My First Book Review & Giveaway!!!!

Viva Editions (http://www.vivaeditions.com/features/about.php) was kind to provide me a copy of Kristen Moeller’s What Are You Waiting For?: Learn How to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life. I finally had time to finish it this week and will give an honest opinion of this book now.

My copy with post it-notes. :)

My copy with post it-notes. 🙂

After losing her beloved home and all her worldly possessions to a wildfire, Moeller writes this book, contemplating and reflecting upon life and what it means to “wait”. She writes in a personable voice, sharing her own experiences and thoughts with the reader, and guiding the reader along in her journey as she uncovers what “waiting” means. In essence, she is saying that most of us are always waiting for the right moment and/or person to find what we perceive as “real” happiness and fulfillment. As a result of all this waiting, we lose our freedom to simply be. She defines “be” as “that deep-down, knowing sense of who we are and what we are made of, that quiet peaceful voice that tells us we are OK, the ease of feeling at home in our own skin.” (p. xxxi) In short, she says we need to stop waiting for life to slow down and things to settle; we need to go forth to pursue our dreams, hopes and fears in all the messiness known as life. At the same time, we need to know when it is the right time to stop and wait. This type of waiting is seen as a kind thing we can do for ourselves because we learn patience, acceptance and allowance which will transform our souls in the face of fears and hopes etc.

I like how Moeller divides each chapter into different areas of life (e.g. self, love, possessions vs. non-attachment, relationship with parents etc.) where humans generally “wait” to find happiness and fulfillment. She adds in personal experiences and life lessons, and firsthand stories of other people she knows such as her friends and family members to give an universal appeal to each chapter, a feeling that all humans go through these experiences at some point in their lives. A final nice touch to each chapter is that she includes what she calls “Gentle Knock” sections in which she helps the reader to stop and reflect upon what calls to them, and to let go of what doesn’t serve towards their own happiness. These light suggestions and practices (gentle knocks) help the reader to balance the different types of waiting that the “gigantic Soul You and the smaller Everyday You can learn to live with.” (p. xxxiv)

I have to admit that there are some chapters that did not resonate with me, such as Chapter 8 (“Waiting to Become the Person My Dog Thinks I am”), since I don’t have pets so I don’t love them as if they were my children. However, for pet/dog owners, this chapter may give you insights in becoming an even happier person.

Overall, I’m glad I got a chance to be introduced to this self-help book, and to get to know this author. This book served as a gentle wake up call for me to look within myself and to see what truly matters to me and to be reminded of how I will pursue my happiness and fulfillment through wise waiting and fearless actions.

If you find you’re in a rut or you’re dissatisfied with your current life, or you’re waiting for that “something” to happen and then life will be good, then this book is for you!

Check it out at http://www.vivaeditions.com/book_page.php?book_id=68

I am happy to announce that in partnership with Viva Editions, I will be giving away ONE COPY of this book! It’s a way to say thank you for following my blog and enjoying my posts. 🙂

This giveaway contest is open to anyone 18+ anywhere in the world, as long as you are a verified follower of this blog.

WhatAreYouWaitingFor_hires

If you are interested in getting a free copy of this book, all you need to do is answer this question: “What are you waiting for right now in your life?”

Simply enter your reply by pressing the “Leave a Comment” button below this blog post, and submit your answer. I will pull the giveaway participant’s name from a randomized generator.

To qualify, you must be a verified follower of this blog and a US resident and enter the giveaway below. I will notify the winner by email April 23rd, so make sure you have subscribed. Good luck! – See more at: http://thevegan8.com/2014/04/15/rawsome-vegan-baking-cookbook-review-recipe-giveaway/#sthash.EwomuzJL.dpuf
  • One entry per person.
  • This contest closes on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST
  • The winner will be announced and contacted via email on July 31, 2014.
  • Please be sure to check your email!  (The winner will receive the prize by mail, so please be prepared to provide me with your mailing address.)

Thank you for reading this long post and I hope you will participate in this giveaway opportunity!

Good luck!!! 🙂

XO,
Violet

Life Lessons from My Dad

There is an old Chinese saying that comes to mind about the fleetingness and truth of existence. It is “birth, old age, illness and death”. Almost every “healthy”  human goes through each stage, as it’s the natural progression of what we call life.

