Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscars!

My weekend has been super busy with many Mom duties as well as lots of work and a baby shower.

But now I am planting my butt on the couch (with my scratchy throat), having a glass of wine and some nibbles.

If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner - I tried this last night and it was delish..........





Fresh market vegetables (peppers and asparagus)

Israeli Couscous

Wild BC Sockeye salmon

Toss together with some balsamic vinagrette




Yummy!  

It may not be Oscar worthy but it is healthy and easy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sea to Sky

I drove to Squamish yesterday - about an hour north of Vancouver - about half way to Whistler BC.  Once you get through downtown Vancouver (which can be a bit of a feat on a Friday afternoon especially when there is an accident at Georgia and Jervis) you head over the Lions Gate Bridge Bridge.

In the early 1930’s, the Guinness family built the Lions Gate Bridge (also known as the First Narrows Crossing) to access their own property on the North Shore..... I guess all the beer made them lots of money because that is quite a driveway!

Fortunately for us 2 of the three lanes were going north so we sailed across with no delay.

Once you get across the bridge you make your way to the Upper Levels Highway which runs across the North Shore Mountains.  We headed west towards Horseshoe Bay.

At Horseshoe Bay we headed north on the Sea to Sky Highway which goes from West Vancouver to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.  

In the past this highway was notoriously dangerous, very narrow and twisty and at times it literally hangs on the side of the mountains with very little between the road and Howe Sound (an ocean inlet) below.  One of the "legacies" of the 2010 Winter Olympics was the re-do of the highway.  It took 3 years but it really is such a different experience now.  Much wider and straighter (still some single lane each way sections because there is literally no space for any more). 

Here are some shots of the drive......



















We got to Squamish with time to spare and sat in the car in the sun (it was -2 outside) and looked at this beauty....
We met up with Lindsay's friend Maxine and headed home with a quick stop at Porteau Cove for a couple more snaps.....







We got back to Richmond just as the sun was setting after a glorious day and a wonderful drive.  Feeling very blessed to live in such beauty, especially this week when so many in the World are suffering.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Get me outta here....

I think I have a syndrome for which I hope there is no cure.

I am sure its the same week every year I suddenly have a desperate urge to book a trip to Disneyland.  In 3 of the last 4 years years I have succumbed to my syndrome (Disneyosis?) and booked a trip.  I preempted the syndrome this year by booking elsewhere long before it struck so I won't be sucked in this year.......

Yet that Disney longing has settled over me again.

It is such a cliche and I hate cliches in general and am horrified that , in this instance anyway, I have become the cliche, I embrace the cliche and long for the cliche....... I do, in fact, believe Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth.  And I am happy, no delighted, to part with my hard earned dollars for the total escapism that walking through those gates gives me.

I suspend all rational and logical thought and close off my mind from anything outside the park and fully immerse myself in all the musical, happy, fun that that bubble offers.  My family is its own little bubble inside the Big Disney Bubble and we play so well together.  I LOVE it.

And after 3 days Allan and I declare we're Disney'd out and happy to be going back to the real world. We tell each other we really don't need to do Disney again for several years..... yadda yadda yadda...... and then this week comes round and the Disneyosis returns.

In discussing this late last night Allan diagnosed the syndrome as "Anyplacebuthereitis" which is probably closer to the the truth.  And I am looking forward to the Oregon Dunes with the Cousins very much.  I think though to really test his theory we should try some more exotic locales like Hawaii or some other island in the sun.

Or I am going back to Disney........

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Conference Registration 101

MEMO
TO:          People registering for conferences
FROM:   Event Planner

Dear Delegate:

In order to streamline the registration process and maximise your conference experience we suggest the following:

1. Actually read the conference registration package.  A L L   O F  I T. If you cannot read or you cannot read it in this language then, clearly,  this conference is not for you.

2. The registration form does, in fact, have to be filled out - I cannot just write it all down when you phone me.

3. When it asks you for a first, second and third choice of workshops in both the morning and afternoon and a table has been included for you to write in please just do it.  As a side note, making check marks in each of the boxes doesn't tell me which session you want to attend.  I AM NOT PSYCHIC.

4. Please do not call me unless there is information you have to have that is not in the materials - you are one of hundreds and although I am sure you are a lovely person I don't have time to chit chat. (and when I am curt or to-the-point you will put that the Event Planner was rude on your evaluation form - I know you!!).

