COM0014-Blog #7 Live the story you want to tell!

For as long as the world has existed stories have been told through cave paintings, pictograms, and writing.  Now we have blogging, I wonder what the next thing will be.

I have enjoyed this course and it has made me more confident in telling my story.  I was one of those people that would be surrounded by crunched up paper because I just couldn’t get it right, or so I though.  At a very young age we all learn how to listen to a story and as we get older telling stories becomes an every day conversation.  Having the passion about what you are talking or writing about and making your audience feel it brings them into your story.  I have no problem getting up in front of people and speaking, in my voice they can hear my passion but how to get that passion into writing is a whole new talent.  One of the things that I have learned through this course is that I write better when I finish what I start immediately, no taking a break or starting than finishing the next day.  Not sure why this works for me but it does.  When I started this course I didn’t know the importance of adding images to blogs but now I do and use them regularly.

After starting this course I bought a journal to keep in our family room and we, my husband and I, have been doing entries.  We told our kids about it and they thought it would be something for them to treasure in the future.  Someday when I am old and maybe even forgetful I can look back and see these great memories written down and tell the story I have lived.

Thank you Nelly Leonidis


COM0014 – Blog #6 Do you want to know my story?

It was December 19th, 1965 that I would travel home for the first time with my mom and dad, officially adopted. I was only 2 months old so none of this really meant anything to me, I was feed, diaper changed and everyone loved me. That all changed when I was 10, I opened a drawer that held some interesting folders and boxes, so of course I had to check them out. Who was this Mary Elizabeth that her name showed on all these papers?

As it turned out Mary Elizabeth was actually Lisa Marie, yep that’s me. I had a hard time dealing with this fact and spent some time in foster care as well as counselling but in the end it all was good until August 1992. I received a call from The Catholic Children’s Aid Society, they left a message saying they needed to speak with me about an urgent matter. I immediately called back and it was like no one wanted to talk with me, they kept passing me around. Finally I spoke with someone who had the task of telling me that my biological parents thought I was dead since I was 3 months old. Apparently when you place a child for adoption you have a grace period of 90 days before you can be legally adopted, but I was only 2 months old when I was adopted. Back then unwed young moms were frowned upon and the nuns that ran the Children’s Aid didn’t think they should be able to come back for their children.

My biological mother refused to work with the Children’s Aid so she told them if I was interested in meeting her to meet her on Thursday at the Mother Tuckers restaurant in Burlington at 6pm, she would be wearing a blue coat and reservation would be under Thelma. Never have I been so nervous going into a restaurant, thank god I was there first. I sat nervously waiting, anticipating her arrival, when she walked around the corner it was like looking into a mirror. We embraced and talked for hours, we both shed a lot of tears so it was a good thing we were in a dark corner. I learned that night that I had a biological brother. Two days later I meet my biological father and brother, again talking for hours.

My mother put me in the care of the Children’s Aid because she had no family and needed to find a job. She knew she had 3 months and felt if she couldn’t get her life together by than, then I deserved better. My father was in the army so when he came back she told him about me and he said let’s go get her, it had only been 9 weeks. They stopped at a store on the way to buy me an outfit to wear home. I can only image their excitement when they arrived but it was short lived, they were told I had died, death certificates to prove it. Why would they question what they were being told? Six months later they married and welcomed a baby boy 2 years after that, than divorced 8 years later.

What started this entire journey was my doctor putting in for a health history request so I would know my biological family’s past medical history. So now that we know all of this what do we do? First thing call the lawyers, they literally were knocking down our door seeing the dollars. We decided not to sue for many reasons but the big one was that it would null and void my adoption with the Murphy’s and I couldn’t do that to them. At a time when I had no one they were there to love me unconditionally.

Today I still see my biological family who live within a 2hrs drive and my kids are lucky having extra family. Recently my dad passed and now it’s my turn to be there for my mom. She was there for me in the beginning and I will be there for her in the end.

COM0014 – Blog #5 A Brand New Me

Who am I? At first glance, it’s a simple looking question and seems just as simple to answer, but not so much.  I believe that every day I am changing through new experiences, knowledge and like a fine red wine I only get better with age.  I spent much of my younger generation trying to find myself because I was adopted but as I aged I realized that I needed to invent myself, I was a clean slate that could be and do anything I wanted.

Fast forward 40 years, I own 3 successful businesses and am now semi retired.  People often tell me that I need to learn the word “No”, yes I tend to take on too much and I set my standards quite high but I enjoy seeing what I can do.  My greatest strengths are my creativity, drive and leadership, I thrives on challenges and work well under pressure. It has been often commented on
that I know how to put people at ease and am always willing to lend a hand.  The one thing that I am most proud of is that I work with my husband, son and daughter, and every weekend we still all get to just be a family.  Learning to keep things separate has made us a very strong unit.

Some of my personal traits have made me a successful business owner, I believe that if I didn’t have drive I would have been happy working for someone else, if I didn’t have a vision I wouldn’t be happy with where I am, and if I didn’t have strength I would still be trying to find myself.

