Gratitude Challenge 2020

In this challenging year, it’s important to stay thankful and positive and to share this with others, so I’m borrowing this concept from this website. The point of the Challenge is to be mindfully thankful for thirty days, using keyword prompts to focus on a specific area for which we can be thankful.

Day 30: Self-Love

I am very happy and proud to be a mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter and co-worker to a community of very special people.  I am grateful for the contentment I feel from these unique and special relationships and I’m am sure that I make a positive impact, in some way, in the lives of each of these people.  I’m grateful for the love and support that I have received as well as the professional success that I have achieved and eagerly look forward to what life will bring from this day forward.  

Life is Good!

Day 29: Curiosity

Being curious means asking questions and being open to the answers, which leads to learning what we do not yet know and providing new opportunities for growth.    I love watching and supporting the curiosity of children.  It is wonderful to see the joy they get in learning something new and how they incorporate the new knowledge into their lives.  I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I have had to be curious both in new places when we travel and also in our new home. My life is made richer by being able to constantly learn and appreciate the world in which we live.

Day 28: Time

I’m grateful for each day of my life. When I look back over my timeline I realize, of course, I have aged (gracefully I hope) and more importantly I have been blessed with so many great life experiences.

My parents provided a loving and stable home with a myriad of experiences.  I was able to challenge myself in university. I am happy to have shared 34+ years, and counting , with Bill. 

I  experienced the joy of bringing two wonderful boys into the world and see them grow into fine young men who are now building their own lives and timelines.  I’m eternally grateful for all the memories – good and bad and look forward to making each day count in the future.

I have learned, and try to practice, that each day is a gift.  Having lost both parents, suddenly, at too young an age, I’ve vowed to be forever grateful for each day and to live life to the fullest.  It was a big part of our decision to make the opportunity to retire ‘early’ and move to Ladysmith.   I try to live with no regrets or secrets because time is not guaranteed.    

Day 27: Progress

Especially in the time of Covid, I’m grateful for the progress of technology.   Although personal visits are always better, technology has enabled me to stay connected with friends and family.  It’s also enabled me to learn with meetings with the paddling club.  Online shopping saves us time and often provides more selection that we can find in local stores here on the island.  I’ve been fortunate to have a very fulfilling career working remotely for 15 years; something that was not possible without technology.  I’ve enjoyed digital photography which provides instant feedback and ability to share, compared to the years of film.   We bought a house remotely and we’ve been able to research potential trips and book them with a couple clicks of a mouse and then airplanes can whisk us away.  We can answer almost any question by asking “Mr. Google”.  So from a very selfish perspective, I’m grateful for progress 

Thanks to my book club, I recently read this fascinating book that made me rethink some perceptions about the world’s progress.   Progress has indeed made the world a better place even though, based on popular press of doom and gloom, we may not think so. I’m grateful I had a chance to read and think about this book.

If interested, click the image to go to Amazon for purchase.

Day 26: Family

I am blessed by being born into a large family, I ‘inherited’ one through marriage, and I am blessed to have our own with Bill and the boys.  The family members are all unique individuals, each of which contribute their unique strengths.  And even though I may not see or have a close relationship with all members, I do appreciate the bond of love the ties us together. 

This year I’m most grateful to have strengthened ties with two very special family members: Nicky and Derek.  They have showered us with unconditional love and support in our move to the island.  They have helped us discover the beauty of this place through our common love of biking and hiking.  And we have spent great times together chatting, discussing, laughing, dining, sharing special events, watching football, enjoying sunsets over Lake Somenos or behind Mt. Stratton.  I’m very thankful they are in our safe bubble; the companionship and love they bring to us is so very special.

Day 25: Wisdom

I would say that I’m most grateful for wisdom from my parents and parents-in-law. Each of them had unique experience, knowledge, ethics, compassion, and unconditional love which they shared, providing guidance and setting sterling examples.

From this, I gained wisdom. Did I always agree? Not necessarily but I have shared these learnings, combined with my personal life lessons and knowledge, and I hope they will be seen as wisdom by the next generation.

Day 24: Love

I have been very fortunate to be loved by so many people in my life and I’m equally thankful that I can share my love with others.   

I’m so very grateful that I have had the joy of sharing my love with Eric and Kirk from the day they were born and I know this love will endure.