5. No,  you can't hold  a space in all 14 workshops until you can make a decision about your professional development goals.

6. No you can't have a receipt before you pay...... or a confirmation.... like it says on the registration form.

7. If you neglect to include any contact information on the form, as requested,  don't yell at me when you don't get a confirmation.

8. I am no techie but I am pretty sure noone can steal your credit card number off the fax waves....... and feel free to mail a cheque.

9.When your namebadge is misspelled because your handwriting was so abysmal as to be illegible on the fax, don't freak out, we'd be happy to change your badge..... we do that stuff,  it's our job.

10.  Don't yell at me that you are not in the workshop you wanted........firstly you probably are in what you asked for and I have your registration form right here to prove it (apology accepted)  and your confirmation letter would have confirmed (funnily enough) if any changes or substitutions had occurred. (I have a copy of that too - I know you are busy and didn't have time to read it).

11. I am sorry you couldn't eat the lunch as you are a vegan with lactose intolerance - if we had known we could have accommodated you (as indicated on the registration form) and no we can't refund you because we already paid for the lunch.

12.  No you cannot have your certificate of attendance until the end of the day........ like it says in the registration package....... I will not be moved.

13. I do apologise for the price of the parking,  the sun coming in the window,  the concrete pillar that blocked your view, the speakers distracting speech impediment, the fact the vendors didn't take Amex, that the coffee was not fair traded........ this is, of course, all my fault.  We will have the venue rebuilt to suit you next year and will more carefully screen presenters, vendors and the coffee. 
We want only the best conference experience you could hope for. (for the $60 you are paying which includes a Keynote, 2 workshops and lunch plus 2 nutrition breaks).

Thank you for your attention (as if) to these easy steps,  for more tips on enhancing your conference experience look for our book coming out in 2012 - "Conference Registration and Attendance for Dummies" - you are sure to find it immensely helpful.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Serendipity

I love that word...... Serendipity........ sounds like you should be skipping or humming when you say it......

OK.

At work we order our Hygenic Supplies from Dominion Janitorial Supplies.  They have been our supplier for almost 10 years so we know them quite well.  The owner often does the deliveries himself and we have a chatting acquaintance now.....

A few weeks back he came with the delivery and the usual delivery guy Tom (who usually doesn't say a word) and as usual we got chatting as they were lugging in cases of bleach and paper towels and latex gloves.......  As these things often go I don't recall how we got on to the topic of eating locally but what came out was that Tom the delivery guy grows citrus, all kinds of common and exotic citrus fruit, in a greenhouse in Delta. (10 minutes south of Richmond where I live). 

Not only is this remarkable in our climate to grow citrus but for me the serendipity was finding my hygenic order delivery guy can now supply me with exotic citrus too (for our home cooking).  And he was suddenly Mr.Chatty, so excited to have found someone who was interested, delighted in fact, to buy local produce. 

He promised to bring me by a sample of his citrus.

A week or two went by and I was feeling kind of disappointed that Tom (who had slipped me his business card that says "Tiny Tom's Tangerine Farm" as he is a small guy with some physical challenges.  If this all sounds a bit far fetched check out his web page here ) hadn't arrived with the goods.

And then last week as Tiny Tom was lugging in the last box of bleach - there, perched perkily on the top of the box, was a basket of citrus delights! 

He spent a good few minutes telling about each of the various lemons, limes, mandarins etc..... the history, the best uses etc.... he had great passion for it obviously and I tried to follow and remember..... but I was woefully blank when I got the basket home and Allan was asking all bout it!

It made my office smell like an orange grove and it was bright and sunny thing to behold on a grey winters day.  I ate a mandarin and it was the tastiest, juiciest mandarin I have ever eaten.

So for those in our neighbourhood trying to eat local just got a whole lot more interesting.  I am going to order some more soon, let me know if you want anything!

Monday, February 21, 2011

News

I am a bit of a news junkie - I have several news sites bookmarked on my browser and I check in frequently.  For those who follow my FB you will see I posted a comment from a Vancouver Sun article today about what your car colour says about you.  Mine says I am calm and collected which just proves the article is a heap of hooey.  I have wondered for the rest of today why that stupid article caught my eye when I saw so many other much more newsworthy stories and headlines that I did not click on? 

