A homeless man reminded me of a very important life lesson…

If you know me well enough, you would know that I have a very soft spot for people who are homeless regardless of how they became homeless.

Today, when I got out of a store an elderly homeless man approached me and asked for money to buy food. I told him that I had no cash. I truly did not think that I had any cash in my bag. I walked quickly past him towards my car. I noticed that he walked slowly with a limp. He seemed a bit disoriented and I felt dreadful that I could not help him.

I walked to my car and sat in it for a few minutes checking my phone. Suddenly I heard a knock on my window. There he was again asking me for money. “I am hungry. Please for some change to get some food.”

“I would give it to you if I had it.” I told him gently. “I don’t have any cash.”

He stood steadfastly looking at me and repeating his request. His stare and helplessness made me feel very uncomfortable. How could I walk away without helping? I started searching through all the pockets of my bag and jacket. Bingo! I got $4.00 worth of coins. I gave them to him. He gratefully accepted, thanked profusely and showered blessings upon me. It was only $4.00. I was almost ashamed of myself for giving only $4.00.

The lesson he reminded me of was PERSISTENCE. How often have I given up on an idea or something which mattered greatly to me because I was not persistent. I accepted NO too quickly. I was too tired to repeat my ask. I was afraid of being rejected. If I had been rejected a first time, chances are that I would never try again. Many times I have failed to follow up with a potential lead only because I did not get a positive response right away.

This homeless man did not accept my first no. With his limp and slow walk, he persisted and followed me to my car. He put the required effort and repeated his ask, not accepting my rejection. Eventually, he pushed me to go beyond my limits and to dig further to find the $4.00. If he was not persistent, he would not have gotten that money and I would not have gotten the satisfaction of helping him.

Before giving up on something your want, try asking again. A ‘no’ can eventually become a ‘yes’ with a little more persistence.



A garden fairy for my garden?

Someone brought me a cute little garden fairy – it is priceless gift for my garden! I have no idea who it is from. My son tried his best to explain that a young girl and her mom dropped by with the garden fairy but he could not remember their names. I hope that I can find those two wonderful people to say thank you.

This little garden fairy brought me back to my childhood days of reading all those wonderful magical books about fairies and the mystical world. It is perhaps where my love for the mystical world started. I spent night after night reading, completely enchanted with those little beings whom we could not see but I believed that they existed and they visited gardens and spread fairy dust over our dreams. In my mind, I captured hundreds of little fairies who all created magic and miracles in my life. I believed that they dance around in the night and used their magical powers to remove darkness and cobwebs formed in the day time so that our day could start afresh.

It was all imagination but today I know for a fact that whatever we believe and imagine about life becomes our reality. If I believe in fairies, I will find fairies in all aspects of my life. If I believe that miracles are always happening in my life, I will find miracles. If I believe that my new day is always a fresh day and that fairies have cleaned up the cobwebs from the day before, then so it is. If I believe that the mystical world is full of wonder and magic is created from that space, then I will experience this magic.

What do you believe about life? Do you see life as difficult or easy? Do you believe that life supports you? Do you believe that people are for you? Do you believe that life works against you? Do you believe that you live in a magical world where creation is constantly gifting you with miracles and opportunities?

As I played with the little garden fairy in my garden, I felt like this little girl who had gotten a new toy. I positioned it between the leaves, in a glass jar, below the plants and imagined it filling my little garden with love and joy. I walked along the little garden trail and felt enormous gratitude for the person who brought me that little garden fairy and believe that my energy of gratitude will touch them. It is not only that they have caught on to my love for the whimsical, mystical part of life, but now they have also chosen to be a part of it.

And so I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness and consideration and for adding this little fairy to create magic in my garden.

“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”
Neil Gaiman, Stardust



Inspiration for newcomers from BECOMING, Michelle Obama’s Memoir

I am reading ‘BECOMING’ by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and I am enjoying every word, every sentence, every paragraph.  The book is beautifully narrated and provides many pauses for deep reflection.   I am not quite finished yet, but I was inspired to stop and write my own thoughts on her quote:  “Failure is a feeling, long before an actual result.”

