Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday Motivation: Simplicity

This week's Monday Motivation is brought to you by Tuesday. You see, Monday was a holiday here, Labour Day in fact, as it was for the rest of Canada, the US and a few others I believe but I'm too lazy to check into that right at this moment. Because of the holiday, Tuesday feels like Monday so I'm going to just go with that skip Tuesday altogether and we'll go straight to Wednesday tomorrow. Yes, my logic is a little twisted, but if you've known me for any amount of time I'm sure you've already come to the conclusion that I can be a little twisted ;).

To be perfectly honest I'm not feeling terribly motivated today at all. I'm crispy fried from the weekend and far too much time in the sun (my own fault) with no hat and no sunscreen, possibly some sun/heat stroke and it's Monday (in a Tuesday sort of way) and I just want to lay down and do nothing. My biggest frustration and what leaves me feeling utterly overwhelmed is clutter; I need to find a way out of the clutter and into simplicity but each time I try to start I throw up my hands and cry out, "I can't, it's too much for one person". But I need to find a way to push past the, "I can't" and show myself that I most definitely can. Anyone else find themselves frustrated this way? Have you found a way out of the rut? Please feel free to share.

Love & prayers,
~Miss Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Motivation: Give 'em Attitude

With my second official photography shoot nearly behind me (just a few more images to process) I've taken away quite a few lessons that I won't soon forget. While I've been upset to the point of tears, hurt, and so angry I was shaking I am glad I'm learning sooner rather than later as I can move forward with even more confidence. There will always be people that take advantage, try to walk all over you and think that treating you like garbage makes them somehow right, but in the end we teach others how to treat us and I am not garbage so I will not let anyone treat me like garbage.

It's all about attitude and confidence. Others can justify their behaviour if they choose but I know, with full confidence, that I have behaved in a fair and professional manner and will continue to do so. I cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way but I do choose how I react to them. I cannot change that sometimes things don't go the way I hope or plan, but I am adaptable. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react. I am in charge of me and my attitude and I will continue to move forward into the world of professional photography with my head held high and a few good lessons tucked under my belt for good measure.

What lessons in attitude have you learned recently? Do you feel you reacted well, or maybe not so great but  learned what not to do for next time? We teach others how to treat us, together let's teach them that we are not garbage, because God don't make junk! Have a great week my friends!

Love & prayers,
~Shannon **  ƸӜƷ  **

ps. Please join me on my new facebook page Ordinary Miracles Photography and on twitter :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Motivation: Goals & Pipe Dreams

I was planning a different post today, yesterday I was planning this one but it didn't get written. That's kind of how I roll. I think I'm going to do something, I change my mind, then I change it again, then something else forces me to change it to something else and I end up arriving somewhere completely different than I expected. Good thing I'm flexible, but please don't ask me to touch my toes!

It's been awhile, did you miss me? I hope so because I've missed you and I've missed writing but I've  been so busy and then in recovery from being so busy that I've not had time to barely think about writing. I'm hoping this will get back to being a regular thing and maybe, just maybe because I'm not so good with schedules, I will have this whole theme thing going, Monday Motivation. Has a fun ring to it, don't you think? ♪Yes, I really do think.♫ Sorry, I've got this thing, where a phrase will remind me of a song, and then I start singing the phrase, then the entire song, then I find the song if I have it and play it at least five times. Drives my boys crazy, and now that I know it drives them crazy, naturally I do it even more, mwahahahaha! I know, I'm an evil mum, say no more. (Scrambling to figure out why I don't have Alanis Morissette in my iTunes list... grrrr)

I digress (hmmm, not me). Today's Monday Motivation is Goals & Pipe Dreams. I know, you're surprised aren't you? That title is very misleading. A few days ago I was reading this blog (which is not at all about goals but kinda fits and is very helpful, really) and it occurred to me that I'd always thought I had lots of goals, and while I know you're "supposed" to put them in writing and create "SMART" and "KISS" goals, I always figured, well they're in my head, I know what my goals are. I think about them enough. In fact, I think about them so much we're intimate friends. But what I've come to realise (and probably already knew but tried to ignore) is the ideas in my head, those are pipe dreams, and until I get those goals out in the open, in black in white and in my face so to speak, they will remain as pipe dreams. Pipe dreams are great, we need them, they keep us creative and give us hope but some of these things I really want to see come to fruition. So it's time to start not just thinking about my goals, but putting those little suckers down in writing.

