I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.


Are you selfish or self-centered?  These words are similar but they do have different meanings.  To be selfish means that you lack consideration for others and are mainly concerned with your own profit or pleasure.  To be self-centered means that you are more preoccupied with yourself and your own affairs than you are about other people.   Both words start with ‘SELF’ and this little word can cause so many problems when it becomes the focus of our lives.  Thinking about ‘SELF’ can be dangerous to our health if we think too highly or too lowly of ourselves.

If we think too highly of ourselves and want everything in our lives to bring us profit or pleasure, we will often fail to find the happiness we are looking for.   A high opinion about ‘SELF’ can be very damaging to our relationships and also a very lonely place to be.

If we think too lowly of ourselves and don’t feel that our lives have value, we are struggling with self-pity and feel that our lives have little or no value.   A low opinion about ‘SELF’ can also be very damaging to our relationships and our self-esteem.

We need to have balance in our lives.  It is okay to think about ourselves but it is far more important to think about the people around us starting with our families, children and friends.  Being selfish or self-centered will stop you from receiving the joy that comes from being a blessing to others.  Selfish people often do donate their time or money to help others but they are doing it for the wrong reason and just want to make themselves look good.   When your good deed or act of kindness come from the heart, it will bring unexpected joy and happiness to everyone involved.







Are you building walls?

wallWhat is the purpose of building a wall?  We build walls to provide a shelter or security by defining a certain area.  This can be a good thing when you are talking about properties.

However when people start putting up personal walls, it is a different matter.  Many of us build walls to protect ourselves from being hurt.   Some of us started building these walls in our childhood, others started later in life when relationships became difficult.  We try to wall people out and become tough so we can’t get hurt.

The problem is, when we build a wall to keep people out, we are also keeping ourselves in.  We may be protecting ourselves from being hurt or rejected but we are closing the door to forming any positive relationships.   It is better to risk getting hurt than to avoid having any relationships at all.  Instead of building walls, build strong self-esteem so you aren’t sensitive to negative comments or actions.

Nothing we do can stop people from hurting us.  People who are in pain will hurt other people and the best thing we can do is respond with love and kindness.   Many times this will have a positive effect on both parties.

Are you building walls or building friendships?

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What is a habit?

A habit is a behaviour that you do repeatedly until it becomes automatic.  Once you have done the same thing over and over again for a period of time, you don’t even think about it anymore.  We develop good habits and we develop bad habits.  The good habits push us forward so we can enjoy a happy and successful life.  The bad habits are the ones that hold us back and cause problems in our lives.

If you want to stop your bad habits, you need to:

  • clearly define your bad, negative habits
    • make a list
    • number them in priority sequence starting with the one you would like to change the most
  • determine what new, positive habits you can develop to overcome your bad habits
    • stopping a bad habit is hard unless you have something to replace it with
    • thinking about new habits will fill up your time with positive energy
  • create an action plan
    • decide which new habit you are going to work on first and the steps you need to take
    • write down the steps in a journal, daybook or calendar for 21 consecutive days (research shows it takes about 21-30 days to develop a new habit)
    • each day, follow these steps until you feel confident your habit is well established
    • if you slip backwards or miss a day, keep going and don’t give up
    • at the end of 21 days if you haven’t reached your goal, continue for another 21 days until the habit is set
  • celebrate your successes
    • at certain points (weekly, biweekly, monthly) reward yourself with a small treat or special event as a motivation to yourself

Do you know what your bad habits are?   Maybe some of these sound familiar?

