My not-so-little brother inspires me because…

Broski, if you’re reading this, just know I’m not doing it to embarrass you. Rather, It’s because I’m very proud of you.


You know how annoying and out-of-the-loop I’ve been since surgery, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your patience. You listen to me, despite the fact that I’m horrible at remembering some stories you tell me. I get so sidetracked easily, it’s daunting.

I remember the day mom was in the hospital and I had to go to school. I was in grade 2, anticipating the new role I’d have as being an older sister. I remember my dad telling me, “I’ll pick you up after school.” You were born at (this time) on September 5, 1997. It was a Friday and all I could think of  was, “I’m gonna meet my brother after school!”

Dad came to pick me up and the butterflies of excitement churned in the pit of my stomach. Parked the car, walked in, knocked on the door. There he was, laying in a little crib beside mom. She had been in pain because he was such a healthy baby! You were sleeping, with your hands curled, wrapped in your little mitts. Everything about you was little.

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Meanwhile, nearly 20 years later, he’s over a foot taller than me, knows more of what’s happening in the world, and always has a new fact or story to share.

He’s aspiring to work in the food industry and I have full confidence that he will reach his dreams. I’ve seen him fail, almost give up, and struggle to make our parents proud.

 

But here’s the thing, he’s never failed to make me proud. Although he’s younger than I, he’s done more for me than he thinks.

 

This post is dedicated to you bro, thanks for always being you. Here’s to more jinxes, food adventures, and awkward moments.

I’ll end this post with a quote a friend shared with me:

Shoot for the stars, but never lose sight of the flowers.

Do it up bro. I love you. I mean it!

 

A Day at the Park

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I had the privilege to spend a weekend in July with my godson, and captured such adorable portraits of him. This little man’s been practicing his walking, and these photos were taken BEFORE he started walking on his own. It’s now August and he’s walking and dancing! So much can happen in 1 month eh? Way to go champ. Ninang (Godmother) is proud of you ❤ !

Where you’re at

The best part of learning is just loving where you’re at. #AllenStone 😀

Ever wonder what the story of strangers are? I mean you’ve got to see people on your commute to work, school, the gym – you name it. Strangers are everywhere. Strange eh? 😛

It’s always during the summer months that I go on food adventures, take more photos than usual (and sometimes more than needed), and post on Instagram like crazy! I’m the type that likes to document everything, and when something’s good – I share it! Like the exciting feat of getting to create my own pizza at Pizza Studio, and squeaky cheese topped on an authentic Canadian poutine from 3 Brothers in Ottawa, not to mention my ongoing love for ice cream (and now gelato) – the list is endless!

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Currently at Starbucks as I write this post, and I hear voices of men to my left. I look over and I notice half of them with semi-graying hair, the other in baseball caps, each with hot java at hand. It sounds like they’re talking about their daily routines: reading the paper, walking the dog, sitting on the patio. Interesting. Don’t you think? ok, maybe not… but maybe — yes? 

Summer months are great for trying out new food, desserts, and discovering new trails and such, but seriously, think about the people you’ve encountered within the last 2 or 3 months. That’s right, backtrack a little with me here.

It’s ok if you don’t want to (yet), you may change your mind soon.

Care if I share some stories in the next few moments? 🙂

The photographer at Riverdale Park East, using a Nikon, wife sitting on a bench behind him. Tripod and camera set up to capture the Toronto skyline from one of the breath-taking locations to view the city. He’d been in Toronto for nearly 45 years and had just discovered the view from Riverdale Park. With a simple Google search of “where to shoot the Toronto Skyline”. Cool eh? I don’t blame him, my brother and I did the same thing. What will I remember? – his creativity and the support of his lifetime parter. #thatslove

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The man who claims to be a whistleblower in the city of Toronto, red-hair, beard, Iron Man t-shirt, sweater at hand. He caught my attention because he kept talking about his story. The hurt of abuse for the first 18 years of his life, the mistreatment from the city he receives, and the ignorance of fellow citizens of society. All he wants is to be loved, to be accepted, and to be acknowledged for being human. What will I remember? The tears that came to his eyes when I offered to pray for him, his situation, and his safety. #Godslove

The man who was persistent to get new shoes! “FANTASTIC!” He exclaims, once we got his shoes on. One shoelace loosening to the next – it was tough! LOL What will I remember? – His cheery smile and positive attitude.

You see. Strangers aren’t so bad. They all have something to teach you, just like you have something to teach them. You may not realize it in the moment, but once you get time to reflect and just recap your day and encounters, you’d be surprised to see what you come up with.

“Don’t talk to strangers” is all too cliche and too safe. I say talk to strangers (assess the situation first of course). It’s not so bad, afterall.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

Can you be still?

DSC_0033Ever have those days when you sit outside on the porch, covered with a throw blanket, and birds are chirping, hours after the sun has set? I have. 🙂

And it was that summer evening that I came to a realization: I’m not content with wanting to be content because I’m always looking for more. I like change, I like new things, I appreciate the little joys in life, but it never seems to be enough.

I lean to the right and hear a loud bird humming its song, one minute after the next – it sings. I face forward and hear a distant bird, humming its melodious song. Then I close my eyes and lean to the left, listening for a bird. I barely hear it, but I know there’s wildlife down yonder.

A few minutes later, there it is. It’s as if the birds from my right are singing to the birds by the pond, to my left. They just keep singing.

The sky gets darker and the breeze gets stronger, I should probably go inside soon, I think. But once I return into a warm, comfortable, familiar space, my home, the openness and freshness of the outdoors will be missed.

I sit there a little longer, hoping mosquitoes don’t come out to get me. I stare at my neighbour’s houses and wonder… what’s their story? How was their day? What’s the best thing they’ve experienced this week? I stop in my thoughts and listen, again. The birds are still singing.

The street lights come on, it’s time to go in. But I can’t help it. I wonder what those birds are thinking. What does their song mean? What are they saying? Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they scared? Are they feeling the chills like me? What’s their story? 

Self-discovery is about listening, being still, and digging deep. It’s about learning, reading, and expanding your knowledge about the world. Take some time and be still. You’d be surprised to see what inspires you.

That summer’s night, I didn’t know I’d learn a lesson from the birds, that evening I sat outside. I should be content and keep singing my song while I discover more about me. As I become this young woman, strong and independent – sing with my friends, tell them about my day. Near or far, there’s a friend out there inspiring me. Like the birds, I will keep sharing my story.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

 

 

Anywhere but here

IMG_2889Same people, same places, same old routine gets boring.

Get out. Explore. Meet new people, try new food, discover more of me.

I’m stuck in the same story line, looking for a new plot to write.

I know I can’t do it here, I need to move, see, pave a new path, start a new journey.

I will surround myself with people who inspire me, bring life to my stories again, and just be.

There’s so many things I’m unsure of, but one thing I know for sure: I need to be anywhere but here.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

From a Daughter’s Eyes to a Father’s Heart (Father’s Day Poem)

 

Fathers are important. They’re the head of the family, they’re the leaders of the household. Everyone has a dad, a father-figure, a mentor, or a best friend.

An integral lesson about fathers is found in Hebrews 12:7-11

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! (v7-9)

We need male figures in our lives for direction, for guidance. We need our Heavenly father to be our leader, our companion.

As we celebrate and appreciate fathers, I pray that we remember our Father, our Creator.

Much love.

-LifeisaBeaut ❤

When you’re looking for inspiration

…it’s time to step up your creativity.

Inspiration is everywhere. It’s the caricature in front of my desk, it’s the calendar hanging on my wall, it’s the dog barking outside, it’s the dandelions floating in the air, it’s the song I just heard on the radio – see, and that’s just the closest “everywhere” for me right now.

Your everywhere is dependent on what you decide to look at, what you decide to pay attention to. So look around. Look up. Look to your left and right. Look down. Inspiration comes from the person looking for it. You create inspiration by seeking it.

The next time you think, “I need inspiration” – look at yourself. Stare at your reflection in the mirror and ask: What actually inspires me? What can I share with people that inspires me to inspire? You’ll be surprised with what you come up with. 🙂

-LifeisaBeaut ❤