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Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Tonight I have a very special post for you. I had an opportunity to review a book before the official release date which is January 1, 2013. 

Before I get to the review of the book I wanted to share a little story of my own on how this came to be. A couple of years ago I attended a women's retreat and had the pleasure of meeting an amazing woman and international speaker Heidi McLaughlin. After the weekend I was researching Heidi and discovered a radio show that interviewed her. That radio show was none other than Living Inspired with Tricia Goyer. I found Tricia fascinating and of course started to follow her blog. The rest, as they say, is history. 

About the book
Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests—her former fiancé, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA’s pressures.
In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children’s governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover—as Ellie did—that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?

My Take
On Christmas Eve I received my copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss. I have to say this was a wonderful Christmas present! I worked the evening on Christmas Day and I just couldn't put it down. I devoured this book as though I was starving and hadn't eaten in days. It took me less than a day to read. Tricia and Ocieanna really dive into the rich history of the land and paint the beautiful picture that is Alaska. I was on the edge of my seat and had to know what Ginny would do next and what the outcome would be for Ellie, the woman in the letters. Reading about the two completely different time periods was fascinating. I love the way the authors developed both love stories simultaneously and ended it beautifully! What really touched me was seeing Ginny's faith blossom through reading the letters and spending time with both Grandma Ethel and Brett. Any story that makes me laugh and cry out loud, regardless of my surroundings, is a best seller to me!  

Giveaway Hop 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012


And I'm back. You see I get these rigid ideas in my head that things have to be a certain way and if they don't happen the way I think they should I just don't do it at all. This is what's happened with my blog. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with this site and when I couldn't meet my own ideal I just gave up. So, instead of promising to post a specific number of posts on specific days I'm just going to post when I can about whatever comes to mind. I had to remind myself this is my blog and it can be whatever I'd like it to be. I can post about whatever I want. And by no means has anyone demanded anything of me...all of this has been some internal demand I set on myself.

With all of that being said...Hi! It's nice to see you again! Or if this is your first time here...Welcome! I've gone through some changes over the past couple of months. When I finished school I hit a slump. The more jobs I applied to (and didn't hear back from) the more I spiraled down into depression. If it wasn't for being a mother and HAVING to get up and get the kids off to school I wouldn't have left my bed. It wasn't until a friend pointed out that I hadn't accepted my new role in life that I could finally take a good look at my life and see what was really going on.

This year I've gone from student to unemployed to getting a casual position at a residential women's treatment center. So, now I'm home during the week and work weekends. Now, did you catch what I said? From student to unemployed. Really? Unemployed? Not once did I look at the fact that I GRADUATED from my program. I wasn't unemployed! I was a graduate looking for a job in the field AND I found one that I started mid-August. Yet, it took me until a couple of weeks ago to fully realize this. I finally stopped and asked myself, "Why did I start this process of changing careers?" My answer was simple. I wanted to help people. More specifically I wanted to help women with addictions. Am I doing this? Yes! Does it matter if I work 44 hours per week or 24? No! With that in mind I took it a step further. In a few years when my kids hit the teen years I'll be begging for more time with them and yet here I sit with time to spend with my children. I know a lot of parents who would love to be at home with their kids. I made a conscious decision to try to ENJOY my children more. (Okay I'm not completely ridiculous they STILL drive me crazy every day.)

Each family has it's own balance and when something changes the family needs to restructure itself. This is known as homeostasis. My family's balance had changed with or without my acceptance. Accepting my new role just allowed my mind a sense of peace.

I hope to write more often now that I've come to all of these realizations. Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and guess what?? I'M A GRADUATE! I have a diploma in Addictions and Community Service Worker.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I know it's been a while. I've thought of you - a lot, but just didn't know what to say. There have been days when I've wanted to scream and shout and lay it all out there for the world to see yet it seemed like too much I didn't know where to start. Other days I couldn't muster even one word. Well, in honor of Thanksgiving I thought I'd just start again. In fact, I thought talking about Thanksgiving and what it means to me would be a pretty good start. 

