Guest Post – Pursuit of Passion

Toni’s friend from college and fellow marketing grad, Krista joins us today for her first blog post with the Sisterhood!

So I have been laid off from work for over five months now. Yeah…still hard to say it.

Your work becomes part of your identity. People meet you and they say “so, what do you do?” or “where do you work?”. For some reason having to say you have been laid off can feel like a failure. I got down on myself, spent a number of days having a Netflix binge and seeing 5 pm roll around feeling so unproductive. Another failure.

I wasn’t fully happy at my old job. I wasn’t used to my full potential and felt where I did excel, they didn’t need me. Don’t get me wrong, having a job is great. You get to talk to people, finish something, work on projects, have that team atmosphere, get paid…all that good stuff. But what I have failed to realize is how important passion is. Passion drives all of us and unfortunately I had put mine in the back seat.

Slowly, I have been trying to work at discovering what I am passionate about. Finding tasks, projects, or events (or parts of them) that really light that fire inside of me. Get that inspiration going that makes you feel on top of the world. So I started keeping tabs on what makes me feel that way:

I know I love helping and doing random acts of kindness

To me I find helping people so selfish. I get this high from doing it that I have never experienced anywhere else. I have always been like that. Whether it be sending gifts at Christmas to families that can’t afford toys for their kids, buying coffee for strangers and having a conversation with them, always being there for my friends (any time, any place), complimenting people, holding doors, waiting for CAA to arrive to help a stranger who locked their keys. I never expect anything in return and it is shocking how many people are surprised. What I do know is that one act of kindness has a ripple effect. Not just for the other person but for myself too. I knew I needed to volunteer more to experience this more often. I am organizing the kids area at this year’s Waterloo Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk. This is a whole new world for me, but I have already met some amazing people and couldn’t be more excited to see how it all turns out. I also volunteer with Victim Services of Waterloo Region as a Crisis Responder. I offered to come into the office to help to get some extra hours in on top of the shifts I take every month. Both these organizations I am passionate about. I am a Type-1 Juvenile Diabetic and have been a victim of robbery at gunpoint. I know why both these organization exist and it gives me so much satisfaction being able to help in areas that I am really passionate about.

I know I love being creative

I have always been that person, trying new art projects, taking classes or just randomly grabbing a paint brush and hitting the canvas. I started being more creative. I got out my old jewelry making supplies and made some necklaces, I painted a few pictures, I started colouring, and taking photos. I realized that I love creating something that has no guidelines. Something purely personal that probably only I will ever see. I know I could never make a living with it but I know now that I need to keep the creativity in my life. It is something that lights that fire of passion inside me.

creative

Garden creativity at its best!

I know I love connecting with myself

I took a yoga class. Yoga is an activity that gets me back to the present. It keeps me focused on the here and now. Not what was or what could be. I realized in my funk of being laid off that I was focusing too much on the past and the future. What good is that going to do me? I guess it was something to think about while zoning out on another One Tree Hill episode. That cycle had to stop. I know that wherever life leads me that I need something to keep me grounded and focused in the present. I could spent a lot of wasted energy in the past or the future while my present becomes the past….something I can’t change.

I know I love animals

Spending so much time with our dog Wallabee has been AMAZING – do I ever love that guy! When they say petting a dog reduces stress, they were not kidding. There is something about that wet nose on your lap and that wagging tail that makes me so happy. Wallabee and I were close before but being home all day with him as made our bond so much closer. He got sick the other night and when he came back to bed he wanted to cuddle up right next to me (and not my boyfriend which I think made him mildly jealous lol). Melted my heart. I need animals in my life – it lights that fire, plain and simple. That unconditional love you receive is like nothing else.

Wallabeeeeeeeee ♥

Wallabeeeeeeeee ♥

I know I love baking

I started making pies, cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. There is something therapeutic to me about mixing things together and out come these delicious treats. That not only taste good, but you can make them look good. I get to be creative and make treats! The fact that I get so excited about it leads me to believe I have some serious passion for it. It makes me so happy to see how much people love my baking. I sent some cookies off to my boyfriend’s work and someone asked for the recipe. I was so proud and then realized that I really improvised the recipe….now to try and recall what I did…uh-oh. But I knew that feeling of passion is inside when I have the oven on and the house smells delicious.