She narrates her experience of going to her counsellor to express her interest in going to Princeton.  

“I’m not sure.” she said, giving me the perfunctory, patronizing smile, “that you’re Princeton material.”

Has anyone ever made you feel that you are not good enough?  

As I read through the next few paragraphs, I could not help but think of the vulnerable groups of people I have worked with over the years, and how often I have had to counsel them to believe that they are good enough, worthy and have the God given rights to pursue their gifts and talents and to make a meaningful contribution to this world.  The newcomer population is no different and many of us who work in the sector take it on as a professional and personal mandate to help newcomers keep their faith and believe in themselves. 

In one instance, I tried to work with a recruitment company in ‘selling newcomer talent’ and was bluntly told that the clients of this recruitment company were not interested in hiring newcomers.  Newcomers were actually screened OUT of competitions, simply because of being a newcomer! It had nothing to do with their qualifications, skills or experience.  I felt so infuriated that the system was failing newcomers, even before they had the chance to prove themselves. 

I have witnessed people’s confidence spiral downwards as they fail to get screened into competitions, fail at closing interviews, fail at being told that they lack soft skills, fail at not pronouncing words ‘correctly’ or lacking cultural competencies… the list goes on and on. Sometimes, it seems that the result of failure is what happens long after a system has decided that that a person, a group of people or groups of people will fail… and somehow that expectation is fulfilled… not because of fact… but because of a long established belief in the mind and eyes of those with the power to control the decisions. 

“But as I have said before, failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result.  And for me, it felt like that’s exactly what she was planting – a suggestion of failure long before I’d even try to succeed.  She was telling me to lower my sights, which was the absolute reverse of every last thing my parents had ever told me.”

“I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself.  Instead, I switched my method, without changing my goal.  I would apply to Princeton… I sought help from someone who actually knew me… he agreed to write me a recommendation letter.”

She goes on to explain her journey in meeting people who had climbed the road to success.  “What I have learned is this:  All of them had doubters.  Some continue to have roaring, stadium sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout I told you so at every little misstep or mistake. The noise does not go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them and to push onward with their goals.

Thankfully, I have seen many newcomers fight back like Michelle Obama.  They have owned their brilliance, laughed at the naysayers, done the work needed to establish themselves in successful businesses and careers. I have also seen many champions for newcomer talent and met those will step out of their comfort zone to stand up for equality, justice, freedom and equal opportunity. 

I know that the journey is not easy but it is important for all of us  to move from the feeling of failure… because that feeling happens long before the actual result of failure. 

My message to each newcomer who is struggling with that feeling of ‘Am I good enough to make it?’ I want to encourage you to:

  • go back to your heart space and find that inner wisdom to remind you that you are valuable, worthy and able to live your dreams
  • find that one person who will believe in you – a mentor, a friend, a coach… sometimes even a stranger! 
  • go back to your goals and find that little ball of fire to keep you grounded and motivated
  • reflect on all of your positive experiences and remind yourself that your education, skills and experiences are important 
  • connect with services to support you to develop the skills which you need to move forward 
  • don’t give away your power to anyone. Stand rooted and believe in yourself

Above all, never feel like failure.  Focus on your goals and turn ‘failure’ into success… that is how we WIN! 

Thank you Michelle Obama for inspiring me to use my voice.   



What is built from within, will stand the test of time.

The RIO games demonstrate such excellence, passion and commitment at various levels – of the athletes, of families, communities and countries. I admire that resilience, focus and determination of our athletes, both in winning and also not being placed at the top. There is no loser.  I have tremendous admiration for each person who took up the challenge to compete.  Every single act of commitment to our passions is a blessing to the world in one form or another.

Their performances remind me that each of them built their skills and competences over a long period of time.  We can apply the same principles in our daily lives and work at molding excellence within us so that whatever we do, whatever we say, wherever we are… we can safely say that, “This is the best version of me and my efforts in creating excellence within me.” 

What is built from within, will stand the test of time.



