A Life Coach’s Insights and Tips for Successful Online Dating

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Well, here’s some information you might not have expected to receive from The Resourceful Mother – my thoughts and tips on online dating! Yes, I did this on and off for many years.

5 insights I want to share with you:

  1. We all enjoy meeting people in person far more than “shopping” for someone online. Meeting the love of our life online is no one’s first choice. Having said that, if we don’t think online dating will work, it likely won’t – our thoughts usually become our reality.
  2. We are all wired to care about appearance, even if we pretend we are not. There are individuals with no picture of themselves on their profile, who say that appearance doesn’t matter, yet they are contacting others, telling them they are beautiful. Of course, we all know that our inner beauty is far more important than our outer beauty but it is much easier to see when we meet in person!
  3. Anyone who needs to say they are honest when they are describing themselves, particularly if they have made the word part of their user name, has had challenges with honesty in the past. As a life coach, I would ask that individual, “When have YOU not been honest in the past?” No one needs to state they are loyal, kind or in possession of any trait that we all aspire to have.
  4. Individuals showing pictures of their homes, cars, motorcycles or other external means of gratification in their profile may not be fully aware of their OWN greatness and believe they need to entice a partner in this way.
  5. Anyone repeating thoughts in their profile, such as how important their children are to them, is clearly demonstrating their priority or showing you an area of their life where they are struggling. For example, someone stating, over and over, how important their children are might be having a challenge finding enough time to have a romantic relationship and spend enough time with their children.

11 tips for effective online dating:

  1. Your profile needs to contain pictures that are current and representative of your true essence. You are going to meet the person that is looking at your pictures – they will SEE that you are heavier or older than your pictures! Tricking people with our pictures or words is a recipe for disaster in any relationship.
  2. I have never heard of a woman who feels a quickening in her loins seeing a picture of a man proudly holding up a dead fish they caught! You need to think of what would INTEREST your future partner when you choose your pictures and the wording of your profile.
  3. The write-up in your profile needs to share a little about your interests, passions, and beliefs. If you make your profile too general, you are wasting time attracting individuals where there is no long term potential. If someone doesn’t like the specifics of what you share, they are NOT FOR YOU! Brevity is key – people’s attention span online is usually limited.
  4. I don’t recommend texting anyone more than a few times before setting up a phone call. Texting can raise both parties’ hopes unnecessarily.
  5. Never meet anyone unless you have spoken on the phone first. A phone conversation is far better at showing you whether there is chemistry or not. You are also able to read another’s energy better on the phone, as opposed to texting.
  6. There is no need to state what you don’t want in a person or in a relationship. If you say you don’t want drama, you are actually attracting drama.
  7. Avoid putting naked or revealing pictures of yourself on your profile, unless you are simply looking to attract individuals who are more interested in having sex with you than being with you physically, mentally and emotionally. The same rule applies to the pictures you choose to send a potential partner.
  8. Refrain from responding to anyone in whom you are not interested. There is no need to thank anyone for their compliments or clarify anything. If you write someone, they usually think you ARE interested in them even if you have clearly stated that you are not.
  9. If in the first few days of contact, someone tells you they love you or they want to live with you or they heavily compliment you, these are all red flags. Real feelings take some time to develop.
  10. If you keep attracting married people, who are pretending to be single, subconsciously, you are not ready for a true, committed relationship. If you keep attracting people who don’t want to see you again but you want to see them again, focus more on coming to love yourself.  If you keep attracting great people but there is no chemistry between you, God hasn‘t sent you the right person yet; there are bigger priorities right now.
  11. Never assume or hope that you can change anything about the person you are interested in dating. You need to like them for exactly who they are. If someone states they are trying to quit smoking, assume they will not accomplish it and decide if you are okay with that. We all have aspects of ourselves that are not as strong as we would like them to be, things we don’t like doing or things we can’t do and our ideal partner needs to be okay with that and vice versa.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, the longer we take to meet our life partner, the longer we can be working on coming to love ourselves and the more likely we will attract someone who has been doing the same! We have long-term relationships with people who love themselves to the same degree we do. I saw the contrast in the men I attracted through online dating over the years…if you work on yourself long enough, you can meet a type of man you never knew existed!

My FULL Acceptance Speech After Receiving The Lifetime Achievement Award in Nutrition

On Saturday, I received the Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award in Nutrition. I was not able to deliver my full acceptance speech due to time constraints, so I decided to share it with you in this way!

