Charity Water – I Dare You To Watch This…

Charity Water – I Dare You To Watch This…

Last night, I wrote a long post to go with this video, but today I deleted it. Instead, I want this beautiful video to do the talking. It has nothing to do with the Fresh Chapter Foundation or our upcoming BHAD trip for 12 cancer survivors to volunteer in New Delhi. It’s simply a cause I believe in and want to share with you. I dare you to watch it and I hope the four minutes you spend visiting one of my favourite countries on earth, leaves you inspired about what WE can do to make a difference.

Leave a comment below to tell us what you are going to do to get involved in this wonderful campaign. Let’s help Rwanda with their Fresh Chapter…

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Dreams, Fears, & Freedom…Don’t Just Take My Word For It

Dreams, Fears, & Freedom…Don’t Just Take My Word For It

Did my last post irritate you? Were you at sitting at your desk, trying to accomplish the 752 things on your to-do list when you saw my email or the Facebook link to Live As If This Is All There Is? Did your fingers tighten around your coffee mug as you read about how I chose the word “free” as my mantra for the rest of the year? Did you snort and think Hah! Freedom?! I don’t have the luxury of feeling free because my boss is breathing down my neck and I should have finished my PowerPoint presentation for tonight’s board meeting two hours ago.

Or, maybe you read the post once your two year old finally settled for his 20 minute (but you wish was 2 hour) nap and your six year old hadn’t yet arrived home on the school bus. You had a clean socks and sheets tangled around little pairs of jeans and t-shirts on the couch beside you, and a package of chicken defrosting on the counter (and no idea what you would turn it into for dinner). Did you think “F You Terri”. Stop rubbing your freedom in my face! It’s great that you’re so free, but I have a massive mortgage, a cranky husband, a dog who pees on the kitchen floor; and children who will soon clamber around me and whine about when I’m going to take them to the park.”

If you secretly felt like punching me and then you quit reading, I get it. I would not have read a blog like A Fresh Chapter two years ago. Back then, I thought airy fairy, “live your best life” messages were great in principle but didn’t relate to my life. Other people could dream big dreams and talk about freedom, but I had rent to pay and the careers of 350 technology consultants to take care of.

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“What If We Were the Ones Broke Down and Torn?”

“What If We Were the Ones Broke Down and Torn?”

Tomorrow.

A day I spent the weekend NOT thinking about. Or at least telling myself to NOT think about. Another ultrasound. Another opportunity to take off my clothes, slip into a scratchy hospital gown, and lie back on a table so a technician can shake a bottle of goo, fresh from the warmer, and splatter it onto the skin above my ovaries.

As I walked down the wildflower strewn road at my parent’s house on Sunday morning, I had a little pity party for myself about the rock and the hard place I am stuck between.

When I got back to the house, I flopped onto the guestroom bed (insert dramatic, I hate my life flop), pulled my laptop onto my knees, and logged on to Facebook to escape my troubles.

As soon as I saw this picture, my clouded perspective cleared, like a crowded etch-a-sketch after a good shake. The fear of cancer is real, and I don’t want to downplay it (especially for the many people who are fighting for their lives). But when I get out of my head, I see how minor my current “I might end up with cancer again” fears are when compared to the tens of thousands of people who have died of starvation recently in East Africa…

A CBC article about what the United Nations is calling the worst hunger emergency in a generation caught my attention and rattled me out of my ‘poor me’ funk. The World Food Program estimates 11.3 million people across the Eastern Horn of Africa urgently need food and medical supplies. 11.3 million people! 

I know sometimes my eyes glaze over (and maybe yours do too) when I think about the magnitude of this crisis. It becomes easy to forget that each of these people have a story. In a CBC article written by Kazi Stasna, he interviews Austin Kennan of the Concern Aid Organization who says, “The stories are actually what made it so horrendous, because every single family had lost two or more children.”

His words lodge in my head on repeat, “every single family has lost two or more children.” How can a mother bear this kind of suffering? How would you bare it?

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I Just Haven’t Met You Yet…

I Just Haven’t Met You Yet…

Are you on the brink of making a major decision in your life? Maybe you want to quit your job, move to a new city, or try online dating for the first time. Or maybe it’s less drastic. Maybe you just want to try a new spin class or volunteer with a new organization.

What’s holding you back? Is it your fear of the anxiety filled moments awaiting you?