Meet Margeret Lucy Kyogire, a featured speaker at the launch of Soulful Encounters

IMG_1985Margaret Lucy Kyogire

It is an honour and pleasure to have Margaret Kyogire, Deputy Head of Mission at Uganda High Commission, Ottawa, since May 201, join us on video at the Launch of Soulful Encounters, this evening, May 25th.   She is a naturally engaging story teller and we will be hearing about the beautiful country of Uganda and her own personal story of overcoming loss after the war in Uganda.

She was also the Deputy Head of Mission, Uganda Embassy, Rome, January, 2006 – May 2011.

Margaret held senior Public Relations and Human Resources positons with Uganda Development Bank and various companies in Private Sector in Uganda from September 1986 to December 2005.

She lived in exile in Kenya from June 1976 to September 1986 where she engaged in small scale trade, small scale food production for schools, part-time editing for publishing houses, part-time teaching in Secondary Schools and freelance consultancy services for various companies.

In December, 1971 went in exile in Tanzania where from December 1972 to June 1976 she worked as Administration Officer with General Tyre E.A Ltd, Arusha, after working for E.A. Community from January 1972 to November 1972 as Assistant Secretary in the Technical Assistance Coordination Section.

n April 1971 to December 1971 worked as Research Assistant at the Institute of Public Administration, Kampala after graduating from Makerere University with a B.A (honours) Degree in Literature in January 1971.

She served as a board member for:

  •    Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation
  •    Nsimbe Holdings (U) Ltd
  •    Uganda Travel Bureau 2004 Ltd
  •    Child Restoration Outreach – an NGO for street children rehabilitation
  •    ACFODE (Action for Development) – A women development organization

In 1989 she was elected and she served as a Local Council Women Representative for one year. She is an elder at her Uganda home church – Faith Family Church.

More featured speakers:

Ms. Rima Aristocrat, CEO and President of Willis College


Mengistab Tsegaye, Executive Director at World Skills Employment Centre



See you later.





Thanks to Cast Away Tour, Saint Lucia, A Proud Supporter of Mags Magazine

From across the miles, we want to say a special thank you to Paul and Sherin Clifford, owners of CAST AWAY TOUR in Saint Lucia! They provide a range of authentic experiences for the traveller who want to experience the rich cultural and heritage aspects of Saint Lucia. We want to thank them for their contribution towards my former student, who is blind, to get her massage table to work independently as a massage therapist! Together, we will make that dream come true on May 25th when we gather in the celebration of the launch of Soulful Encounters, Mags Magazine.

Cast Away Tour 2

Plan on spending the entire day in this remote tropical sanctuary… you still won’t have enough time to do everything …
Snorkel/swim over the wild UN Heritage Site Marine Reserve reefs, help local fishermen pull in their nets, visit local artisans at Lio’s Pottery Studio or the Khuss-Khuss grass-crafter (+USD 10/per person),  mix up medicinal plant shampoos & herbal body scrubs on the Bush Doctor’s Walkabout to the Rainforest Mineral Springs, tour the tropical organic Zion Lion Farm and harvest a wide variety of organic fruits & vegetables for your lunch, tour the 18th century Ruins (sugar/rum/irrigation)learn how-to make gourmet charcoals, see how cassava is processed into gluten-free “farine”, relax in a hammock or on a hand-woven grass lounger under our grass-roof shelter, participate in a Carib Cuisine demonstration in our open-air “kitchen” and then enjoy St. Lucia’s only organic Farm-To-Table Carib Beach BBQ Feast & sooo much more… 

Paul clifford 1
Paul clifford 2
ALSO… Reflexology Hike.
Barefoot, on the naturally mystic Gros Piton


Hike up Gros Piton…


The Pitons World Heritage Coast Cruise:  Come for a ride on The Pitons World Heritage Coast Cruise….to the wild side of The Pitons!


Make Saint Lucia one of your top travelling destinations!  We can help  you get there and have an amazing experience!

We are looking forward to seeing you on May 25th!

Meet our keynote speaker Laura Traplin!

Get your Tickets

Get your copy of Mags Magazine




Gems of Saint Lucia orig logo_high resolution




Could this be my next new career? Thumbs up to all the great men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces

20160225_064124Every year, I set a theme for the new year. One fine day in November 2015, I decided that the theme for 2016 would be travelling.  Thirty minutes later, I received an email from a friend to invite me to a Diversity Recruitment Event, with the Canadian Armed Forces, in Gauge Town, New Brunswick.  The invitation also said that ALL your expenses would be covered! It did not take me much time to make the decision to go.

Coincidence?  If you have been following me long enough, you know that  I love it when synchronicity happens and dreams manifest right before my eyes.  I call them my miracles and for me, this was certainly a sign from the universe to say – GO GIRL!

The Diversity Recruitment Event happened from February 24th-26th, and a group of us from across Ottawa, Montreal and British Colombia had the opportunity to learn more about the Canadian Armed Forces.  It was educational, informative, life changing and inspirational. Prior to this, I never thought much about the Canadian Armed Forces – as a matter of fact, I thought that that the Canadian Armed Forces was just the military  and their work was about wars and using guns. I thought that  people joined the Canadian Armed Forces when they were desperate and had perhaps run out of choices.  I was so WRONG.

We met with some of the most amazing people who serve in the military from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Every single uniformed person was respectful, well-spoken, excited to work for the CAF and spoke very highly of the integrity of their jobs nad the CAF.  Members of the group kept on expressing amazement about the career opportunities which exist within the armed forces and best yet, the fact that education can be subsidized and that there is career progression through professional development. We met men and women who joined right out of high school, mid-career professionals who made a career change in their late thirties and people who joined in their forties.  Very importantly we met newcomers who chose to have a career with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Here are some of my inspirational moments:

Meeting with great community leaders, guidance counsellors and people in influential positions to help others make informed career decisions.




Meeting with CORPORAL NADINE WAITR.  She is the only female combat engineer in Canada and only female heavy equipment operator.  She joined the CAF at 33 and spoke highly of the interesting work which she has done as an engineer and also of her experience in assisting with the earthquake in Nepal.  The machinery below was what she used to clear the roads in Nepal after the earthquake!


We tried some elements of the physical training test and realized that it was not as hard as it sounds.  If you are a woman and you are wondering about it… worry no more.  You can do it.


THE CAF held a formal dinner for us where we heard some very inspirational stories from CAF members.  All of them reinforced that joining CAF was a decision which they have not regretted because they love the job, they feel financially stabled and the many other benefits which CAF offers, including paid education!

 Captian Verge Charlery was one of the main organizers for the event. She was a former teacher in Ottawa. She joined the armed forces a few years ago and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work.  I was doubly proud to know that we are from the same island – St. Lucia.

Here are some more photos to enjoy.

20160225_182251 Captain Ann Chamberlain and I.

We had an interesting discussion with two of the corporals who are trained to get inside of this robot.  The robot is used to detect explosives and it is made of a very special technology  which will protect the person who is inside of it, if there is an explosion.


 One of my most surprising moments – discovering that there are collapsible bathrooms with showers, sinks and toilets!  It takes 2 hours to mount it all up on location!  The young woman who gave us the tour is a plumber and she is so proud of her work.  There are great opportunties in the trades area for both men and women.



I had some great conversations with the young men who work with the LAVS and in the infantry.  This face to face interaction with them created a huge shift in my perception of infantry soldiers.  I experienced humour, intelligence and a great spirit of calmness around them.  They take their responsibilities quite seriously.

We experienced the training room where new recruits are taught how to use the various guns and rifles.  The training is set up  like a video game. The aim is to shoot at targets on the screen.  The process has been specifically designed for this type of training.  I am very anti-gun yet I found myself quite immersed in the experience of trying to hit a target. 20160225_144039

If you are a looking for a career change or starting a new career, consider CAF.

With love,


You can support my work of bringing positive messages to the world, creating more awareness of opportunities and encouraging us to live our dreams.  Every positive thought and action counts towards reclaiming our Earth and our World into the beautiful place it was meant to be.

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