  • being late for work, school, appointments, meetings
  • hitting the snooze button more than once before getting up in the morning
  • procrastinating on paying bills, filing taxes, keeping house clean, working on projects
  • talking instead of listening
  • not spending time with family, friends
  • forgetting important dates and occasions
  • not returning phone calls and emails
  • not eating proper meals
  • avoiding regular exercise
  • not keeping promises
  • answering cell phones and texts continuously
  • surfing the internet, playing video games
  • trying to control everyone around you
  • biting nails, tapping fingers

Changing a bad habit can be very difficult but also very possible with commitment.  Developing new, positive habits can transform your life.   Replacing bad habits with good habits will improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self.   Having good habits will increase self-esteem and help you overcome:

  • feelings of worthlessness
  • fears and insecurities
  • addictions
  • poor behaviours
  • pressures and stresses
  • depression and anxiety



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Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Cancer is the name given to a group of diseases that encompasses over 200 different types and sub-types of cancers. We are all aware of breast cancer, lung cancer and other familiar types but there are many others that we rarely hear anything about until they are brought to our attention by someone who is struggling.   Mesothelioma is one of these cancers that I knew little about until now.

Today, September 26th has been designated as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  I would like to share some information about Mesothelioma with you:

  • It is caused primarily by exposure to asbestos
  • In many cases, up to 60 years will pass before the cancer develops in people who have been exposed to asbestos
  • After being diagnosed, people are given about 10 months to live
  • There is no known cure, however surgery, chemo and radiation have been helpful
  • Incidence is rare but still have about 3000 cases each year in the US alone
  • Secondary exposure can result in cancer due to asbestos being brought into the home by workers not properly cleaning their body or clothing
  • Difficult to diagnose as symptoms closely resemble other respiratory problems

Did you know that a majority of cancers, over 90%, are caused by environmental factors including tobacco, obesity, infections, radiation and environmental pollutants? Asbestos is one of these pollutants that have been commonly used for years as building materials in homes, schools and commercial or industrial buildings.  Asbestos was also used in about 3000 household items including toasters and hairdryers.  It was at its peak production from the 1930’s until the late 1970’s when they started to realize that asbestos was causing harmful effects on people’s health.

Yet even though governments are aware that environmental pollutants are killing us, they are still allowing the use of materials such as asbestos. Mesothelioma is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States and Canada’s mesothelioma cancer rate is now one of the highest in the world.  Due to pressure from asbestos opponents and the high death rate, Canada finally closed its last 2 remaining asbestos mines in 2011.

Thousands of people die each year from asbestos related diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma and thousands more are living with the daily effects. We need to ensure that we are aware of any signs and symptoms and take action immediately to care for the health of ourselves and our loved ones.   If you have the following symptoms and have ever worked in an industry or have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to asbestos, please see your doctor.  The symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Effusions (fluid) of the chest and abdomen
  • Presence of blood in lung fluid

Heather Von St James is a Mesothelioma cancer survivor with a great attitude. In 2005 she was diagnosed shortly after the birth of her daughter and was only given a few months to live.   Being a positive person, she was not ready to give up on living.  She found a great doctor and got the best treatments available.  Today, almost 9 years later, she is a happy and healthy wife and mother, who shares her story of hope with others around the world.  You can read more about Heather by clicking on this link  Here are some pictures of Heather and her precious family.

Heather and daughter1

Heather and familyHeather and daughter2

If you are ever diagnosed with cancer, please don’t lose hope.   Find some good doctors, get support from family and friends, pray and keep a positive attitude.  I’ve had family members with cancer who have survived and also some who haven’t. My grandmother and sister both had breast cancer surgeries that save their lives.  My father had cancerous brain tumours and beat the odds of surviving not one but two experimental surgeries.  A brother-in-law has been struggling with prostate cancer for several years. A nephew, sister-in-law and brother-in-law passed away from lung and kidney cancers due to cigarettes and alcohol.   Cancer is very prevalent in my family and my husband’s family so I always encourage my children to get regular checkups and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Anyone can fail

The man who makes a success of an important venture never wails for the crowd. He strikes out for himself. It takes nerve, it takes a great lot of grit; but the man that succeeds has both. Anyone can fail. The public admires the man who has enough confidence in himself to take a chance. These chances are the main things after all. The man who tries to succeed must expect to be criticized. Nothing important was ever done but the greater number consulted previously doubted the possibility. Success is the accomplishment of that which most people think can’t be done.
C. V. White

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Create a memory

Our lives are full of memories.  Some of these are good memories, others are bad.  We have memories of family events that turned out well and some we would rather forget.  We have memories of school years, work experiences, friendships found and friendships lost.  Everything we do is stored in our memory banks for future reference.

