Winning and trying your best

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Taken after he competed in his first martial arts tournament. He was a bit disappointed about taking 3rd place but happy to have placed and gotten a trophy. It was hard to see his disappointment and confusion about not placing higher, as he had wanted to win so very badly but I knew it was a good, albeit tough, life lesson.

He worked and trained very hard for it and even though it wasn’t quite what he hoped for, he told me later “It’s ok Mummy. I tried my best to get first place but sometimes life doesn’t go quite how you expect it”. Wise words from a 6 year old. We’d all do well to remember that.

No regrets

We all know, in theory, how precious and fleeting life can be, but sometimes, until that knowledge has slapped you across the face and pried open your eyes with its harsh realizations, it is easy to miss what might be happening right in front of you and how special it really is. Everything from the seemingly mundane everyday activities to the extraordinary things we do are special. Every day that we wake up and take a breath and open our eyes is special. Every damn day is precious. I cannot say that enough right now. Every single day is precious. Don’t wish them away.

Here is what I’ve learned about how to have no regrets:

Tell people you love them. Tell them you are glad that they are part of your life. Thank them for their friendship and mean it. Be genuine and sincere and appreciative of all that they mean to you.

Sometimes it can make a world of difference to hear that someone is thinking of you, especially when things are tough. So send a quick text or email or pick up the phone.

Know, really know, who has your back and who doesn’t and when you find that out, let the ones who don’t go.

Don’t be afraid of having only a few friends. Life is not like high school where you will be judged for the number of friends you have or don’t have. It’s like the old saying says – it is about quality, not quantity. I would much rather have a few friends who will be there for me when I need them no matter what, than a bunch of friends who are only there if it is convenient to them.

Surround yourself with people who love you for who and what you are every day of every month of every year. People that you will want to be there to hold your hand, to reminisce about the fun times and the sad times and the amazing times you have had together at the end. Realize that although things never stay quite the same, it is worth the effort to hold onto the people who mean something to you. Remember that even though you may only talk to someone a few times a year, if they are a true friend, you might not need more than that.

Be yourself. Embrace what makes you special and unique and go with it. Don’t be afraid to be who you are because you are worried about what others might think. That, my friends, is what draws people to you.

Say what you want to say. Don’t leave things left unsaid. If someone has hurt you, tell them. If they have wronged you, tell them – maybe they want to make it right but don’t know how. If they have done something for you, thank them. Don’t leave things hanging.

Don’t harbour regrets. Think about the things that you would have rather done differently and learn from them. Use your mistakes and missteps and blunders as tools and examples of how not to do things the next time. Embrace your past as part of who you are and know that even the bad stuff has helped to shape you.

Say “I love you”. Lots. And mean it. Love has many forms and we are so used to it being used only for romantic purposes that we forget to use it for anything else. If you love your friends, tell them. Tell them why, and tell them often. Same goes for family. I know I have said this once already but it really bears repeating. You cannot say it too much. It will not lose it’s power or meaning or importance if you say it. So say it already!

Know that when life is tough, and I mean really tough, that it will be ok. You will make it through to the other side and there will be a big old rainbow waiting for you there. I will be honest, it may take a bit of a journey to find it, but it is there.

Hold hands, laugh, hug, smile. Never underestimate the healing power of touch.

Be prepared to drop everything to the best of your abilities and be there for people when they need you too. Don’t be a taker and not a giver. Be generous with your kindness and it will be returned twentyfold to you at some point.

Trust. In yourself and in other people. It’s hard but so worth it.

Let your guard down sometimes. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and fragile. It can be hard work keeping those walls we surround ourselves with up, and everyone needs a break sometimes.

Forgive. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget, but hanging on to grudges will get you nowhere fast.

Let it go. No, I don’t mean the song from “Frozen” but close enough. Remember that no matter how hard you try to control everything, you don’t, and sometimes you have to remember that it things are out of your control sometimes.

Love. The most important thing, the thing that will light your candle and keep your flame alive is love. Remember that. At the end of your life, you are not going to wish that you had loved less or cried less or had less fun. You won’t remember that you had less friends than your highschool pals. You won’t wish you hadn’t been open with people or let them in. You won’t regret sharing your feelings and saying it instead of hiding it.

What you will remember are the times you’ve had, the memories you’ve made, and the people you loved. These are the things that will remain. It’s scary,and difficult, but it will be worth it someday. No regrets.

Roaming Reindeer – a new Christmas tradition (and giveaway!!!)

Have you ever looked at all of those elaborate elf pictures on your friends Facebook feeds and considered trying something for yourself? Are you anything like me who thinks that having a Christmas tradition might be fun but know that you would NEVER remember to actually move and set up one?

