Thirteen things that make me happy

Reading all of Michele’s happy posts has inspired me, so here’s a Thursday Thirteen about all the things that are making me happy this week:

1. Marcel got a job! Wait… I need to say that again…MARCEL GOT A JOB! It’s a term position, but that’s the best anyone is getting these days, so we are all ecstatic for him!

2. He got a job because he put in extra effort in a substitute job he had, creating worksheets and impressing the administration with his initiative. I’m so proud of him I could burst!

3. Speaking of jobs… the 4 new staff I hired this year and the new volunteer that joined the team are working out BRILLIANTLY! It looks like we hired well and that makes me very, very happy.

4. I get to delegate more and, you know what? I’m kinda lovin’ it.

5. Nikki got a new cell phone, and now she sends me cute little text messages like “how was your day at work, mom?” I kinda like it.

6. The book “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher is just SO GOOD! I feel so understood! And inspired!

7. Chai latte. I only let myself buy one once a week, and with a Starbucks in my office building, I’d say that’s pretty remarkable restraint. But when I have one… happy!

8. Last night’s documentary night at church. A cozy little group of us watched Etre et Avoir, a gentle little movie about a teacher in a one room school house. I’m so happy that Pam was inspired to start this!

9. I get to go to Chicago in April. A trip on the horizon ALWAYS makes me happy.

10. Online friends. I have some great ones!

11. Clara Hughes wins a bronze. At 37. Her sixth Olympic medal – in summer AND winter Olympics! She’s amazing!

12. Writing. I’m always happy when I’ve had some time to do some good writing.

13. Did I mention… Marcel got a JOB?! Oh yeah – I said that already. Oh well – it deserves at least two points on the list.

14. Bonus point… this banner in Toronto made me smile. Anyone want to go see a play with me?

Thursday Thirteen – an ode to summer

Thirteen random happy summer things

1. Wearing sandals. Oh how I love having bare toes! And not having to dig through laundry baskets for socks? Heaven!

2. Bubbles…
Yay!  Bubbles!

3. Wandering. Yesterday (Canada Day) was a picture perfect day for wandering (through Osborne Village, to the Forks), people-watching, eating treats, and listening to music – all with people who are easy to be around

4. Folk Festival! A week from today! Yippee!

5. Riding my bike along the river. The bike ride home from work is the best part of my day.

6. Camping! S’mores, campfires, beach-bummin’, “camper breakfast”, sleeping in a tent – it’s all good.

7. A family road trip. Yippee! I love, love, LOVE road trips with my family. I think we all get along best on road trips (even when cramped in a car that we’re outgrowing), ‘cause we’re all just so relaxed and happy.

8. Warm sun, good books…
Relaxing with a good book

9. Holidays. Being away from work for awhile. Re-charging. Oh how I need that. (Sadly, though, I have to split my holidays so that I can go through a hiring process to replace the staff person who just resigned.)

10. Water. I LOVE being near water in the summer – lakes, rivers, creeks, oceans, you name it.

11. Drinks on a patio. It’s my goal to have a few more lovely evenings like this with interesting, creative friends. (Friends in my proximity? Consider this a warning – I’ll be calling you. Unless you call me first, of course.)

12. Summer food. Barbecues. Picnics. Potato salad. Hotdogs from a street vendor.

13. Fun and carefree creative things. Like more wreckage. And finishing up my creative sanctuary in the basement. And doing a little more painting.


1. I’m going to a Martyn Joseph concert tonight! Yay! I love concerts and I LOVE Martyn Joseph!

2. On his online journal, Martyn referred to Winnipeg as “one of his favourite places on the planet”! No, he’s not from here. He’s from Wales. (So there – people from Calgary – you know who you are – SOME people like this place!)

3. One of my new favourite TV shows is called The Border.

4. One of my old favourite shows is Corner Gas.

5. Both are Canadian shows.

6. I’m happy to find good Canadian shows, because we’re not well known for great television programming (with some definite exceptions).

7. One of my favourite movies of this year is also Canadian. Away from Her. See it if you can – it’s definitely worth it.

