and trust me, I’ve got some doozies for you!

To honour the memory of my beloved Grandma, I invite you all to snuggle up while I tell you a story. Stay tuned. Happy 2017!

 

There I Said It

Well hello! It’s been well over a year since I’ve written a single word on my blog.

I could site the usual excuses: Life is SO busy!, My three uber-successful and brilliantly-parented kids take up all my free time; I’m a super accomplished full-time writer now; I was tied up making homemade organic almond milk and fermented nut cheese; and my husband and I were busy planning romantic getaways to reaffirm our perfect love.

But I won’t bore you with the details. Sufficed to say, aside from the rigours of keeping myself afloat, the truth is that I simply got sick of my own writing.

I recently re-read the “About Me” page on my blog and seriously had to stifle a gag. My proudest accomplishment is getting my three kids to drink their green smoothies. Barf! How smug is this Lori Leigh Wilson character? And you people followed me…..what were you thinking?!

Ok, so if you’ll give me another chance then I’d like to start anew. Thanks to Jaclyn Desforge and her wonderful Nest & Story writing workshop, I feel reinvigorated and inspired – and I’ve decided that I want to use this space for truth telling, story sharing and vulnerability.

“I don’t even want to know someone who isn’t barely hanging on by a thread.” Amy Schumer, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

So let’s get this party started! Here’s the real authentic me as of today: First of all, I’ve totally lost my mojo for cooking. To be honest, my association with the “whole food” movement began to make me feel uncomfortable and preachy. And it probably works both ways since I’ve added frozen veggie meatballs and taco kits into my weekly meal rotation. 

My youngest child had a wicked bout of separation anxiety at back-to-school time that pretty much brought me to my knees. I think I might have cried more than he did and I’m pretty sure it took four years off my life.

My daughter is in full blown puberty which means mood swings from hell, and my oldest son frequently responds to my brilliant pearls of wisdom with the words “the cringe is real.” 

My husband and I mostly sleep separately because the 6-year-old stealthily inserts himself into our bed. And although I love my husband – I think we both secretly like the arrangement. I get to snuggle with my little buddy and he gets to watch Netflix on his phone without me badgering him to turn it off because it’s bad for his eyesight.

I deeply enjoy junky reality tv (Kardashians included). Most days I write in my pyjamas until I have to finally face the public when I pick up my kids from school. We have mice in our kitchen. I’ve turned worrying into an Olympic sport (I’m going for the gold!). My kids fight. My jeans are tight (perhaps because I’m eating Halloween candy by the fistful). My dogs bark a LOT….and the littlest one poops on the floor at least a couple of times every week just to keep me on my toes.

On a more somber note, there have been two shocking deaths in my family that have really shaken the ground beneath my feet. A vibrant adolescent boy was gone in an instant, and a loving and feisty grandmother took her last breath after a painful health struggle. Sometimes the brutal randomness of life makes me want to grab my family and hide in a cave ..you know what I mean?

What about any good stuff you ask? Well, after my worry reached a scary peak, I signed up for a mediation class and I’m learning to breathe and find space between what happens and how I respond. It’s amazing and I’ll talk more about it in another post.

I’ve read some incredible books including Lindy West’s life-changing memoir Shrill and Glennon Doyle-Melton’s raw and brave biography Love Warrior.  I can honestly say that they fundamentally changed the way I look at myself, others and the world. I mean it – read those damn books!!

And I’ve been writing my butt off, actually pulling in a paycheque and contributing to our family finances in a meaningful way for the first time in many years. That feels good.

Phew! There I said it. And I’ll keep on saying it if you’ll be so kind as to indulge me. And I promise no more smug posts or crappy recipes – unless you want me to guide you through the process of thawing and heating some mouth-watering veggie meatballs…..: )

Thanks for your support and I’d love to hear from you. How are things going in your life? Feel free to comment below.

P.S. I am working on rejigging my site so please bear with me as I make some changes.

Check Me Out On Tuja Wellness!

The good folks at the online health publication Tuja Wellness ran a Nutrition Rockstar contest back in the summer and I was the lucky winner!  Thanks to the generosity of Meghan Telpner and the Tuja peeps- I have been happily soaking in an abundance of knowledge from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition via their Culinary Nutrition Expert Program.

Another wonderful bonus to winning the contest is that I get the opportunity to write a column for Tuja. How freakin lucky am I?! If you haven’t heard of Tuja then make a beeline for their site and sign up already! It’s an amazing online resource for anyone interested in enjoying a healthy, balanced and happy life.

And of course they only use the most brilliant writers ; ) My first contribution for Tuja went up on their site on Saturday so hop on over and check out my 6 Worry-Free Tricks To Keep Your Family Healthy Through The Holidays”.

I hope you enjoy a wonderful and healthy holiday season! And thank you Tuja Wellness for this early Christmas present.

