Should you Subscribe to a Genealogy Resource?

Have you been considering a subscription on an online genealogy resource but aren’t sure if it’s going to be worth it?  Check out my first vlog post to get some insight into why it might be a great idea:

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One Step at a Time – Lyrics (Jordin Sparks)

One Step at a TimeAdapted from “One Step at a Time” performed by Jordin Sparks

Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that I’ve always dreamed of
Close enough for me to taste
But I just can’t touch

I wanna show the world, but no one knows my name yet
Wonder when and where and how I’m gonna make it
I know I can if I get the chance
In my face as the door keeps slamming
Now I’m feeling more and more frustrated
And I’m getting all kind of impatient waiting

[Chorus:]
I live and I learn to take
One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen when it’s
Supposed to happen and I
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

I believe and I doubt
I’m confused, I got it all figured out
Everything that I’ve always wished for
Could be mine, should be mine, would be mine
If they only knew

I wanna show the world, but no one knows my name yet
Wonder when and where and how I’m gonna make it
I know I can if I get the chance
In my face as the door keeps slamming
Now I’m feeling more and more frustrated
And I’m getting all kind of impatient waiting

[Chorus]

When I can’t wait any longer
But there’s no end in sight
when I need to find the strength
It’s my faith that makes me stronger
The only way I get there
Is one step at a time

[Chorus x2]

Writer(s): Robert S. Nevil, Lauren K. Evans, Mich Hansen, Jonas Jeberg, Joseph Belmaati
Copyright: Murlyn Music Publishing, Laurel Krown Music, R. Nevil Music, Cutfather Publishing Limited, Murlyn Music Publishing/ Crosstown, Joe Belmaati Publishing Limited

The Sound of Happiness

When I was young, let’s say my teen years, happiness was loud. Sounds of laughter, loud music, screams from roller coasters, the phone ringing when a friend would call, traffic because I was in a car travelling to the next event, parties etc. I loved the buzz of having noise around me. I preferred visiting the city over camping and hiking. If I was alone, I turned on the television or the stereo at high volumes to have sound with me all the time. I fell asleep at night to the radio. I felt safe and I was happy.

Loch Ness

Tranquil Loch Ness

 

Sometime in my early twenties, that changed. I spent 4 months in England for school and when I think back to my most loved memory of that stint, it was a day spent outside Inverness, Scotland, on a rock, skipping stones on Loch Ness. We ventured away from the crowds of tourists who wanted to view the lake from Urquhart Castle and shimmied our way down an embankment with a snack of apples, crackers and cheese. There were just 3 of us, 2 other travel companions and myself. It was so tranquil. I remember being hyper-aware of the sound of each skip of the stone before the final “plop” into the lake. I felt calm and I was happy.

Soft snow falling

Gently Falling Snow

Another time, my oldest was 2 and we were at a cottage in the winter in Northern Ontario – far off the beaten path of civilization. My husband, son and I were outside playing in the snow – real snow – 5 feet deep. We were doing somersaults and jumping off the deck into the fluffy banks below. After one spectacular jump, landing on my back looking up at the giant flakes of snow gently falling from the sky, I felt I had been pulled back out of warp speed and my senses became super-attuned. It became quiet, my body completely relaxed into the snow-form my body made from my jump and I could hear the sound of every snowflake land around me. I felt love and I was happy.

Birds chirping

Early birds calling

Just this morning, being on holidays and sleeping in without the hurried routine that I am accustomed to on a “regular” day, I had the window open and I listened to the birds as they began their calls. The world was still asleep. There were no cars, back-up alarms from heavy trucks, sounds of conversation or lawn mowers. Just the sound of the birds and the trees swaying in the breeze. I felt peace and I was happy.

The sound of happiness has changed from when I was young. Once busyness and noise was necessary to feel content. Now, the absence of noise is much more profound in experiencing happiness. I still have great moments of happiness when there is lots of uproarious laughter and sounds but I do cherish the tranquil moments of silence.

