I did not

I did not see you cry 
behind your beautiful smile.

I did not hear you scream
behind your joyful belly laugh.

I did not help you lift your load
though you stopped to lighten mine. 

I did not see the demons you fought
while you were busy helping them fight theirs.

I failed you
when I did not see.

I’m awake now

but…

You’re gone.

Resilience. Humility. Success.

We wrapped another amazing two-day Summit for Investment Planning Counsel – this time amidst the stunning views of Whistler, British Columbia.

For me, one core message rang loud throughout the event: the power of resilience plus the courage of humility adds up to living life successfully on ALL fronts.

Jon Montgomery – 2010 Skeleton Gold Medalist at the Whistler Games, and Amanda Lindhout – kidnap survivor and author of A House in the Sky – wore their hearts on their sleeves when they told their stories. Their life stories could not be more different, but they both proved that with dogged determination and hard work, an insatiable sense of curiosity and the grace to remain humble, we can break through any challenge, transform our personal stories, and achieve the success we each hold in our mind’s eye.

A few highlights from Jon:

  • There are some things in life or things about yourself that you cannot change. Don’t let that limit you. But, approach fear head on and live so far outside your comfort zone by doing just one thing each day that stretches you.

“Things are only truly out of our reach if we put them there.” – Jon Montgomery

  • Celebrate small victories along the way because if you’re not careful you might quit just before the miracle.
  • Give your dreams some legs – let yourself be inspired by those around you.
  • Help others improve. It’s impossible not to get better at what you do when you help others achieve their potential.

Some nuggets from Amanda:

  • You will never truly know or understand what you have until it’s taken away from you.

“I’m grateful for the sky, because it was taken away from me. I hug my mother with more gratitude because she was taken away from me.” – Amanda Lindhout

  • Find the seed of compassion, touch it, and look at things from the other person’s point of view. You’ll understand more and it can make a difference in how you choose to react.

 

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These are two people who reminded us that our dreams are worth fighting for, no matter the odds. How we achieve or survive the odds, and what we do with our success for our community is ultimately what matters.

PS: If you’ve yet to read Amanda’s, book, I recommend it. It will put you on an emotional rollercoaster.

We Said Goodbye Today

We said goodbye today.

We’re weren’t planning to, not for a long while yet.

We thought there would be time to mend what had broken… to one day set it all aside and go back to the way it was when we were kids. To go back to a time when we ran free in the playground playing catch, or when we built tents using all the blankets on our bunks and imagined a secret world of adventure – in ways only children knew how to do – or when we gathered boisterously for meals at the long table.  They were the best.

But we said goodbye today…never having gone back to what it once was.

You had led our pack, growing up. You inspired us when you were the first among us to take flight and explore boundaries beyond the shores we grew up on. You were generous to a fault. There was always a glint in your eye along with a shy smile, as if you knew something the rest of us didn’t. Until one day, when we no longer saw that smile or the glint in your eye.

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Windblown Sunflowers

I sat today and watched the rain as it beat down against the window. The day seemed so heavy. Then I lost myself in memories of a more beautiful time, a simpler time when we were children…

Goodbye for now. We will miss you.

Saturday morning ravine clean-up

I’ve been spending more time outdoors these past couple of weeks and I must say that the 30×30 challenge does a great job of jabbing me in the butt when I’ve spent too much time on the couch.

We live along a lovely ravine, but sadly there are parts littered with garbage. So, this past Saturday, Bruce and I pulled on some gloves and headed out to clean-up the South East Corner of the Etobicoke Creek just under the bridge on Burnhamthorpe Road. We spent about 90 minutes and pulled out close to two and a half bags of litter from the area. To say we did our part for nature would be ridiculous, because there was still garbage to be gathered from the area just beyond the one we had cleaned.

To be honest, I was disheartened by the end of the clean-up. I left feeling a little depressed that the people who dropped their litter will only be back to unthinkingly repopulate the recently cleaned area with their trash.

A fool’s errand?

Cleaning-up

Post clean-up

Making Moments Matter

Last year, I rode 50K for The Healing Cycle – in aid of funding for palliative care in Ontario. It was my first 50K bike ride ever and, in truth, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d signed up for. You see, I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was well into my 30s (go ahead, you can laugh 😀 ), and I am, to this day, not comfortable riding on the main streets of any city. So, 50K along the major roads of Caledon, Ontario, gave me the shivers, never mind the endurance challenge.

The Healing Cycle is a charity my organization – Investment Planning Counsel (IPC) – has supported for eight years running now. So, I decided to join the ride in 2015. Many times along the route that hot summer’s day last June, I wanted to just stop and pack it in. I didn’t. You see, I was riding with a fabulous team of fellow IPC-ers. And despite their ability to ride faster than me, they hung back to help me make it through. Each time my energy started to wane, or when I wanted to quit because that next hill looked resolutely impossible, they would urge me on. One of my team-mates dished out pieces of soft candy – something he said was packed with caffeine or some such thing that put the energy right back into my legs. So, with their support, I pushed on. And here’s the best part, I was lagging quite desperately in the last 10 kilometers or so but, as I turned the final corner, I found my team waiting for me so we could pull into the finish line together. They made my ride. 🙂

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My fabulous 50K Ride Team: Fellow IPC-ers -Varun Sood, Randy Wagowsky and Mona Troscolan.