Who knew that my eldest daughter being so sick back in 1999 would lead to receiving this prestigious award today? I am truly honoured. Over the years, I have spread the word about what we learn at CSNN – with great passion and energy…thinking that only the families I helped valued my work, never thinking that anyone else noticed or knew the difference I was making…today, I have been proven wrong. Thank you.

When I was in my twenties, someone asked me what my ideal job would be. I told them I didn’t know but if people started moving to another planet, I would like to be the one to teach them how to live on that planet and do things differently….well, that is exactly what a nutritionist does, isn’t it? We teach how to do things differently than the majority….

When I started teaching people how to do things differently, many people turned against me. Family members and a couple of friends ended relationships with me. A few people walked out of my seminars. A lady reported me to public health for explaining the benefits of unpasteurized milk to a group of mothers. Someone told me I would stunt my eldest daughter’s growth by not feeding her dairy and wheat – many of you know that she is 5’10’’, healthy and strong! The point is that our work was generally not accepted almost 20 years ago.

But I knew the truth. I knew that food and our emotions were the keys to aging with vitality, joy and grace. My unintentional experiments with both of my daughters, our animals and myself proved over and over again that everything we learned in school is absolutely correct. I helped a highly functioning autistic boy and girl eliminate all signs of autism. I helped a boy with asthma avoid the need for puffers. I helped a girl with celiac put an end to all her symptoms. I helped a girl with Type 1 diabetes reduce her need for insulin from 50 units a day down to 5 units. I have helped many people, of all ages, change their mind about committing suicide. The knowledge we gain at CSNN is sound. It is unique; it is infinitely valuable.

I will spend the rest of my life helping people that want to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is my greatest pleasure to do so. Receiving this award will always remind me that today my work is not only accepted but respected. As you now know, this is something I haven’t ever felt I’ve had in this career. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

What Does Opening our Hearts Really Mean?

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We are not angry or violent people who fight all the time and criticize others; that is not who we are. We are not the people who work ourselves to the bone year after year to prove ourselves to others and get no appreciation in return; that is not who we are. We are not constant complainers who can’t get anything to go the way we want; that is not who we are. We are not anger, violence, doubt, blame, cynicism, resentment or any of these aspects of fear. Fear does not need to write our life story. Fear is not reality; it is just an emotion created by the ego. What we really are… is LOVE.
Love is the only antidote for fear. When we are filled with love, we feel peaceful and calm. Our muscles relax; we smile and breathe more deeply. When we are operating from love, we are present, in balance, grateful, optimistic, forgiving, compassionate, funny, generous, confident, humble, patient and alive! All of this is literally reflected in the harmonious rhythm of our hearts. When we are operating from love, we bestow love when others are good to us and when they treat us badly. Because our relationships are always congruent with our frequency, every one of our relationships will be loving, respectful and joyful when we truly operate from love. And the more loving we are, the more the world greets us as love and the more immune we are to the troubles of the world.

Everyone talks about opening their hearts and being loving but I don’t believe the majority know how to do this. I think more of us would truly love if we really knew what “being loving” meant.

We are taught that when an individual cheats on another, this means the end of the
relationship. If the individual, who was cheated on, doesn’t end their relationship, they are judged as being weak, needy or desperate. I want to give you two examples of where opening our heart can save a beautiful marriage.

A woman came to me after her husband cheated on her, telling me that everyone was telling her to end her marriage. She told me that her husband was sexually abused as a child and he had never told anyone, not even her, his wife. One day, he met a woman who had also been sexually abused. They ended up having an affair. I explained to this woman that her husband had held onto his secret for over thirty years until he found someone with whom he felt safe enough to be honest. When he shared his story with the woman that had also been abused and she still respected him and was attracted to him, she literally helped him heal from his past. Was this the ideal way to heal from his past? Absolutely not. I asked this woman if she still respected, loved and desired her husband and she said “Yes.” I asked her if her husband still respected, loved and desired her and she said “Yes.” I then suggested that she see him with compassion, that she understand what truly happened here, and that she slowly begin to contemplate rebuilding their marriage. It has been over fifteen years since we had that discussion and the two of them are still happily married.