What Other People Think

As a blogger – it’s pretty rare that I get the chance to talk to a real-live follower of my writing (except for my mom of course) so it was a real treat to bump into D recently at a work out class. She actually reads my stuff and regularly offers her thoughtful commentary on my posts.

This particular morning, D confided in me that she has often thought about starting up her own blog- but she said that she hadn’t gotten around to it because she wasn’t sure what she would write about. A blogger friend had told her that before she started she needed to get very specific about her focus and find a niche that would keep readers coming back to her site. When she started looking around at the seemingly endless number of blogs on the web (on every conceivable topic) she felt unsure about what she could really bring to the table.

D’s words got me thinking about how many times I’ve let someone else’s advice, opinion or well-intended suggestion steer me away from doing what I felt called to do. There was that writing prof at university who said if I didn’t feel the overriding need to constantly fill up journal after journal with my writing that I wasn’t truly meant to be a writer. Or the acting teacher in Toronto who told me I was too “perky” to make it in the acting biz. Or the boss at CTV who said if I didn’t have the capacity to “step on the neck of my competition” that I wouldn’t ever succeed in the entertainment industry. Or the naturopath who told me that a plant-based diet was harmful to my family. Or the voice agent who told me my sound was way “too boring” to ever book a job in voice overs. Or the vocal coach who told me I just “didn’t have the chops” to pursue singing.

I’m embarrassed to admit that in most of these cases – I believed them.

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So here’s what I’m learning to do in my almost 43 years on the planet – I respectfully listen to what others have to say and then I process it in my own way and in my own time. Sometimes things really resonate with me and other times I say “thanks for your insight” and then go a completely different way. I love listening and learning from others but I’m also getting better at paying attention to my own gut and making  decisions based on what is best for me (I think that’s because I’m actually more badass then boring ; )

D- for what it’s worth (and remember this is only one opinion) – I think you should go for it! I mean it – just sit your butt down at your computer and write whatever pops up. Don’t worry about your niche or if someone else is doing the same thing. If you are open and vulnerable and write from your heart then people will connect with you. And if they don’t – well then you’ve gotten to know yourself better and nourished your creative side and that in itself is pretty darn amazing.

So what about you – do you want to start a blog? Or write a book? Or run a marathon? Or try yoga? Or open your own business? Or volunteer for a charity? Or travel the world? Or produce your own music? Or take a hip-hop class? Or change your diet? Or learn to paint? Or plant a garden? Or spend more time with your family? Or move to a new city? Well, if it’s what your heart and gut are calling you to do – then step right up and do it and don’t let anyone else’s opinion stand in your way.

Thanks for inspiring this post and for supporting my blog D….and from one writer to another – I really look forward to reading your stuff soon!

 

 

Gratitude for 1000

When I started my blog in January of 2013, my 12-year-old son threw out a challenge:

“Mom – I think you should try to get 100 followers by the end of the year.”

I immediately started adding in my head: I knew I could count on my mom and dad, my husband, my sister and some close friends- but 100?! That seemed like a very tall order. But I agreed to the challenge and set about writing my posts as honestly as I could – about my plant-based diet, my family, my own personal struggles and successes and my thoughts on everything from dog food to dance makeup.

As the numbers slowly started to grow (20, 50, 60) I liked to imagine inviting everyone over to my house for a cocktail party. “How did you find me?” I’d ask – and “Here – have a glass of wine and a vegan appetizer!” I fantasized about how cool it would be to bring everyone together to learn from each other and to share our common interests.

Much to my surprise the numbers just kept increasing. After many months of learning, I dipped my toes into the worlds of Facebook and Twitter and the numbers jumped again. Sometimes I’d write something that I thought was totally brilliant and all I’d get back in return was a handful of hits and the sound of crickets chirping in the background. Other times, I’d reluctantly hit publish on a particularly sensitive topic and you would respond with a flood of support, insightful commentary and “likes”.

I know 1000 doesn’t sound like a lot when compared with the millions of followers garnered by celebrities and blogging superstars but it really feels like something special to me. A milestone of sorts. I was scared to death to start my blog but it was worth every misstep and falter just for the opportunity to express my creativity and to share a bit of myself with all of you.

Truth be told, I still don’t really know what the heck I’m doing. I’ve got the bare bones hosting software, a free platform from Word Press and very basic tech skills on a good day (and frankly I don’t know a hashtag from a hashbrown). But I’ve learned all of that matters less than just sitting my butt down at my computer and writing straight from my heart. This in turn has resulted in a connection with 1000 followers from around the world and for that I am deeply grateful.

Thank you so much to everyone on Word Press, on Twitter and on Facebook for reading, commenting, liking and following me on this journey. Your support means the world to me! There is really only 1 big problem – where do I find a venue big enough for all 1000 of us to get together for that cocktail party : )