With deep sorrow, I share with you that after a long and courageous battle against cancer, my beloved dad passed away peacefully three weekends ago. Over the past few weeks, I realize that while my dad has physically left my family and I; his spirit lives on through myself and my family members. He will remain in our hearts forever through the wonderful memories we shared together and the lessons he taught us.

I dedicate this post to my dad, 3 times cancer survivor and my role model. In this post, I would like to reflect upon qualities or values that I greatly admired in and learned from my dad. I call these qualities or values “life lessons”. Thank you in advance for taking your time to read about my dad: a very remarkable, courageous and optimistic man.

 

1. Courage

In the past 7.5 years, my dad repeatedly demonstrated courage in facing and battling against three types of cancer. Such courage is considerably admirable; every time I accompanied him to chemotherapy or cheered him on at one of his surgeries, he would face these painful sessions head on with a brave countenance. I had never once seen him break down, cry or scream in agony. No matter what situation, he fearlessly met the challenge and difficulty without hesitation or cowardice. Even till his last breath, he faced death without fear; he told us he was ready to go without any regrets.

 

2. Strength & Resilience

When I mention strength here, I am not talking about physical strength. I am referring to mental and inner strength.  In my opinion, strength and resilience are interchangeable. My dad fought valiantly in every single battle against cancer, despite the pain and physical weakness from surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, and later, from the rapid and unstoppable tumor growth. However, he was always resilient in his spirit to recover. I still vividly remember his last surgery (removal  of his entire stomach) one year ago: the doctor recommended for him to walk around the hospital ward a few times a day with his walker to regain strength. Although it must have been extremely painful for him to get up after the surgery, dad would walk slowly but steadily around the ward independently, refusing support from any of us. My dad most definitely had the strength and resilience of a warrior.

 

3. Optimism

In the face of bleak truth, dad was still the epitome of optimism. He always believed he would overcome cancer and live a long life. His positive attitude helped him a lot to overcome obstacle after obstacle during the past 7.5 years. He enjoyed reading a variety of magazine articles and books on eating and cooking right to treat and prevent cancer, and then tried them out for himself and his family. Also, he knew leading an active lifestyle would help in battling against cancer. Whenever it was good weather, I would see him happily riding his bike to meet his friends at the local cafe or go grocery shopping. Not one moment did he ever give in to the hopelessness and helplessness of a cancer patient; he continued to live life to the fullest with joy and hope. Every relative, family friend and acquaintance I talked to in the past 3 weeks confirmed what I already knew: dad will forever be remembered as an eternal optimist with a zest for life.

 

4. Frugality, Generosity, Hard Work & Selflessness

My family and I noticed something quite astounding as we were going through family albums. My dad actually wore the same pair of glasses for almost 25 years! He had these glasses from the day he was in university until I graduated from high school. This discovery really brought home the fact that he was a very simple, kind-hearted man, who found joy in the little things such as working to provide for his family, eating dinner with us, and being creative with reusing recyclable materials. He rarely spent money on himself,  except buying himself a cup of coffee and the newspaper to be enjoyed at the cafe. While my dad was frugal on himself, he was always generous with his family and friends, and even strangers. He was the type of person who would give money to strangers with a sob story, without doubting the authenticity.

Since I was a little child, I associated hard work with my dad. He was always working extra hard from Monday to Sunday, to raise my brother and I, so we could have the best of everything. He even uprooted his life in Europe by moving to Canada so his children could have a better future. I believe dad’s simple, hardworking and frugal life is something to look up to, as he was able to raise two successful children and have his own property with his wife in a new country. He built a happy and rewarding life based on the foundations of hard work, selflessness, frugality and generosity.

 

5. Actions Speak Louder than Words

Dad was raised in a family and culture that did not display affections or express feelings outwardly. As a result, I used to think he was incapable of love. Now I know that his every action showed his immense love and care for his family. For example, he would make me a hot breakfast every morning during the week, and always took care of the maintenance of my car. These thoughtful gestures definitely showed his love for me. From my dad, I have learned that actions speak louder than words; it is a valuable lesson and reminder for me when interacting with people around me.

 

My dad’s “life lessons” are his legacy for me. My only wish is to be able to live by his example, passing on his legacy, as I continue to grow into the best person I can be, and move forward in life. I am truly honoured and proud to be my dad’s daughter.

