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!

 

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Brilliant! (And Humble Too….)

Happy Spring! Thankfully the snow is finally melting here in Southern Ontario and we are enjoying temperatures above freezing for the first time in months.

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I am going to spend some time over the next little while really focusing on my cooking workshops and on a few writing projects that I have lined up but I also want to keep my blog “springing” forward (sorry…couldn’t resist the pun). So instead of hastily throwing together new posts, I thought I’d dig through my archives and re-blog a few oldies but goodies.

As I was going through my blog history it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve really got some freakin’ good content in there! My writing brilliance is truly one of my best qualities…right next to my modesty ; ) So please bear with me as I re-post some of my favourite recipes and ruminations over the next few weeks.

This is also a great opportunity for any of you aspiring writers to step up with a guest blog – I’m always happy to feature interesting new content. And if you live nearby and want to stay in touch – why don’t you come to my kitchen for an upcoming workshop? I’m throwing an All-Natural Kitchen Spa Party on April 12th and a Liquid Nutrition Workshop on May 31st. You can contact me directly at loriandmark@cogeco.ca for more information.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the throw-back posts as much as I do. It was fun to sift through and pick out a few of my personal favourites. Ok… so they might not be totally brilliant but I’m hoping some of them will at least put a little spring in your step ; )

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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 : )

 

Sharing Inspiration

One of the coolest things about starting this blog is the connection I’ve made with other bloggers. Although there are quite a few family members and friends who read my posts, the overwhelming majority of followers are fellow writers and bloggers who take the time to check out my site, subscribe to my feed and offer up insightful and kind comments on the things I write. Fortunately for me, I’ve stumbled upon a supportive community of diverse and inspiring people who have most often started their own blogs just for the love of sharing and to honour the creative process.

One such follower is Tricia over at The Do-Gooder Mama. Tricia is a brilliant woman who has put her career in the non-profit sector on hold to raise her 2 young daughters and as she puts it “ just because I am home raising my totally delectable and scrumptious babies and not contributing to the household coffers in the traditional sense, does not mean I have to allow myself to succumb to Mommy Brain Atrophy.  And so, The Do-Gooder Mama, was conceived.” Her site is chock full of ideas that combine her passions for motherhood and charity and quite often I have been inspired to try out her “do-gooder activities” with my own family.

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A huge thank you to Tricia for nominating me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award“. I am honoured.  And the award is even sweeter since it came from one of my peers and someone I admire.

The rules for accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are as follows:

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website.
  2. Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

So here we go! 7  Interesting things about me:

1. I get easily addicted to video games and/or apps on my iPhone (have you tried Subway Surfer, Jet Pack Joyride, Whirly Word or Chicktionary?)

2. Although I’m a plant-based foodie, I really don’t enjoy traditional salads all that much.

3. My husband thinks I’m a class-a-holic because I sign up for practically every class/workshop/seminar that I hear about (and he’s right).

4. I love to go dancing and I’m not afraid to be the first one out on the dance floor.

5. A psychic once told me I was a warrior in another life.

6. I really wanted to call my youngest son “Ewan” but my 2 older kids wouldn’t let me because they said it rhymed with “Pooing”

7. I think “Sweet Georgia Browns” at Purdy’s are hands-down the best chocolates on the planet!

15 Deserving Bloggers:

1. The Pollyanna Plan

2. Live Blissful

3. 365 Days of Vegan Food

4. Cuter Than Gluten

5. Honk if You’re Vegan

6. The Imperfect Nutritarian

7. My Plant-Based Family

8. Fueled By Vegetables

9. Life On The Voice Over List

10. 365 Cups of Kindness

11. Blue Sky Vitality

12. Bloom Lisa

13. Laura’s Mess

14. Journey With Julia

15. Better Bites

Thanks again Tricia and thank you to all of my fellow bloggers who inspire me to keep learning, writing and creating every day!