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A man came to me after learning his wife had cheated on him. After we talked at length, he saw her infidelity as a wake-up call for himself as he realized that he had taken her for granted for many years. Was cheating on him the right thing for her to do? Of course not, but we discussed how they would make their marriage stronger than ever, as a result of this, and that is exactly what they did. He even went so far as to apologize to his wife for not seeing her greatness because he had been so caught up in himself. When someone hurts us tremendously and we can thank them for showing us the error of our ways, we receive proof that we are truly opening our heart.

Our hearts transform pain into love. We cannot choose all of our circumstances but we can choose whether to view them with love or fear; all that is needed is a shift in perception. Love is a way of seeing, it is THE way of seeing. My hope is that you will see through the lens of your heart this Valentine’s Day.

A Unique Perspective on Making New Years’ Resolutions

In more recent years, there have been a number of people who have stopped making New Years’ Resolutions. Many people believe that they are going to fail at keeping their resolutions, so why set themselves up for disappointment and make them at all? Some feel that the word “resolution” sounds as though they are forcing whatever it is they want to happen, so they say “No” to making resolutions. And others have another set of reasons or excuses for avoiding making resolutions.

Here’s the thing. We are here to become the very best people we can be. We are meant to learn compassion, patience, respect, faith, perseverance, hard work, the power of our thoughts, forgiveness, gratitude, belief in ourselves and others, humility, when and how to surrender, optimism, honesty, and loyalty, just to give a few examples. And we are meant to accomplish our dreams.

Do you think that eating low vibration foods, watching Netflix endlessly, failing to exercise, drinking alcohol regularly, or spending hours on Facebook or Instagram will help you become the best person you can be? Do you think that hanging out with angry or critical people will help you see your greatness? Do you think that believing what insecure people or people who are in emotional pain say to you or about you will help you see our greatness? Do you think that setting goals will truly harm you?

It is only when we begin to think differently that we can access the information we need to help us act differently. It is only when our perceptions are healthy, that we can be healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had a new client that came to me to lose weight. I knew that I could use my vast knowledge of nutrition to help her lose weight but that if we did not address the emotional cause of her need to protect herself by surrounding herself with extra weight, she would never accomplish her goal. When we determined the emotional root cause of her weight gain, it was easy for her to lose the extra weight because she was no longer sabotaging herself with her thoughts!

Set your sights on what you want – call it what you want! Create resolutions, goals or come up with your ‘one word’ for 2018 but determine you are going to be the very best person you can be or that you are going to make this world a better place or both. You don’t need to know exactly how you are going to accomplish what you want. But if you do know some steps that you can take to accomplish your goal, embark upon them. Stop making excuses for yourself. Stop seeing yourself as small.

From the two million eggs that a woman is born with and the five hundred billion sperm that a man produces over his lifetime, two cells united to create you, each containing twenty three chromosomes and within each chromosome, hundreds of genes. Those genes governed every characteristic you possess, from the colour of your eyes, the size of your brain to your manner of being. You possess qualities in your mind, speech, movement, appearance and actions of no one else that has ever lived or shall live. You are one of the greatest miracles in the world.

MAKE THIS NEXT YEAR YOUR BEST YEAR YET. YOU CAN DO IT!!

Christmas Gifts From The Heart

I know that at this time of year, we spend a lot of time shopping for just the right present for those we love. I wanted to give you some ideas of gifts that you could give from the heart! You can write a list of everything you appreciate about your loved one in their Christmas card. You can make a collage (10 x 10) of pictures of you and them, decorate it with scrapbooking materials from Michaels and frame it‎. You can send them on a scavenger hunt to look for a meaningful gift with each hint describing something you love about them or reminding them of a good memory you have shared with them. The most important gift we can give at Christmas time is our love and appreciation for those we care about.

Our Halloween Candy Cravings Can Jumpstart Our Emotional Healing – Who Knew?

It’s easy to get carried away with eating candy and chocolate each Halloween. Candy and chocolate temporarily make us feel loved inside! Who knew that eating something could have that power? If we are able to eat treats on Halloween and maybe the next day and then leave them alone, we are in balance. But if we continue to crave sugar and chocolate, our cravings can be important messengers….