What are the sounds of happiness for you?

8 “FUN” Things

FUN

FUN

Continuing with “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, she talks about “Finding Fun”. It got me thinking about what I find fun. I know how I feel when I am HAVING fun but I can’t say as I have ever consciously thought about what it is that I seek out when I go in pursuit of “HAVING FUN”.  With intentional thought, I created this list of 8 things I find fun (as of March 2015 – it is ever-changing and evolving):

8.  Crafting – I don’t like to make all crafts but I do particularly like to make cards or creative ways to give simple gifts.  My mom is a crafter too and so it’s even better when the 2 of us can get together and share resources, ideas and time.  A pot of tea is often a must-have for a good crafting session.

DIY Money Jar Gift

The Money Jar

7.  Travel Adventures – I love to visit new places near and far.  Experiencing something for the first time is exhilarating.  Sometimes you find something so wonderful that you put it on a list to come back to in order to experience it more thoroughly or differently another time.

6.  Girls Night/Day – As a wife and mom, I’ve discovered the awesomeness of time spent with the girls.  I live with all boys so sometimes it’s the estrogen factor.  Just being in the company of other women is enough to just feel fun because it’s different.  Sometimes, it’s just nice to have a conversation with another adult who is not my husband.  I feel with my girlfriends I don’t even have to speak and they just get me without any explanation.  I find it fun just to not have to work to be understood.

Girls Night Out

Girl Friends

5.  Board Games – Great memories of times spent with family revolve around board games.  I love games.  I thought at first it was the competition but when I thought about all the solitary games I loved to play I decided it was the challenge.  Even better to work through challenges with teammates.  Not only is the challenge good for the brain but there are usually lots of laughs which exercises the soul.

4.  Social media – Social media blows my mind.  I can’t believe how many connections you can make, relationships you can start and things you can learn by tapping into the vastness of social media.  I am taking a Social Media Marketing program and the more I learn about it the more enthralled I become.  I find the philosophies, possibilities and the speed of it, fascinating.  Sometimes, I get caught between embracing it and fearing it for I think it can be powerful whether used for good or bad.  Of course, I strive to use its power for good.

3.  Genealogy – I compare it to treasure hunting.  There is always a map in the form of your family tree and you never know what information or artifacts it will lead to.  I have been known to spend a nice quiet day on a weekend, travelling to cemeteries to look for resting places of my ancestors.  I’m sure if you are not interested in genealogy, that might sound boring or creepy but I know there are other genealogists out there that will agree that this is a super fun way to spend a day.

Genealogy, Ancestory

Noel Ancestors

2.  Outdoors – Spending time with Mother Nature is a wonderful “fun” thing.  It can take on so many different shapes for me.  Sometimes, it’s a hike through a conservation area with my boys, a boat ride on the lake in the summer or quietly resting on a river bank reading a book.  I can’t forget camping, canoeing, fishing, swimming or bird watching.  Just about anything that I can do that requires me being a part of the outdoors is what I would call “fun”.  Although, I must admit, add rain to any of those and the “fun” factor is gone for me.  I’d have to shift to sitting on the covered deck, especially during a brilliant thunder storm, with a glass of red wine.

Oscars, The Movies

Let’s Go to The Movies

1.  Watching Movies – What can I say?  I LOVE movies.  I love going to the theatre to watch movies, or staying at home.   I find it extra fun to stream a movie on the laptop and use a DVP to project the movie on to the wall so it’s like a theatre at home.  The ULTIMATE in movie watching, is project the movie on to the side of the house on a beautiful summer’s eve and have a home version of a drive-in.  No movie is complete without popcorn and a coke (in my opinion).  I find movies fun to watch by myself and even more fun to watch with friends and family.  One of my favourite events throughout the year is the Oscars.  I try to watch as many of the Oscar-nominated films as I can each year to see how well I predict the winners.