Life has been a rocky journey thus far and I assume it will continue much the same. There have been times where I've found myself with very little in life. These times have shaped me to be the person I am today and God isn't finished with me yet. A number of years ago now I realized some things you just need to MAKE happen and when you do it's like magic. There are a few celebrations I make happen Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas. These three holidays (yes my birthday is a holiday shut it!) are insanely important to me. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are essentially the same to me (except for the prezzies) because I have what I call my Misfits Dinner. I invite whoever comes across my path who don't have plans. I think everyone should be able to celebrate and being alone just isn't an option. Coincidentally I also feel that way about birthdays. It's your ONE day of the year that's just for you who cares how old you're turning, celebrate YOU! There is only and will only ever be one YOU.

I've been blessed with the ability to cook amazing turkey dinners, bake deliciously scrumptious pumpkin pies and I enjoy sharing those gifts. I don't have fine china. Sometimes we sit on lawn chairs. (Don't worry we always eat inside the house.) And sometimes dinner is a lot later than I expected, but we always have a great time with great company while eating really yummy food. In my opinion, you can't ask for anything more magical than that!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Dance

I'm very excited to announce that I officially have a job in my field! I am now a Casual Relief Counselor for a women's residential treatment facility. I have a regular weekly shift and should be able to pick up another one here and there.

It may not seem like a big deal, but this is HUGE to me. Since, I've started this process I've known that I want to work with women in addictions. I haven't wavered from this idea once. I've known all along this is the area I'm meant to work with. I feel strongly about advocating for women, especially women with addictions.

I have an interview on Thursday for a job at Staples. It's not in my field but it will pay the bills while I'm trying to find work that will pay the bills and be in my field. For now I'm content to know that I have my foot in the door at a treatment facility. 

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Keeping Your Focus

Image courtesy of Flickr
I have a problem.

And when you have a problem "they" say the first step is admitting you have a problem. So, here I am admitting it...

I have a problem. 

I'm a scatterbrain. 

There. I did it. I've admitted my problem. So, here's the thing I can't ever seem to just stick with one task. I sit down with a purpose and within a couple of minutes (or maybe 30 seconds) I've completely moved on to something else and then another thing and another. 

Tonight I sat down to transcribe my notes that I've been trying to type out since July 16th. Well, I decided I would start typing out notes regarding my placement first and then answered a few Twitter messages and played around on Facebook. Went back to writing about my placement then had a bite to eat. Replied to Twitter again, yelled at the boys to settle down. Decided to do a blog post then back to Twitter. Then when I finished my post I had to spam it to all my peeps. And now here I am writing another blog post (apparently I have a lot to say today) and still going between Facebook and the way I have two pages my personal page and my Being eLLe page so of course I have to keep an eye on both! 

Now what was the point I was trying to make? Oh yes, I'm a scatterbrain and I don't know what to do with myself. There are so many things that I "want" to do that I end up not being productive AT ALL!!

Let's see if I can't find some ways to find my focus? 

1. Make a list. 
Yep. I love to make lists. Then those lists get lost in my pule of lists and I forget what I made a list for. 

2. Set a timer for 15 minutes and stay on task until your time is up.
Okay, maybe I should work UP to 15 minutes. Maybe start with 5 minute intervals. I'll give this a try and let you know how it goes. Right after I play with my phone and set up a timer...okay

3. I hadn't really thought this out...Oh wait I know how about you all give me ways YOU stay on task and I'll put them to the test! You can let me know your suggestions either by commenting or on my Facebook page

I look forward to hearing your suggestions! 

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An Ode to a Blogger

Earlier this week I received a nice surprise from my friend and fellow blogger @LoveLostGunfire. She wrote a blog post about myself and another blogger sandranguy. It was quite beautiful and you should check it out - not just because she raves about me, but because her blog is fantastic!  @LoveLostGunfire often reviews music and movies or just goes off on a rant (which is totally why we're such great friends. Who doesn't love a good rant?). 