Cravings and their emotional connection

  • Are you craving cinnamon flavoured hard candies? This is a sign that you are tense and frightened. Cinnamon warms the body and reduces blood pressure.
  • Are you craving peppermint? You are likely feeling lethargic and need energy!
  • Are you craving coffee flavoured candy? You are likely exhausted and need a nap.
  • Are you craving peanut brittle? You might be frustrated that your life is lacking in fun and you might also be needing comfort.
  • Are you craving caramel? If so, you might be having troubles making decisions.
  • Are you craving licorice? This helps with anxiety and stress. Chewy foods in general alleviate stress.
  • Are you craving jelly beans? You might be juggling too many responsibilities, feeling as though you don’t have enough time.
  • Are you craving hard candy? The desire to crunch indicates some anger, anxiety or stress.
  • Are you craving a sucker or candy that you can suck on? This signifies some boredom or impatience?
  • Are you craving chocolate? Each kind of chocolate bar has its’ own emotional connection but generally when we crave chocolate, we crave love, support and encouragement.

What can you do to eliminate your cravings?

If you analyze your cravings and identify any of these underlying emotions, you can directly confront your underlying emotions by asking yourself if you need someone to talk to, if you need to set up some healthy boundaries or if you need to make changes in your life.

You can avoid keeping candy available or visible in your home – certain types of people are more prone to emotional eating than others. If you can be honest with yourself and know that you will eat the treats if they are in your home, it helps you avoid bringing them into your home to begin with!

You can allow yourself small amounts of candy – there is no need to completely avoid it. When we binge on candy, it can be due to long periods of deprivation.

You can say affirmations to help you overcome your emotional challenges so that you don’t crave sweets. An example might be “I have enough energy to accomplish all my goals” or “I live my life by listening to my intuition” or “It’s okay for me to have more fun in my life and I am thinking of new ways to do that all the time” or “I am strong, loved and supported.”

For more information on your food cravings, read “Constant Cravings” by Doreen Virtue. I highly recommend it! And I do hope you have a happy halloween filled with surprises and absolute delight!

Why Counting Your Blessings is The Most Important Thing You Can Do with Your Life

The very first official Thanksgiving was celebrated in Canada on November 6, 1879. It was at this time, that Parliament passed a law designating this national day of thanksgiving, to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the prior year. In fact, the indigenous people in Canada celebrated the full harvest, long before the arrival of the European settlers and the actual designation of the day.

As we look at Thanksgiving, over the course of our lives, we might notice the changes in who we celebrated with, what we ate, what town or city we were in and where we were at in our lives. And many of you might have noticed that there was only one constant…yourself. You were there each and every year, hopefully celebrating the harvest of your life, particularly the blessings you experienced in the prior year.

Have you ever been in a bad mood and only seen the areas of your life that were not going well? Of course, you have! This happens to everyone. It’s the way our minds work….unless we train them to do otherwise.

I have a friend who has allowed her mind to always remind her of what was going wrong in her life. And everything was always going wrong in her life. I explained to her that until she decides to stop being a victim, nothing will get better for her. I explained to her that whatever we focus on in our lives is what persists. And I explained that her underlying challenge was that her horrific childhood made her believe that she didn’t deserve anything better in her life. I talked to her about this for years, telling her that one day she will DECIDE that she deserves and wants more for herself. I told her she could stay in this place for as long as she wanted but that one day she would know when the pain was too great to remain where she was.

Recently, she was in a restaurant with a friend when a car came smashing through the window and stopped within a few feet of where she was sitting!!! She contacted me immediately and wanted to discuss the significance of the incident. She determined that her life was spared for a reason. The car came way too close to her without actually hitting her. The next week, she called in desperation because she was confined to her apartment for many days because a sickness she had contracted was contagious. I explained that it was now time to go into quiet contemplation, so that she could DECIDE how she was really going to LIVE her life. I suggested reading and immersing herself in things she loved doing. She did just that.

This Thanksgiving weekend, she told me that she turned down a dinner invitation from a friend who truly did not appreciate her. She shared a meal with her nephew and his son and spent hours in the park together; she thoroughly enjoyed a free Thanksgiving dinner at the community centre; she finished reading a book and has started another one (and this woman doesn’t read!). This Thanksgiving, I celebrate the commencement of her healing; this is a HUGE feat for this 52 year old woman who has hardly spent any time counting her blessings until now.

 

As for myself, I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with both of my girls. We picked apples that Taylor made into a scrumptious pie. And we had a traditional multi-dish meal with the man and woman, who are the parents I always wanted but never had, until eight years ago! Could I write pages about the things I am grateful for? No question. Is that the number one thing I do that makes me so happy and healthy, despite the challenges I have faced in my life? It absolutely is.

Hoping you had the most delightful Thanksgiving weekend. And if it wasn’t, you know what to do next year at this time.

There Is A Place

There is a place where each of us can go where….

  • We remain at peace no matter what goes on around us
  • When someone or something hurts us, we are okay and familiar with feeling the pain; we know how to arrive at the truth of the matter, so that we can return to our peaceful state faster than we ever could before
  • We can see others clearly and know that none of their negativity or discomfort with themselves has anything to do with us
  • Time is altered; we can effortlessly fit everything in that we want to do in a day
  • When plans don’t go the way we expect them to, we know that there is something more important that we need to be doing and we quickly learn what it is
  • Others can see who we really are within minutes of meeting us
  • We can instantly bond with others because we see others with such love and clarity
  • Breathing deeply and freely is easy to do because fear no longer pervades our thoughts
  • We are guided as to what we need to say and do at just the right moment
  • We live almost entirely in the present moment, enjoying everything thoroughly; thoughts of the pain of our past circumstances are infrequent and fleeting
  • We are constantly filled with gratitude for everything we have, right down to our toothbrush!
  • No bucket list exists because we are so happy doing exactly what we are doing (Yes, we think it would nice to go to Australia but there is no burning desire because we are so content in this moment)
  • We do what we are passionate about regularly and we enjoy everything we do, including the housework and paying bills, simply because we are so happy within
  • We laugh easily, often and loudly and we truly have fun, no matter what we are doing
  • Our imperfections barely bother us because we forgive ourselves and because we know our greatness supersedes those imperfections
  • We forget more and more, as time goes on, the ways in which others hurt us because we truly forgive those individuals
  • We are thankful to every teacher we have ever had because we are pleased with who we are and where we are at in our lives
  • It is easy to see that we are all one and easy to see the flow all around us
  • We exert very little effort to achieve what we want; we easily manifest the people, the knowledge and the circumstances we need
  • We know we are safe at all times, even in a dark alley by ourselves!
  • We know the universe has our back and that we are ALWAYS taken care of
  • We know we are finally operating from LOVE at all times, as opposed to fear.

I live in this place. This is heaven on earth. This place is available to every one of us on earth. If I had known it existed, I might have found this place sooner but no one told me exactly where I was headed. I woke up one morning knowing I had to tell you about this place, so you could find it too.

Narcissists – Identifying and Understanding Them

I spend a lot of time in my life coaching sessions helping clients understand and cope with Narcissists, which made me realize that we need a greater understanding, as a whole, on this topic. The term “Narcissist” is used loosely and frequently, without necessarily knowing if a person truly fits the proper definition. In fact, Narcissists are omni-present and their numbers are on the rise.

Recently, a nationally representative sample of 35,000 Americans found that 6% of Americans, 1 out of 16, had experienced Narcissistic Personality Disorder at some point in their lives. Most of us know at least one Narcissist; some of us are related to one; some of us married one and some of us are or were friends with one.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Although mental health professionals are the best ones to diagnose this condition, here are some markers for identifying a Narcissist.  A Narcissist is an individual who:

  • Has a very low self-esteem but who appears to mask it well
  • Needs constant external validation; they crave admiration and validation
  • Is always trying to prove they are superior to others; their desire to win at all costs is all encompassing
  • Is extremely self-centered
  • Is very one-minded; they can only see things from their own perspective
  • Is hypersensitive to feeling slighted or mistreated in any way; they feel insulted and criticized when no insult or criticism was intended and they are always on the defensive
  • Always believes they are the innocent victim and that others are hostile perpetrators
  • Is willing to de-value and humiliate other people
  • Feels no pain when they hurt others; if they do feel pain, it’s a lot less than others would feel
  • Has hierarchical thinking, meaning that every person or object (they are very materialistic as well) is placed on a scale. They have troubles believing anyone is their equal.
  • Have disproportionate anger; they get very angry at things that seem quite minor to others
  • Uses extreme language; they refer to others as “perfect” , “the best” or “the absolute worst” and there is nothing in between
  • Uses cruel and inappropriate language; they say things out loud that others might think but don’t voice for fear of hurting others i.e. “That is the dumbest waitress I’ve ever had.”
  • Have an inability to genuinely apologize or admit mistakes; they do not have a stable enough self-esteem to admit their mistakes and feel if they admit their mistakes, their facade of perfection will end or another will humiliate them
  • Has a difficult time sustaining serious, intimate relationships

What is THE key to understanding Narcissists?