My life has been made complete with the unwavering love from Bill.  We have forged a wonderful life together that has brought joy, fulfillment and adventure.  He has always supported, challenged, respected, trusted and loved me in all things.  Without him I would not be who I am today. 

I know that love freely given to, and received from, so many other people including parents, siblings, and friends has been the foundation of my life, and given me comfort, peace, strength, and so many memories.

Day 23: Colour

I love and probably crave colour in my life and I think that gene is hereditary because I know that Mom loved colours and Kirk follows in these footsteps as well.

Colors also stimulate memories. Edna’s favourite colour was dusky rose and it makes me happy when I see it to think of her and her loving soul. Happy Birthday Edna!

I’m grateful for, and appreciate, colour everywhere – sunsets, sunrises, flowers, stained glass, fall, blue skies against winter snow, kayaks on the shore, rainbows and so much more. I tend to look for it everywhere and it makes me smile.

My happy colour is teal and I’m thankful my family indulges my passion. When I see it, I smile and feel good all over. So yes I seek and spend money on things teal and relish the memories of wonderful vacations on teal blue waters; they are some of the best.

Day 22: Memories

Memories connect you to the past and create life-affirming connections with friends and family.  I’m grateful for sad memories like the loss of a loved one because with time the sadness is replaced with good memories.  One of the best weeks of my life was sharing Mom’s passing with my brothers and sisters.  We are not all close but that time will always be special to me.  We truly appreciated each person for who they were and we had a lot of fun walking down memory lane as we dealt with Mom’s house. I’ve carried this memory and connection with my brothers and sisters from that day forward, even if we don’t see each other much anymore.

I’m very glad that I have so many good and happy memories from throughout my life.   Ottawa was my home for almost 50 years, including all of our married life until we moved to Ladysmith.  We raised our family, and generated countless memories, over the years in Ottawa.  We were a sad to leave, but I am grateful but the strong memories, connections and familiarities.  

I’m also grateful for the opportunity to make new memories here on the Island with so many new things to discover, strengthened family connections and hopefully new friends, once life returns to normal, whatever and whenever that may be.

Day 21: Earth

I am so grateful that we have been had countless wonderful experiences in the outdoors that continually increase our appreciation of earth.  Whether it’s biking on islands, paddling in warm seas or canyons in Utah, paddling and biking Vancouver Island or hiking in mountains, we have loved every moment that always provides an opportunity for us to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the planet that sustains us.  I’m grateful that we now live in a place that allows us to spend even more time outdoors to learn and appreciate it more.   This photo captures the awe, joy and appreciation we feel for earth. Watching a sunrise that changed by the minute and provided us such glorious colors reminded us that we can’t control nature but we can appreciate it and protect it.

Day 20: Clothing

Having worked from home for so many years I am quite grateful that I don’t have to own fancy clothes.   In our new home, we are finding we need different types of clothing to do the things we love during the Vancouver Island winter.  So I’m grateful that we can afford to purchase what we need. They are not fashion-forward, but they keep us warm and safe so we can enjoy new experiences and we look forward to many more.  

Day 19: Inspiration

I find inspiration in people and nature.  People who push their limits and boundaries inspire me to do the same, whether it’s forgetting our age and finding ways to stay active and healthy or leading by example to make the world a better place.  I’m grateful to have met and paddled with this fine 83-year old gentleman whose infectious enthusiasm when sharing his knowledge and love of paddling makes me want to improve and share that with others.

I regularly draw inspiration from my visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  Not only were we there on a perfect day to enjoy the light through the windows but we learned how this amazing architect was inspired by nature to build such a magnificent building.


I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to experience this and it has inspired me to look more closely and appreciate the shapes and textures in nature.  

Day 18: Art

I’m not a connoisseur of expensive art, but I do relish and appreciate art that speaks to me. 

I always loved art produced by the boys, enjoying how it evolved as they grew older. 

I love finding art in nature as we explore the world around us. 

The best art are the special photos we have in our home; each unique that bring back special memories ad feelings. 

Day 17: Truth

Being truthful is the value that I hold most dear and live by. I’m thankful my parents instilled that in me.  It is also the cornerstone of our marriage vows.  Without truth, we could not fulfill our marriage vows of trust, respect and love.  So I’m ever grateful that I found a life partner that shares the same values and we have been able to build a wonderful life together.