This got me thinking. I'm pretty good at posting a friend's new blog in an introductory fashion but I often forget to show my love and appreciation. Here's to you @LoveLostGunfire and your blog

Know that you're amazing and I don't know what I would do without you! You've been there for me through a lot of bumps in the road. Stay true to who you are because there's no one like you in this whole wide world! 

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Monday, July 30, 2012

The Highs and Lows of Looking for Work

Borrowed from Facebook
What a great day! It's been a day full of activity. I think I've done more in one day than I have in the past two weeks. 

This morning I went to the school to see my teacher and a couple of fellow classmates. We had a good debate about the brokenness of our social services system and the different views on a two-tier system. Afterwards I went for coffee with my classmate and we had a great conversation. After being cooped up in the house with my kids for the past two weeks it's kind of nice to get out of the house and have a real conversation without children interrupting. I've got some new ideas for my job search and I'm feeling better about life in general. After going home and feeding the kids lunch I took them to our aunt's place for a visit. Sometimes I just love hearing stories from the past. We stayed for a couple of hours and went home for supper. This evening I went to my group at the Ottawa Satir Center. I always feel so welcome when I'm there and I always leave feeling renewed and refreshed. It feels good to have a fresh outlook on life. 

Looking for a job can be very stressful and depressing at times. It's hard not to take rejection so personally. Believe me I get it. This is not an easy process for anyone and I need to remember I'm not alone. Above all right now I need to remember that I've just finished working my tail off for the past 10 months. These were months filled with hard work, sweat, tears, and very little sleep. It's no wonder I've been sleeping a lot the last couple of weeks - my body is playing catch-up. So, I'm quite happy that today I feel more like myself again. I'm sure there will come a time when I hit another low point and that's ok it's normal and I am not alone. 

Are you looking for work? Do you feel down and out? I'd love to hear from you. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Unwritten Page of Life

I'm sitting here staring at a blank page. It's a little like my life right now - the empty whiteness of an unwritten page. An unwritten page is full of hope, promise and at times can seem like utter hopelessness and frustration. But there is something beneath the sheer blankness of it. There is someone writing your story. Even when it feels like a case of writer's block eventually something clicks and the story starts to appear. 

Although the metaphoric book of my life is already half written life feels like a blank page right now. I'm in that inbetween place where I know there is a plan but I can't see what it is. 

Is your life an unwritten page right now? Do you feel stuck or hopeless? There is a plan for your life as I know there is a plan for mine. 

I just wish someone would fill me in on it.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Healthy Granola Bar Fail

Happy Hump Day! Yep, it's Wednesday and the week is half over. Since, I'm currently looking for work I decided now would be a good time to focus on healthy eating. I made my first batch of granola bars. As with most things I make I detoured from the recipe and made it my own. 

Homemade Fruit & Pecan Granola Bars
Upon trying them for the first time I realize these are not so healthy...they are way too sweet and coming from me that IS really sweet. Since one of my goals is to try and cut down on sugar these definitely do not help achieve that goal. Lesson learned. If a granola recipe calls for a cup of brown sugar just don't do it! 

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Long Overdue Update

Okay, so obviously I'm a "little" behind in blogging but I'm here now and I have so much to tell you. As of midnight July 9th (technically the 10th) I am finished my student placement at the JF Norwood House. In fact, as of July 11 when I turned in my final evaluation I am officially done school! 

Can you believe a year ago I didn't even know if I would get into the program? And now here I am completely done. If my calculations are correct my overall average for school was 87%!!!!! I'd originally hoped for in the 90's but quickly realized that wasn't very realistic with 3 kids running around my house. After that my goal was to keep it around 85% and as you can see I beat that! I have to say I'm proud of myself! I guess that inner voice of negativity was wrong all along. I'm not really stupid at all, in fact, I think I may even be SMART! 