I have wondered if I have allowed myself to become immune to the "suffering" headlines or if I have innoculated myself against them because they make me feel so overwhelmed and powerless?  I tend to obsess about a story, especially a "human interest" story - its the social worker in me I think...... I follow links, I try to find out more. 

We drove past by a bad car wreck on the I5 in Oregon last summer on a clear, sunny morning.  I trolled their local papers when I got home to find details.  A Mom got distracted, hit the gravel edge of the highway, over-corrected and rolled the car. She died , her 9 year old son in the backseat survived.  Why did I need to know the details? I almost did a degree in Journalism so maybe its the fact finder in me.  Or maybe that social work degree makes me want to know what happened. Or maybe I am a nosy parker. Or maybe I needed the emotional closure. Maybe I need a therapist....... ha ha ha...... I don't mean to overstate this but I do think about it.

The whole revolution in North Africa is a very fascinating story, one that really resonates with me but my North African socio-politcal knowledge is woeful and I know CNN is giving me a slanted view and I frankly don't have the time or energy to study up on it all so I tend bypass all but the headlines.

And then there are the headlines you get from FB - all my friends and family in Australia and New Zealand are "talking" about the earthquake in Christchurch.  I am so saddened to hear that beautiful cathedral is so badly damaged - I have stood in it - hard to believe....... So this one will tug at my heart because I have been there, I know people there.

So news is really what you allow past your own filters, what you choose to take on and take in as your own life allows. 

I am guessing I had a filter malfunction when I read the "news" about car colour and personality. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Practicum Supervision

I supervise Early Childhood Education students who are doing their practica in Richmond.  Its is a challenging, sometimes rewarding and sometimes disappointing job. 

Some students, even those who have excelled in the classroom, struggle tremendously when they come face to face with real, live 4 year olds.  They try too hard to say and do everything "right" that they forget to just have a conversation with the child/ren and find out what they are thinking and what they are interested in.  Some of them can't even figure out how to ask an open ended question. 

Of course some of them are wonderful.  They have that "it" factor that makes them confident and comfortable and they show genuine interest in the children.

Sometimes the hard part of the job is some of the places I go to supervise the student.  Places that are so stuck in the last decade, who still force children through a system of themes often completely unrelated to anything the children are interested in.  Where adult agendas rule the day and learning is imposed rather than facilitated.  Who decided that if its the second week in March children will be interested in Farm Animals......????  Where is the respect for children and the amazing thinking and theories of the world they bring to the conversation?  All we need to do is listen and observe and offer them ways to deepen their own thinking and the learning follows in the most meaningful way.

Occasionally i get a student in one of my own centres which is a wonderful gift for me.  I get to hang out and connect with my staff in a different way.  The highlight of my week last week was being in one of my centres and observing 4 little boys of 4 different ethnic backgrounds standing in front of the dress-up clothes asking to put on the lovely dresses.....and high heels.  The teacher didn't miss a beat and helped these boys dress up in the dresses.... they put on the heels (several sizes too big), properly accessorized with purses and jewelery  and proceeded out of the dress-up area to show themselves off.  They loved the sound their heels made on the tiles floor and started tapping and stamping.  An observant teacher saw an opportunity to extend the play and quietly moved over to the CD player and put some music on.  Within seconds the boys heard the music and came over.  The teacher encouraged the children to listen to the beat and move their bodies.  Soon several other children had joined in and when Abba's Dancing Queen came on it was a full-on dance party - children and teachers and even me......  So clean-up time was a bit delayed - no one cared - it was great moment with much hidden learning but it took a skilled educator to make it happen.

In some centres I go in to this would not have been allowed to happen - what a loss.....

So back I go this week to see my students who both had a good start last week but both have things to work on this week....and I get to be reminded again why I do what I do at my desk all day.......so wonderful educators can make amazing things happen for young children and their families.... and a whole new generation falls in love with Abba :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hometown Tourist

When I was in Seattle just before Christmas I pondered why doing chores or shopping (which fall into the same category for me) in a different City made it more appealing than when at home (read here). So today I was going downtown to have lunch with my close friend Kim (which is not a chore at all) and decided to act like a tourist and try and see my hometown through new eyes.

I took the Canada Line from Richmond Centre to City Centre in Vancouver which takes about 25 minutes. 

