#RealityGram101 Is Taking Off

 

Okay friends everyone is loving #RealityGram101 for one reason…. It’s REALITY and it’s NORMAL! We are having so much fun and would love you to join us by posting the Reality in your life and the oh so Normal that happens every day (for more on the Why behind the What of #RealityGram101 see yesterday’s post).

Today’s highlights come from Katie,  Liz and Helen from Australia and Suzi in the UK. These girls have shared everything from:

Katie giving us a glimpse of bedtime and what that looks like when a toddler won’t take off his bike helmet in case he falls out of bed.

Liz shows off parenting in a very real way. We all have those days, toddlers crying, toilet paper being unravelled and the list goes on.

Helen confesses that she hasn’t made her bed since she fell pregnant. I believe she’s past 12 weeks… Hilarious!

Suzi sets the table and shows us how a meal although well planned out can go slightly wrong. Suzi, your dinner looks oh so yummy but what happened?

These are all so funny and oh so normal. Thanks for sharing girls and making all of us feel totally Real, Authentic and Normal!

Can’t wait for more photos today! Susan xo

 


#RealityGram101

Okay friends welcome to the explanation of #RealityGram101.

We are all familiar with Instagram and we love it. I love it for  a number of reasons: 1) I get to keep up with my friends in a daily manner. 2) I’m fascinated by some of the exciting things people are doing/seeing/engaging in/with and yes.. eating! 3) It’s fun.

I do love it, but like many of you have found myself in conversations wondering if everyone’s life is as perfect as Instagram would depict. Personally, I like to share photos of the food I cook. I love to cook and entertain and I do share those photos. I fall into the category of #FoodSpam and I’m okay with that. For the most part most of my meals do turn out as the photo shows. So included in the new #RealityGram101 I will have food shots because ‘it is what it is’.

So why have I started #RealityGram101? I’ve started it simply because not everything in life is picture perfect. We all know that throughout our days there are challenges, there is mess, there is complication, there is always a pile of dirty, clean or otherwise laundry hanging around somewhere. There is always an unorganised closet a pile of papers and at times absolute chaos and this is our reality and this connects us. Do we wish everything was picture perfect? I’m starting to think maybe we do and that we only want to share the best, the success and the pretty. When I think about life and some of the amazing stories out there, I realise that what really pulls us together is the mess in the middle and the cream is the celebration when the mess becomes a message of triumph, joy, success. We need to see the journey, the how behind the what and the what behind the how. We want to know that amidst our challenges and whatever we are walking through, someone has made it and we’ve seen the journey. To only see the finished product we miss so much of the strength that lies within the story.

In saying all of this #RealityGram101 is about being Real, being Authentic and sharing our instant moments with the knowledge that within sometimes the messiest parts of life we learn the most and we connect to one another in a deeper, healthier way.

I’m excited to see the pictures that have already been shared whether it be Esther packing for Fiji – her suitcase compared to her hubby’s or Jodie sharing her Root Canal pain or Elisa quickly cleaning off her table before guests arrive or Sonja’s Tupperware Storage or my Laundry Room . These pictures are real and in the real we relate, we connect, we laugh, we love, we cheer and we smile resting in the confidence that we are okay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is #RealityGram101 and now YOU are invited to join the fun and post your reality. We can’t wait to see it!

Susan ox


GetRealLive Talks to John Gilchrist

We are really excited about tomorrow’s show. At GetRealLive we love our food so tomorrow we are hosting one of Canada’s top Foodies, John Gilchrist. John is the Author of 10 National Best Selling books, John definitely knows about food. We hope you’ll join us for a great conversation

Click here to listen to the live show or on demand! GetRealLive Radio

John has reviewed restaurants for CBC Radio in Calgary since 1980 and is the author of ten National Best-Sellers on dining in southern Alberta. He has also released three restaurant apps including Eat Canada, a nation-wide restaurant guide for the business traveller.

His weekly Off the Menu column appears in the Calgary Herald and he is a contributing editor for Avenue and Where Calgary magazines. He also writes regularly for Swerve and Harry, and is a member of San Pellegrino’s World’s Top Restaurants judging panel and the Calgary judge for the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Gilchrist teaches Food and Culture programs for the University of Calgary and leads travel programs to culinary destinations such as Santa Fe, New York, Rome, and Paris.
Join us as we talk about all things Food with John.