So, I finished placement Monday and left Wednesday afternoon to attend a GEMS Girls' Clubs Leadership Conference at Wheaton College in Illinois. It was truly amazing. There were over 640 women in attendance. I'm forever changed from the experience. I spent time with some of the most amazing women I've ever had the privilege of meeting. 

Myself and Kristen - I just love this picture! 

I arrived back home Monday in the wee hours of the morning and I've been catching up on sleep since. Today's the first day I haven't spent most of my time on the couch. When I think about it I've pretty much been going straight since September when I started school. Now I'm continuing my job search. 

Starting Monday I'm going to step it up a notch. It's not going to be easy, but I think getting up and getting ready as though I was going to work will make a great difference in my day. I'm sending as many resumes to as many places as I can think of. It's a lot more time consuming now that I actually adjust my resume and cover letter to each company I apply to. I'm sure the time I'm putting into them will be well worth my while. I'm a little concerned I will be overlooked because I don't have a lot of related experience. I wish there was some way of conveying who I really am in my resume. I'll just pray for interviews so people can see for themselves how truly awesome I am :-) 

Hey, if I can't toot my own horn who else will?

I'm off to go about my day. I'm going for coffee with my amazing sister-in-law and mum-in-law. On that note, just a shout out to say 


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Thursday, May 31, 2012


I've been reminded recently how precious little time we really have. Anything can happen and take a loved one from this life into the next.

Keep hope alive even when it seems as though there is none.

Stop waiting for the right time in life. The right time may never happen or it may come too late.

Take hold of your loved ones. Hug them like it could be the last time.

Enjoy every minute of every day.

Have a beautiful day filled with joy, love and happiness!

Friday, May 25, 2012

*$#%& Swearing....Can I Catch it?

Have you ever noticed when you're around people who swear a lot that you start to pick it up?

Many times in life I've gone through periods where I just swear too much. This always leads to me wanting to curb this habit.

Well, I'm there again. Working in a house with a bunch of women who swear all the time has turned me into a trucker. No offense to truckers out there. I'm of course referring to the old saying "swearing like a trucker".

So, it's a new work week. I'm on days this week. Let's see if I can manage this week with 50% less swearing. I should be able to carry out a conversation without bad language.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sleep? What's that?

It's too early, but I'm a mom so there's not a lot of wiggle room for sleeping in. Actually, there's just no sleeping in period. If you hadn't already guessed, I've started my first week of the evening shift, 4-midnight. Tuesday night I'd stayed up until just past midnight in an effort to try and get on schedule. Of course, Riley woke me up just after 6 am. Even with the lack of sleep I managed to complete my shift without getting too drowsy. 

We had to clean out a room of a resident who is no longer living in the house. It was a disaster but not the worst they've ever seen there. I had the opportunity to work with another member of the staff. It's been great getting to know all the different staff members. We were quite steady for a while and things calmed down a bit which gave me the opportunity to talk with a couple of the women. 

When I first took my course, the thought of counseling people scared me. I mean I knew it was what I wanted to do, but trying to do it correctly became my worry. Standing in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and having a conversation with a woman is just as much counseling as sitting in a room across from a client. 

I'm off to finish getting the kids ready for school and then I'm going back to bed. Here's hoping I can go back to sleep. If I don't nap I'll never make it through the night. 

Have a great day!!

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chocolate Anyone?

Today marks my second day of placement.

I helped put away the Food Bank order. Some of which wasn't surprising. What I do find surprising is the amount of sweets. Of course, everyone should be able to get a treat. I'm all for that. What I find so astonishing is that there's more sweets than real food. I've been told that's just par for the course.

When people donate food to the Food Bank do they not donate real food?

What's up with that?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

First Day Complete

Well, I survived my first day. It was very interesting and also very long. I wish I could share more details, but i can't.

I've met some amazing women who've been through more than I can imagine. I've already seen more than I expected to on my first day. I think this is really going to be a great learning experience for me.

I already feel like a part of the team which is nice, I feel less like an outsider than I anticipated. 

Off to have a bus nap before I get home and have to feed my family.


Pre First Day of Placement

I'm nervous. Placement starts today. Eeek!

