Joy

Beautiful image of trees changing colour in the fall

The Joy of Fall

I have always loved the fall. The trees changing colour, cooler days bringing relief from humid summer temps, and the brilliant blue sky that is the hallmark of many fall days here in Nova Scotia.

I also love the fall because it brings change. I am one of those people who loves change… I know, call me weird. I love a break in pattern, and it’s nice when it comes with subtle little differences to ease us in. Can you imagine if we went straight from summer to winter? Swimming on a hot summer day to shovelling snow and below freezing the next day?

That is the beauty of fall, especially where I live. September brings days with breaths of cooler air when you look forward to putting on a light sweater, but gorgeous summer days are still in the mix too. There is nothing I enjoy more than hitting the beach in September, soaking up the sun and the ocean every minute possible… in case “this is the last hot day of the year.” There is a lesson in there I’m sure, about remembering to enjoy every beach day as if it were your last. 🙂

Then comes October and we’re prepared for cooler evenings, putting on a fire for the first time, and walking through crunchy leaves that have fallen to the ground. I admit that in the past my favourite month of the year was September, but I gave myself the goal of discovering what is great about October this year… and I found what that is for me.

Walking in the woods. I love it!  Brilliant colours of red, yellow, orange and green. Leaves on the ground. The delicious smell. The quiet that comes when you are sheltered from the noise of the world beyond the forest. October will forevermore be the month I walk in the woods as much as I possibly can.

I started small with a little woods trail at the beginning of the road I live on. One day when I was driving by I pulled over and sauntered around for a few minutes. Honestly, that’s all it took to inspire me. Maybe there is a little spot near you that you’ve been meaning to stop at too.

After I got my first taste of being in the woods again I looked up other walking trails near me. I picked a couple of easy ones and instead of walking the beach I chose one of the trails instead. Before long I found myself downloading the app called “AllTrails” on my phone, I bought a day pack, put on proper hiking shoes and started carving out 2-4 hours of hiking time with a good friend. We had a really fun month of exploring on our days off.

What do you look forward to about fall? Instead of being sad that summer is over, is there something you truly enjoy doing in this season? Sometimes we just need a reminder that joy doesn’t always show up at our doorstep… most times we have to look for it, choose it, be a bit more deliberate about it.

As we head into November, I wonder what will become my favourite thing about this month of the year?

Watching the full moon rise at the beach

If I only knew…

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said this over the years!  I can honestly say that I have stopped wasting time suffering over “what ifs” – what if I did that differently, what if I said this instead? – but I do still spend time reflecting on my thoughts, words and deeds so that I can learn from them, and share my lessons with others.

One of the things I wish I had understood sooner in my life is that you have to look for joy on purpose. I spent all of my twenties and thirties saying things like “I’ll be happy when I have a good paying job, I’ll take a beach vacation when I’m thin, I’ll be happy when I have my own home, I’ll relax when I’ve reached this goal or that goal.”  Sound familiar?  It is fantastic to have goals; the trick is to embrace life as it is today too.  In my forties I started to be more purposeful about joy.  I made sure that I planned things that made me feel good, and that I relaxed into those moments and really appreciated them.  For example, I now have a morning routine of making my coffee and sipping it on the front porch.  It is a purposeful way to start my day doing something that makes me very happy.

I wrote a free guide called “10 Things I Wish I knew Sooner” that you can download by signing up for my monthly newsletter here.

What do you wish you had known sooner in your life?  What sorts of advice do you find yourself passing along to those younger than you at work, in your friends groups, to your nieces and nephews?

Please share a tip by posting a comment and we can learn from one another through positive and meaningful conversation. 

Windows open on a Spring day, breeze flowing in, plants on the windowsill.

The Windows Are Open

Ahhh… it’s a Spring day and I have my windows open. How I love this time of year!

It feels like it was such a long winter, and while I realize we always say that, this year it’s true. The ice stayed on the lake a good month longer than normal, and the temps stayed cold.

But today is a new day. Today I put out the patio furniture because I doubt (or hope?!) there won’t be any late Spring snowfall. It’s porch sittin’ time people – the birds are chirping and it’s cozy with my coffee and a blanket.

What is your favourite time of year? Is it Spring when things are waking up and coming to life again? Is it summer when the days are long and you feel playful? Is it fall when the hot humid air of summer has become stifling and you’re ready for cooler evenings and the gorgeous colour of the leaves? Or are you someone who actually enjoys winter most – perhaps because of winter activities like skiing or snowboarding?

I’ve noticed something incredible as I’ve gotten older – I find myself looking forward to and enjoying every season. I used to resist winter and everything that came with it – layers of clothing, shovelling snow, warming up the car – but now I like the intense colours of a winter sunset, getting cozy on cold nights and watching movies, and I’ve started skiing again. I wouldn’t say I looooove winter suddenly, but I believe I am actually learning to embrace it instead of just suffering through it. 🙂

But back to Spring… I do looooove Springtime! I think it’s because I love change so much, and this time of year is fresh with newness. I can’t wait to start working in my yard, watch my trees and plants wake up, plant something new. It’s also getting closer to the time when I will get back into the ocean to bodyboard. My die-hard surfer friends have the right gear and they surf year-round, but I’m not quite there yet!

What does Spring mean to you? Can you spot your joy?

Photos of my cats, Ty and Jersey

Rescue animals are the best!

When you post about dogs it’s respected and adorable.  When you post about your cats you get labeled a “crazy cat lady.”  While I used to take offence to the slight, I now fully embrace it – I am crazy for cats!  They are adorable, loving, hysterical and smart. 

I will no longer pause before I post about my fabulous kitties!

Ty is my 15 year old ginger kitty with gorgeous green eyes.  His personality is very unique – he is a serious cat who loves his person, and that’s me.  He doesn’t like to be held, but he always has to be near me when I’m home, preferably lying against my side on the sofa while he snoozes.  I blame him for my coach potato habits, but thankfully he also likes to go for walks on his leash.  🙂

Jersey is my 5 year old calico and she is a spit-fire!  Poor Ty takes the brunt of her endless energy and I am forever trying to protect him so he can rest his more senior self.  Jersey is the most loving cat I have ever known…  and she is a “love the one you’re with” kind of girl.  She will go to anyone in the house and cuddle up in their arms for a good snuggle fest.  It took her 11 months of trying before Ty would let her lay next to him, but three years later I find them sleeping on the same coach and grooming one another.

These two fabulous pets had rough starts in life – Ty was tossed out at a local park when he was just four months old, and Jersey was a street kitty for the first two years of her life.  Rescue pets are the best!

Ty and Jersey provide me with endless entertainment and I am so happy to share my home with them.  Do you have pets?  Are they not the source of constant joy?

#fortheloveofcats #adoptdontshop #rescuepets

Sun setting over a frozen lake in the winter

Baby it’s cold outside.

It is SOOOOO cold outside today! Regardless, I still caught a moment of joy in this evening’s sunset. Sunrise & sunset are my favourite times of day, and so when the sky is clear I make a point of putting myself in the right place at the right time.

Since it is minus “no effing way” outside, tonight I simply pulled up a chair and took 10 minutes to sit and admire the view of the sun setting on the lake. I am fortunate to have this in my backyard!

Finding joy is a daily thing. If you don’t make a point of looking for it, days and weeks can pass by, and before you even understand what is happening, you’ll find yourself in a bit of a funk.

Do you have a favourite window to look out at Mother Nature? Does the changing light bring you joy? If yes, simply look up sunrise and sunset times on your phone’s weather app, and make a point of going for a walk at that time, or if it’s bitterly cold like today, grab a hot drink and curl up by that window.

#pauseforsunset

The full moon rising over the marsh beside Conrad Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada

Full Moon Rising

I am a Lunatic, as a friend fondly calls me. For me, it means that I absolutely love the moon! I follow its cycles, I feel its pull, I bask in its glory.

Every month here in Nova Scotia we get to enjoy something incredible. On the evening the full moon rises, sunset happens at the same time. Whenever the weather is clear for viewing, I head to my favourite spots in Lawrencetown and take it all in. As the sun sets at one end of the beach, the moon rises at the other. It looks beautiful on the horizon because colour from the setting sun reflects off it – making the moon glow & look giant. As if that’s not enough for the senses, the sky is dancing with calming shades of pastel blues & pinks, or brilliant oranges & reds. Amazing!

The moon brings joy to my day each and every time I catch a glimpse of it. One of these days I will invest in a camera & courses to help me capture all of its beauty, but in the meantime I will enjoy with my naked eye & capture okay iPhone snaps to share.

To view the times the sun and moon rise and set near you, search your local area on timeanddate.com. A simple search of “what time is moonset tonight” will get you there.

Enjoy the moon! #lunatic