my father

Today is my father's birthday. We are most likely celebrating with a batch of brownies topped with a tealight candle... because that's what we do every year when we are in Mexico on this special day.

My father is a special soul. He is a wanderer, an adventurer, a seeker. He is a skier, a fisherman and a kayaker. But more than that, he is a father and a husband, a brother and a friend. He is a retired school teacher... and I know it would be a challenge to find one student whom he didn't change in some positive way with his spirit and love he gave so freely to all that crossed his path.

One of my favorite things to do with my father is go fishing. It's a rare time I get to be alone with him. My favorite spot is one where we have to walk across a big hay field to get to the cool river lined with tall poplars. In the background are rolling hills glowing golden in the late afternoon light. I remember years ago, watching him come through the tall grass, rod on his shoulder, straw hat on his head, whistling as he takes it all in... dog bounding ahead with a smile on his face. That to me is the core of my father. He is the one that taught me to suck every moment clean of the beauty and love, to cherish every precious second. To practice gratitude. Heaven is here on earth, in those moments. So as we stand in the middle of the river, the cool water circling our ankles and rushing over river rocks a million different shades... I feel so connected to him, because I know that he, too, is filled with so much... love for life.

Thank you dad, for all the precious gifts you gave me... xoxo


My Grandmother... 80 Years!

This past weekend was my grandmother's 80th birthday. 80 years... and still her beauty radiates like no other. For her whole life, she has taken care of her family. She's kept us warm, first sewing and knitting clothes for her children, then grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. She feeds our bodies with delicious cooking and baking, and no-one ever leaves her house empty handed. But most importantly, she feeds our hearts and souls with an unconditional love in a way only she knows how.

I am so blessed to be part of this family. It is made of a fabric woven of love and hope, mistakes made, lessons taught and knowledge gained. It is made of forgiveness and acceptance. It is the net that catches me when I fall, it is the support that encourages me to follow my dreams. It is everything... and it all started with this amazing woman whom I call Grandma. I see her in all of us, some have her eyes, some her smile... but I can only hope to have even a sliver of her spirit, this beautiful, enduring spirit that keeps her radiant today.

You are our treasure, Grandma, in every way. Happy 80th Birthday... xoxo


Big 3-0

It was my birthday this past weekend. My big 3-0. With the amount of comments like "Wow! 30! How do you feel about that?!?", or "Don't feel bad, they say life starts at 30..." it seems like everyone else had a harder time with me turning 30 than I did! Granted, when daydreaming at age 16, I imagined my life to be far different from where I am today, involving marriage, kids, and a very different career. But I also couldn't possibly have imagined climbing volcanoes and surfing reef breaks in Indonesia or living on a pristine beach in Australia or touring ancient wine cantinas and monasteries in Sicily, driving through sugar cane fields in Cuba or riding on a bike through a jungle in the Philippines. I couldn't have possibly envisioned the people that crossed my path, from children who danced and laughed with me, singing in a language different from my own, to those that gave me their heart and changed me forever: my family who became my best friends, and my best friends who became my family. I couldn't have imagined all the people both around the world and in my backyard that shaped who I am today. And I definitely could not have imagined that my camera would play a huge part in creating my life, encouraging travel and adventure, showing me a view of life that I am grateful for every day.

So no, I am not where I thought I would be at 30, I am far beyond anything I could have imagined!

If you live in Vancouver, then you would have noticed the blossoms blooming in multitude all over the city. This city comes alive in the spring. Not only are the Vancouverites ecstatic to emerge from their long winter stupor, but the cherry blossoms are also literally bursting from their buds. And then you add a little sunshine and it becomes the most beautiful city in the world. Hands down. No questions asked. After missing out on spring in Vancouver the last few years, these blossoms were one of the best birthday presents I could have asked for.