On the bright side it's 6:20 and I'm ready to go which means 20 minutes to relax with a cup of coffee. Did I say relax? I spoke too soon. R's decided to throw a fit - my pants are falling down, I don't wanna go upstairs, I want socks. I'm not sure why these are matters to cry about, I have a feeling she must be tired.

I CAN DO THIS! I'll let you know how my first day goes. See you on the other side!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Loss of the Smile

Well, I'm on my way to placement to fill out paperwork before I start tomorrow. I haven't had to take the bus in a very long time. I've always made sure to smile brightly at every driver I encounter. Apparently OC Transpo drivers aren't allowed to smile.

Now I know that's not really a rule. What has happened to our society when we can't even smile at strangers? I don't want anything from you. Okay that's not true either...all I want from you is a smile. Is that really too much to ask of people?


I Passed! I Passed! I Passed!

I got a call from my teacher last night to say that I passed and more than that I passed with a 92%!!!!! 

I am so happy and relieved. I admit I'm still shell shocked. It's all been a blur of lectures, stories, assignments (I'll be happy to NEVER do ANOTHER essay again!), midterms, tests, finding a placement, and passing my comprehensive at the end. All of this and so much more has been my life for the last 8 months. 

Tomorrow I start my new journey - working at my student placement for the next 8 weeks or so (I need 320 hours). My biggest challenge is going to be putting myself to bed at a decent time. Oh, and making sure the kids have everything they need ready the night before! 

Now, I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who's been there for me especially over the last 8 months. I've gone through some really rough patches and if it wasn't for you (you know who you are) I don't think I would have survived - let alone succeeded! I appreciate all of the prayers that were going around behind the scenes. I am so grateful to those who encouraged me when I was so discouraged. I am thankful to those who believed in me even when I couldn't believe in myself. I love you all. 

I Passed! I Passed! I Passed!

Have a great day and enjoy some of this sunshine!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Post Test Post

I'm DONE! 

I can't believe I'm saying those words...I AM DONE. Life feels different now. I can definitely say I learned a helluva lot which I owe to such an awesome teacher - he never made it easy, but he was always fair. 

I should hear back tonight/tomorrow what I got on my test. 

Is it weird that I'm more nervous now than I was for my test? 

Tomorrow I meet with my placement to sign papers etc. Wednesday (assuming I passed my test) I will start my placement. It's so weird thinking that in less than 2 days I'll be "working". 

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Pre-Test Post

Okay's D-Day...or in my case T-Day, as in Test Day, the BIG test. This test covers 14 of the 19 subjects I've taken in the last 8 months. From ethical counseling to pharmacology and a whole lot in between! My nerves just kicked in - I'm feeling wound right up! I'll post AFTER my test to let you know how I feel about it. Okay enough procrastination off to study! 

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Big Changes and a Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day card
Mother's Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's been so long, I'm not sure where to start. I feel completely out of practice. First things first...I've come back to Blogger. Trying to maintain my own site was too complicated with my life right now. It was fun when I was working on it, but the reality becomes I just don't have the time. At least here on Blogger I can just write and I'm pretty sure that was the whole point in blogging. If I can manage blogging once a week I'll be happy. 

You must all be wondering what happened to me? If you recall, I've been in school since September in the Addictions and Community Service Worker program. Friday marked my last official day of class! Tomorrow is my big comprehensive exam that covers a little bit of everything we've studied. Wednesday I start my eight week placement at the Elizabeth Fry Society. Like I said, big changes! 

It's an exciting time full of emotions. I'm happy, sad, nervous and anxious all at the same time. I'm going to miss the people I've grown close to, although I'm sure this is not the end to our friendships! I'm relieved that I've passed all of my courses and at last check I'm sitting around 86% overall. Who knew I could pull off taking a heavy course load as a wife and mother of 3 and still manage 86%? 

There's still a lot to catch up on, but for now this will have to do. I've got a career to start! Have a wonderful day.

Happy Mother's Day!

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