I was introduced to a very cool new tradition that I am really looking forward to trying this year with Q. It is called “Roaming Reindeer” and includes a book and 2 little plush reindeer to go along with with it.

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Roaming Reindeer is a story about two of Santa’s reindeer, Gus and Sam, who see that Santa is overwhelmed with the naughty and nice lists for Christmas. They decide to help Santa by visiting girls and boys. Sam is saddened and runs away whenever he sees someone being naughty. Gus and Sam decide to work together, side by side, to visit each home. Whenever Sam runs away, he should report to Santa, while Gus sticks around to keep watch. When they run out of time to visit all of the rest of the children, the two reindeer decide to enlist their friends in pairs of two to help. They create a system for Reindeer 1 disappear to report to Santa about behavior, while Reindeer 2 sticks around. All of the reindeer leave on Christmas Eve to help Santa deliver the gifts.

I love this idea because there is no complicated system involved in making real for kids. The reindeer can hang out wherever they want to, and only need to go anywhere if they need to report back to Santa. There is no need to worry about forgetting to do things, and I know that my little guy will love getting to know his reindeer. He loves books that come with toys that help him relate to the story, and having a backstory will make it even more real for him. I can’t wait to introduce them in a few days.

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If you would like to get a Roaming Reindeer set for your family this year, you are in luck! I have one set to giveaway to one lucky reader, just in time for the start of the Christmas season. All you need to do is leave a comment letting me know what your favourite Christmas tradition is. Once you’ve done that, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form to let me know you’ve done it. There will also be some ways to earn extra entries! This giveaway is open to readers in both Canada and the US. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t wait to win, and want to get your own right away, I have a special code for you. Using the code ROAM2014 will get you $5.00 off the set until November 27th. You can get the book on Amazon.com and at the Roaming Reindeer website.

I can’t wait to here how your reindeer enjoy Christmas at your house. If you have them come to visit this year, please let me know how your family enjoys having them!

Dedication – (almost) Wordless Wednesday

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Competitive sports are tough, even on little bodies. After having the top of his foot torn up twice a week for the past 2 weeks from climbing the rope during gynmastics practice, his coach taped it up for him today. Despite the pain in his foot, he never gave up and never stopped. That is dedication.

5 reasons why exercise is terrible for you

Have you ever wondered why people love to exercise so much? It looks brutal, people always grimacing in pain and limping around, barely able to lift their arms or walk up a flight of stairs. Pfft. Why would you want to do that to yourself? No sane person would. So I thought long and hard about it and have come up with some reasons why exercise is bad for you.

– Exercise makes you sweaty. Sweat is gross, all drippy and stinky and collecting in places you don’t want it to, like inside your bra, under your arms and on the butt of your shorts. It makes your skin slippery and makes it harder for someone to grab you, for your iPod armband to actually stay on your arm, or your makeup to stay in place. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

– You need to buy new shoes. Whether it is aerobics, running or dance, they will all require you to buy special coverings for your feet. Barefoot running and swimming are probably the two exceptions to the rule, but they open a whole new can of worms when you go there.

– You will need to start drinking more water, which means that you will need to pee more and nobody wants that. It means that you will have to start scouting bathrooms in public places, and *gasp* using them. You might also get the urge to carry a giant-sized water bottle around with you during the day so you stay well “hydrated”. How would that possibly fit in your bag, unless you carry a giant LV bag already? And what if you needed to buy one just for that? The horror!

-You might get the urge to actually join a gym, not just “join a gym”. You will come to realize that there are more places in your gym than just the juice bar and coffee shop, one where people do these things called weights and cardio. It’s probably not the place for sensitive or easily offended ears because people curse, they belch and fart (gross as that is) and there is lots of noise from clanging weights and machine cables. You might even be forced to talk to and interact with new people and heaven forbid you make a new friend.

– You will get muscles and your clothes won’t fit right. Say bye-bye to blouses with buttons, fitted arms, anything labelled “small” or fitted. You will need to buy a new coat because your old one won’t fit over your shoulders and tank tops and vests will become your new best friends. If you are really “lucky” you might have to buy a whole new wardrobe. Gah. More shopping.

– You will get stronger. This means that you will be able to open your own jars, move furniture, and carry heavy bags of groceries and cat litter all on your own. You might not need to ask for help! That blows the damsel in distress thing out of the water doesn’t it?

So there you have it. A few reasons why exercise is horrid and should not, under any circumstances be undertaken by anyone. And if you do? Be prepared to deal with some of the side effects mentioned above, such as more and stronger muscles, better hydration, new friends and changed body shape. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though.