#tryalittletenderness

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February 01, 2018

I’ve made it through an entire month of blog posts. Well, almost. Sadly, I did miss a few days, but a valiant attempt none-the-less.

I’ll try to do better this month, although I’m away on holidays for ten days, with questionable service. I may have to post several at a time.

Today. Well, today I’m going to make this post do double duty.

First, I am going to eat a tremendous amount of crow. And if I can survive a mouthful of feathers, I will tell you about another amazing woman. Sara Ohlin.

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way. Yesterday I told you that it was because of my friend, Michelle Riddell that I got to know the lovely Lisa Lesaw. Today I realized my mistake. It was actually Sara, another writer I’ve come to know from our mutual association with MOTHERS ALWAYS WRITE, (MAW) who introduced us.

I’m so sorry, Sara. Please forgive my error.

Which brings me to the second part of this post. I’d love to tell you about Sara. I brilliant writer of words, amazing cook, photographer, and phenomenal mother to two adorable children. Recently she left the west coast to move to Maine. Which is a sad thing for me, because me might actually have had the chance to meet in person if she hadn’t’

I’m not giving up hope, though. I’m dreaming of a MAW writing retreat, where all these amazing women will gather to share our common love for our families, our writing, and that wonderful organization that brought us all together.

How amazing would that be?

You can find Sara’s writing, recipes, and photographs at her lovely blog: Lemons and Roses.

Lemons & Roses

Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Sara, I’m so grateful to have met you, virtually at least. And we really must work on that retreat.

 

 

 

#tryalittletenderness

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January 31, 2018

I’m a very lucky person. Somehow I’ve managed to find a collection of incredibly strong, compassionate, brilliant, and positive people to add to my life. Most through the connections I’ve made because of my writing.

Social media has allowed these connections to grow and flourish, expanding my world at the same time that it as made it smaller.

These individuals are from all over North America, and indeed, all over the world. The friendships that have formed would never have been possible twenty years ago.

Today I want to tell you about a woman who is such positive force, a vibrant, caring, encouraging woman who I came to know kind of by accident.

The very first narrative non-fiction piece I had published was in a wonderful online literary magazine called MOTHER’S ALWAYS WRITE. I’ve submitted several pieces to them over the past few years (and I need to get my butt in gear and submit more) and through this process, I became friends with the amazing woman who is responsible for this #tryalittletenderness endeavour, Michelle Riddell.

And through Michelle, I made the acquaintance of another amazing woman, Lisa Leshaw. I had a story published in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL’S The Dog Really Did That, and Lisa had a story published in this same edition.

Michelle was friends with Lisa, both contribute to another great site called, HER VIEW FROM HOME. Lisa commented that she loved my story, and I told her that hers made me cry.

Since that day, I’ve had the privilege to listen to her inspirational videos and read her beautiful words, if not daily, then usually weekly.

When I need a pick me up after being bombarded with rejections, or just hit by the unpleasantries of life, I scroll through my feed to find one of Lisa’s uplifting “pep talks.” It doesn’t take long for the blues to fade away.

So, thank you Lisa, I am so grateful for your unending enthusiasm and positivity.

I hope you are all as lucky as me, and are able to surround yourselves with love, beauty, and positive energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#tryalittletenderness

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January 30, 2018

I must apologize for being behind on my posts. I’d hoped to post something everyday. But, as much as that might be a bad thing, it’s also an awesome one. Because it means something else has been demanding my attention.

After putting my second manuscript aside while I worked on several new projects, it has decided to call to me again.

And this is so dang exciting.

I pulled my story from submission this fall, knowing that it required major revisions.  But for so long, I just couldn’t bring myself to tackle these. I wasn’t sure how to  approach these required changes, so I pushed it to the back burner.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany, and I now know just what I need to do.

I’ve been so obsessed with getting these changes down on the page, my other projects have fallen by the wayside.

I signed up for the New York City Short Story contest, which began this Friday, and ends on Saturday. I had 8 days to come up with a 2500 word short story that features my assigned prompts: a fairytale, a coal miner, and a pay cut.

I haven’t written a word.

Instead of focusing my attention on this new project, I’ve been working on my YA story.

And you know what? I’m so blinking grateful.  How amazing to feel my muse at work again, inspiring me to fix this story; the story of my heart, and one I’m 100 percent committed to perfecting.

