Category Archives: Inspiration

Word of the Year- 2020

I follow author Carrie Synder’s blog.  Each January instead of making resolutions Carrie chooses a word she wants to apply to her life for the coming year and blogs about her progress in doing so. 

I decided I would try to pick a word of the year for 2020.  It was hard. I toyed around with lots of different possibilities, but I finally settled on LISTEN. 

visiting with al (1)

I tend to talk a lot and so this year I want to try to talk less and listen more.  I want to really listen to what others have to say and learn from them.  

I want to get better at sensing how other people feel about me or when I may have irritated, frustrated or upset them, and so I want to listen in a way that helps me pick up on more than just other people’s words, but listen to their body language and unspoken emotions as well to figure out how I can improve our relationship.

walking in iceland

I want to do a better job of listening to my body and what it is telling me I need to do to keep it healthy and strong.  I also need to learn to listen when my body tells me it needs rest and quiet. 

I want to listen to different kinds of music and expand my music tastes. 

I want to start listening to some podcasts and be inspired by the new ideas they might foster. 

at the writing desk in icelandI want to seek out more advice about improving my writing and getting it published and I want to listen to that advice and take it seriously.  

Hopefully, I will make progress implementing my word and can report back to you during the coming year in some blog posts.

What might you pick for a word of the year?

Other posts…….

Words to Live By- My Grandmother’s Epitaph

Words of Wisdom on a Wine Bottle

Elegant Words




Filed under Inspiration, Reflections

Inspiration to Speed the Coming of Spring Weather

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
― L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Avonlea
pink bike and tulips spring
In winter I plot and plan. In spring I move.  Henry Rollings

I want to pay attention to springI am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around……and look up. I am going to…… listen.  Anne Lamontwedding in japan“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

purple flowersFor now the winter is past. The rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth. The time of singing has come. – Song of Solomon 2:11-12

canada geese on school playground in winnipeg“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.”
― Lilly Pulitzer

winnipeg river in springIn spring the river rises as high as the sea.  -Zhang Ruoxu 

leaf after a rain 2012There shall come Spring rains

When all seems lost to the cold decay

And winter shall release its icy reign. 

-Sheri Walters

cherry blossoms spring japan

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough.

A.E. Housmana toast in rome

Toasting the sun,
See spring twirl
Flower-cups in the air.
Would I could wipe from your brow,
The furrows of care!

-Salomeja Neris


spring in the window

“I glanced out the window at the signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright.”
— Millard Kaufman

The photos in this post were taken in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Moose Lake, Rome, Portugal, Kyoto and Hiroshima

Other posts…….

Icy Inspiration

Australian Inspiration

Inspiration on a Walk in Sedona

Fiji Inspiration



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Filed under Inspiration, Nature

Show Me What You Can Do

bank of ghana

In 2017 Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey’s picture was featured on the five cedis note of Ghana’s currency in honor of his educational contributions

Don’t tell me what you know, show me what you can do.  

On Sunday my pastor used that quote in his sermon. Its wisdom can be attributed to Dr. James Emman Kwegyir- Aggrey a turn of the century educational philosopher from Ghana. He obtained numerous degrees from American universities, was an educational consultant in many African countries and in the last years of his life served as the vice principal of a college in the Ghanian capital of Accra. 

Checking out Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey’s impressive biography on various sites led me to a number of other quotes of his that were thought-provoking.  

About racial harmony he said…………If you play only the white notes on a piano you get only sharps; if only the black keys you get flats; but if you play the two together you get harmony and beautiful music.

On education for women he said…… The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women.  If you educate a man you simply educate an individual.  If you educate a woman you educate a family.

On getting along with others he said…..  If someone scowls at me I smile back. If they scowl again I just smile back. I don’t often find a scowl a third time. 

On contemplating one’s future he said……Be patient, don’t lose heart, don’t hate anybody and make yourself worthy of good things

Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey died in 1927 but his advice seems very timely some ninety years later. 

Other posts………

Wisdom From Dr. Seuss

Things My Mother Said

Sometimes You Just Need A Dose of Precious

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Filed under Inspiration, Reflections

Inspiration from Maya Angelou


President Barak Obama presents author and poet Maya Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

I love Maya Angelou and have read many of her books and poems.  Here is a piece of advice she gave that I am really trying to take to heart especially as I age. It is isn’t always easy.  There are days when I think many people feel the world is ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ and it is tempting to contemplate just crawling into a corner and ceasing to engage, but Maya Angelou’s words inspire us to do anything but that. 