Yeah, I did that :)

Yeah, I did this 🙂

Finding a life full of passion is more than a job. I am looking at this lay off as an opportunity to figure out what I need in my life to feel fulfilled on all levels. It is unlikely I will find a job that incorporates all of the above. What I do know is that it has to have passion. I need to keep checking in on myself and ask “what do I need?”. I need to ensure that no matter what job I end up at that I remember what is important and it is not the pay cheque. I am truly lucky to have a really supportive and loving boyfriend who wants me to get the right job, not just any job (did I mention I am passionate about him? I totally am). When I have days full of all the things I am passionate about I notice an immense difference of what comes my way. The positivity from people is almost overwhelming. I want that feeling every day of my life.

I am a 29 year old woman on the pursuit of passion and I wouldn’t have had this chance if I wasn’t laid off.

~ Krista

 If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

The adventures of Hendrix and Bacon – Part 1

Hendrix is our 8-year old Yorkie Terrier who was given to me by my future mother-in-law, and Bacon is our 5-year old English Bulldog who was a birthday present for Cody. We brought Bacon home when Hendrix was three years old and his world was turned upside down – not only was he no longer an only dog, but the little brother we brought home was not so little.

Cody and I have always thought that Hendrix had some kind vendetta against Bacon, but we had no real proof. Until one fateful day during a midday nap when I caught Hendrix in the act of sabotage!

I had come home from work (this particular day I was only scheduled to work until 12:30 p.m.), I made myself a delicious sandwich with pickles. This sandwich was quite filling. As I finished the first half my eyes got heavy. I curled up in the corner of our sectional, pulled the blankets up and settled in for an afternoon nap – the kind of nap you dream about while sitting at your desk around 3 p.m….yeah, that kind of nap. My eyes started to shut when I heard the familiar clicking of nails on the floor.

Through the slits of my eyes, I watched as Hendrix jumped up on the coffee table.

He thought I was sleeping…

He cautiously maneuvered around the spare change and my earrings that I took off before I retreated to plush oasis, and made his way towards the plate with the remains of my lunch.

I have decided at this point to watch him – I know that if Cody were to walk in, Hendrix would quickly retreat under our bed, hiding until his indiscretion had been forgotten.

Hendrix quietly grabbed the leftover sandwich and proceeded to place it on the corner of the coffee table. Then, he licked his lips and waited. Waited for his victim to come and see what he is doing. Curiosity will be the demise of Bacon.

As Bacon came around the corner, he immediately spotted the sandwich within his reach and trotted over to it. With one swift move, Bacon’s clumsy head is on the coffee table as his mouth grabs towards the delicious treat, knocking around the plate. Hendrix sat back, watching Bacon as eats it and looking over to see if I have woken up from the clanging of the plate. I did not move for fear of ruining the amazing events that were unfolding in front of me! Hendrix’s plan had been foiled! Drat!

As Bacon licked his lips in pleasure, Hendrix was already devising another plan to inevitably bring down Bacon.

Pinky and the Brain

~ Jacqui

25 before 25 – A look back

Well ladies and gentlemen readers – I turned 25 on September 21st…. and man was it fantastic! Not only did I celebrate one of my soul sister’s nuptials to one of the most amazing and kind-hearted man I know, but I also spent the day with my family – with tacos! Yes…tacos and Dr. Pepper…I love Dr. Pepper.

So 25 means that it is time to reflect on the resolutions or tasks that I gave myself before I hit the big 2-5. To be completely frank, I had forgot about the list I made – oops! So let’s go through this…

Walk more to explore than as a means of transportation was the first on the list and surprisingly I did this! Bacon, Hendrix and myself have a morning routine, which 3 out of 5 days in a week I keep!

