Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Season's Warmest Greetings . . .


 . . . come from this lovely lady right here! 

This is my very dear friend (and beloved mentor) Barb, who makes the most beautiful  handmade greeting cards for every possible occasion. I snapped this photo of her at a craft show with my phone, so I apologize for the poor quality.

Not only does she make the most creative, visually stunning cards you've ever seen, but she also makes whimsical little gift boxes for even the smallest of gifts. (Like, for wrapping handmade original jewellery for a loved one perhaps?)  Not only that, but for anyone trying to go "green". you should know that these cards are made from recycled materials, 'cuz my friend is one of the most resourceful creative thinker I've ever met! I'm constantly amazed at how she manages to turn little odds and ends she finds into amazing treasures. I'm in awe of how she discovers new ways to use everything from vintage jewellery to leftover ribbons to glue guns to nail polish! ( And here I thought fixing my boots with my hot glue gun was pretty inventive  hahaha!)   She also fashions the most precious miniature decorative birdhouses (seen in the photo above hanging from the iron "tree" there) .

For those of you with busy schedules, who never seem to have the time or energy to pick out that Perfect card for a loved one, you"ll find what you're looking for from this creative genius here! And if you're anything like me and have trouble even just keeping track of what day of the week it is, hahaha,  my thoughtful friend offers the service of providing early reminders to those of us who tend to be on the forgetful side! (To some of you husbands out there, you will never have to worry about forgetting an anniversary or your mother-in-law's birthday again! haha) So again, to see some amazing handmade sweetness for your soul, go ahead and click on this link

Greetings that are like hugs for your soul,
-J









Friday, November 25, 2011

Project #44 - The Largest Pipe Organ Ive Ever Seen


I KNOW, RIGHT?! 

|This is honestly the biggest pipe organ I have ever seen. Sure, there may be larger ones out there, but this one broke the record forones Ive seen in my lifetime so far, haha.
As mentioned in my last post, this was the organ I sleepily stared at in the cathedral as I waited for the impending checkin time for my flat so I could finally SLEEP!
Below is a photo I took from another angle to show you how big "them pipes" were in relation to the organ's keyboard on the ground below. To get the angle, I had to lay down on the floor next to the foot pedals. This was a dangerous move, not because of the massive tourist foot traffic (which there was alot of) but becuase I nearly fell asleep as soon as I hit the floor, hahaha.


See how gi-normous those organ pipes are? They took up the whole wall of the cathedral! Now that's what I call A Strong set Of Pipes!  
Ahem,
I'm sorry, I must still be tired, hahaha

Pipe Organs and Naps on the Floor,
- J

Monday, November 21, 2011

Project #43 Arches

|
This is that same church in Iceland, from the inside. I arrived in Reykjevik at 6 am and by the time I got into the city itself it was almost 8 am. I hadn't slept all night ( I can't sleep on planes very well, - I am a nervous flier to begin with) so I was exhausted. Unfortunately I couldnt check into the flat until noon, so I ate breakfast, and then tried to find somewhere to rest until then, so that I wouldnt have to lug around all my luggage in the pouring rain.
I sought sanctuary in this,  well,, sanctuary-  and rested in the pews as I listened to the organist play the largest pipe organ I've ever seen.  I spent alot of time taking photos in there, more to amuse myself and try to stay awake than anything else, hahaha. Honestly, at that point I just needed sleep. (I did go back another day and fully enjoyed the time exploring.)
Here is one of my favorite shots , taken from a slouched half laying, half sitting position in the pews, becuase I was too tired to stand up, hahaha.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Project #42 - HOT SPOT

This is the famous BLUE LAGOON just outside Reykjavik, Iceland.  The natural hot spring lagoon was created when the leftover water used in the countryy's geothermal water supply was pumped out, and formed a basin where the mineral rich piping hot spring water collected in a pool of azure bliss.   Because the water is so warm, the lagoon is open year round and is one of the country's biggest tourist attractions.
I had hoped the water would be "hot-tub" temperature, but it turned out to feel just a little warmer than baby-safe bathwater, haha. That is, until I discovered the pipes running along the edges of the lagoon, that carried in the piping hot water up from its smouldering underground hideout.  I huddled in the "hot spots' ( which were indeed hotter than any hot tub I've ever been in) and I cleverly followed the "hot spots' as the drifted around, hahaha

They also had buckets of white silica mud all around the lagoon. You're supposed to slather it on your skin,  face, neck, arms, back, wherever you want really, to give you skin a spa-like cleansing mask treatment. I have never seen so many people with white-mud caked faces. We all looked like the extras' cast in a Twilight movie, hahaha!

Watching the white snow fall and wishing I was covered in white mud again,
-J

Saturday, November 12, 2011

THINGS I HAVE LEARNED . . .