Think about how you spend your days.  Did you do something today that will bring a future smile to your face, give you a warm feeling or make you tingly all over?

If you aren’t creating fond memories, consider these:

  • treat your spouse to a special evening at their favourite restaurant
  • watch a funny movie with your kids
  • go on a family camping trip
  • plan a birthday party
  • take a friend to a special event
  • create a scrapbook
  • go on a family vacation
  • have a fun and games night

There are all sorts of things you can do with your family and friends to create memories.  What kind of memories are you creating?


Will love for food


We may be more intelligent than dogs, but they can certainly teach us a lot about life.  Dogs are very loyal and they understand the meaning of unconditional love. Here are some lessons that we could learn from a dog:

  1. LOVE – It doesn’t matter what happens, always show love.
  2. JOY – Fill each day with joy and don’t be in a bad mood.
  3. ENTHUSIASM – Get excited about life.
  4. EXERCISE – Walk, run, jump.
  5. SUPPORT – Always help each other.
  6. LOYALTY – Be there for your family and friends.
  7. REST – Get enough sleep, take naps.
  8. RELAX – Sit down and take a break.
  9. BE YOURSELF – Don’t compare yourself to others, be happy with who you are.
  10. DON’T GIVE UP – Keep trying until you succeed.

If you don’t think a dog loves you unconditionally, think about this. If you locked your dog and your wife/husband in the bathroom for an hour, which one would be glad to see you?   Now, just think about the answer, don’t actually try it…..the result could be disastrous!!

I Rescued a Human Today


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How do you start your day?

Are you a morning person or do you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning?  Mornings are tough for many of us because we just don’t want to face the responsibilities of the day ahead.   Negative thoughts are already floating around in our heads and it makes us feel tired, sick and often stressed-out before we even start our day.

What do you think about when you wake up in the morning?  Are you worrying about something, stressing about all the things you don’t want to do, thinking about how awful the day is going to be?

Before your feet even hit the floor, your negative thinking has already ruined your day and left you feeling tired and miserable.

Try saying some positive affirmations first things in the morning.  When you wake up, greet the day with a rousing, “Hello world.  What an awesome day this is going to be!”  Even if you don’t feel well or it is raining outside, try to bring some sunshine into your life with positive words.

Morning is the best time to set your mood for the rest of the day and if you start by saying something positive, it will give you a much better chance of having a good day.  As the day goes on, keep focusing on positive thoughts and it will start to make an impact on your mood.  Fill up your brain with positive power and you will feel more energetic.  A positive attitude will soon develop and this will become a good habit.

Think of some positive statements that you can practice.  Here are some suggestions:

  • This is going to be a great day
  • I enjoy my job
  • I have good friends
  • I am a generous person
  • I am a great mother/daughter/parent
  • I am not perfect but I am trying to be the best imperfect person I can be

It takes 3 -4 weeks to develop a new habit, so practice your affirmations daily over and over again until you begin to feel positive.

If we try to see something positive in everything we do, life won’t necessarily become easier but it becomes more valuable. ~Author Unknown


The reason I hate tipping

waitressI’m sure the title of this post will cause some of you to think I am a cheap tightwad.  However, before you pass judgement, please take a few minutes to read my post with an open mind.

Generosity is an admiral quality and I have always considered myself to be a generous person, donating what I can in time and money as much as I can.  However, when it comes to tipping, I don’t feel that we should be compelled to pay an additional 15% for a meal.   Anything extra that we leave on the table should be considered sufficient, whether it is 5, 10 or 15%.

In the past, I’ve had friends who have worked as waiters and waitresses who have told me how difficult their job is and that they rely on their tips just to make a living.   I accept the fact that they work hard, often long hours, helping people who can be demanding or unkind.  However, I have also worked in jobs that were difficult and demanding where I was only making minimum wage, including a cleaning lady, dishwasher, greenhouse worker and retail clerk.

