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IMPROMPTU Chick Night

Left to Right: Colleen, Christine, Amy, Jenny

You never know when you will get the chance to have a Chick Night.

It could be the result of weeks of planning and organizing.

Or, you could have a spontaneous Chick Night that none of you saw coming!

Last weekend, I managed to enjoy BOTH of these extremes.

On Saturday afternoon, Bonnie, Collette and I met at Bonnie’s house for some pre-planned chick time that involved a raw veggies platter with three types of dip, a hot cheese dip with four kinds of crackers, a fruit platter and two dips – one being a lovely serving dish brimming with melted chocolate – and a Chick flick.

The three of us spent a hilarious 90 minutes watching the movie Mamma Mia on DVD.

Yes, we chose the Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long option. Did you really have to ask?

After the movie and snackies, we had a nice, long chat – the kind that involves each woman being able to get caught up on what is happening in the other women’s lives.

Such FUN!

On Sunday afternoon, I packed my trunk full of the various leftover goodies, added a portable chocolate fountain, and drove across town to meet reporter, Jenny Jelen and cameraman extraordinaire, Cliff Skelliter to tape an upcoming segment for a local cable show on Eastlink TV called, The Episode.

When the first words out of Jenny’s mouth were, “Glad you’re here, our makeup and hair woman is ready for you”, I KNEW this was going to be FUN!

How often do I have someone else do my hair and makeup for me, you ask? Hmmmm, let me think. It happens about as often as people offer me free trips to the Caribbean!

I am amenable to that suggestion, by the way.

When Christine had finished with Jenny and I, it was time to set up the “props” for filming. Jenny’s friend, Amy had graciously donated the use of her home for the afternoon.

I arranged food, beverages, and DESSERTS in Amy’s kitchen and livingroom while Jenny prepped her intro and Cliff set up his equipment.

After the standard interview questions had been asked and answered, Cliff asked Christine and Amy to join us in the livingroom. He said, “Just relax and do what you would do if you were actually having a Chick Night.”

This is where the MAGIC started to happen.

As we four women began enjoying the munchies and serving up the chocolate brownie cheesecake – with whipped cream and strawberries, naturally – we started to chat.

Talk turned into REAL CONVERSATION which sparked LAUGHTER and eventually moved straight into FUN.

Before any of us knew it, we were HAVING a Chick Night.

It didn’t matter that I barely knew Jenny and had never before met Amy or Christine.

It didn’t matter that we were all there to tape a tv segment.

In that moment, we completely forgot about the camera guy hovering in the background. (Sorry Cliff.) Chick time simply HAPPENED.

Four women + one chocolate dessert = FUN.

Spontaneous. Unexpected. Wonderful FUN.

That’s the aspect that most women seem nervous about. The dreaded HOW?

“How do I get this started?” “How do I choose the “right” women?” “How do I word the invitation?”

Ladies, please believe me when I say…Chick Night will happen…if you LET IT HAPPEN.

Here’s the simplest and most direct procedure:

1. DECIDE what YOU would like to do.

You may want to go out for dinner or host a potluck meal. You may prefer to see a movie at the cinema or rent a DVD. You might feel like going out hiking or biking or snowshoeing and coming back for hot chocolate. Or, the idea of doing arts and crafts together may appeal to you.

The choice is up to YOU.

2. CALL or EMAIL two or three women you would like to spend time with. These can be girlfriends you haven’t seen in a while or women you barely know.

EITHER way works.

3. INVITE THEM to get together “just the girls”. Make it clear that there will be no spouses, partners, or children. Chick Night is your chance to get away from all your roles and responsibilities and just be YOU.

This is YOUR night out.

4. MENTION the chocolate. Trust me, offering a woman a chance to TREAT HERSELF is like holding a magnet half an inch above an open box of paperclips!

They will WANT to join you.

5. ENJOY yourself. It really is that simple.

Jenny, Christine, Amy, and I managed to pull off a totally impromptu Chick Night in the middle of taping a tv segment. Just think of what YOU will be able to do with a little thought and a couple of emails!

