Tag Archives: change your life

Dramatic Changes!


These pictures were taken on a  hike in October 2015.  The sky is blue, the scenery is beautiful and I am in China – Miyun to be exact, just north east of Beijing.

After years of “talking about it” and lots of time spent loving my two grand-daughters, I left my home of 28 years and my homeland of 56 years and came to China to teach English.    I know many people didn’t believe I would ever leave my family behind, especially as grand baby #3 was due to arrive in October, but the end of August saw me bidding farewell to my daughter, son-in-law and three precious little people, knowing it would be a long time before I could hug the newest little fellow.

Although I had planned to combine my three blogs into this one blog, that hasn’t materialized.  My health journey, which has drastically changed since leaving Canada, will be recorded at One Year, One Week, One Pound .

Here I will try to share with you some of the things I am learning about money and money management as I live outside of our country.  I haven’t thought much about taxes, but I’m sure some will have to be paid.  There are also other considerations that I hadn’t thought of, but may be helpful to others considering the “ex-pat” scene for a season of life.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful 2016, God’s richest blessing, and joy on the journey!




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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., Uncategorized

Life Changing!

I haven’t blogged in quite a while and I am surprised that people still visit this space that seems to change as I change.  And right now I am in the midst of a very big change.  Not sure how it’s going to work with my life goals at the moment – I’m eating crazy, I’ve resigned from both my jobs (with a bit of a life-line to both of them, but still…) and some moments I think I’m going crazy.

drowning in life This image floated across my FB feed this morning and I so needed to be reminded of this truth.  I’ve used the analogy with a few of my friends – that I am getting ready to climb out of the boat.  Yes, I still have the potential to come back to the jobs I am leaving behind, but I am also applying for jobs in countries that I have no experience with – places like Turkey, China, Korea and just lately Saskatoon.

I’ve decided that since this is a journey that other 50 something women might consider embarking on and maybe some who are younger and not women, I would chronicle the experience instead of just sitting on it and internalizing it.  Life is meant to be shared and this is one way of doing it.  Of course, I may be going about this all the wrong way – but I don’t have a road to follow in this.  If I make a wrong step, I can share it and  help someone else from making the same misstep on their adventures!

Have a great day!



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Babette’s Feast – Finally

I’ve made three Babette blankets of various sizes – and I’m working on the final panel of a fourth – but last night I was finally able to watch the movie.  I remember it being recommended to me many years ago – possibly more than 10 years ago even – but getting the movie from the library and actually having time to watch it?  That combination has been long in coming.  And of course it goes off the radar for a while and then comes back on.

However, I have at last been able to sit and enjoy the movie – while at the same time enjoying my own feast of sorts – sushi, red globe grapes and chocolate mint ice cream.  Quite delicious, but certainly not what the villagers enjoyed!
So, was it worth the wait?  Were there lessons to be learned from this movie?  I certainly think so!

babette 2

First of all, good things – really good things – take work, time, resources (in this case a lot of money) and patient practice.  Babette was an amazing cook who worked from the view that cooking was not just something to do, but something to do well.  She saw it as ART, not housework.  Yesterday my daughter made an omelette and she added a sprig of kale and a mushroom to the middle to make it look nice for the picture.  That’s the extra  mile that makes the mundane beautiful.  That is all over not just this meal, but every meal that Babette cooks.



Secondly –  you may have to go away to find the ingredients that make up the ART that is your life.  I’m reminded of the woman in Proverbs 31 who scours the market place.  My Pinterest board is evidence of my scouring and searching for things of beauty that may possibly add joy to my life!

babette 1

And because a good essay or sermon always has three points, I need to make one too.  While Babette was busy in the kitchen, paying attention to all these details, making everything “just right”  her guests had no clue as to what they were being offered.  Thank goodness the General came to help them discover the truth.