So let’s take a little quiz to help explain why I hate tipping.

  • QUESTION:  What is the minimum hourly wage in Ontario?
    • ANSWER:  $11.00
  • QUESTION:  What is the average hourly wage for a waiter/waitress?
    • ANSWER:  $9
  • QUESTION:  What does a waiter/waitress average in tips per hour?
    • ANSWER:  $5 to $25
  • QUESTION:   Which job gets tips – a waitress, cleaning person, dishwasher, retail clerk, greenhouse worker?
    • ANSWER:   Only the waitress
  • QUESTION:  Which job would be more physically and emotionally demanding – a waiter, cleaning person, retail clerk, greenhouse worker?
    • ANSWER:  It would depend on the situation, however the greenhouse worker is a much more physically demanding position
  • QUESTION:  What qualifications or educational requirements are needed for a waiter/waitress?
    • ANSWER:  No specific requirements.  Experience is preferred.

I agree that most waiters and waitresses work hard but their job is no more physically or emotionally difficult than many other minimum wage jobs.  Even if they aren’t making minimum wage, just one $5 tip per hour will bring them above and often they will average $15-$25 or more per hour which is a decent wage for a position that requires no education or experience.  I’m sorry but I get tired of hearing these complaints from waiters/waitresses:

  • My job is so strenuous. – Can I introduce you to my friend, a single mom, who works all day in the hot sun in a greenhouse, making minimum wage and no tips?
  • The customers are demanding, annoying, unruly.  – Can I introduce you to my friend, a cashier in a retail store, who deals with rude, annoying clients all day, making minimum wage and no tips?
  • I get sweaty and dirty. – Can I introduce you to my friend, a cleaning lady, who scrubs floors and toilets all day because her husband lost his job, making minimum wage and no tips?

In my opinion,  tipping is a money grab.  It just encourages people to expect something whether or not they deserve it and it pressures people to pay so they don’t look bad.  When customers don’t pay out the expected tip, they will likely get a rude unspoken comment or a dirty look.    Tipping is supposed to be a nice way of saying thanks but too many people think they are entitled instead of being thankful.

It would solve a lot of problems if restaurants would just increase their prices slightly and pay their employees minimum wage.  I would rather pay a few dollars more for a meal knowing my server is getting a regular pay cheque and not having to think about how much my tip will be.  Of course that will not likely ever happen, so when I do eat out, I will continue to tip, usually about 10% and I hope that my waiter/waitress appreciates this.


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Change your self-talk

The way you talk to yourself and others can give you power or it can take power away from you.   Many of us have developed a bad habit of negative self-talk and we don’t even think about what we are saying to ourselves and others.   Our words are often critical, unkind, unfair, rude or even cruel.  If we don’t take the time to stop and really think about what we are saying, we will continue on with this bad habit.

What kind of words are you using?  Stop and actually listen to yourself.  Do you hear positive words or negative words coming out of your mouth?  If you are saying negative words, you are probably thinking negative thoughts and this means it is time to re-train your brain to think positive thoughts.   Positive words are full of encouragement and positive energy.  Negative words are full of discouragement and are a huge drain on our energy.  Which ones would you rather hear spoken to you?  Which ones would others prefer spoken to them?  The obvious answer is positive words.

Practice saying positive statements on purpose.  Don’t just wait until you are in a conversation.  Take time each day to practice using positive words.  Look in a mirror and say something nice and encouraging.  Write some positive statements and repeat them over and over until they become habit.  Don’t think you can’t change the way you think and talk because you can.   Over time, you developed a habit of using negative self-talk and you can also develop a habit of using positive self-talk.  It just takes a lot of patience and practice.

Change your self-talk and change your life.  Being positive has so many more benefits than being negative.  It improves relationships, helps build confidence, provides happiness and brings peace.

Every waking moments we talk to ourselves about the things we experience. Our self-talk, the thoughts we communicate to ourselves, in turn control the way we feel and act.   ~John Lembo