The Dining Table – Revised

This article is one I posted in 2006 but I believe it needs to be read again. Perhaps now is the time to re-visit the Dining Table or the Kitchen Table and discover it’s value, worth and place within the home. I hope you enjoy what I have prepared 🙂

The Dining Table (from 2006 susanjsohn.com/thefamilyroom archives)

Over the past few years my parents have been thinking about moving from their farm into town. The conversation has progressed substantially and they have bought the house in our small town. This transition is now very quickly becoming a reality. Like many of you reading, you have gone down this road and made this transition, so you know exactly where I/we are right now. In preparation for this move the time has come for us kids to start picking and choosing things from the farm that we want, things from our childhood that scream of memories ~ not an easy task that’s for sure.

I have thought long and hard about what it is that I want, what piece of the farm can I take with me, as I travel through life? What piece will allow me to remain close and connected to a place that saw me grow from a four year old pig-tailed little girl into a thirty-something woman? There are many things I have decided I would like, however there is one thing that has stuck in my mind and I have finally I decided to ask for it. What is it you ask? The kitchen table!

You may think the kitchen table a strange request, however you must understand that in our house, like many of yours {I’m sure}, the kitchen table is the centre of our home life, it’s almost like the central nervous system of our house. So much has happened and still happens around this table, so many hours of conversation whether it is the early morning coffee with the neighbors, warm winter breakfasts, dad’s 12pm lunch {we always ate at 12pm} or the countless dinners that have been shared or maybe it’s the late night heart to hearts. Whatever the case may be, our kitchen table has and continues to host much laughter, some tears, always great food, many jokes and so much more.

Over the years I have learned that a kitchen table isn’t simply wood and varnish rather it is like a giant memory box. The kitchen table is the gathering spot where life is shared, where dreams are realized, where vision is cast and where laughter can be heard. Sadly, I see many new homes being built with no kitchen and no space for a kitchen table, this is a trend in the big cities that I see has not yet hit small town Saskatchewan and I hope it never does.  They refer to this new trend as progress, as adapting for a new way of life, the busy life. This ‘new way’ of living is about eating out, moving away from entertaining at home with guests of even your own family. It’s about being an  individual and allowing each person to ‘fend for themselves’ and perhaps eat in your bedroom or in front of the computer or television. In my mind, this is a modern day travesty.

There is something significant about kitchen/dining tables and as I look through history I see that through feasting and dining cultures come together. There is strength in breaking bread together as families and as communities. I think about Jesus and the last supper and the fact that it was shared at a table. I find it interesting that Jesus could have chosen anywhere for this significant act to occur yet he chose the table to share such an important moment. Through this one act I have to believe that there is a message to us all. Tables are sacred places. They are a place where we can come together to talk about the hard things, to relax and enjoy each other’s company, to communicate, to eat and to simply be together.

I would like to encourage you to use your dining table to it’s full potential. Through our work with thefamilyroom and now through GetRealLive and much of the ‘Work Life Family Balance’ issues that I get the opportunity of engaging with I see change through a simple conversation where I suggest coming back to the table. I have seen countless families come together, broken hearts mended and so much more simply through sitting at the table together, sharing a meal and getting back to what really matters. I find it interesting that we are designed to enjoy food more than once a day, we are designed to stop, sit and replenish so why not start making this a critical part of our family schedules.

If, in recent times, you haven’t enjoyed a meal together at the family table then I would like to encourage you to dust off the table, let everyone know that dinner is on at 6pm, prepare a family favorite and watch everyone enjoy each others company. I know you will be amazed. If you find yourself alone and without family then I encourage you to extend yourself and invite someone to your table. If gathering at the table is something you do regularly then please keep it up and why not invite someone over and share the time together.

As many of you know, I live away from family and have done so for many years now, this being the case, there is one thing I know for sure; if I call home at dinner time, I know I will always get an answer and if it’s a party or special occasion, and everyone’s home but me, the phone will surely be passed around I always know exactly where everyone will be sitting – being able to do this warms my soul and the simplicity of this allows me a feeling of knowing everything being well with the world. The table and what happens around it provides, security, strength, wisdom and love. It is where Faith, Hope and Love live.

To conclude I am happy to report that my parents have said I can have the old kitchen table that still holds the chip that I etched out one warm summer day in 1978. I know that as the years continue and as life changes I will hear the voices of my family and friends, simply by sitting at that table and allowing the richness and memories flood my mind. Let me encourage you to use your tables and remember to always put an extra potato in the pot or rice in the cooker and leave room to squeeze one more in just in case someone turns up at dinner time.