The people of that village had chosen to close their minds and to deny the sensation of taste that was offered them.  They deliberately turned the conversation towards the mundane, rather than fully enjoy the good things that Babette had prepared.  This is, I think, the point of the story.  I can choose, deliberately and completely, to ignore the abundance of good things that God in His grace has provided for me.  By pre-judging, I deny myself the possibility of a good friend, a new turn of thought and an opportunity to grow and learn.  I deny myself a fuller, broader, more experienced life.



All of my Babette blankets have been made with “stash” yarn – the stuff I have on hand.  I wonder, what it would be like if I deliberately sought out the colours that make my heart sing and one day, made a blanket that is truly a “Babette” feast for the eyes and the body.

Please take this post as an encouragement to enjoy this film.


(Still learning to fully live!)


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Filed under Becoming Wiser, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

Happy Birthday #54!

Birthday Greeting 1910http://treasures-n-textures.blogspot.ca/2010/04/vintage-birthday-wishes.html

This is the site where I found this lovely card and it quite suits the mood I’m in at the moment.  It’s been a lovely day for the most part, although I did a  lot more walking than I had intended.  But that’s a story for another day.  Thankfully, it was a sunny day, and I had time to do some thinking.

I turned 54 today.  I had to think about that a bit – I guess part of the aging process is that you forget how old you are!  I just seem to forget that I’m getting older.  The days go by, most of them fairly similar in tone.  Work gets done, bills get paid, a few books get read, something gets knitted on…. and so it goes, all in all a fairly mundane kind of life!  With a cruise thrown in for the fun of it – and I guess lychee martinis aren’t that mundane either!  Delicious though, one at a time.

As I was walking, I reflected a bit on the progress I was making in my life, dividing it into the 5 colours that I’ve chosen to represent it – and that’s what I thought I’d share while the last minutes of this delightful day wind down.  I also have to finish this lovely glass of wine!

WHITE:  I always feel that my relationship with my God is not all it could be.  I’m not consistent in so many of the things I want to do – reading, studying, praying, contemplating, meditating.  Something always seems to get in the way of that.  Mostly Facebook, I suppose, but I love the community I share there – and sometimes someone shares something that speaks to my soul and makes me think about my own relationships with people and creation.  I guess I’m just wishing it would be more than it is – and that comes with time – not just time as it passes, but time being active and aware – mindful time.  Something to strive for in the coming years.

BLUE:  My creative pursuits are not the priority they once were.  I find I can go for a few days without yarn in my hands, but I do enjoy the glass jars full of yarn.  I still haven’t written a  pattern for something, but I have been playing with dishclothes and making those “easy squares” more interesting.  And I finished the shawl that I’d been working on for 5 years.  My goal over the next while is to finish more projects than I start – and that will be tought!

GREEN:  Green is my money management – both earning and saving/spending.  Most of the last year and a half was spent saving for a cruise.  I’ve written a bit about that – but the reality was that I came away with no debt – and wonderful memories that I was able to share with my mom, aunts and cousins.  I still have one smallish kind of debt – my line of credit.  This was sitting at around $5000 last year, and even with the cruise, that’s diminished to just over $3000.  I’m planning to be debt free by age 55!  And earning more money!

Which brings me to YELLOW:  I’ve spent the last 5 years busily becoming qualified to teach ESL.  Last year I completed the CERTSEL program at the University of Saskatchewan.  I volunteered at the YMCA, subbed at the Y and this week I started teaching a regular class at the Y.  I am so excited.  While I had planned to be teaching overseas somewhere in September, family keeps me in Calgary for a while longer!  But it is exciting to be moving forward and gaining experience.  (And I have to start preparing for a Masters in TESL in a few years – money and experience)

Finally there is the RED.  Most of my ramblings on my blogs have been about the RED side of life – my health.  I’m still taking the blood pressure medications.  I still weigh over 200 pounds. I still struggle with eating late at night.  And…believe it or not…I still struggle with going to the gym.  It’s even worse lately, and the only positive thing is my commitment to moving at least 5 minutes every day.  That I can do – even if I can’t make it across the street to the gym!

So there you have it!  A bit of a review and a bit of goal setting for the future.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all facets of life moved forward at the same pace?