I love the ride - no driving or parking hassles to deal with and time to enjoy a bit of the scenery before the train goes underground and then you get to people watch.  Such a diverse crowd in my section of the train today - a very old Chinese couple, looking a little bemused, obviously off to shop with their basket on wheels.  I tried to imagine what it must be like to be in a strange land so far from their roots at their age trying to adapt.  I imagined what it would feel like if it was the reverse and I was on a train in China with no signs in a language I could read or understand....... I watched a little girl standing at the front of the train obviously enjoying the sensation of pretending to drive the train - her dad watched her with obvious delight.

I had a lovely lunch with Kim - she and I used to live in the same Co-op and worked in the same office (for different organisations) 15 years ago and we have been great friends ever since.  She lives about an hour and a bit east of where I live so we don't often see each other although we talk on the phone almost every week.   It was lovely to have time to chat face to face.  We did a little shopping on Robson Street together - we realised we have never shopped together and it was quite funny - we have opposite taste.  I ended up with some workout clothes from a store I would never have gone into usually.  Thanks Kim!!

It was great to hang out.

I strolled back to the train station with my camera in hand pretending to be a tourist on this beautiful sunny day with brilliant blue sky (although pretty windy and cold).  Here are some shots of downtown Vancouver.

Robson Street 
A little fountain at the side of the Art Gallery I had never noticed

Street Food Vendors are all the rage here now

The Maple Leaf Forever

So much to do......

The mountain view is always to the north

A shot of Mount Baker in the USA from the train

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Economics

With all my recent baking one of my school friends commented that our Home Economics teacher would be proud of me!  I had a good chuckle as I recalled the disastrous start I had in Home Ec.  My daughter Lindsay is currently in her Grade 8 rotation of Home Ec. and its fun seeing what she is doing.

When I was in Grade 8 the HE (Home Ec) teacher was Ms Jones and she disliked me on sight!  It was clear from day 1 we were not going to get along.  And then we started a sewing project.  Sewing does not, and never has, interested me, much to the disappointment of my mother who is a wonderful seamstress.

We had to make these wrap-around skirts (it was the early 80's) and not only did we have to cut and sew them we also had to silk screen them..... man I feel like I am writing about the dark ages here...... so here is a photo for those don't recall silk screening (lucky you).

I chose a ridiculously complicated butterfly cutout to silk screen and I did them in grey on a dusty pink fabric (remember it was the early 80's - dusty pink was very "in")...... anyway they ended up looking like mutant insects from outer space.  And then I had to sew the skirt.  I had a rather unfortunate episode with the sewing machine.  I did not realise the foot pedal was a speed controller (I am sure this is my Mother's fault for not giving me better instruction and not my complete inattention to anything the teacher said) so I put my fabric under the needle and floored the pedal (I thought I was turning it on).  The fabric took off at an alarming rate and the thread zigged and zagged randomly through several layers of my skirt.  I was somehow mesmerized by this and did not take my foot off the pedal until the needle snapped in two and my skirt came to grinding halt.  I can still see Ms Jones advancing on me across the room full of wrath.  I spent weeks unpicking the layers of my skirt.  I was banned from the machines and had to hand stitch the hem. 

I got an F on my project.  To this day I use tape or staples to hem anything.

You wouldn't think things could get any worse when we moved into the cooking unit...... right?........ riiiiiight ;(

I was monkeying around with my cooking partner Melanie McFie in the kitchen one day and I misguidedly wet a dish towel and threw it at Melanie's head.  The agile Miss McFie dropped to her knees between two stoves and to all intents and purposes disappeared.  The dishtowel was now traveling further than intended and at that moment Ms Jones walked into the kitchen and received a wet dishtowel to the head.  I could not convince her it was not intended for her head and my ever loyal friend stayed low in a fit of silent giggles leaving me out to dry... as it were.

I was in detention forever..........

Ms. Jones left the school (I am sure it had nothing to do with me, quite sure).