And, besides, I’ve still got four days left until that short story is due.

Lots of time, right?

 

#tryalittletenderness

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January 27, 2018

This is a little long, but in this world filled with doom and gloom, I figured it’s nice to read about something positive for a a change.

I’d like to give a shout to the most impressive staff at what is now my new favourite store, SIMONS.

The company has it’s origins in a dry goods store opened by Mr. John Simons, in 1840, in Old Quebec. The store imported products from England and Scotland. The business was a success because of the wide variety of products they offered their clientele, and their tireless dedication to outstanding customer service.

It’s nice to see things haven’t changed.

The store provides its customers with a variety of unique items not typically available in other stores. All of excellent quality, although prices are not cheap. After all, you get what you pay for, but their sales are fantastic.

After years of conservative blues, greys and whites, I few years back I decided to expand my husband’s wardrobe by giving him a interesting shirt for Christmas. He wasn’t particularly keen on that shirt, a burgundy button up with small white polka dots, but after a few compliments at work, he decided it wasn’t so bad after all.

This year his Christmas wish list included another interesting shirt. (I win.)

Because I knew Simons had great selection of shirts that branched outside the conservative realm, I convinced a few friends to go on a field trip with me.

I found the perfect shirt, but was somewhat confused by the sizing. My husband had requested a medium with a 15.5 inch neck. The only size I could find on the shirt was the neck size. A sales associate assure me that was all I needed. So I bought it.

Long story short, the neck fit, the rest of the shirt did not. But unfortunately, because I’d never before run amiss in the size of something I’d purchased for Tim, I didn’t keep the receipt

My friends told me not to worry, because I had a Simon’s loyalty card, they could just look up my number and find the receipt.

Today we headed back to Park Royal, to return the shirt, and hopefully find a bigger size.

Problem. They could not locate the purchase on the card. “Did you use your card?” they asked. “No, I gave them my phone number,” (an acceptable alternative.)

“Sorry, I can’t find it.”

My friend who was with me at the time, said, “I know you gave them your number.”

“Well, it’s not here,” the clerk stated. “And this shirt is now on sale for $9.99. (I paid over $50.00 for it.)

Disappointed, I told them I would just keep the shirt and give it to someone slimmer than my husband. (Or put him on a diet, lol.) I assumed this would be the end of their efforts.

Instead, this young woman said, “Just a sec, I’ll go get my manager.” Another young woman appeared, (a high schooler, I swear!) and said, “Give me a moment.” Then she asked, “Do you remember what day you were here?” I didn’t, but said perhaps my friend here did.

My friend didn’t remember, but the manager asked her, “Did you buy anything that day?” And when my friend said, yes, she looked up her card and found the date. Then she went back to the computer, and searched through all the purchases in that department that were made on that date. Incredible. And she found my purchase. And she refunded ALL of my money.

This process took over twenty minutes, of both the clerk’s time, and the manager’s. And they both smiled the entire time.

Now that, my friend, is what customer service is all about.

If you’re lucky enough to have a SIMON’s store in your city, do yourself a favour and go check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

I’m so grateful for this company and their over 100 years of exemplary customer service.

 

 

 

 

 

#tryalittletenderness

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January 26, 2018

Today my mom received some sad news. A good friend of hers passed away, very suddenly.

This woman was physiologically younger and more vivacious than most people my age, despite being about to turn 90. She wore skinny jeans, gorgeous boots, and funky sweaters. Her silver hair was styled in a asymmetrical bob, she had a fabulous sense of humour, and she regularly drove her SUV to Squamish from her home in North Vancouver, to babysit her grandkids.

Her death was sudden, so unexpected, but, as I told my mom, this was the way she would’ve wanted to go. Boom. No fuss, no dwindling health, no suffering, either on her part, or her family’s.

When I think of how my father slowly disappeared into his illness, becoming less and less the man he’d been on a daily basis, I can’t help but think, “Yep. This is how I want to go.” Preferably in bed, reading a good book, or at my computer, writing a good book.

So as much as I am sad for my mom, and for Vi’s family, I’m so grateful that Vi was able to make her exit in such a timely fashion. I know she’s up there, organizing everything, and planning lunches for all her friends and her husband.

Be at peace, Vi. We will miss you.