Talk soon.

Colleen

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What You SEE Is What You GET

It’s election day here in Ontario, Canada.

Much has been in the news lately about taxes, the high cost of living, how much money has been poured into healthcare and education, and whether or not that has been effective.

Campaign speeches and sound bites have been filled with information coloured by perspectives and fuelled by political parties – all in an effort to persuade Ontario voters as to who should be in power, and who should be out.

This whole process has gotten me thinking about how much our personal outlook affects the way we INTERPRET what we see around us – in all aspects of our lives.

LOOK at what is happening around YOU.

Do you see AWESOME or EVIL?

Do you notice BEAUTIFUL fall colours on the trees or do you just see a bunch of DEAD LEAVES on the ground?

Do you pile those leaves up so people can PLAY in them for a while or do you just shove them into a bag and COMPLAIN about the extra work?

People’s answers always intrigue me because while one person sees wonder and beauty, and another person sees misery and disaster, they are BOTH looking at the SAME WORLD.

What you CHOOSE to look for is usually based on what you EXPECT to find.

Focussing on the “positives” in life does not eliminate the “negatives” in life. However, by focussing your attention on one viewpoint, you minimize the RELEVANCE of its opposite.

Plus, what you choose to look at sure as heck has a bearing on what kind of day you have. If you don’t believe me, test it out for yourself.

How do you feel – physically and emotionally – when you concentrate on details of the most recent highway fatality statistics, the level of our national debt, or current unemployment rates ?

Compare that with how you feel – physically and emotionally – when you look for examples of good news, thoughtful acts of kindness, and the people in your life who are going after their dreams.

Which focus leaves you feeling upbeat, energized and hopeful? Which focus leaves you feeling depressed, tired, and with an overwhelming sense of “what’s the use”?

The way I figure it, I have two choices.  I can think about, and therefore blog about, statistics on crime and the latest natural disaster. OR, I can talk about, and blog about, inspiring things I see happening around me.

I’m sure you can guess where I tend to point my focus. Here is what I am concentrating on today…

I got an email that included the picture of my friend’s newborn granddaughter (thanks, Kathy!)

I just found out that my wonderful niece is purposely reading The Beginner’s Guide to Chick Night in crowded coffee shops and telling everyone who will listen that her favourite aunt wrote it (thanks, Candace!)

Three of my former radio colleagues have successfully tapped into their creativity in the following ways:

  • Sean Barrette has written, recorded, and released his first CD, Live Through This.
  • Steve Jones has written and published a book entitled Brand Like A Rock Star.
  • Scott Overton has written a book and landed a book deal for publication in 2012.

Depending upon where we look, we all have the choice to be INSPIRED or DEPRESSED by what the world has to offer.

Personally, I choose to see the things that INSPIRE me.

How DO YOU CHOOSE to see the world?

Talk soon.

Colleen

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TELL Her She’s AMAZING

Several weeks ago (August 11th to be exact), I wrote about an AMAZING WOMAN who was battling cancer.

If you saw that original post, entitled I Believe She’s AMAZING, you will know that her daughter, Collette, is one of the Chicks – and that Eva came over for a few hours of Chick Time on the day I wrote that blog.

That visit with Bonnie, Collette, and I was the last time she ever left her house.

In Eva Lanctot’s own words, she “fought the good fight.”  Sadly, she lost that fight on the morning of Monday, August 22nd.

I use the word “sadly” to describe how the rest of us feel about no longer having this dynamic and vibrant personality walking among us. She, on the other hand, was not sad.

Don’t get me wrong – she would have preferred to have more time! However, Eva was grateful to have been given several months in which to reflect on her life and spiritual convictions, wrap up all her business and personal affairs,  and most importantly, to let those around her know how she felt about them.