So, I’ll be riding again this June. 50K. Once again along the streets of Caledon.

I’m lucky enough never to have had anyone in my family need palliative care here in Ontario (yet). This year, as I did last year, I ride in memory of my godchild -Marissa. Marissa was a beautiful child whose body endured more pain than I ever thought fair over her 15+ years. But she always wore a smile and she taught me more about love and patience than I could ever have known. Although Marissa never lived in Canada, I ride in her honour for the families of children like her who may (at some point) need the care and support of Ontario’s palliative healthcare services.

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Marissa and I on our last holiday trip together.

Life, after all, is about making the moments you have with the people you love matter.

I invite you to join me as a fellow rider for The Healing Cycle or to consider supporting my ride with a donation.

Read how The Healing Cycle was started and its impact in the community so far.

Click to donate on my personal fund-raising page.

Thank you for your support.

Love,

Evelyn

 

Spending Time With Nature

I’ve not been a regular blogger. In truth, I’m still looking to find my groove in this whole world of blogging. So, please excuse my tardiness.

But I wanted to talk about the 30×30 Nature Challenge. I chanced upon it on my drive into work one morning. They were discussing how spending just 30 minutes outside with nature can do a wealth of good for your overall well-being…that there was now a mountain of research that can prove the connection between nature and your well-being.

In truth, I think it’s kinda crazy that I needed a #lovenature challenge to give me a kick in the butt to get outdoors everyday.

When did getting outside become difficult?

I love being outdoors. I always have. There was a time when I took every opportunity to get outside and spend time in nature. Somehow, over the last little while (‘a little while’ that’s gone on far too long), I’ve allowed nature to slip past me. I’ve allowed work to consume my days and evenings and, in turn, stress and aches to take over.

So, I signed up for the 30×30 challenge – a day late on May 2. But I’ll take it through to Day 30 and beyond.

It’s Day 4 and already I can feel a difference. My body is aching a little less. My stress dial appears to have eased back a notch – and is most evident when I’m outside. It feels like there’s space for my mind to breath. I’ve slept a little better each night over the last four days and I’m getting more done. 🙂 How ironic!

My 30 minutes in the evenings have turned into 60 (or more) and yes, the warming weather is definitely helping.

Here’s my nature photo log so far.

The Darling Buds of May

Day 1: The Darling Buds of May

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Day 2: Nature – The Best Seat in the House

The Sound of Rushing Waters Can Calm the Mind

Day 3: The Sound of Rushing Waters Calms the Mind

Day 4: Taking Time to Renew

Day 4: Taking Time to Renew

It’s Day 5 and the sun’s shining bright today. Looks like a promising day!

If you’ve been stuck in stressful place (whatever its cause may be), join me on this 30×30 challenge and I promise you will start to feel better. Let me know how it goes.

I’ll be instagramming my nature logs for the rest of the month. See you there!

 

 

 

Life Lesson: Conceive. Believe. Achieve.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

– My dad to us kids-

O.K., so Napolean Hill was the guy who first said it. But, my dad was the guy who instilled it as a mantra in our lives.

Growing up, I didn’t believe this as easily as I do today. But the power of this statement, or rather, the power of the mind and how we choose to channel our thoughts can literally be life changing.

As a child – a teenager – it was easy for me to be depressed by my reality. When mom served up nothing but plain rice porridge for dinner, or when ballet lessons ended for good mid pirouette, I knew we had no money left that week, or month, and had to make do. But I’d rather not dwell on the tough parts of growing up, or the things we missed out on, because as a child to my parents, I have so much to be grateful for.

Every one of us (we are five) are successful and happy in our own right. And it was no small feat for Mom and Dad to ensure our success. They taught us to set goals, and they championed our dreams every step of the way. So, we each set goals (yes, with my parents in the background nudging, nurturing and guiding us along) and we pushed hard to achieve. And achieve we did.

When I look back on my life, I see distinct points along the way when I stopped and visualized my path and my future. Once I’d mapped it out in my mind, my body instinctively took over and propelled me towards it. I’ve failed, for sure, but when I did, I carved a new plan and moved on.

10 years ago, when Bruce and I got engaged, we began to write down our goals. We made it a ‘couples’ thing to do and we’ve done it every year since. It’s been good for us on many levels. It’s allowed us to focus, to work hard, to overcome obstacles and to bounce right back up when things don’t go to plan. Several times a year now, we pull out our ‘Goal Book’ and look back on what we’ve written. It allows us to recognize what we’ve achieved (everything from getting out of debt and owning a home to getting fit, learning new things and exploring the world). It makes us both feel good. We know that when we reach into the shelves of our lives, they are not empty.

As we celebrate Family Day here in Ontario, I  thank my Mom and Dad for their gifts to us – confidence, self-belief, gumption and love. And, thank you Dad for giving me my life’s mantra: Conceive. Believe. Achieve.

Happy Family Day!