Wrap it up in a big red bow


ATV with  a red bowIt’s officially here. The season of gift giving. The shopping frenzy starts with Black Friday and continues for thirty days of mall madness to Christmas and Boxing Day.

We’ve never been extravagant gift givers in our house. When the kids were little, we followed the ABC rule—a toy, a book and one outfit of new clothes. We’ve never done the “big gesture”. There’s been no trips under our tree. No diamond rings or necklaces. The gifts under our tree have always been modest.

Well, all that changed last week in a culmination of happy acts. In October, I blogged about the 23 years I’ve been married to Dave in “Marriage is a Life Sentence”. My happy act that week was to do something special for your partner in crime in life. I wracked my brains to think about something special to do for Dave and could only come up with one thing.

For the past two years, all Dave has talked about is getting an ATV. Ad nauseom. We had been saving, but a car bill here, a washing machine on the fritz here kept putting it off.

Then last week, my post was about taking the Financial Weight Loss Challenge. The idea is to take action on the one thing you should do during Financial Literacy Month to feel better about your financial health. In that post, I said we’ve always taken a balanced approach between saving and living and right now, living was winning out.

So as Dave’s birthday approached, I decided to kill two happy acts with one stone and buy an ATV from Perth Powersports (the team there were great!) It just so happened I was working from home on Dave’s birthday, and would actually be at the house when he got home from work to see his reaction. They delivered it in the morning—a shiny yellow CanAm 450 Outlander with a plow. All it needed was a big red bow.

Dave’s reaction was everything we hoped for and more. He was a 12-year old boy again on the farm with a grin a mile wide. It’s still on his face.

This week’s #HappyAct is to find the perfect gift for someone this season and wrap it up in a big red bow. I still don’t think you need the “big gesture” to bring joy and pleasure in the gift you choose. It might be cliché, but it really is the thought that counts and finding that perfect gift, big or small.

Man and ATV

Age is just a letter

This week is my birthday, and let’s just say it has a zero in it. I’m OK with that, because to quote my favourite line from Dumb and Dumber To, “Age is just a letter, Harry”.

I remember once my father-in-law telling me that despite being in his 80’s now and feeling all that the number 80 entails, in his mind he was still 17, looking for the next adventure and ripping it up with his buddies in Harriston.

We may age in our bones, but not in our hearts and minds.

This week’s #HappyAct is to repeat after me, “Age is just a letter, Harry.” You are never too old or too young to try something new, do something silly, learn, grow, love, fail or set out on your next adventure.

Here are some of my other favourite lines from Dumb and Dumber To—watch it on video when it comes out. While I know some critics panned it, I thought it was hilarious and even funnier than the first one!

“Water under the fridge”

Hook, line and sphincter”

“I’ve always wanted to go to India and volunteer at one of those leprechaun colonies,” “I think you mean Ireland.”

Show your spirit

Elaine Peterson in Santa hatNext week is Christmas, a time of peace, hope and joy. I love everything about Christmas– the music, the presents, turkey and chocolates, visiting with friends and family. But the thing I love the most about this time of year is the spirit of the season.

I want to tell you about a friend of mine, Elaine Peterson. For the month of December, Elaine wears a red Santa hat around town. It becomes her winter cap. It never fails to put a smile on my face. Unlike some people who prefer to sweep their birthdays under the rug, Elaine reminds everyone at least a week ahead of time it’s her birthday.  Her birthday has become a full week of celebrations with food, lunches, parties and get togethers. Elaine loves life and isn’t afraid to show it. She exudes spirit.

When I got the idea to write this particular blog post, it was the same week Nelson Mandela died. Much has been written about Mandela. He was a great statesman and leader. But what made Nelson Mandela an incredible human being was his indomitable spirit and courage.

Our spirit is the window to our soul. It takes courage to bare our soul, and show our spirit. We can’t all be Nelson Mandelas, but we can all be Elaine Petersons.

This week’s Happy Act is to show your spirit. You don’t have to wear a Santa hat around town, but do something that shows who you are, what you stand for and what makes you special. Don’t worry about what others think. Show your spirit and celebrate you. May the spirit of the season be with you.