I'm going to start small based on my priorities and creating the list using the Six Most Important Things idea (I'll blog about this later). So, yada yada, so on & so forth, here is what I want to accomplish this week:

  1. Family: Play with my boys in some manner at least 90 minutes every day. Not electronic play or watching movies, but real play; lego, drawing, watching them do one of their plays, geocaching. And it doesn't have to be all at once but I do want to spend at least 90 minutes with them.
  2. Health: Walk at least 4 miles outside & continue healthy eating plan. Break up the walking over the week of course and it doesn't have to be power walking or even brisk walking but something that at least gets my heart rate up a bit. Lots of healthy fluid (this does NOT have to be only water but should avoid soda pop and coffee), veggies, fruit, protein and some whole grains. If I indulge in a small treat, don't beat myself up but don't let it sidetrack.
  3. Home: Plan and start 31 Bags in 31 days challenge (or something to that effect). Include the boys and find larger items to sell online.
  4. Finance: Submit 2010 tax return, complete budget. (Actually got my tax return submitted yesterday *big grin* lol).
  5. Business: Finalise post processing of photos & deliver. Including updating flicker, 500px, blogger & perhaps looking at business cards & website.
  6. Goals: Find an accountability partner, or team. Would you like to join me?? We don't have to have the same goals, but provide encouragement and support. Come to the dark side, we have cookies ;-).
 Tag, you're it!

~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Simple Pleasures

    Once upon a time there was a young woman. She had two small boys, lived in a small, rented condo and had very little to call her own besides that. But this young woman found pleasure in the simplest things, the smell after a rain fall, watching her boys grow and learn, a good workout, a good mark on a college paper, and her quiet time at the end of the day. This was the time when the boys were tucked in for the night, she would turn on her favourite music, often James Taylor, lay on the rug on the floor and just relax to the sound of the music.

    The years accumulated, the young woman started moving towards middle age, she had two more boys. Then her illness started to really take its toll on her body, life became terribly complicated, she lost a marriage, her first two boys grew up and her body was so very very tired and in pain and she forgot the little pleasures in life. Physically, mentally, spiritually and financially broken she questioned why her life had come to this chapter.

    One spring, as she leaned back in her chair, feet up, listening again to Mr. Taylor, she realised that the memories of enjoying the simple things in life were returning. Despite all the trials and tribulations, she was indeed very blessed in her life, a sound roof over their head where she can watch her younger two boys grow and learn, listen to the gentle rain, and able to enjoy the sounds of the country life mingled with the music that makes her heart smile.

    Today, may you remember the simple pleasures and the abundant blessings of life and always remember, you've got a friend.

    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Babysteps, Patience and Goals, oh my.....

    I've been having a conversation with a lovely lady I met via an FM/ME CFS group on facebook, you can find Cynthia's very creative blog, "Creative ARTitudes", here. On Cynthia's facebook fan page she was asking her readers about methods for scheduling and tracking systems that they found effective and I thought it really lends itself well to what I wanted to post about today, babysteps.

    Babysteps are VERY hard for me! I don't mean, "oh it'd be nice if I could just do it and it'd be done", but it drives me absolutely crazy(er) that I can't just do it and be done! Do what you ask? Anything and everything! A good example, I want a perfect website with the perfect URL, stunning and attractive design, pages for all the passions in my life and my blog, something that will have readers signing up in droves begging for more Ducky-isms, and I want it done YESTERDAY! Everyone likes to see their passions come to fruition, but if you throw in ADD, well patience may be a virtue but it's nearly improbable for those of us with this lovely challenge in our lives. And of course add to that I have FM (fibromyalgia) and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) (and a multitude of other nonsense) making things (namely me) move even slower and thus increasing my frustrations. BUT one thing I have that none of this has taken away from me is HOPE and DREAMS and if babysteps will eventually get me to realise these, then I will continue to plug along despite my lack of patience.

    So, step one, goals. What are my goals and what can I do to reach those goals? My big picture goal, to see this blog turn into a website that is helpful and informative for those that share some or even all of my passions (oddly enough I do find that it's true, birds of a feather do flock together - I do wish the magpies would stop pooping on my deck though - literally and figuratively). Big goals are great but all too often we set them with no plan of action and with no little goals to help buoy our spirits and keep us going along the way, then we find ourselves stuck, giving up and feeling like a failure. So my first babystep goals are, amalgamate all my blogs together in one place, publish a new article at least 3-4x a week, publish photos in at least 2 of those articles. Sounds simple enough :).