There's learning hard lessons, and then there's learning lessons the hard way. I seem to be prone to the latter more often than I care for. Regardless, I have learned alot in my almost-32 years on this earth, and I feel I should pass along some of these hard-learned lessons in hopes that it might spare a few hearts from alot of stress, pain and anxiety.  So for those of you who are NOT like me, and are wise enough to learn from the mistakes of others, haha,. here they are:

32 Things I have learned....

1.  The learning curve for raising children is a steep one; It requires a ton of patience, and a sense of humour!
2.  When you don't know whether to laugh or cry, choose to laugh. Sometimes I do both at the same time.
3.You can't run FROM your problems, but going FOR a run can help find perspective..
4.  No one is in control of your happiness except for YOU. Happiness is a choice, it's not based on circumstance.
5. Stepping on "Lego" toys pieces still hurts, no matter how old you are!
6.  People will only treat you the way you allow them to.  You need to stand up for yourself if you want respect.
7. Occasionally, ice cream really IS the best thing to eat for dinner!.
8. I  didn't fully appreciate how much my parents did for me, until I was a parent myself.
9. Junk is something you keep for years and then throw away 2 weeks before you need it.
10. Everyone in this life will at some point let you down or hurt you. You just have to decide which ones are worth suffering for. (Paraphrased quote from Bob Marley)
11. Your mind is a battlefield. Defend it
12. I can't choose which life paths my children will take, all I can do is prepare them for the journey.
13. Dance in the rain. Seriously.  Do it.
14. Your friends are the "family" you get to choose,  so choose wisely.
15. I can't always trust my feelings, because I can feel 20 different ways about the same thing in 5 minutes.
16. I may not FEEL like doing the "right thing" but I can still CHOOSE to do it anyway.
17.  Noone on earth has all the answers.  Not even Mom.
18.  You can grow bitter, or you can grow better.
19.  Achieving important goals makes me feel so good I want to set more!
20. Obstacles are nothing to be afraid of, they are just opportunities in disguise.
21. "Giving up" is not something I am accustomed to, but sometimes the healthiest choice is actually to drop my gloves and step out of the ring.
22. Trust is the willingness to risk betrayal. You can't wait for the risk to be eliminated before you trust someone, cause the risk will always be there.  (That's where the trust comes in.)
23. Just because you love someone, doesn't mean they're any good for you. If you are suffering in an abusive relationship, and you need help to get out,  go to http://www.thehotline.org/  or contact your local shelter and counselling/resource centre. For children under the age of 18 suffering in an abusive family situation, go to http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline 
24. Leaving the cell phone turned off for a weekend can do wonders for the soul.(freeeeeedooooooom!)
25. Wearing suncreen today will prevent the "leather handbag" look tomorrow, haha
26. I'm alot stronger than I ever thought I was. So are you. Our greatest strengths grow out of our biggest weaknesses.  ( And I have alot of weaknesses, haha!)
27. People come into your life for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime. 
28. Asparagus makes your pee smell funny!
29. Just.   Breathe
30. <---- Really isnt such a scary number!
31. LISTEN before you speak,  THINK before you act.
32. Stop believing your soulmate is simply your perfect match.   "...a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave." (from the book 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert)

I hope that some of these were helpful, or inspiring, or at least amusing -  even if it was just to put a smile on your face!

Huge hugs and life lessons from my heart to yours,
-J

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today . . .

 Ten years ago today, I held this awesome little dude in my arms for the first time, and fell head-over-heels for this precious baby boy of mine!   I feel so incredibly blessed to have  my constant lil' sidekick!
Once a upon a time he was only 6 lbs, 10 oz. and measured just 21 inches long!  Now when he stands next to me, his head comes to my shoulders! I know it won't be long before he whizzes past my lil" 5'2" self! ha ha ha
Yup, my first born baby hit a major life milestone today, with the double-digit birthday. I am so proud of my son!  He is one of the awesome-est people I have ever met. He makes me laugh so much, and he has brought so much joy and happiness into my life. His sensitive nature and compassionate heart make him a thoughtful, caring person who just wants to make everyone around him feel comfortable and included. He makes friends easily and shares freely. He is a fantastic little helper! He's incredibly bright, has a fantastic sense of humor, and endless energy.  He is the sunshine in my day.
Sometimes I wish he was just a little newborn baby again, so I could have just one more chance to scoop him up in my arms and rock him and sing him to sleep, since he is way to big and heavy for me to do that now!  I remember when he would cup my face with his chubby little toddler hands, look at me with his enormous blue eyes just inches away from mine, and tell me, " I yuv you, mama!"
Now I just enjoy every quick hug and the "bye, mom!" he gives me before he runs out the door to ride his bike with his friends.
I treasure every moment I get to have with this kid, because in just 8 short years, he will be graduating high school and beginning the next chapter of his precious life as he sets out on adventures on his own! ( But lets stop talking about that for now, hahaha)
So, 
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LITTLE DUDE!  Love, Mom =)    

Beaming With Pride, and Brimming with (nostalgic) Tears,
-J


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Project #41 - "Ice Rose"


As always, Nature has a way of creating beautiful things, and then keeping them hidden away, like a beautiful secret that is rarely discovered.
This is an "ice rose" formed under a glacier that is only revealed once the glacier begins to melt away and small tunnels and caves appear to give you a glimpse. 
 It would have been so easy to stomp on past and not take the time to notice it, and within hours it would have melted away without anyone ever knowing of it's existence.  
Life is precious -  temporary and fleeting.  It's the small things that make life rich and memorable.  Take the time to notice what's around you, you never know when it might be disappear forever.