What is it that you find fun?  Actually, thinking about what you find fun can be fun. 🙂

Being Vicki

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I love to read. One of the books that I have revisited is “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I’m not that far into it but every word I have read has resonated with me and so I am engaged and inspired.  I am currently reading the “March” chapter about aiming higher and on page 72 she mentions her 1st commandment, to “Be Gretchen” and went on to say that Erasmus observed “The chief happiness for a man is to be what he is”.

What am I?  I believe it’s important to know what makes me happy, it’s a BIG part of what makes “me” me and what makes you happy makes “you” YOU.  As I was pondering my “me”ness, it occurred to me, “That’s what my blog is about” because I had so much difficulty defining what this blog was going to be or be about.  I wanted to create a blog as a therapeutic activity but also wanted to reach people.  As I continue on my “blog journey” and my “Happiness Project”, I realize this is about “Being Me”, “Being Vicki”.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a “niche” or that I’m not following “protocol”.  It’s time for me to be “me”.  To share what makes me happy, to provide inspiration for others who may relate, or may not, but just want to escape.  I will share what I want, when I want and if you would like to check in on my journey, please do.  If you don’t, that’s okay too.  Or maybe you just want to be here one time, or two, and that’s it.  Great!!!!  Thanks for stopping by.  If you like what I say or you don’t; wonderful!  If you hate this and it’s not your cup of tea and choose to move along looking for something that brings happiness to you because this DOES NOT, awesome – you are discovering you or pursuing you and that is so amazing.  But for me, I need to spell out what makes me happy because at the end of the day, I am the only person who I know completely and totally (or at least that’s what I’m figuring out).  I know what I feel, what I like, what I want, what I hate, what makes me cry, what makes me quiver and so on… NO ONE ELSE.  I need to BE VICKI!

Being Vicki…

I am…(and this won’t be all one post because as humans, we grow, we change, we have new experiences. For today, this is a start…)

Being Me

Being Me

  • a ginger
  • born, raised and live in Southwestern Ontario
  • crazy about my 2 sons!
  • an advocate for ADHD – someone very close to me is ADHD and he needs a lot of advocacy
  • married to a great husband who drives me crazy most of the time: either crazy in love or just plain “CRAZY”
  • one diagnosed with the Mood Disorder of Depression
  • a believer that life should be full of “memories” not necessarily “things” although sometimes “things” can lead to great “memories”

This is just the beginning.  What makes you, You?

5 New Years Resolutions to Look Forward to

Happy 2015

Happy 2015

With 2015 so close, I have, again, made a list of things that I want to achieve in the upcoming year. I have a list of bucket-list items that keeps growing because I haven’t checked off many items. It is seriously time to start doing stuff instead of thinking about it.

Become More Spiritual

Become More Spiritual

1. Become more spiritual. As I get older I have found that connecting with The Bigger Picture (whatever that may be for you) has become very important. I’ve found Yoga and Meditating to be helpful in making this connection and creating a more meaningful life.

Make Healthier Choices

Make Healthier Choices

2. Make healthier choices. Eating healthier and exercising always makes it to the New Year’s resolution list each year. I do well with it in spits and spurts but can’t seem to maintain consistency. With Pinterest and Blogs available at my finger tips that offer helpful ideas instantaneously, I am hopeful to make the most of this resolution this year.

Blog

Blog

3. Blog. Since I began blogging seriously only a few short months ago, I have found it to be supremely therapeutic and rewarding. Stories, thoughts and ideas that were once trapped in my mind and lost daily, now have a venue to get out into formed thoughts and shared with the universe. Amazingly, many have commented and reached out to let me know my thoughts have resonated with them. Incredible for the mental wellness. More blogging is on the roster for 2015.

Save for Travels

Save for Travels

4. Save for travels. I have places I want to go and people I want to see. And I want to show the world to my kids and my husband. I’m tired of talking and dreaming about it. It is time to put funds away to start doing this. And I’m not talking about the all-inclusive Caribbean vacations. I want to take my kids to various locations throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. I want to explore our past and our present and set sites for our future.