In loving memory of my dad: tulips are a symbol of Spring and eternal life. May his legacy live on through me and he rest in eternal peace in heaven. :)

In loving memory of my dad: tulips are a symbol of Spring and eternal life. May his legacy live on through me and may he rest in eternal peace and happiness in heaven.

 

 

 

 

Breathe In & Breathe Out = Accept & Let Go

As the year is coming to an end, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, complimenting, and supporting my blog throughout the past six months.  Who knew that my little blogging exploration on my journey into healthy eating and balanced living is still going strong?  I did not anticipate that far ahead, and to know that I’m slowly but steadily gaining more wonderful readers and/or blogging friends as time goes by, is truly amazing.  I appreciate and am thankful for YOU! 🙂

Aside from connecting with loved ones and dear friends during this holiday season, something else that I appreciate and am thankful for in December is the opportunity to reflect.  Having this opportunity to reflect personally and professionally allows us to set goals and strategies to continue to grow and develop as a person of many roles (e.g. daughter, sister, friend, teacher, student etc.) for the next year.

An important lesson I learned this year, as I’m reflecting, is what my dearest wise friend Zainab shared with me at the beginning of the year while we were at a yoga conference.  She taught me a very simple meditation technique or coping mechanism when confronted with a stressful and/or difficult situation, personally or professionally.  It is simply to take a few minutes to BREATHE in a quiet space.

Here are the steps:

1. As you’re breathing in a deep breath slowly, accept what has happened in your mind.

2. As you breathe out slowly, let whatever has happened go in your mind.

3. Continue this technique as long as you want to and once you feel calm, you’ll feel peace in your heart and mind too.

I practised this meditation technique whenever I experienced the downs in my life.  It truly works and  I can honestly tell you that learning to “accept and let go” is the best medicine for my physical, mental and spiritual health this year!  Furthermore, I realized that there are some events/situations and people’s behaviour/attitude that are out of our control.  Frequently, these “out of control” situations or behaviour are what we consider  “awful, bad, or horrible” and upsets us.  Well, the only thing we can control is the way we react to and think about it.  To put it simply, we need to “accept and let go”, and not dwell in the past.  The power of positive thinking and being in the present does wonders for the body, mind and soul, and truly makes us happy from the inside out.

I wish you all happiness, love, peace, success, good health and beautiful moments for the upcoming new year! 🙂

Breathe in and breathe out, and let’s welcome 2014 with renewed energy, hope, and dreams!!

Looking at the beautifully icycle covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm.  Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to remember:  "Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away." :)

Looking at the beautifully icicle-covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm. Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to: “Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away.” 🙂

The Preciousness of Life

Dear friends and readers,

I don’t mean to write something depressing, and I hope you don’t find it so.  I was actually in the midst of composing something else and suddenly two events happened today that made me stop and ponder how precious life is.

First, a serious and tragic accident occurred this morning just around the corner of my neighbourhood, literally a 3 minute walk from my home.  It was a crash between a public bus and a truck, leaving one female passenger dead and at least 10 people injured.  I hope the injured will have a speedy recovery. I feel for the poor female passenger whose life was taken away in a flash.  My deepest condolences to her family.

Second, I received news that my dad does not have a lot of days remaining to live.  He has been fighting courageously against cancer for the past 7 years, and we thought his latest battle will be victory one more time.  After all, third time’s the charm.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, and we must face reality.

These two news really made me realize that life is not only precious, but also short.  None of us know when it will be our time to go, like the lady on the bus today, or my dad who never thought he would get cancer and that he is now at the last stage of it.  I think that while we are living on earth, we truly need to enjoy life to the fullest every day because it could very well be our last; do what makes us happy, and spend time with those who matter to us especially our loved ones.  You never know how long you will have with someone.

I promise myself to be happy and live my daily life to the fullest, do what I love, and spend time with those who really matter to me especially my dad.

I will end this post with this meaningful quote on life that I found:

Life is short image

I hope you find this quote relevant to you as well, and help you to think about this in your own life: Who and what are really important to you?

Carpe diem & cheers to life! 🙂

Love, Violet

P.S. “Live every day as if it’s your last, embracing each experience as if it’s your first.” ~Jennifer Fertado