But it is bedtime, and my wineglass is almost empty.  If it’s your birthday when you read this – have a good one and I hope it inspires you to make some plans for the next year.  If it’s not – have a happy un-birthday kind of day and make some plans anyways!

Goodnight, rest well, and may God bless and keep you!



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Filed under BLUE: did I do that?, GREEN: Money matters that matter., RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature, YELLOW: Moving into my Life's Calling

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.

HooHaa 52 - Resolution (Week 24)

HooHaa 52 – Resolution (Week 24) (Photo credit: Grizdave)

This morning I was at the gym – I have been to the gym every day this year – and channel surfing since none of my preferred shows were on.   I’m not sure what was going on in the show, but I saw that on the subtitles – and I thought – Thanks God, for that bit of inspiration!  I didn’t stay watching the show, but I’m still thinking about it.

At TOPS last night I recorded a gain of half a pound over the Christmas weeks.  I start the year with my second number still a 2 (thankfully) and a very small gain.  I knew I shouldn’t have eaten so much chocolate!  Oh well, I enjoyed everything – and in relative moderation.  I should let you know that the others who weighed in LOST over New Years, which is highly commendable.

We talked about resolutions – and some of us had made them.  Mine is to move a minimum of 5 minutes every single day this year.  So far, I’ve met that challenge.  I’ve also challenged myself to eat something green every day – and I’ve managed that as well.  Mrs. P has begun writing her bites.

One of our group doesn’t make resolutions, so she won’t break them.  This makes sense to me as well.  In 2010 I printed “One Problem, One Correction” and it is still hanging on my bulletin board as a reminder that I cannot solve all my problems at the same time.

Resolutions or Changes? Either way, something has to become different if we are going to become the people we want to be – and in TOPS we do at some level want to be at a healthier weight.  We want to eat wisely most of the time.  We do not want to be ruled by our emotions.

I struggle with “writing the bites” and have for years.  I’ve tried My Fitness Pal, Spark People, Lose It….and all kinds of papers and journals.  I’ve lasted maybe two days.  I’ve got something new, and I’ll take a picture of it later, but here’s what I did:

  1. Obtain 31 index cards, I think mine are 4 x 6, but I’m on a roll here, so I won’t go get it.
  2. Punch holes in the top corners.
  3. Insert those round rings (I guess I’ll have to get a picture of that) – and voila!
  4. On the first 7 pages write the date – don’t get too far ahead of yourself.  I also write my schedule, grocery list….

I don’t know why, but somehow this has been working for me when others have failed.  Having the rings at the top and not the sides makes it easier for me to write things down.

It’s big enough to find in my bag, but small enough not to be cumbersome.  I don’t have to hold the pages open while I write….

Something changed, and what’s important for me as I go through this next year of change, is that I keep looking until I find what works!

Have a good day!


PS:  Here’s another blog I found particularly inspirational this morning – because she just doesn’t give up!  http://sunnyjane.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pizza-wine/  I really like her picture!  You go girl!

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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas

Shoot for the Moon?

I love finding people’s artwork on-line, and this one is by John DeAmicis and clicking on his name will give you many beautiful moments!   However, there is more to this post than just adding some joy to your day!

I first saw this quote on someone’s tee shirt and I thought, “Wow!” and “That is so cool!”  But, now that I’ve fired the shot, made the leap of faith and all that…it’s not so very comfortable if you miss the moon – even though I know that I am not alone in this journey, and that Alida and Ponnie will remind me that my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

Here’s the story.  I’ve finished my ESL training and I’ve taught a month’s worth of classes.  Working 40 hours and teaching is not conducive to good teaching.  But working 40 hours is safe.  It’s guaranteed hours, paid benefits, pension matching…  It also hurts.  I stand 40 hours, move groceries with elbows and shoulders that are getting sorer and sorer, and people are getting tired of my food jokes!  Plus, I need to become a better, more experienced teacher.  So…

A few weeks ago there were two postings for positions with lesser hours.  The “moon” position had 28 guaranteed hours and the “star” position had no guaranteed hours!  I got the stars.  I can tell you that it isn’t so much fun flying past the moon.  The next star is very, very far away and suddenly, that quote wasn’t quite so cool anymore.  It was hard, hard, hard.  I felt like I was free-falling and I really like to have control.  But I did it – signed the paperwork to accept the position, trusting that God would work it out.  And He sent me back to the moon!  The next set of postings had a 24 hour position that I did apply for, and I got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So how’s the view from the moon this morning?  I’ll be working with about half of my usual salary, paying for a bus pass, paying part of my benefits… but I should be able to cover my bills and eat.