Mrs Brown was the new HE teacher - very uptight and prissy and old-fashioned.  But I at least had a fresh start and the rest of my HE "career" was uneventful.  I do remember one day my two good friends who were cooking opposite us on the same island had just put a sponge cake for a test into the oven when we spied the eggs for the aforementioned sponge sitting on the counter.  They looked at us horrified - no way was that cake going to rise.  Quick as a whip we put the eggs in Pippa's apron pocket and she turned towards the sink and got busy washing up as Hayley watched the cake not rise.  We figured if Mrs Brown was at the other end of the kitchen we could give them one layer of our sponge and we'd take one of theirs and we could both have presentable cakes.  We also knew she was very unlikely to taste our cakes - she was always watching her figure (ya right - she didn't want to eat anything we made more likely).  Their sponges were awful. We put ours together and there was a good inch or more missing on theirs.  I had a brainwave to stick a melamine bowl between their layers to prop them up.  We slipped it in and voila the cake looked normal.  But their (and my) fate was now sealed --if she looked and didn't cut they were home free! 

She just looked - phew!

We were all so happy until Pippa turned from the sink and we could see the eggs had broken in her apron pocket and were running down her school uniform - we threw the apron in a bag - Pip made a dash for the bathroom to clean up and we escaped from the class in fits of hysteria, dumping the cake in the bin as we left!

So my recent baking and cooking is a triumph!! I learned alot from Julia Fuku who was our cook and housekeeper when I was growing up (a blog on her one day) and my Mom and Allan's Mom and from the Food Channel.  Allan has really become a great cook over the last few years and I have learned alot from him. As has Lindsay which is why she is acing Home Ec. with food skills from her Dad and sewing skills from her Gaga - I can take NO credit!


I am thinking this white choc silk flan with raspberries and dark choc I made last summer may have passed the test even with Ms Jones. Maybe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh My

I was just trolling through my usual blog route this morning when I landed on Janice's Blog and was delighted she had been nominated for a Stylish Blogger Award - I couldn't agree more.... I have often commented to others that her blog is so lovely and seems much more flexible than mine design-wise and she is an amazingly talented woman (it is actually kind of freaky how parallel our lives are - our kids are the same age, her eldest is a boy and mine is a girl, our youngest are playing on the same soccer team for the second time, our husbands worked together for years, now her husband in my daughters school principal, they love car trips and Oregon and so do we, we both like and love our kids, like messing about with photography and crafts..... it goes on....). Anyway I thought the award very well deserved.  The nominee is then supposed to share 7 things about themselves and I enjoyed reading hers.

And then she nominated 6 other blogs for the Stylish Blogger Award and I was stunned to see my blog on her list!!!  WOW!!!  for a novice I am very humbled and very delighted....... This is starting to sound like an acceptance speech....... HA HA ..... but I am THAT pleased!

Except now I have to follow suit and list 7 things about myself and then nominate some of my favourite blogs for the award......... no free lunches hey!!

OK - here goes.....

1.  I plan to write a book one day........ and have a linen closet that is worthy of the cover of a Home Magazine.

2. I eat my fries and/or yam fries with mayonnaise not ketchup

3.  I have always been a sports fan and although I have never been to a Canucks game I am a big fan and I    know more about hockey than you might think.

4. My husband brings me a cup of tea in bed every morning and I love him for that and a bunch of other stuff too.

5. I used to have political aspirations...now.... not so much. I will change the world in a different way.

6. Salty over sweet. Any day, anytime....... AND raisins should be banned from baked goods

7. My children are my greatest accomplishment and among my closest friends. 

I would like to nominate these blogs I ready everyday:

1.  HAITI
I read Tara Livesay here everyday not just because I love her candid and self-reflective style but to remind myself just how much I have to be thankful for and how much the world "out there" is hurting.

2. CAPE TOWN
I read Heather Moore's blog here but I am a stalker so she doesn't know (yet).  I was at school with Heather but know her brother Derek too.  I would like to be a tiny bit as creative as Ms. Moore - she has an amazing eye!

3. STEVESTON
I read the Together We Learn blog here.  It is written by Neil Kamide, Principal at McMath Secondary and has been a wonderful window into high school life and secondary education for me in my first year as a high school parent.  My daughter Lindsay is at this school.

4. NORWAY
I stalk this blog too.  I know the authors parents (in fact the Dad/Dad-in-law was our wedding photographer) but what I like to read is 1) about life in Norway and how they have adapted to it and 2) I identify with the writing on the experience of being an immigrant.  You can take the girl our of Africa but its almost impossible to take Africa out of the girl...... and we don't want to lose it anyway......