    I would love to hear from my readers, what works for you to keep you on schedule and to keep track of all your ideas? What helps you reach your goals?

    As always, sending my prayers and blessings,
    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Monday, May 23, 2011


    Okay, okay, I know in my last post I'd wrote this long explanation of why my blog title, "And now these words from our sponsor..." was fitting, sort of. But to be perfectly honest with you, I never quite felt like that was what I was looking for. Besides, isn't it a woman's prerogative to change her mind? ;)

    A few days ago a friend posted a link to his blog. I bemusedly read his recent entry and then I had one of those light bulb moments. Or more commonly known these days as a "headdesk", whereupon the individual bangs their head repeatedly on the desk all the while repeating the mantra, "DUH!!!!" The posting itself, although very interesting, had absolutely nothing to do with this epiphany, but rather his blog title, DanOCan.com

    In the world of forums and geocaching and other such interesting geek activities that I enjoy taking part in, I am known as Just Ducky, or Ducky for short. Only online mind you, not that I'd not mind being called Ducky as a nickname, after all it is my fondness for all things "duck" that brought about the moniker to begin with. Anyway, I digress, Dan, is known as DanOCan and I began thinking about that. I really quite like Just Ducky, it's not uncommon, but still clever enough and I think it suits me. So, after consideration, and some quick research, my new, and hopefully permanent, blog title was born.

    I would like to formally welcome you to my blog,

    "Well isn't that Just Ducky !!"

    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    And now, these words from our sponsor...

    I've been struggling with the title for my blog for months now. Since I hope, perhaps, maybe one day, my readership will grow by leaps and bounds, even astonishing me (a girl can dream), then I figure I should have a catchy title that is memorable and meaningful to what I write about. Not that simple since I don't really have a niche, I just throw stuff out there with regards to what's going on around me at the moment. Life, as it would turn out, is my niche!

    Quite frankly, I felt my original title was actually condescending to my children and since they are so important to me, it didn't make sense to continue with that one. The current title was just stuffed in as a "place holder" until I could come up with something better. It's been there awhile now so I surveyed a couple of friends about it, they said it was catchy as is. Great! But what does it mean to me? That all my blog posts will all be trying to sell something?? I don't think so! That's not my style at all.

    I continued to ponder my blog title and as I increase my activity in publishing more posts it grew in my mind that I really need to determine if it is suitable as is or do I find something else. As Winne the Pooh would say, "Think, think, think". Who is my sponsor? I don't have one. Hmmmm. And then it dawned on me, my sponsor is God. Granted, I don't feel that all of my posts are lead by the Lord, but definitely a good percentage of what I say comes from what I feel are lessons He is trying to teach me, or at the very least, inspired by seeds He plants in my mind. The rest is just my humble opinion that anyone is welcome to take or leave ;). Can you think of a better sponsor? I sure can't, and while I won't claim to be speaking on His behalf, I am feeling lead to share these lessons so, perhaps, the title can stay as is. What do you think?

    Completely off topic, can anyone explain to me why cheese, although lovely as is, tastes so much better when melted?!?

    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Having a Martha House the Mary Way

    I think I'm breaking records today! Two posts in one day and four posts published in less than two weeks :). But I'm nothing if not kind and although most of my readers (all 5 of you, or so ;) ) are likely already aware of what book I was referring to in my previous post, I thought it may be cruel to make anyone wait until tomorrow. Besides, I'm ready to get this show on the road !

    Without further ado, the eBook that I'm reading and working from, "31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way", by Sarah Mae, blogger and author.

    What I've come up with thus far, having completed Day 1 and started Day 2, is a very basic principle which I knew but was having trouble applying: Work from the inside out. The reason, the true reason, FlyLady hasn't been working for me is because I've been trying to fix what is external in hopes of repairing the internal. Not sure about you, but that doesn't really work too well. What we feel tends to lend itself to how we behave, in other words, our lives and homes reflect what is inside our hearts. If we are confused, lost and broken in our hearts, no matter how hard we try to hide it from others, it invariably comes out in our actions and how we approach the world around us.

    When this finally hit home for me I realised that I cannot fix what is outside: my family, my home, my body, my health, if I am broken on the inside. Any attempt to fix what is external will be undermined by what resides in my heart. Please feel free to join me, with God as our pilot, to put our hearts and our homes in order.

    In Day 1 Sarah asks us the question, "Why Clean?" So I completed the page she obligingly included to help determine this and I came up with not just a Mission Statement, as she suggests, but also a purpose and vision. I'm sure it will be revised over time, but it's definitely a start in the right direction.

    Purpose: To provide, for my boys and I, a home of abundant love & joy, where God's grace flourishes.

    Vision: To create a home and family life where we find peace and strength, where we lift each other up with words of encouragement.

    Mission Statement: To have a home where each of us can feel safe, an oasis from the harsh world, a place where we can be our creative selves. A home where we learn & grow, where mistakes are met with understanding, graciousness and hope, without judgement.

    I had more to say, but truthfully I can't recall it right now, so I'll just leave it at that. Here I am at the beginning of yet another chapter and prayerfully hope that I can follow through and find peace of mind and of heart. Please, feel free to share where you're at in your journey. What does it mean to you to have a peaceful heart?

    Until next time, May the Lord bless you and keep you! *HUGS*

    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Life is NOT a Dress Rehearsal!

    Cue sound effect: *tires squealing* I slam on the brakes and pull a full 180° U-Turn. I've been going about this all wrong!! What exactly do I mean by, "this" you ask? To put it bluntly, pulling my head out of the sand and getting my life together! This is not a dress rehearsal Shannon, this is the real thing!

    Over and over, God has revealed to me that He does have a plan for me. I see it, I point out the reveal, then I continue my merry way trying to do things by MY rules. Here's a big surprise, it's NOT working ! Yesterday I hit a pretty big low, I spent most of my day either on the verge of, suppressing or just full out tears. I was teetering on the edge of a severe breakdown, so I did what any girl would do, I called my mom and sobbed, "I need my mommy". And I do, it's no lie, I need her love, her support and her respect. But what I didn't initially hear in my despair was I also need my daddy. My Abba Father. I know I love Him, that I don't doubt, but I've not been very good about calling Him and letting Him know that. (Hmmm sounds like a familiar complaint I have). But of course, like all parents, He was waiting for my call. Cue God's timing and a simple post by a friend on facebook. "Check out this eBook, it's on sale, today & tomorrow only". One review on the book's web site and I was sold, because it spoke volumes to me.

    “Sarah, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful resource! God bless Flylady – she’s a tough cookie – but I just cannot keep up with her, and I cannot find motivation in her methods. This book, however, with the Mary and Martha approach, gives me not only motivation to clean my home, but also to haul out my Bible and spend time in the Word, searching out scripture to go with the daily devotional… My mother and I are doing this book together. She lives 8 hours away from me, and we’ve found this to be something to do together. We can challenge and encourage each other in this area, and your book is a wonderful guide for us.
    Thank you, once again, for your obedience in writing this book! God bless you!” -Val, Amazon Review
    I love the FlyLady, don't get me wrong, I think she rocks it out for teaching and encouraging women of all ages and situations, but after I don't know how many years now, 6? 7? I'm not sure, I've yet to get airborne for more than a few days. I flap, I flutter.... and I flop, every, single, time. I've read her book, I've started at page one, "shine your sink" so many times, I've lost count. I wake up to a shiny kitchen, and then I lose motivation. And I blame myself, "this works for everyone else??", "I must be doing something wrong", or the humdinger, "It's my fault, I'm a failure, I just CAN'T". The tapes in my head play over and over. "I wrecked my marriage", "I'm fat", "I'm lazy","I'm broken, my health issues prevent me from doing what I can/want". You get the idea I'm sure. Good grief, I've been taught extensively how bad those tapes are but still they play on like a broken record, over and over again.

    So, I paid a whopping $2.48 CDN, downloaded the book and I figured out how to read pdf files on my iPhone. I went to bed and started to read my new eBook. I read and read until my body demanded sleep, and then I got up this morning, and I read some more. And then I completed Day 1 and moved to Day 2. And I read some inspirational stories and methods and I figured it out, the reason FlyLady isn't working...

    There are plenty of bloggers out there that have jumped on the bandwagon of this particular book. Since I'm not much of one for joining someone else's bandwagon, with God as my pilot, I will co-pilot another wagon right here. Feel free to join me or just follow along. With prayer, hope, grace and loving support of friends & family, I can complete something I start.

    I'm hoping by now that I've captured your curiousity and you're sitting there thinking, "What book????"  Well, to keep my posts not too longish, I'll share that info with you in my next post ;).... Join me in my journey as I seek to renew my heart, my heart for Jesus, my heart for self, and my heart for my family.

    Wishing you a glorious day, filled with grace and joy!

    ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    True North, Strong and Free!

    As most of my friends could easily tell you I’m not a political person, I don’t follow or even comprehend politics. This is a choice, I research an eclectic array of topics, but I have little interest in politics, it is most definitely not within my realm of knowledge. Besides, it seems to me politics has become more about how to get the other “guy” to look bad instead of trying to make our nation a better place, more about gossip than governing. Because of this lack of political curiosity, this blog posting is an extremely rare public statement for me, if you don’t agree, please don’t roast me ;). Do, however, feel free to share your opinion/feelings, I love to hear what others think, even if we don't agree.

    On May 2nd, 2011 Canadians made their voices heard. Perhaps in my political naiveté I believe it’s less about which party so much as a unified nation coming together to say, “we are tired of the crap, let’s quit the quibbling and start leading”. A majority government brings us closer to a united people than we’ve been for a long time, even Quebec stood up and seemed to say, “enough separatism, let’s work together, let’s be a country”. Some people are complaining but seriously, did you really think the NDP would win? Or the Liberals? If they did, where would we be? Back in another minority government with continued backstabbing pugnacious nonsense, not to mention another general election in 2 years… or less. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the rubbish in-house fighting, “united we stand, divided we fall”.

    Canadians have spoken, we want change, we want action, we want to see our government take care of our country and heed our needs! I just hope Prime Minister Harper understands, this is not a win for the Tories, this is a victory for the people of Canada, this is about a strong country standing together as a nation and saying, “we will not go quietly into the night”. Mr. Harper has four years to prove to Canadians that we didn’t make a mistake, so he better get to work!

    I’m not a Tory or a Liberal, nor even a Democrat… I’m green, but I’m not Green, I’m Canadian, and I’m damn proud of it! I want to prove to the world that we truly are, “The True North, strong and free!”.
           ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ* 

    ♫♪ God keep our land, glorious and free ♪♫

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Day 3!

    Holy Dinah! Has it really been this long since I posted?? Goodness gracious and even a good golly! To be honest with you though, I didn't really feel I had anything interesting to say and I've been feeling the pressure of not writing in another blog that I've made a commitment to. Anyway, whichever, it's not the end of the world, the long cold winter is finally relenting to something resembling spring, I'm ready to shake off the cobwebs and do something productive, anything.

    I've talked in the past about the right way to eat and take care of our health, or rather my take on the right way, but I'm afraid I've been great at dishing out the advice, but when it's time to take it myself I smother it with chocolate sauce and whip cream. Technically the advice was for myself, but more often than not I'm just not so great on the follow through. But there comes a point where we hit the proverbial wall. I've hit the fat wall, I'm tired of being fat and tired of being tired and I'm ready to do something about it.

    On Tuesday, I walked two miles and on Wednesday I walked two more miles and I did it three minutes faster than the first day. Good start even if I still ate some junk food, it's still four miles of exercise I did that I didn't do the day before, or the week before, or even the month before. Then last night I had this epiphany! I realised something, that nearly every other time I lost weight, I didn't give up a darn thing at first, I just moved more. I started by exercising, as I exercised my metabolism increased, as my metabolism increased I lost weight, as I lost weight my cravings switched from junk food to healthy food and guess what?? You got it, I lost more weight! I've always kind of marched to the beat of my own drummer, it just never occurred to me that the way I lose weight and improve my health could be bass ackwards too ;).

    I hope all that clarifies why this is Day 3, and not Day 1. I won't be blogging every day, no need to bore everyone to tears, but I will blog a couple times a week. Today is rest day and I took that a little too literal, having been ridiculously unproductive but here it goes. I'll outline my plan in the next blog posting and if you're interested I'd love to have you join me, the more the merrier and the more people I'm accountable to, including myself and family, the more likely I am to "get 'er done".

    How have you been procrastinating getting on the health bandwagon? Do you know what's holding you back? Please feel free to share! I'd love to hear your stories :).

    Until next time, I bid you adieu and God bless!

         ~ Shannon *Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ*