The Red Sweater. A true and inspiring story……60 years later!

In the mid 1950’s my mom, Betty left her family home in Saskatchewan and ventured east to Montreal to live with her grandma, work and experience life.  I’m sure it was quite the contrast to her life and upbringing on the prairies of rural Saskatchewan.


She left several younger siblings back at home and one of them was her sister Irene.  In her best attempt at spelling and printing, Irene wrote my mom a letter thanking her for a gift and a letter she had sent.  How exciting it must have been for Irene to receive something in the mail all the way from Montreal!  In this letter, she also asked my mom for a red sweater with buttons down the front for her next gift.  As the story goes, my mom saved all her money she made from working to buy her mom and dad their first “refrigerator” which I’m sure was very exciting and incredibly appreciated.


My mom kept Irene’s letter all these years.  For Irene’s birthday this past December, my mom sent her a special gift.  There was a copy of Irene’s letter along with a beautiful red sweater with of course, buttons down the front.  Mom told Irene she couldn’t remember if she ever did send her one!


There were lots of tears and memories from this gesture.

This story is such a reminder of kindness, love and all the goodness in life that makes us feel grateful and happy.  Taking the time to bring joy to another person carries with it a ripple effect that inspires many others, ourselves included.  I encourage each one of you to keep spreading the kindness and love to others however you can, wherever you are and be a part of making this world a better place.


Here’s to friends, family, awesome stories and goodness!


With aloha,


4 life lessons from exciting first-time experiences.

Recently, I had the privilege of being on a flight with a group of wonderfully entertaining people who unknowingly inspired this blog post and graphic design.  I took the picture in my design on this memorable flight.


I’m sure most of you reading this have flown on some type of airplane before.  My first flight was over 32 years ago.  I remember being amazed that this huge 7-47 plane was actually going to get off the ground, take me up into the sky and arrive at a far-away destination in such a short period of time.  I believe I may have cried (no, I know I did) due to the thrill and anticipation.  Do any of you remember the first time you flew?  Were you nervous, excited, in awe, speechless, giddy, petrified, chatty, anxious, quiet, grateful?  Did you get butterflies in your stomach when the plane took off and landed?  Did your ears get plugged?  Did your stomach get queasy?  Did you look out the window or pull the shade down?  Were your palms sweaty?


Did you look in wonder at the world below you? 


As our plane lifted off the ground on this recent flight, my attention was captured by the “ooohs” and “aaaahs” and exclamations of “WOW!” and “COOL!” from several people behind me.  I am not sure if it was a first flight for them, or perhaps they hadn’t flown often or maybe they just do that on all flights (a fantastic way to keep things “fun and new”).  I turned to the passengers beside me and we exchanged smiles and chuckled as a result of the animated reactions behind us.  It prompted a friendly and “good vibe” conversation between the three of us in that row.  This experience reminded me how important it is to remember the excitement of experiencing something for the first time. Those rediscovered moments are powerful and can enhance how we experience our lives in the present moment!


4 life lessons from exciting first-time experiences:


  1. It changes our perspective so that we live our lives with freshness and joy (for the simple things not only the big things).
  2. It keeps us connected to other people.  It reinforces the positive power of sharing in experiences together.
  3. It keeps us humble.  A perfect reminder to be grateful and to not take things for granted.
  4. It reminds us to celebrate and have fun because somewhere along the way, many of us have forgotten how to do that.


Well, it didn’t quite end there.  When the captain announced that we had begun our descent and would soon be landing, I wondered what the reactions would be from this group who had provided entertainment on take-off.  Sure enough, we could hear the beginnings of excited dialogue and anticipation!  They did not disappoint in delivering another fabulous performance.  The “ooohs” and “aaahs” and exclamations of “COOL!”, “WOW!” and “YAY!” were even louder as we landed!  This was without a doubt one of the best flights I have been on in a long, long time.  I would like to give a “shout-out of awesome” to the special people on that flight.  I thank each of you for inspiring me to “remember” through your spontaneous joyfulness and enthusiasm.


For those of you reading this post, I hope the four life lessons that I have shared are helpful reminders for you, just as they are for me.  I encourage each of you to reflect back on the excitement you have experienced from your own “firsts”.  Bring some of that rediscovered joy back into your life for the four reasons above or for your own amazing reason.  Then get ready to enjoy the renewal of your life……where your present moments can be experienced with the excitement of a “first”!


Learning on the journey,