Anita & Bill
May 17, 1986
Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad
Nov 17, 1952

Day 16: Laughter

True laughter involves your entire being.  It makes you appreciate who made you laugh and for that moment, all is right with the world.  

I love the infectious laughter of children.  They learn at such a young age and it’s a parent’s rite of passage to witness the first chuckle.  A child knows pure joy wants to make you laugh too.   I’m thankful for the many memories of the boys when they were young!  

Laughter can come from sharing as well. I remember this time with WooJin when Kirk inflicted the famous ‘multiple boxes and wrapping methods’ of gift giving.  It was a lot of fun to share in her delight and becoming part of the family.

Day 15: Work

I have loved for the past 15 years I have worked in the events industry. Solving problems, collaborating with my colleagues and creating success for customers provided me great satisfaction; it has been the perfect job. I’m so grateful for the smart and caring people I have had the pleasure to work with, the clients that have challenged me, and the opportunity to travel to many interesting places around the globe.   During extraordinary year, when events came to an abrupt stop, the wise leadership has guided the company to continued success.

One of the personal highlights of working was being able to work with Kirk for a period in late 2018 when he did contract work for RainFocus. We had fun working and travelling together and I so appreciated his intelligence, wisdom and caring that he showed in a brand new job.  It was a time for us to grow closer together and for that I’m very grateful.  I am also very happy that work allowed me to visit Kirk and WooJin in England a couple of times, especially being able to squeeze in a visit in March just before the lockdown. We had a lovely time together, especially seeing “Come From Away” in London.  it was one of the best shows I have seen and it was special that I could share it with both of them, especially since it was Kirk’s first musical theatre show!

Even though I officially ‘retired’ in 2019, I haven’t been able to leave the work that I love.  I’m very grateful that I can continue to contribute, on my own terms. It allows me to combine the freedom of retirement with the challenge of a great job and company.  It’s really the best of both worlds.

Day 14: Change

Change can be imposed or by made choice. 

The world has changed in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed change (some may say havoc) and impacted everyone in varying degrees of discomfort. I am so grateful that we have so far, remained essentially unscathed. At most we have ‘endured’ some inconveniences like wearing a mask and maybe not being able to eat out as often and not being able to travel. It’s a small price to pay. I’m grateful that we have our health, family support, financial stability and a wonderful place to live where we can explore and discover the beauty all around us. I feel very fortunate.

When change is on your own terms, it’s always an opportunity to grow and benefit.  We chose to make a dramatic change this year by moving from Ottawa to Ladysmith.  We left friends and family behind, incurred great costs and took a risk in uprooting ourselves and starting a new chapter.  I am grateful that very quickly we realized we absolutely made the right decision.  Every day we grow to love this place more and are excited to continue to grow new roots here.

Day 13: Kindness

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Maya Angelou

I thought a lot about this one because it’s more than ‘being nice’.  True kindness comes from concern for others, without an expectation of praise or reward.   I truly believe that it improves life for both the giver and receiver.   Kindness also doesn’t have to be in grand gestures; it just has to make a difference of any size in the life of the receiver.  And the great thing about it is that the giver benefits just as much.

One of the kindest people I know is this fine lady that I am so proud to call my sister.  Always thinking of others, she seems to know how to make a difference in other people’s lives, as she has so many times in mine.  I have benefited and learned from her example and hope that I can pay it forward.  

Just yesterday I read of another wonderful act of true kindness here:     Just imagine the joy he had in making and giving this to someone who will truly benefit and have an improvement in his life. Acts like this give me hope and encourage me to do the same wherever I can.

Day 12: Dreams

Dreams provide the freedom for you to imagine anything.   What matters is if you act on dreams to make a difference.  At one point we had dreams of moving to Utah, a place of which we had grown very fond.  It was exciting to dream of living a beautiful, new place with a new job and all the opportunities that would bring.  That dream did not become a reality, but that experience allowed us to dream of different ideas and make big decisions that led to us moving to Ladysmith which was absolutely the right decision, for which we are very grateful.  So dreams do not always come true and that is not a bad thing.  It just allows us to dream again and forge new life paths.