I tell you this to help you understand how vitally important it is to let people know what you like/love/admire/respect about them – while you still can.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to say those things to Eva before it was too late. I had learned that lesson the hard way a few months before…

It was mid-February, and I was in Toronto visiting my Mom. She received a call from a neighbourhood church letting her know that one of its members had passed away.

Shockingly, I recognized the name. Not only did I recognize the name, but I realized I had gone to school with this woman. She was my age, and now she had been taken by cancer. She left behind her husband, Albert (her high school sweetheart) and their three daughters, Valerie, Nicole, and Michelle.

I hadn’t seen or talked to Patricia Anne Conforzi for decades – so why, besides feeling badly for her husband and children, was I so upset?

Yes, I will admit it was unnerving to come face-to-face with the reality of my own mortality, but that wasn’t the only reason I couldn’t seem to get her out of my mind.

Over the next few weeks, I found myself thinking back to the teenager I had known as Patty Malo.

I remembered her as a cheerful, friendly young woman. We had been in several classes together during our high school years and I could clearly recall her warm smile – and the way she always had a kind word for anyone she spoke to.

That was it! That’s what had been trying to surface to the forefront of my brain.

In all the years I’d known her, I had never once heard her say a mean word to, or about, anyone. Not once.

The more I thought about her, the more I realized I had always liked and respected her for that – but I had NEVER TOLD HER.

So, in HONOUR of Patty Malo (Patricia Anne Conforzi), I made a list of all the people I love and respect who are still here.

I picked up a big stack of cards – the kind with a pretty picture on the front and lots of blank writing space on the inside – and began to write to everyone on my list.

Each card starts with the words, “The world is a better place because you are here.” I tell the person what I admire most about him or her and all the things I love about that person.

As of today, I’m about halfway through that stack of cards and two-thirds of the way through my list of names.

Is there someone YOU want to reach out to? Are there things you want to SAY?

Feel free to use my idea or come up with your own version.  If writing isn’t your thing, just pick up the phone or drop by for coffee.

Whether this person is an AMAZING WOMAN or an AMAZING MAN – it is the words left unsaid that you may live to regret.

Talk soon.

Colleen

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I Believe She’s AMAZING

This year’s CHICK WEEK has been a lesson in flexibility, gratitude, and TRUE COURAGE.

In the original plan, Bonnie, Collette and I would spend this week (from August 8th to 12th) at Collette’s camp. Five days of sun, fun and female bonding time in a scenic and remote location – completely removed from television, radio and the internet.

Then, came the call. Collette’s Mom’s cancer had reared its ugly head again. All thoughts of our “much-needed” week of R&R suddenly seemed trivial and unimportant. The only thing that mattered to us was to provide comfort and emotional support for our beloved friend, Collette and her beloved mother, Eva.

Amazingly, it is EVA who has COMFORTED US.

Eva is no quitter, nor is she the type of woman who looks away from the truth. She has always been a formidable woman – a well respected business woman and community advocate, and a force of nature. Her instinct is to face personal and professional challenges head-on.

This combination of courage and acceptance is allowing her to recognize all that she has achieved in her lifetime, connect with all those who matter to her, and focus all her energy and attention on gratitude for the blessings of her life. She is calm, centered, and inspiring.

With all that has been going on, we Chicks decided to do a shortened version of Chick Week in the form of a two day STAYCATION. Our HONOURARY CHICK blessed us with a visit Tuesday evening during Chick Night. Within moments of her arrival, Eva had us all laughing our heads off with funny stories of how she and her husband met. Even now, she is poster girl for courage.

Afterward, while sitting together in Collette’s livingroom, we came across a remarkable video on YouTube that we would like to share with you. Visit http://www.ibelieveshesamazing.com and join with women around the world who are helping to create the LARGEST LIVING LEGACY OF FRIENDSHIP.

Who is the AMAZING WOMAN in your life? Who inspires you with her heart, strength, and courage?

Whoever she is – call her, write to her, email her, whatever. Just TELL HER.

Love,

Colleen

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