When a child experiences a lot of pain and their self-esteem is destroyed, Narcissism can be the result. When one does not receive the love they need, they can become “selfish” and spend the rest of their lives trying to meet their own needs in unhealthy ways. And certainly, our celebrity culture, media and the internet are contributing to the rise in this self-centered way of thinking.

When we understand that a Narcissist is simply coping with their pain, it can help ignite compassion within us. Having this information can help us refrain from taking a Narcissist’s actions or words personally and assist us in dealing with them effectively. The key to healing narcissistic thoughts is to become aware of them and then take the steps to coming to love oneself (outlined in my book “The Resourceful Mother’s Secrets to Emotional Health”). Taking these steps teaches an individual how to increase their self-esteem, so that they can internally validate themselves, as opposed to seeking external validation.

Sources Used: “The Truth about Narcissistic Personality Disorder” by Elinor Greenberg PhD, CGP in Psychology Today and “Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now” by Lindsay Lyon, Staff Writer, US News.

Celebrating Canada’s 150th This Weekend

Last week, a young Triple A hockey player came to my office, wanting help preparing himself both physically and emotionally to hit the big leagues. Within a few minutes of talking to him, I noticed that he didn’t have a vision for his future in the NHL. By the time we finished our appointment, he left with a clear vision of what he wanted and a big smile on his face.

A year ago, my friends and I created a vision of how we would celebrate Canada’s 150th in Ottawa this weekend. Many people in both Toronto and Ottawa warned us about the expected bad weather, the crowds, the security lines, and the traffic that we would have to face. We maintained our vision.

On Saturday, July 1st the energy in the Byward Market and in front of the Parliament buildings was palpable. Prince Charles described “peace, fairness and respect” as “the spirit of Canada”. He said that Canada was looked up to around the world for how inclusive we are and for our compassion and caring for others. He spoke about how inspiring we are as a nation. My heart swelled with pride because I knew his words to be true. The natives were at the eternal flame dressed in full regalia, singing and dancing. Members of the RCMP were omnipresent. Peter Mansbridge was in attendance; it was his last day of work before heading into retirement. There were numerous homegrown singers performing on the stage, one after the other.

When the torrential rain came, my friends and I were under tents and in sheltered areas, having our pictures taken with groups of policemen. When we waited for an hour at a table to be served drinks, we went up to the bar and were sipping our drinks within five minutes of ordering them! One of the bartenders was a part-time stripper…I guess I said a few things that got him going and before you knew it, he had ripped off his white suspenders and was pulling them back and forth between his legs, while the customers witnessing his display went crazy. The Canadians sitting around the bar were so friendly, quick to laugh, kind and complimentary (would that really be different than any other bar in Canada?). We were all talking to one another at this point, enjoying drinks with one another, and taking pictures. A couple of hours later, none of us wanted to leave but it was time to prepare to see the fireworks. When we saw the long winding lines leading up to the top of Parliament Hill, we didn’t turn away but joined right in, talking to all sorts of people on the way up. At the second security checkpoint, my friend made one of the policemen so happy with her compliment that he shouted out how much he loved his job, giving her a huge hug and smiling for my camera.

It was Prime Minister Trudeau and his wife, Sophie that greeted us on the stage at Parliament Hill. They were clearly so happy to be there, so enthusiastic and loving. They talked about how Canada was always improving and described setting our sights higher and higher. They took turns describing their beliefs about Canadians and the direction our country was moving in. They introduced more of our Canadian greats such as Gordon Lightfoot, Serena Ryder, The Tragically Hip and Patrick Watson, prior to each of their performances. Even Montreal – born Cirque du Soleil put on a show for us!

By the time the fireworks were blasted into the hot night’s sky, my pride in Canada was overflowing. As I watched the lights shooting all around the Peace Tower, I looked around at the crowd surrounding me and took in the smiles on their faces and their applause. I noticed the young and old dressed to show their patriotism and then heard all their loud cheering as the final set of fireworks was set off. I got choked up thinking about how safe our nation really is and how much freedom we each have to be ourselves and live the lives that we want to live.

To get home, we hopped on a bus decorated as a Canadian flag but were unsure of where our stop was. A young girl who came to Canada from a war-torn part of Afghanistan five years ago, gave us directions in perfect English so that we could make it home.

And in the end, I realized that my vision for celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday had come true; it was exactly how I had hoped it would be, in fact, it was even better. And so was my vision of my country.