Much love,
Susan

#CalgaryStrong by Nicole Liboiron

When you wake up in the midst of total devastation, you just hope things might have changed throughout your sleep, that somehow everything you’ve been witnessing is not as bad as you thought. Unfortunately, today, that is not the case. It is now Saturday, June 22nd in Calgary, and the pictures of the flood devastation continue to amaze me, frighten me, and break my heart. Thousands of people displaced, homes and property destroyed, and now reports of loss of life. It is truly more surreal than one can imagine.

As I continue to look at the images through my tears, I know that THIS city, more than any other, can overcome such complete devastation. This is Calgary; the city where we shovel our neighbour’s walk, pay for a stranger’s coffee at Tim Horton’s, and where we have one of the highest volunteer rates in Canada. This is a city with unwavering spirit and steadfast servitude.

Over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes, but only some 1,500 have turned up at the city’s shelters. Thousands have been taken in by family, by friends, and by complete strangers. On Kijiji, Calgarians rallied to support those put out of their homes, offering a place to stay, to dry themselves off, and to sleep.

The City of Calgary and First Responder Services, have had to turn away volunteers and food donations. Local restaurants have thrown open their doors to those working around the clock. I would say the outpour of support in this city is surprising, but it’s not; it is what we do in Calgary, it is who we are.

People are turning to social media in order to establish points of communication, where Calgarian’s learn where and when they can help. In the days to come, these sites will be invaluable, as more and more people look to lend a hand. Thank you to the amazing citizens who have established Calgary Clean Up, YYC Flood Relief and YYC Helps, all great resources for those wanting to help.

Many of us have followed #yycflood to track updated information on evacuations, road closures, and to stare in awe as people post pictures of their homes, streets, and communities. However, this morning, in true Calgary spirit, new hashtags are appearing; #albertastrong, #CalgaryStrong and #WeAreCalgary.

Many want to help, but unfortunately we are still in a crisis situation, where the dust (in this case, the water) has not yet settled. We are being told that the best way to donate right now, is through the the Red Cross. For many affected, insurance will not cover the damage or loss of property. The need for financial assistance will be unprecedented, but Calgary has never turned its back on those who need it most.

Although our spirits may be dampened, they are not broken. Should anyone bring up the idea of canceling the Stampede, they will see how quickly we are to channel our resilience and determination! I truly believe this is a city unlike any other. We will forever talk about the Flood of 2013, but it will be remembered as a time when Calgarians came together like never before, a time that showed the world what this great city is made of.

Nicole xo

How to Donate:

Call the Red Cross directly at 1-800-418-1111

If your are a Telus customer a $5 donation can be made to the Red Cross by texting 30333.

If you are a Roger’s customer a $5 donations can be made to the Red Cross by texting 4664.


Her First Job

Yesterday was a big day in our home. Our lovely daughter, Sophia, who is soon to turn 15 headed out for an afternoon at her first job. I can hardly believe that we have arrived here. How did it come so quickly? Where have the days, weeks and months gone? I still remember the days when she used to snuggle up on my lap and when those big brown eyes would look up at me telling me that she needed me – I still see that sometimes and know that, in her life, she will always need me.

I remember the first day I took her to preschool (and yes, it only feels like yesterday). She was ever so confident, all dressed up in her green ‘prep uniform’. Perched in the back seat, sitting high in her booster, gripping her barbie backpack, she beamed with excitement. She felt so grown up, with her little brother coo-ing in his carseat beside her. It was a big day. As we drove through the streets of our Suburb I could feel the tightness in my chest increase. I could sense my nerves tingling as I prepared myself to walk her into her class and more importantly, leave her there. I was encouraged by her confidence and that gorgeous smile.

We arrived at Pre-School/Prep, along with many other ‘newbies’ and the anticipation of what lay ahead propelled this lovely little girl forward. Together, we walked down the path towards check in. As we walked, hand-in-hand, I could feel her grip on my hand tighten. I glanced down at her and as I gazed into her big brown eyes, I could read the signs. I knew instantly that her confidence was waning and her need for me by her side increased. I squeezed her hand, smiled at her and whispered, “I’m so proud of you. You are such an amazing girl’.