Day 11: Creativity

I’m a ‘colour-inside-the-lines’ kind of person.  I follow recipes, stitching patterns and instructions really well so I have never considered myself ‘creative’.  I’m probably most creative when using a camera.  It does give joy and and I love the re-living the memories of these these photos when they are displayed on my computer wallpaper or digital picture frame.  It’s something that I do want to do more of.

I do love, also, appreciating the creativity of others.  Whether it’s the young, developing and free-thinking brain of children or the results of more talented artists and craft people.  The great thing about creativity is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there is no wrong answer. 

Day 10: Music

Music is good for the soul and the brain! We are not a naturally musically-talented family but we did try! Unfortunately training ended soon but it has not stopped our appreciation for music. I am grateful for how it can uplift, help me concentrate and energize me.

Day 9: Friendship

Friendships are a primary building block of life and they can include family. Friends are people from whom you receive unconditional support when needed, with whom you challenge points of view in lively discussion and with whom you share experiences that make permanent memories. We have not had a chance to make a lot of new friends here yet because of Covid but our friends at a distance still have a special place in my heart and I know that will remain and for that I’m grateful.

Day 8: Home

The home where we raised our family will always have a special place in our heart. It has so many memories for all of us and we are now dispersed around the world. The boys are building their own lives and I am sure it will be a while until they find their permanent home.

We do love our new home in Ladysmith. It’s perfect for this stage of our lives and we are still relishing in the newness of the experience.

Day 7: Words

Words have always been important to us, having instilled the love of reading for both boys from a very young age. We loved hearing their language develop and still remember and smile when we use words like “comchine”. Christmas always provided a new special book!

I so admire Bill’s gift for writing,

and I enjoy sharing thoughts on words in book club!.

Day 6: Fun

I could likely write an entire essay on “Fun” because it can mean so many things.  It’s more than “I laughed so it must be fun”. To me it means doing something that brings a smile to my soul and an overall good feeling.  Something that I will treasure and want to do again.  And as I think of this, we have had so so many ‘fun’ experiences that it’s hard to select one because they all provide a different feeling and good memories that I treasure.

Fun always includes on or more of the following:

Being with someone – friends or family. Yes you can have fun on your own but I would much rather share

Learning something

Doing something new

Pushing limits to have a sense of accomplishment

Day 5: Nature

I have thousands of pictures that could be used for this. Of all the things that we love about Vancouver Island, being able to appreciate nature and what it offers the senses is close to the top of the list. Whether it’s beauty outside our door, on the forest floor, on cliffs by the ocean or sweeping landscapes from mountain tops, there is always something to enjoy. We have the time and the means (legs, boats, bikes, car) to explore and we are never disappointed. Where else can you find sea, farmland and mountains in the same view? Being active and enjoying nature is why we moved here and it has exceeded our expectations.

Day 4: Strength

Everyone knows a ‘strong’ person and as a parent one always hopes your children will grow up ‘strong’. Kirk embodies strength in many ways. His high school graduation was a celebration of his strength and drive to finish school midst significant health challenges. He enjoyed his graduation with his close friends, with whom he is still in touch today. He has benefited from his strength in making life choices that have brought him happiness and contentment in his job and personal life. That’s all a parent can wish for.

We spend a lot outside and recognize the strength and beauty the world has to offer. This picture reminds me of that strength and how we need to respect it while admiring and enjoying it.

Day 3: Optimism

I remember this day – I made it up a hill on my new e-bike that I would never have been able to do before. It made me optimistic that I would be able to do a lot more riding like this in days to come.

Day 2: Seasons

I love the different seasons. Each provides a different energy and opportunities for activity and reflection. We have not yet had a full cycle of seasons on the Island but here is what I love about seasons as I have known them:

Winter: bright blue skies, sunshine and white snow always brings a smile and is good for the soul.

Spring: awakening of new life – bright greens, new flowers and renewed warmth

Summer: long days to enjoy with endless sunsets

Fall: warm colors glistening in the sunshine during shorter days. Chill in the area is invigorating and life-affirming

Day 1: Health

Health is both mental and physical. I’m grateful for both. I have a supporting and loving family and am healthy enough to enjoy so many different activities.

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