8. I’m pretty sick and tired of the way this cold weather dries out the skin. I seem to be itchy all of the time.

9. I’m going to Bangladesh in March, and this week I remembered that people in Bangladesh were considered (by some researcher) to be the happiest on the planet. Sounds like a good place to make friends.

10. It’s a delightful moment when your 10-year-old daughter phones you at work and says, “Mom, where are the chocolate chips? I want to make cookies.” Smile. I’m rather fond of her. (Even if she beats me at speed Scrabble.)

11. I heard this line in a Neil Young song yesterday and it made me want to write poetry… “We know where the music is, let’s go out and feel the night.” Hmmm… nice.

12. Neil Young is also a Canadian. We certainly have raised some great talent up here in the cold north.

13. I brought some oatmeal and dried apricots to work this morning and made myself a lovely breakfast (complete with a little milk and a touch of honey). Mmmm… I think I’ll do that more often. I’m not usually hungry for breakfast until I’ve been awake for a couple of hours, so this was perfect.

Thirteen random things

1. Apparently all I needed to do to fill up my comment box was to say the word “dog” and people start coming out of the woodwork! Thanks for all the helpful advice! Julie will be thrilled. (And I’ll keep you posted.)

2. I’m a little ashamed of myself for not having made any effort to go over and meet the new neighbours who moved next door in November. My goal this weekend is to go say hello.

3. For those of you who miss her witty and “spit-beverages-at-your-screen” hilarious posts, I spoke with Whippersnapper this week. She is alive and well and just doesn’t have much brain power left after teaching and parenting to formulate posts. But she’s reading this one, so if you beg and plead in the comments, we may be able to convince her to come back. (Please, PUH-LEASE Whip! Just do what I do when I’m drained – type the first 13 random thoughts that pop into your head.)

4. I finally wrote something and submitted it to an editor yesterday. I don’t think I’ve managed to do that once in the last year, because all of my energy (and then some) was consumed with a crazy year at work. Even if it doesn’t get published, I’m just happy I’m back in the game.

5. Speaking of work, I updated my workplan last week (wherein I identify my progress on the goals I set a year ago) and MY GOSH I accomplished a lot last year! No WONDER I was completely exhausted by Christmas!

6. I didn’t put it on my workplan, but one of my goals this year is “friendship”. With all the craziness of last year, plus the ongoing craziness of parenting, I invested very little energy into friendship. This year, I’m making it a priority.

7. Remember the creativity retreat I was going to plan? Well, it got put on the back burner last fall (see #5 for the reason), but after I get back from India, I’m going to try to pull it together. One of the people who is eagerly anticipating it bugged me about it yesterday and I committed to her that I would follow through.

8. Did I mention that we managed to hire someone into the vacant position on my team? Woohoo!

9. The pieces are beginning to fall into place for my trip – one week in Bangladesh and one week in India. We have a weekend of spare time in between, where we’re flying from Dhaka to Kolkata to Patna. If anyone has been there, can you tell me which of those three places would be the most interesting to spend the weekend?

10. Either my daughters REALLY like muffins or they are so surprised to see mom suddenly bake that they’re humouring me just to make sure it happens again. Two batches disappeared faster than I could make more.

11. There’s a stack of about 300 receipt letters sitting on my desk waiting to be signed. I think I’ll have a sore wrist by the end of the day.

12. I love picking Nikki up after her practices with the developmental soccer team. She’s not normally very talkative, but there’s something about these practices (I think it has a lot to do with good, encouraging coaches) that turns her into an animated, chatty girl.

13. A year ago, I was in Ethiopia where it was SOooo warm. Unfortunately, around here this week, it’s SOOooo cold.

Thursday Thirteen

(Because if Krista can do it, I can too.)

1. I was running out at lunch time to meet with someone, and on my way there, a blind man with a white cane asked “is this Graham Street”? “Close,” I said. “Just another 20 feet and you’re there.” I turned away, but he called out, “where is the bus stop?” “Well, there isn’t one on this block, you’ll have to go to the next block.” “Have I crossed Graham yet?” By this time I realized he was quite disoriented and I hoped he wouldn’t get hit by a bus. “No, you still have to cross Graham.” “Am I at the corner where I can cross?” “No, not exactly.” Giving up my effort to get to my meeting on time, I asked “do you want me to lead you to the bus stop?” “Yes,” was his simple reply. And so I lead him, helping him to avoid the places where ice and snow have already accumulated. And yes, I’m glad I was willing to be late for the meeting – it was worth it.