I’m hoping my hours will consistently be in the evenings so that I can be more available to substitute-teach in the mornings and afternoons.  That would help me achieve my work goal.  I plan to use my commute time to learn Spanish.  Having more of my mornings free will allow me to spend a bit more time at the gym, instead of the rushed work-outs that I’ve fallen into.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be back to a more regular blogging schedule as well!

Maybe I’ll send missiles to the stars from my base on the moon!  In the meantime, your prayers and encouragement are welcome!





Filed under WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature, YELLOW: Moving into my Life's Calling

It’s Official – Last Again!

Well, it’s 3 o’clock, Calgary time.  I’ve made it home on the C-train, iced the ankle, had a long soak in the bath (Lavender – just right!)  and I was kind of waiting for the results from  Winning Times.  If you scroll down to the very, very bottom – you’ll see my name!  And if  you check out this link and scroll down, guess what?

What’s interesting to me – is this:  My pace is the same for both races.  I’m pleased with that!  So here’s a bit of a reprieve of the day, which started for me at 4:32 am.

I had my usual coffee and porridge for breakfast and walked to the C-train (It was walk or wait 20 minutes for the next bus!)  The train was full and I had to stand, but I met a co-worker and we chitchatted.  It was good.

The checking in of gear – went very smoothly at both ends of the walk.  Of course I was one of the last to pick up my bag, but I’m glad I didn’t have to drag my stuff with me. Thanks to the “Inn From the Cold” staff for managing this so well.

This is the starting gate, and it was crowded with people.  And the jostling for position.  Not my cup of tea.  Thankfully, by the time I got to the gate, most of the runners were already well away.  Now I was being passed by walkers of all ages!  That was okay.

Then I got lapped by the runners doing the 10K.   But I did manage in all of that to get one picture of the scenery.  But that was all.  In the meantime I was texting my daughter and brother, letting them know where I was in the course:  That was kind of fun.  They were thinking of coming down to shout me into the grandstand.  I figured if I let them know when I hit the 16 K marker they’d have enough time to get down to the grounds:

7:35 am: 3K coming up

8:13: 6 K and a PP stop.

9:25: 12K and another PP (Porta-pottie) break

They were about to load it into the truck, but put it back so that I could take this picture!

10:16:  16K

10:54 :  20K

11:06: 1 K left to go!

I wasn’t sure that this shot made it, because the 5 K runners were zooming in at this point too. But my time is 4:20:36.63, isn’t that precise?

And then the grand finale, when I had my medal.  This quite surprised me.  But, now that my blisters have shown up (At least two of them at this point)  I’m going to keep this for a while.  Later on my grandbabies can play “Olympics” with them.  That will be fun!

And that is what I feel like even now, after a hot bath and some ice!

There was a bit of time, just before and after the half way marker that I walked alone.  It was nice having all those police officers holding up traffic, just so that I could cross the road.  Thanks to the Calgary Police for an awesome job as well.  I think walking alone slows you down a bit because there’s no one to pace yourself with.  On the other hand, I had a lot of fun singing to the music from my Ipod!

The last few K’s were indeed hard.  I could see the Saddledome but we still had to go two Ks before we were in – so close and yet so, so very far!

Thanks to everyone who supported me on this journey – Emma and Eric for coming down to meet me, even though I was done before you got here.  I wish we had gotten someone to take our picture.  That will have to wait for next year.  To everyone who sponsored me – we raised over $200 for Inn from the Cold.

Have a good day – I’ve got some resting to do!

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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized