Last week I had the pleasure of participating in Read In Week at Homesteader Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta.

The kids thought it was really cool that someone came in to read to them.  But what they thought was even more cool was that I was Mrs. Bennett’s sister.  (My sister Phyllis works at the school.)

The books I chose to read were all about achieving goals, being unique, and following your dreams.

It was so much fun to converse with them and answer their questions.   Of course I stressed the importance that reading has to becoming an author.

I however, was much more impressed with the kids and this school, than they were in having me there. 

Homesteader Elementary is small, having only one classroom for each grade,  Kindergarten to grade 6.  

They participate in the Apple program, which teaches them the importance of healthy eating.  They also partake in the Leader in Me, a program developed by Steven Covey.  It is based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People but geared towards children.

Everywhere I looked I saw positive messages posted on the walls promoting the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. 

1.  Be Proactive – I choose my actions, attitudes and moods.  I don’t blame others.  I do the right thing without being asked.

2.  Begin with the End in Mind – I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference.

3.  Put First Things First – I spend my time on things that are most important.  I set priorities, make a schedule and follow my plan. 

4.  Think Win-Win – I want everyone to be a success.  I don’t have to put others down to get what I want.

5.  Seek First to Understand – I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their point of view.

6.  Synergize – I value other people’s strengths and learn from them.  I get along with others, even people who are different from me. I am part of a team and know two heads are better than one.

7.  Sharpen the Saw – I take care of my body by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep.  I spend time with family and friends.

In my opinion Homesteader school, although small, is mighty in its philosophy of teaching leadership, accountability, respect for others, and what it means to be healthy and successful, not just reading, writing and arithmetic.

I am really curious as to the difference instilling these habits will make in the lives of these young people.  I am betting it will be a huge influence in making their lives rosey. 

Good on you Homesteader Elementary School.  Thank you for this wonderful experience.  I salute you!

To happy kids,





I am very lucky to work with a wonderful team of people at my place of employment.  We have mutual respect for each other and deal with issues openly and honestly.  We attended a workshop recently and the facilitator had never met any of us previously, but commented on the positive energy and dynamics we had as a group.  We had no idea, but we were already practicing what she was presenting to us - the FISH philosophy.

If you are not familiar with it, the FISH philosophy originated at a fish market in Seattle, Washington called Pike Place Fish Market.  This company has been around since 1965, however, in 1986 they were facing bankruptcy and needed to make some changes.  Now they are a world known market and tourist attraction where thousands of tourists visit each month.

What they did to turn their business around  was adopt four very simple principles:

Be There: Be there for your customers, staff, or family members.  Give them your full attention.  Listen to what they have to say.  When people need you, they need all of you. Setting aside distractions and judgments to be fully present is a sign of respect. It improves communication and strengthens relationships.

Play:  We spend most of our adult lives working, so why not make it a place that you enjoy.  This doesn’t mean playing and not doing your work, but having fun while you do your work.  Telling jokes, laughing, games and socializing are ways that we can have fun.  When you enjoy being there you are much more productive and creative.  At Pikes Place Fish Market they literally throw fish at each other and let the customers have a turn as well.  What better way to make a smelly, messy place of work more enjoyable?  How can you apply this in your family life?  Do you save time for play during your day?

Make Their Day: Simple gestures of thoughtfulness, thanks and recognition make people feel appreciated and valued. When you make someone else feel good, you feel good too.  Set a goal to make at least one person’s day, every day, and it will make your day better as well.  A simple “thank you” or “you did a great job” goes a long way.

Choose Your Attitude: We have the ability to choose our attitudes every moment of every day.   You can decide who you want to "be" today.  Is it helping the people who depend on you? Is it helping you to be most effective?"  Are you positively impacting your team or hindering them?

One more principle I would like to add that is not part of the FISH philosophy  is always look for a win-win in every situation.  Rather than running your business from a competitive nature, why not do it from a collaborative one?  I am not talking about compromise here because when you compromise, you do not receive all that you desire, but when you do it from a win-win where both sides get what they want, then your business and personal relationships will flourish.

The FISH Philosophy helps build stronger relationships with the team members we work with, the customers we serve, the students we teach and the people we love.


Carla ;)
This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada.  One day a year that originated to give thanks for an abundant harvest.   My question is, why is this celebrated only once a year?  Why not give thanks EVERY day?

When you focus on what is good and you are grateful for all that you have on a daily basis you develop an attitude of gratitude, and attract more good things into your life. 

A few years ago, I started a Gratitude Journal to help me cope with depression.  That one amazing tool and daily practice, totally transformed my life. And it is now a daily practice that I live by.  I find myself saying many times a day, "I am grateful! Thank you, thank you, thank you" and my life continues to get better and better.

This quote sums it all up:

I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend and a hug from a child. There are plenty of life's tiny delights for all of us. - Jack Anthony

Be grateful for the small things, big things and everything in between.  Don't just leave it for one day a year.  Be grateful EVERY day! 

Wishing abundance and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! 

In gratitude,