Don’t just survive. Thrive and do it with………….

working in my office writing book

Working on a writing project in my office in Hong Kong. Writing is definitely one of my passions.

some passion,

with children on bolaven coffee plantation in laos

My husband Dave helping children on the Bolaven Coffee Plantation in Laos learn English

some compassion,

dressing up at the museum in quebec city

Fooling around in a museum in Quebec City

some humour and ……….

young girls in the 1940's in dresses they sewed

My mother with her best friend Millie around 1943 and dresses they had made for themselves

some style.

Don’t just survive, thrive and do it with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.

Other posts…….

I Almost Saw Maya Angelou in Person

A Sunny Birthday on a Rainy Day

Fair Trade Coffee and Hope for Laos




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Inspiration From Portuguese Artists at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon

Prudencia by Domingos Rego 2000

I know who I am. When I look in the mirror, I see me. -Tracy Morgan

Family by Sarah Affonso 1937

Families are messy.- Rick Riordan

The Boy’s Lunch by Julio Pomar- 1926

The best inheritance a parent can give their children is a few minutes of their time each day.— Orlando Battista

Untitled by Jorge Barradas 1920

Accept your burden and carry it, with joy. ― John Ajvide Lindqvist

Maternity by José Sobral de Almada Negreiros- 1935

Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. – Sophocles

The Homecoming by Paulo Ferreira- 1935

Home is people. Not a place. – Robin Hobb

Encounter of  Natalie Correia (poet), Fernado Botelho (novelist) and Maria Joao Pires( pianist) -by Nikias Skapinakis- 1974

Anytime women come together with a collective intent it is a powerful thing. -Phylicia Rashad

Cramped by Hunger by Marcelino Vespeira -1945

We can end global poverty and hunger within our lifetimes. – Barack Obama

No Saying Yes by Rui Toscano -1970
(34 radio/music players each with a voice saying “yes” at different times)

The oldest, shortest words- yes and no– are those which require the most thought.- Pythagoras

Evolution of a Square in a Logarithmic Mesh by Artur Rosa 1926

The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry.- Louis de Bernieres

Other posts…….

Inspiration at The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Hawaiian Inspiration

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Filed under Art, Inspiration, Portugal

One, Two, Three, Four Together

dragon boatsOn a bike ride yesterday I passed the Dragon Boat races.  All the rowers in one of the boats were shouting  1,2,3,4, Together  over and over as they dipped their oars in the river in unison.  What great team work I thought. 

Friday night I hosted a birthday party for my husband with 50 guests.  My son, his wife and our friend Jon who is visiting from Denver helped me do all the clean up after the party.  The four of us together had the kitchen put to rights in record time. What great teamwork I thought. 

Teamwork divides the task and multiples the successes.  – Steve Jobs

Other posts……….

Teamwork in Vietnam

Supporting Each Other

Advice From Doctor Seuss

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Mending What We Can

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within reach.  – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

combine dadMy parents grew wheat on their hobby farm to donate to the Canadian Food Grains Bank. This grain was sent to needy countries around the world. Mrs. Claudette Brown daycare ownerClaudette Brown runs a non profit day care in Runaway Bay Jamaica. The day we visited one hundred and forty children were in attendance. street children indiaThe Salaam Baalak Trust is a charitable organization started by movie director Mira Nair. On our visit to Delhi India we saw how the profits from her films help provide street kids with food, medical care and education. jill morse talks about land mines

Jill Morse is a retired banker from California who does education work at an orphanage and Land Mines Museum in Siem Reap Cambodia. Here she completes an educational presentation at the museum for my high school students.

vi voluntary serviceMy aunt Viola worked as a volunteer in a children’s program in Washington D.C. in the 1950s. 

Connie's team MS walk
My extended family participates in the MS walk every year to help raise funds for research efforts to end the disease.

with children on bolaven coffee plantation in laos

My husband Dave with kids on a coffee plantation in Laos owned by a man named Sam Say.  Sam was a Laotian refugee brought to Canada in 1977 by a Mennonite church in Alberta. Now a successful commodities trader Sam uses his money to help impoverished Laotian families become self-sufficient coffee farmers. 

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within reach.  – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Other posts………

Visiting a Land Mines Museum

MS Walk

Street Children of Delhi

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Filed under Inspiration, Reflections