Once in the classroom, we tended to the ‘necessary details’ of that first day, all the while, she stayed very close to me. As the time grew closer to my departure, I could tell her level of confidence and security was being challenged. I sensed we were heading towards a very confronting good-bye or rather, see you later. The time finally came and I needed to leave. Those big brown eyes looked up at me and this time, they were filled with tears. My heart ached, her heart ached. All I wanted to do was gather her up in my arms and run for the car. I wanted to take her home and keep her safe and secure in my care. I didn’t want to let her go.

It became very obvious that she didn’t want to let me go either. As I composed myself and comforted her I listened to the instructions of the teachers on how to say good-bye. I cuddled her, consoled her and told her I would (indeed) return. I began my journey out of the room. A journey that was definitely challenging since my little girl had wrapped herself around my left leg. I limped forward, dragging her along, all the while encouraging her to let go. I wondered, would she be okay? Will either of us be okay and would come out of this unscathed? Eventually, I made it out of the room and onto the pathway to the car as I walked, all I could hear was the deep sobs of my little girl. I maintained my own composure until I got into the car and it was then that I too began to sob. Was I doing the right thing? Would she be okay? Would the teachers be gentle and kind with her? Would they speak words of life into her? Would they tell her she was amazing and how proud they were of her? What had I done?

I wiped my tears, blew my nose and began to make my way home. Upon arrival, I was quickly jolted into reality by the piles of laundry that required my attention. I kept myself busy around the house and engaging with my sweet baby boy, Gabriel. I called my Mum (I cried again). I did all I could to pass the time away and found myself first in the pick up line at the end of the school day. I needed to see her and wanted to hear all about the adventures of the day. I wanted to know that the sobbing stopped and that she was okay. Needless to say our greeting was one of excitement and sheer joy.

(Note…. If you’re wondering if that leg clinging, mother limping, situation was a one of… For all the young mum’s out there I wish I could say it was but, for this beautiful child, it took her until year/grade 2 until she stopped crying when I left).

All of this brings me to yesterday. As I drove her to her first job I again felt my chest tighten and that familiar knot in my throat return. I glanced over at this beautiful girl, now perched ever so confidently in the front seat performing all the necessary duties of the car DJ whilst holding onto her Bo-Ho handbag which has replaced that pink Barbie backpack she loved so much. As we arrived at the Japanese Restaurant she is working at I placed my hand on her knee and said, ‘I’m so proud of you. You are such an amazing girl.’ To which she replied with a wink, a click of her tongue, a beautiful smile and a ‘Thanks Mum’.

I dropped her off and told her I would wait in the car park across the road until she was settled. I parked the car, watched her engage with her new boss and sat in awe of how she carried herself. She exuded confidence, she was sure of herself and very secure. My mind drifted to that day back in Preschool and as the tears streamed down my face I smiled to myself and thought ‘We have done something right, look what is infront of me’. With confidence she looked across the street and waved me on saying, “I’m okay Mum, you can go now.’ I couldn’t move. My chest was so tight, my throat was restricted from the pressure, there was an ache in my heart. Time was standing still and I didn’t want another second to go by.

I knew she knew how I was feeling and with that, she gave me her signature Sophia head tilt, a smile and a knowing look through those big brown eyes and yes, a little wave. My sweet darling girl is growing up and once again I find myself not wanting to let her go.

As I drove away in the rain I was caught by the song that was playing on the radio. It’s a song called ‘Let Her Go’ by Passenger. Have a listen and imagine the tears that flowed as I made my way home. I love our girl!


What Scares You

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Lately, this Eleanor Roosevelt quote has been rolling around in my mind. I am in the midst of change and someone, somewhere said ‘that change is as good as a holiday’. I’m beginning to wonder if that’s correct and may very well research that statement, post the writing of this article… maybe it should be the other way around but not today.

So, as I have been thinking about this season of Change and all things New I decided that I would embrace Eleanor’s words of wisdom and do exactly what she said.

Thus far, I’m happy to report that I have taken risks in business and moved out of my comfort zone. I have done something as simple as tackled a new recipe that kind of scared me – I really wasn’t sure what all the ingredients were. I have embraced the ocean and through the help of my lovely girlfriend, Darlene, I have conquered my fear of ‘what’s below’. That was a big one for me and I can’t tell you how much fun I have had, frolicking freely in the open sea…. well, maybe not totally open since I am typically within 100 meters of the shore. For me, that’s freedom and that was conquering a big fear. Through study and the wise teaching of Beth Moore, I have faced some of the deeper issues in my life that I have tended to ‘sweep under the carpet’. I won’t say it’s been easy but it’s been releasing and a new sense of freedom is worth facing the things I’ve faced.