2. Don’t worry – not every item on this list will be as long as the last one.

3. Yesterday I fasted for End Hunger Fast. Leaders (and others) in churches across Canada fasted too. It felt like a nice way to be connected to people across the country – through the common grumbling of our tummies. (It was also kind of fun to know that an idea that was birthed in my little ol’ brain while I was brushing my teeth inspired people all across the country to give up food for a day.)

4. Speaking of ideas, I came up with another great idea to put together a quilt to present to our government as a way of communicating our concern that farmers in Africa are “taking the heat” when it comes to climate change. We hadn’t gathered enough quilt squares from people, and we’re running out of time (before the big Bali conference on Climate Change), so I thought it wouldn’t materialize. But now a bunch of university students have decided to run with it and I couldn’t be more happy.

5. I’m tired. It seems to be a constant state these days. No, I am NOT pregnant.

6. Speaking of being pregnant, I love ultrasounds, and I’m glad Krista shared hers. When I was in the hospital with Matthew, I had at least 15 of them (twice a day for at least 20 minutes each time), so I got pretty good at reading them.

7. Nikki had her second practice with the indoor developmental soccer team yesterday. Afterwards, one of the coaches said to her, with a smile of encouragement, “Good work Nicole. You’ve got speed, girl. And if you keep kicking like that, we’ll have to get a bigger damage deposit.” I think she grinned all the way home. It’s true, I wouldn’t recommend standing in front of her when she’s kicking a ball. And I would NEVER challenge her to a race. Bravo to the coach for encouraging the new girl.

8. I cleaned up all the piles in my office last week AND I got to the bottom of my in box. Woohoo!!

9. I don’t know if I’ll make it to thirteen. I’m floundering.

10. Even my boss told me I’m looking tired these days. He’s not the most perceptive person around, so it must be serious. I think I need a two week vacation in a warm place.

11. Yesterday, for our day of fasting, I organized a little contemplative “worship” thing for our staff. It was quite lovely. I spoke about justice, mercy, and compassion (read Isaiah 58 for inspiration) and everyone was invited to light a candle (to symbolize their acceptance of a call to do justice), take a sip of water (the call to be merciful), and hold a handful of split peas (compassion). Some people took the burning candles back to their desks. I felt all warm and fuzzy (though a little hungry) for the rest of the afternoon, with a candle burning on my desk.

12. It’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy these days. It’s frickin’ cold outside. I’m not ready for winter.

13. We’re planning a very delightful pre-Christmas surprise for our girls (well, it’s for us too, but we won’t be surprised). I can hardly wait.

Thirteen good moments in the last 48 hours

1. 4:30 this afternoon. Two days of chairing meetings – done.

2. Receiving a heartfelt compliment from someone who’s generally critical of my work.

3. Feeling the energy in the room when, more than once, someone dared to say “What if…” and then proceeded to share a “blow your mind” good idea.

4. Introducing Steve Bell at the banquet and calling him “friend”.

5. Listening to Steve tell stories of Ethiopia and sing the song.

6. Walking to the grocery store for milk in the drizzly rain after all was said and done and I could relax.

7. Eating the amazing food prepared by some of my favourite people who also happen to be the best caterers for miles around.

8. Realizing, at the end of a meeting with my team (the first of the two days of meetings), that it was the best meeting we’ve had since I started this job.

9. Watching the people I’ve hired since I started in the job and realizing I’ve hired well.

10. Being greeted at the door by two of my daughters doing a Charlie’s Angel routine.

11. Words of encouragement from someone I admire.

12. Knowing I’d handled the talkative person in the room as graciously as possible when I had to tell her to “wrap it up”.

13. Realizing I’ve developed some meaningful friendships with some people in this group of “business associates”.

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