I noted that  I should grow a gardenAHAHAHAHAH! As I am reading this, I can’t help but look at the date this was written – March – and I think that it was right after this that I signed on to a major project at work and said goodbye to any spring or summer I had. I turned in my “green thumb,” which I never had in the first place, for a laptop and overtime. That “garden” never had a chance. I didn’t even weed my garden. This year, I went with the “natural” look…or the “don’t visit this house because crazy people live here” look, you can take your pick.  Yes, I live in that house! The one where mothers shield their children and rush them along the sidewalk as they whisper to quicken their step. Seriously, it’s that bad!

Well, this one was clearly obvious that I would have to do it, and I did – I planned our wedding (note how I said ‘our,’ Ken!). Let me check off the list what we have accomplished, because I am pretty proud. We have our  *insert drum roll*:

  • caterer
  • venue
  • photographer
  • florist
  • DJ
  • invitations are being put together
  • guest list is made

Yeah, that’s right! WOOOOOO! Go me!

I wanted to cook outside of my comfort zone. I bought a new cookbook a couple of weeks ago while I was still in my 24th year (therefore it still counts), and I have made some amazing meals. Cody can attest to that – just ask him!

The next resolution was to not sweat the small stuff. I failed at this one. I am not being hard on myself, I am being truthful. There is no way that in a couple of short months I curbed my impatience. I am still trying and I did try. I am going to put this in the “win” category, though, because I am feeling spicy and because it is a daily battle for me not to bottle someone due to general stupidity which is proven by my not being arrested!

Enjoy the summer was number six and, well, in true Canadian fashion we didn’t really have a hot summer weather-wise, but it was a fantastic summer. Cody and I got away for a weekend, I spent days outside sun bathing, I went to the beach, I drank, and I ate. It was fantastic!

Number seven was to go canoeing this summer. Well, I didn’t go canoeing but I did go kayaking while away with Cody’s family  and it was absolutely fantastic! This also is a big check mark for number sixteen which stated to spend more time with Cody’s family – so once again WIN category!  I also listed To hike with my sisters.  I went hiking quite often, and early in the morning with not only my sisters but our extended sisterhood ladies and then some!

Be more involved with my nieces and nephew was number 8 and better late then never I spent the whole day with them yesterday…or more like the morning with all three monsters, the afternoon with the drool man and the evening with Princess Sophie (who is now refusing to be called a princess because she is no longer one…when did that happen?!?!?!) and then bedtime with all three terrorists again!

 

Drool monster extrodinare!

Drool monster extraordinaire!

 

Timbit monster!

Timbit monster! Definitely not a princess any more!  

 

Sassy slug sister!

Sassy slug sister!

Number ten and eleven were to sleep more and work less. I am happy to report I am still putting in lots of overtime, however I am sleeping properly.

As I read on, I realize that I copped out on this list of resolutions! Sorry guys! Number 12 was to walk the dogs more, which was kind of a repeat of number 1 where I vowed to walk more to explore Ayr.

Cody has been out of the house more, like I listed in number 13, but not in my doing. He has taken this whole “Hunter’s Life” to heart and I find myself more and more lonesome at the house. I am not complaining – I love that he is active and out and about. In fact, it gives me more time to gather myself after work so I can be 100% for him. However, now that I say that, babies are on the horizon (no I am not pregnant yet) which means this may be the last hunting season that I will get to do that.

Number fourteen and fifteen go hand in hand – to dance until the morning sun comes up and to drink more wine! Happy to report that this summer was full of wine and dancing (it’s the best form of exercise if you ask me!).

For those of you keeping track number 16, Cody and I spend more time with his family, was brought up in number 7; however, while were are on the topic of all things family, my mom is still working her ass off, so the extra amount of me and her time has not been as successful as I would have liked, as stated in number 23. This is not just her fault, I am just as guilty as well. Life gets busy, but that will hopefully change once she has that CGA In her hand. As well, my Dad has a crazy schedule of driving all over Ontario and Canada, so I have not been able to see him as much as I had liked to as per number 18. I did see him on a past weekend for my birthday lunch and it was absolutely fantastic!

Cody and I have not had the chance to expand on his family tree like I listed in number 19.

Back to going in order – have I confused you yet?

My house is still a mess, so number 20 to do more laundry and cleaning has not been taken care of as well as it should have, unless we have family coming over. This also means that number 20 to get organized has soooo not even been tackled. Seriously, my desk at home is a mess, my desk at work is a mess, my house is a mess…I need a life nanny! Anyone willing to be my life nanny for free?

I am proud to announce the birth of my best friend’s baby, which as number 21 on my list. Emma Grace was born on September 18th. She is so beautiful with a full head of hair and gorgeous eyes! Ashley and Marty are over the moon, and I am so jealous of their beautiful family! Makes me want one of my own even more!!!

My heart was instantly won over - Emma Grace <3

My heart was instantly won over – Emma Grace ❤

Number 23 was a disaster as soon as I wrote it out on this list – there was no way I could stop talking as much as I do, but I think I am still a good listener?…Sorry co-workers and desk mates!

I did not reach my fitness goal, but, in a way, I did reach it. I am more comfortable in my skin because of working out, however I am no where near my goal. I like food way too much…and TV…and being lazy…my own fault.

The final goal I set was to find a silver lining in every day. This is never ending. I will always look for the positive to avoid becoming a pessimistic person.

Well, as confusing that may have been for some of our readers I hope you followed along and are still following along. I have a feeling that 25 will be an amazing year, maybe even the best one yet!

~ Jacqui

The dogs ate my blog post

I have been trying to write this post for 2 days.

I sleepily curl up outside in my oversized adirondack chair, early morning, Sunday-sun streaming through my backyard jungle, steaming coffee and trusty iPad in hand.

Morning in my jungle

Morning in my jungle

I sit with the purpose of writing this week’s post – which is really supposed to be done on the Friday, but I have an in with the editor-in-chief (and might even have some dirt on her too), so she’s generous with allowing me my Sunday grace-period. (Thank you, Julia. You are a saint!)

iPad open, I log into WordPress and add a new post, fingers dancing along the screen, determining where to begin.

Before I can conjure up the first sentence, my gorgeous girl, Adrian, shoves her stubborn snout under my arm, whipping it into the air, nearly knocking over my untouched coffee. Her puppy-like way of saying good morning and asking for love.

Adrian <3

Adrian ❤

I give in.

We snuggle and play on the deck for over an hour until I think she should be satiated long enough to at least allow me to take a first run at my post.

Not even a minute goes by before I’m interrupted again.

Rocky, my sweet, greying, kind-souled boy, bounds onto the deck with the patient understanding that it is his turn now that his sister is done, as he flops onto his side and relaxes into his stance for expected belly rubs.

Rocky <3

Rocky ❤

Without hesitation, I give in.

Overly excited tails, eyes full of love, tongues full of unwanted baths – my sweet, sweet fur babies make me laugh, feel loved and strangely understood. If you have ever experienced the love of a dog, you know exactly what I mean.

Without a doubt

Without a doubt

After all of the puppy-loving and distracting is over, I reach for the iPad again, only to realize the time that I’ve let pass and hesitantly have to answer the demands of the day.

This week, the dogs ate my blog post – but I’m totally okay with that.

~ Toni

House guest for the week

Cody and I are (at times) proud owners of two dogs: Hendrix and Bacon.

                Hendrix Bacon 

Bacon is an 4-year-old Olde English Bulldog, and Hendrix is a 6-year-old Yorkie Terrier, who most will tell you is cat-like. Bacon runs our house – we have spoiled him from the beginning and now we have to live with the monster that we have created. He is too strong for his own good, and is a bull in a china shop.

Hendrix too behaves poorly, but because he is so small he hardly gets noticed. He is epileptic (my seizure buddy), and has the worst breath you have ever come across. They both have HORRIBLE manners, they don’t listen very well – selective teenage hearing, if you will – but we love them!

                 Hendrix and Bacon

This week in our house we have a guest. She is the same age as Bacon, and in fact she came with us to pick up Bacon when we got him. She belongs to our very good friend Brandon, who is currently travelling in the UK. Her name is Billie-Jean!

The Beautiful Billie-Jean

Billie and Bacon’s track record has not always been the best. They have been known to run away together down the main street of our town – gallivanting around, wreaking havoc on all the unsuspecting citizens!

The first day with Billie was a restless one. Neither herself or Bacon knew what to do with each other – and Hendrix just tried to stay out of the way.

Intense stare down

Things have since settled down and Bacon has realized he now has a friend his size who won’t screech uncle every time he tries to play with them.

Previously to our puppy-sitting adventure, Cody has stated he would like to get another dog – another mouth to feed, more poop to clean up after, and someone else to take care of if they got sick. I have expressed my concerns; however, he was adamant that we could handle it, saying it wouldn’t be as bad. Although this week has been anything but ordinary, it has changed his mind about that third pup joining our homestead permanently…

…at least for now.

~ Jacqui

My secret ingredient

I love to move.

Staying active is one of my absolute needs; I require it to stay healthy and most of all happy.

On top of running, hiking and working out, I LOVE to dance. I blame my love for dancing on my love of and absolute need for music…or it might be that I simply cannot sit still for too long. Either way, I must dance! (Disclaimer: I have no formal training and can not be held responsible for any permanent, or disturbing  images that may be burned into your brain after witnessing said dancing.)

You will find me dancing in the morning while I get ready for my day. You will find me dancing with my nieces and nephew to any silly song that is playing. You will find me dancing in the shower…wait…scratch that – most of you will NOT find me in the shower. You will find me dancing in my truck as I drive (and no, I do not give a rat’s ass what the people who stare think – yeah, I see you!). You will find me on the dance floor at weddings until my feet hurt enough to kick off whatever ridiculous pair of heels I have chosen to wear and then continue to dance barefoot. You will find me dancing with my girls at the club on girls’ night, or even in living rooms and bedrooms as we party prep. You will find me happy dancing whenever there is good news to share. You will even find me (embarrassingly) seat dancing at a restaurant.

But my most favourite place to dance? The kitchen.

Kitchen dancing – or as my wonderful fiance has coined it, ‘T’s Making Dinner Dance Parties’ – take place in our home on a regular basis. Said fiance has often lamented that he does not understand why I always choose music over television (unless of course there is a hockey game on – then the dancing is put on the back burner…until the Habs score and the happy dancing commences…see the trend here?) as he is the master of the TV and it can usually be found on whether he is watching it or not.

Often, Michael will come home to me prepping whatever meal with music playing as I fly around the kitchen, showing off my killer dance moves to Rocky and Adrian (my two very ‘small puppies’) and often getting them to join in.

Adrian and I

Adrian and I

Rocky and I

Rocky and I

Truth be told, I absolutely believe the food tastes better if prepared while dancing, the dishes washed are somehow cleaner if I’ve busted a move (not a hip), and the house is happier with my rhythm filling the rooms.

Only outdone by a good run, dancing helps to clear my head, shift my mood, pick me up or add to an already incredible day.

I’m always looking for music that moves me, often getting lost in the worlds of SoundCloud, YouTube, 8tracks, and Hype Machine for hours. Don’t tell Michael, but if the night’s dinner is taking a little longer than usual, it’s because I have found a new artist that I can’t get enough of and pull a full on crawl for anything they have released or collaborated on.

While our fancy speaker setup (so technical) in the living room allows me to make sure our wall-sharing-neighbours LOVE us, my handsome came home from work last week with a small token of love and a sign that he fully supports my requirement to turn our kitchen into my personal dance floor – a set of little speakers for the iPad.

My adorable, yet very efficient 'kitchen speakers'

My adorable, yet very efficient ‘kitchen speakers’

While I suspect this gesture carries some underlying self-serving motive (read: I will no longer monopolize the above mentioned fancy speaker set up and main television/he’ll be able to concentrate on the chosen Xbox 360 game of the evening.), it was nonetheless sweet and of course made me break out in a saucy little dance to thank him.

My favourite kitchen dancing moments are when Michael gives into my silly ways and joins me, making simple, everyday activities into sweet, sweet memories.

Tonight when you get home from the sometimes monotonous tasks of the day, instead of settling down in front of the TV, I challenge you to throw on your favourite makes-you-move-mood-music and dance.

~ Toni