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!

Introducing…

In our house, we are allergic to everything.

Let me rephrase.

We are allergic to everything with fur and feathers. Cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, cows, horses, chickens, ducks, mice – allergic. Sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, disgusting, unhappy, uncomfortable – allergic.

I am the most allergic between Ben and I, but even he gets a little runny and sneezy around dogs and cats.

Ben has a house rule: if someone (directed mostly at me) brings home something that we (again, mostly me) are allergic to, he will cook it for dinner.

And he’s really adamant and meticulous about keeping things that we (me) are allergic to away from us (me). I’ve only once been able to fool him into letting me have what should have been a never-in-a-million-years activity with a horse – we were on our honeymoon in Quebec City and they offer horse-drawn carriage rides around the Plains of Abraham. I told Ben that because we were outside and we were moving (i.e. there was a breeze), I would be more than fine. About five minutes into our tour, the lovely French tour guide said, “Madame, I’m afraid you might be allergic to my horse.” I nodded, while blowing my nose and wiping my eyes, and I said, “Maybe.” Ben was furious.

Ever since then his vigilance in keeping us (ME) away from all things allergen-filled has never wavered.

Now, you might have noticed that pets are quite popular among the Sisterhood. Toni has two sweet, giant dogs; Jacqui has two adorable breakfast-food/miniature dogs; and Andreah is cat-sitting. So, what the hey happened with me?

Short end of the genetic stick, I tell ya.

So, when events are held at either Jacqueline’s or Toni’s houses, allergy medication is taken, wooziness sets in, and all clothes, blankets, toys, etc. are washed when we get home. It’s just the way it is.

Through our pre-baby years of marriage, we were offered the chance to dog-sit a soft-coated wheaten terrier, a dog that is supposed to be hypoallergenic. We pocketed the offer and decided that after we had babies we’d consider it. We would hate to get a dog just to have to break-up and give away the dog because of allergies. That would be heartbreaking and a lot of trouble that could be avoided if we were just patient.

And then along came Sophie. Sophie who had an allergic reaction to the boxed rice cereal you’re TOLD to feed your babies as their first food. Sophie whose hands and wrists swelled up to more than double their size because we failed to wash a hand-me-down coat before letting her wear it. Sophie who gets licked by a dog and immediately gets welts on her skin. Sophie who can only have clothes washed in a specific kind of laundry soap or all hell will break loose. Sophie who gets itchy when she has too much dairy. Sophie, the queen of all things allergies.

Sophie clinched it – we would never, ever own a pet. Ever.

Or at least a pet that had fur. Or feathers.

But then…Sophie started asking for one. Asking why we couldn’t have a cat, dog, bunny, cow, horse, etc.? And when we explained that any and all of those things would make us sick, she would get heartbroken, which of course makes us (ME) a little heartbroken.

So, Ben and I had THE talk. The should we get a pet, talk. The our options are limited in what we can bring home, but should we bring something home, talk. And we thought about responsibility. And we discussed death. And we thought about cost. And we worked on timing. And we decided.

Yes. Yes we would get a pet.

A fish.

We didn’t tell the girls where we were going and on Friday morning, a school holiday, we drove to the pet store and made the magic happen.

We knew we wanted a fairly hearty fish who would survive living in our zaniness with 3 under 6 being their owners. So we settled on a Betta or a Siamese fighting fish. The downfall with these? They have to live alone, otherwise they’ll fight the other fish, so we were only getting one fish, which means the girls would have to decide on ONE fish, not one each.

After narrowing it down, both girls picked their favourites – Sophie a beautiful red, purple and blue one, and Lillian a lovely multi-hued blue fish. We brought in some big guns for the tie-breaker- Isaac. We held both jars with the fish in them over the stroller and Ben asked him to pick one. Within seconds we had our fish (for the record, that will be burned and will self-destruct (I hope), Isaac picked Lillian’s fish).

Oh, hello!

Oh, hello!

We bought a bowl, a net, some food, some water conditioner, the girls each picked rocks for the bottom, and Isaac “picked” a plastic plant. We were all set.

Once we got home, with the fish (and everyone else) in one piece, we set about getting our fish’s new home ready. Both girls opened their packages of rocks so we could rinse them off.

Bowl rocks are serious business

Bowl rocks are serious business

Next up, some lessons in sharing the sink.

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

And some lessons in not throwing rocks in glass house-bowls.

GENTLY.

GENTLY.

Isaac was super helpful during this process.

Isaac taking care of other business.

Isaac taking care of other business.

We double-triple-quadruple checked the water temperature and set up our fish’s new house, complete with landscaping.

Move-in ready

Move-in ready

Some prayers, held breaths, and finger crossing, and voila! Our fish was swimming around in his new home.

Reviewing the rules: no touching the bowl or the water or the fish. No holding the fish or petting the fish or moving the bowl. Look with your EYES.

Reviewing the rules: no touching the bowl or the water or the fish. No holding the fish or petting the fish or moving the bowl. Look with your EYES.

Now for a name.

We needed a democratic process because 4 out of 5 of us are very opinionated. Or at the very least able to articulate our opinions. (Sorry, Isaac.) So, over lunch, which the girls loved because we called it a lunch meeting ( so formal and fancy!), we each offered suggestions for our pet’s name.

Not sure if they're all winners...

Not sure if they’re all winners…

After careful deliberation, we narrowed it down to four selections: Blue, Optimus Prime, Superman, and Finn. How to choose?

We decided that as Isaac chose our fish, so he should choose the name. Ben came up with a simple process – give Isaac four blocks, each one representing a name. Whichever one he picks, that’s what the fish’s name will be.

Ben set up the test…

Decisions, decisions

Decisions, decisions

…and Isaac picked.

He grabbed two!  Always the rebel.

He grabbed two! Always the rebel.

And so, it is with great excitement, that we introduce the newest member of our family: Blue Finn.

I think it suits him.

I think it suits him.

It’s been three days and so far we haven’t killed him.

I think we’re off to a great start.

~ Julia

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