Today, I did another thing that scared me and I now find myself sitting, almost giddy, thinking about what I’ve done. It’s like a little high with endorphins flying around my body. These may be baby steps but as we all know, baby steps lead us to big steps and big steps coupled with the wisdom learned along the way, give us the strength to climb mountains and believe for even greater things.

Thank You Mrs. Roosevelt for encouraging me to ‘Do It Scared’ and to ‘Repeat’. What will I do tomorrow?

And, as a side note for those who know me well or who have listened to GetRealLive Radio…. I even asked my youngest if she would like to get a kitten. To understand what this means tune in and listen, you’ll soon learn 🙂

Susan xx

 


Changing the life of a Girl through Underwear!

Today on Get Real Live, we had the honour of talking to, Rachel Starkey, the founder of Transformation Textiles.

Did you know that if you educate a girl, you can change a family, a village/community and ultimately Nations? Did you also know that many girls across the world don’t get their education simply because they don’t have proper underwear? That’s right, girls in some countries miss out on going to school simply because they don’t have underwear or proper protection during their monthly cycle. How sad is that and how simple it is to change.

Below is some information from Global Concerns Classroom about why it’s important to educate girls.

Top 5 Reasons to Educate a Girl:
Reducing Fertility Rates
The World Bank cites that when girls receive an education, they’ll have “fewer and healthier” babies. In fact, one year of formal education can result in a 10% decrease in fertility. Why is this? Women who receive an education are better informed about family planning, and are more likely to marry later.
Lower Maternal and Child Mortality Rates
Girls who receive an education are less likely to contract HIV & AIDS, and thus, less likely to pass it onto their children. The Comparative & International Education Society writes that their children are more likely to be vaccinated, and educated mothers will be better informed about proper nutrition and health practices. The Girls Global Education Fund reports that when a child is born to a woman in Africa who hasn’t received an education, he or she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying before 5.
Future Educated Generations
An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education. As many claim, investing in a girl’s education is investing in a nation.
Higher Wages
The Girl Effect states that if a girl attends an additional year of primary school, she’ll see her wages increase up to 20%. Furthermore, if she attends an additional year of secondary school, her wages could increase by 25%!
Investing in the Family
With these additional wages, research shows that women are more likely to invest in their family. In fact, the Basic Education Coalition claims that women will reserve 90% of their income to better their families. This economic savings will result in the betterment of not only individual families, but entire communities.

Transformation Textiles is a not-for-profit organization that assist in providing young girls, in developing nations, menstrual supplies, enabling them to go to school. This inspiring, Alberta-born visionary started all of this simply through walking down the streets of Egypt when her eye was caught by some cut off fabric laying ruined in the street. Tune in and listen to her story and how you can get involved in changing the lives of girls across the globe.

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GetRealLive Talks to Personal Trainer, Estelle Wood

‘I love Carbs and White Wine’ – Direct Quote from Estelle Wood

Today, Nicole and I had the privilege of speaking to sought after Personal Trainer, Estelle Wood, who owns and operates Sore Winners Personal Training on the beautiful Central Coast of NSW. Estelle trains clients and groups throughout the Coast and is keeping #ChangetheAge happening.

Estelle is a busy Mum of 3 who is passionate about seeing individuals reach their personal fitness goals. Her no excuse approach challenges her clients and causes them to push beyond what they thought possible.

Our convo today covered: Summer Beach Body // Winter Kilos //  Post Baby Weight  // 40 +  Metabolism

Tune into GetRealLive Radio and listen in as we hear from this young mum about how we can keep our physical selves strong and healthy…

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Finding Joy After the Grief – One Woman’s Story about Loss

Today, we had the honour of hosting Lauren Chapman-Black on GetRealLive Radio. Lauren shared her story about walking her husband, Chad, through the pain of bowel cancer. Not only did she walk her husband through his battle but on the journey as well, her two young sons. 

After celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Lauren and her husband were dealt a card they didn’t expect. This lovely little family (2 boys then aged 2 & 4) faced the reality of a life without a husband and father. What would that look like? Would he be healed? Could they have the ‘Happy Ever After’ Story?

Listen on Demand as Lauren shares openly and very honestly about how she was able to Find Joy After the Grief.

You can listen to Lauren on GetRealLive Radio here:

 

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