Start a Family History Book

Start a Family History Book

5. Start a Family History book. My family history is rich with amazing stories and tales that I’ve discovered since I began researching it several years ago. I have a lot of branches and a lot of knowledge that needs to be compiled into something concrete that I can start to pass on to others who may be interested.

Only a few ideas but some things that I want to take seriously and spend some intentional effort on this year. I’ll be exploring others ideas also. Please leave some comments on thoughts or ideas that you might have for 2015. Happy New Year!

My 7 Mental Wellness Practices

mental wellness

Living life to the fullest is my challenge everyday. As I mentioned in a previous post, I refuse to use the term “suffering with depression” or “battling depression” or just plain using the word “depression”. Just the term in itself plants a dark seed within my soul and I feel it start to fester and fight to spread its roots. But flipping it around and challenging myself to live an amazing, satisfying and meaningful life is the way I choose to view it. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor or anyone affiliated with medicine so I do not propose anything research-based or proven effectiveness but I do say these are ideas that have worked for me.  I am always tweaking, detouring and searching for new things that help me to live a fulfilling life.  This will not be the last post on this subject, I promise, as it is an everyday reality for me.  But for now… these are some things that contribute to my love for life:

1.  Meet with friends.  I make myself do it. It’s not that I don’t want to meet with friends, I just find I get caught up in the everyday stuff like laundry and cleaning the toilet. Then, before I know it, the day is gone and I have nothing memory-worthy  to show for it.   I always feel better when I spend time with friends.  They offer me support, love and some good laughs.  Great for the mood!

Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude

2.  Attitude of Gratitude.  Every morning or night, I think of 5 things I’m grateful for and I thank God, or the universe, for bringing those things, people or experiences into my life.  Sometimes, if it’s been a particularly rough day, I will remember that water flows freely from my tap or  that I travel to work in my own car.  Regardless, every day, I can find at least 5 things to be thankful for.

3.  Yoga.  Love, love, love yoga.  It’s exercise, relaxation and spirituality all rolled into one; great for the soul.  I have tried to get into the gym routine because I know how important exercise is to my mental health and well-being.  The truth is, I HATE IT!  I feel like I’m torturing myself.  Yoga makes me feel like I’m rewarding myself.  As my instructor says, it’s a gentle coaxing of the body as opposed to assertive pushing.  And the best part, at the end, there is at least 10 minutes of lying still and quiet. You don’t have to feel guilty for stealing a few minutes to yourself because it is a requirement of the practice.  It’s wonderful and the benefits are plenty.

ginger genie

4.  Blog.  This has been hugely therapeutic for me.  I’m a big journaller  – it helps me get my thoughts out – good or bad. Blogging allows me to get the good thoughts out in an organized manner.   It keeps me focused and it gives me the added benefit of maybe helping others.

5.  Read.  I have acquired a collection of different books over the years that I keep by my bed for when I’m settling down for the night. I will pick up different ones depending on my mood.  Some nights, I will read from my fiction novels (right now I’m working on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon), other nights I might read from “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin and still others I might tackle some spiritual reads.  Reading lets me escape or become inspired.  A fabulous book that I’ve had by my bed for years is “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  It has an affirmation for everyday of the year to help keep your mental wellness in check.

6. Cry.  Sounds counter-productive right?  Sometimes, I just want a good cry … alone.  I don’t want sympathy, or an audience or drama.  I just want to lock the bathroom door, have a warm bubble bath and just cry in the tub.  I find it cathartic and I usually feel better after.  Sometimes, I’m not even sad, I might be touched or just feeling overwhelmed and I just want to feel those emotions wholeheartedly without being judged.

music staff

7.  Listen To Classical music.  Some of you may be thinking “ugh – that makes it worse”. I found switching the radio from my usual “hit” music to something slower, clearer and  subtler, helps to calm my mind (maybe not something like the William Tell Overture).  It makes me feel smarter too.  That’s probably psychological but if  it aids in self esteem boosting, I say, do it.