5. TANZANIA
Judi and David Owens are missionaries in Arusha Tanzania and blog (intermittently - snap!) about it here.  Their faith adventure is inspiring but what I really love is the stories of Flash the tortoise and his miserable love life and the current hen/mongoose saga.

So thanks again Janice....... it made my day!  Happy Blog Hopping to the rest of you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

V-Day - the conclusion

The last of my Valentines projects was a photo/card project.  I dashed home late Thursday with a half formed idea in my head.  I headed into the backyard as the light was fading and searched for some sticks to make a heart with.  The first couple of attempts were dismal.

I realised I had to make the heart so I used some twine and made the heart.  I then set about photographing it against various backgrounds.  I hung it on the fence, put it on a woodpile lying in the yard, on the grass....  Then I came inside and tried it on various surfaces from carpet, to cushions to curtains and the couch....  I had lots of shots.

I then carefully edited down to 9 images.  I find editing so hard to do.  I flip back and forth between two almost identical shots looking for that little something that makes one look better than the other.  And I find hitting the delete button very hard to do!!

When I took them in to be printed I decided to look at what other effects I could use and I loved how they looked in sepia.  So I ordered sets in colour and in sepia.

In some of them the difference is subtle but in others it is quite stark.







 Then I used the photo's to make cards.  The red background looked lovely on this pre-embossed card from the paper source.
I mounted the sepia ones on a dark red card and then onto white cardstock........


I also put a heart in a frame for each of my little family to keep in their rooms or on their desks to remind them how much I love them.


And as usual I printed too many so am now thinking of other ways to use them up - thank you cards, a framed heart collage????   You can't really go wrong with too many hearts can you?

And while I was writing this blog I used the rest of the cake balls to make some cake pops for our Soup groupers tonight - these ones were white and looked sweet.... I just had a great idea that they could be snowballs for Christmas with a little blue sugar on them......... YES!

Cake pop take 2

An avenue of deliciousness


And that concludes all my Valentines Day projects - I am all out of creative energy and ideas - you are on your own for St Patricks Day !

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love


It seems like a very risky thing to blog on the topic of love. 

First of all there are so many interpretations of what love is. Secondly, I am no expert on love.  Thirdly, its hard to write about love and not sound sappy or preachy (and I am not a big fan of sappy or preachy).

So if I had any brains I would post a photo of a heart now and wish you Happy Valentines and sign off.  But that would feel like a cop out to me and one of the goals I had for writing a blog was to be somewhat transparent about me and my life (My family is starting to break out in hives about now) so here goes........

I have been loved very well in my 41 years on earth by a diverse group of people.  It started with my parents who thought the bald, round blob that was me was the most beautiful thing they had ever set eyes on and therefore sent photos of that bald blob around the world that still exist today (no I am not posting them).

It has continued with family, friends, my husband and my children and more friends.......

I have experienced many types of love...... I remember the first date I ever went on, that high high of infatuation which fizzled so soon.  I remember falling in love with Allan, the preoccupation of my mind and heart with him and the dawning on me that this was not a fizzler.... that this relationship was going somewhere serious.  That this was a sustaining and sufficient love.  That love you feel when you first lock eyes with a baby you just pushed out grips your heart in an indescribable way.  The love you feel when a friend does something that touches your heart, a warm , connecting feeling.

I first loved my parents for all they did for me and now I love them for that and for who they are and what they have shown me through their example about how to live life with integrity and perserverance and love.  I love my sister and sister-in-law and their families and my aunts and uncles and cousins and Allan's cousins - an extended family can be a great gift.

I love my own little family too.  I love my children with a fierce protective love and a proud, heart-filling love.  It's almost terrifying to love another human so much - it puts so much at stake.

I love my husband too. With all my heart.  It is a love that has been tested by fire, fire I did not want or choose, but fire that proved that love can win out if you choose it.  My marriage has taught me that love is not a feeling every day, some days it is an act of will and some days its plain, unlovely, unrewarding hard work. 

BUT I choose to love.

And that is really the greatest thing I have learned over the years is that I have a choice to love or not to love. 

I have discovered that the big winner when I choose love is not only the one I love but me too. (maybe even me more).

And all this comes from a God who first loved me and chose me.  If I choose to be like Him then the first thing I need to do is love.

I am choosing love today.