The moment when you brush an imaginary piece of lint from your suit and pretend to walk confidently through the front doors of your new company, even though your hands are shaking in apprehension and you can barely keep your eyes open. (You spent all night wrapped up in dreams that you were five hours late for your first day and no one would sit with you at lunch).

Or the moment you walk into Starbucks and scan the room for the guy (or girl) you have traded exactly three emails with. You didn’t want to waste too much time with calls or emails until you knew if you would feel even remotely attracted to him. (Believe me, there is nothing worse than trying not to gulp your coffee because every moment listening to a guy talk about his souped-up jeep feels like a moment too long.)

I have experienced plenty of anxiety filled moments over the years. Moments like my move to Banff to work as a Concierge at the Banff Springs Hotel, my first day at Royal Roads University, my first interview with a candidate in my new role at TEKsystems, my arrival at the Cape Town airport for my six week volunteer program with Cross Cultural Solutions, and even my “meet and greet” session with the other 19 people I would spend three weeks traveling with through Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia on my GAP Adventures trip.

Each of these experiences started with a pit in my stomach and ended in friendships with people who have enriched my life. People who sat on the bathroom floor with me when the nausea from chemotherapy made it dangerous to move more than two feet from the toilet; people who came over to make dinner and ensure I ate it when one of my heartbreaks turned me into a temporary anorexic; and people who reminded me of how quickly a lifelong friendship can develop when you meet someone on the other side of the world who shares your desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around her.

Now when my chest tightens at the thought of doing something new or slightly crazy, like putting my furniture in storage, packing my bags, and traveling the world (stay tuned…), I remind myself what’s waiting for me on the other side of the anxiety. Every time I push myself beyond the safe borders of my comfort zone, there is a chance I will meet a new friend who I don’t yet know exists. Someone who will give me a new perspective on life, make me laugh, or just stand beside me through the good and bad times in my future. She (or he) is out there. I just haven’t met her yet…

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Swimming with Hippos in the Okavango Delta

Swimming with Hippos in the Okavango Delta

They make it look so easy, but I promise you, it’s not.

My feet brush up against the sides of the boat, my flabby vacation abs are as tight as I can make them, and my fingers wrap around the circumference of a cumbersome wooden pole.  I vow to not let us tip…

A few minutes ago, peals of laughter roused me from the stuffy tent where I had flopped onto my down sleeping bag to nap off the after effects of three helpings of Cape Malay style chicken curry (what can I say, I lose all willpower on vacation). As I heard shouts of excitement, a twinge of envy somersaulted through my full-to-the-brim stomach.

When two of my new friends had strapped on their bathing suits and pushed off from the shore with our guide in an attempt to learn the art of poling, I had opted out. Decided to stay safe, dry, and fully clothed on the shore.

Now, as I breathe in the smell of hot canvas, envy morphs into self-reproach. Why didn’t I go? For as long as I can remember, I have opted out of opportunities that involve any risk of death or dismemberment or, much as I hate to admit it, any chance I will make a fool of myself.

Even since I arrived in Africa, I have used my tight budget as an excuse to skip hot air balloon rides, zip lining, bungee jumping, sky diving, and shark cage diving. I almost had myself convinced I gave these activities a miss because in the crass words of a friend from New Jersey, they didn’t “tickle my balls”. While other people sand-boarded down the dunes of the Kalahari and swam with great white sharks, I sipped a Savannah and edited my blog posts. 

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My Morning with the Real Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert

My Morning with the Real Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert

I smell them long before they step into the clearing.

Last night during their traditional dance, the smoke from the campfire helped to camouflage the intense aroma of dust intermingled with days of caked on sweat. Now in the early post dawn light, their musky, earthy scent is so thick that you can almost taste it.

We shuffle awkwardly in a silent face-off and wait for the interpreter to introduce us. As soon as he speaks, the tension dissolves and one of Bushmen erupts into giggles. Even though I cannot decipher the clicks of their language, I see looks of mutual respect and camaraderie pass between them and our guide.

One of the women steps forward and our guide explains that she would like the chance to meet each of us. As she makes her way down the line, she parrots back our name and home country while mimicking our exact tone and accent. When she finally stands in front of me, I study the deep crevices that line her face and feel the rough callouses on her palms. She grips my hand with a surprising intensity and for a moment I get lost in eyes the colour of rich coffee.

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