Recently I lost my dad, for many years I thought his love for me was less than what he felt for his biological children, he was always so much harder on me.  As it turns out he loved me more but in a different way, he said I was the strong one that could be counted on, my heart was big enough to love all things and that I had the ability to see the good in everyone.  I can only hope that others see me the way he did because I sound like a really good person.

Favorite picture of my dad teaching my son to fish

COM0014 – Blog4

I recently decided to get healthier and wanted to be accountable in some way, so I hired MS Fitness.  I was very impressed that what I needed was available so easily over the web.  I had to fill out some online paperwork and submit it back in order to get my fitness/nutrient plan.  Within 48 hours I was all set up and ready to begin.

My meals were laid out for the week ahead complete with a shopping list so I couldn’t miss anything, an exercise plan for the week that had me excited and an app for me to keep a journal of everything I eat and everything I do.  Immediately I started to receive emails with post from Facebook with lots of yummy recipes and its a private group so you can ask questions and talk to others doing the program as well.   Lots of tweets and Instagram post to keep you motivated.

So Friday I had surgery and after 3 days of not using the journal I was contacted by MS Fitness to see if everything was going okay, I was very impressed to know that someone was actually making sure that I was being accountable.

MS Fitness is a new business that has started in my community so keeping it local appealed to me.  They are off to a good start with using social media and I absolutely loved the fact that rather than send out an email/text they picked up the phone.

How about you do you like to hear that friendly voice on the phone asking how you are or would you rather a simple email/text saying “How r u?”?

COM0014 Blog #3: Life is a Highway

Truck drivers get a bad rap, so trying to recruit new drivers is not an easy sell now a days, hence the reason for a driver shortage.  All the things that use to entice people to drive truck don’t seem so appealing now, the ability to travel while making money was a dream job and its one of the oldest professions.  People always say if you got it a truck brought it.

The study by the Canadian Trucking Alliance forecast a shortage of 34,000 drivers by 2024.  The demand for drivers is expected to grow the most in Ontario, followed by British Columbia.  Most people that become truck drivers are people that have been in a family of truck drivers, little boys and girls love to go for rides in Daddy’s truck right?  So how do we recruit new drivers, through our past students.  For every new student they send our way they receive $100.00.  Sure we have facebook, twitter, etc. but the people that follow us are usually already driving truck.  We do job fairs and each year we take a truck to various high schools and talk about truck driving as a career choice.

As we look to the future of truck driving the introduction of the self-driving truck has been a hot topic.  While it remains I believe there will always be a need to have someone in the truck in case of electronic issues, loading and unloading and border crossing.  I for one do not look forward to seeing a transport truck with no driver, how about you?

COM0014 – Blog #2 Telling My Story

I have been telling a story my entire life, looking at me from the outside people saw a strong, confident woman who had it all together.  Only I knew what was on the inside and it was everything my outside wasn’t.  I had no idea what “Your Special” meant, did I have super powers that I hadn’t even discovered yet.   I was adopted when I was only 3 months old, at 10 I learned that I was “Special”.  Unfortunate the only super power I had was putting up a shield to let no one in so they wouldn’t see the real me, and it worked for awhile.

You can make people believe just about anything if they feel your story.  Not knowing who I was let me create different facades, window dressing helped a lot too.  Being able to sell myself made me who and what I am today, strong and confident.

As time moves forward being able to tell a story will require new methods but the same framework will remain.  With anything we create, we first plan it, then we create it and finish it off with a cherry on top.

What do you believe is the best way to tell your story and why would I read it?

COM0014-Blog#1 – I Promise to Vacation

It has been 30 years since I took the vows to love one another and to vacation every year, it has been a promise we took very serious and have never missed.  Some years the vacations are bigger than others like our 10th to Alaska, 25th to Hawaii and now our 30th to Europe.  Going to Europe for our 30th anniversary seemed like the only choice but not without some reluctant opinions from the kids.  They were not even coming but they did not like what was going on in some European countries.

It all started in Barcelona, Spain and it was the perfect starting point.   If you every go a must see is the Magic Fountain of Montjuic located at the head of Avinguda Maria Cristina in the Montjuic neighborhood of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  It was a Saturday night that we took it in and there had to be 4,000 people of every age watching in amazement.     

We actually stumbled across it by accident.  After getting off the city tour bus we started walking back to our hotel and wondered why there was a crowd starting to surround the fountain so we asked a couple who explained by playing a game of charades.  No English but we got the picture so we hung around to watch and it did not disappoint.  You can go to this link to check it out

After 2 nights in Barcelona we boarded a cruise ship and set sail for 10 days of exploring.  We stopped in Cartagena, Spain; Gibraltar, UK; Lisbon, Portugal; Paris (Le Havre), France; Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium.  The cruise ended in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

My favorite port was Gibraltar, mostly because I have never been that up close and personal with a monkey.

Between 1779-1783, France and Spain set out to attack British Gibraltar and on one occasion it was unsuccessful because the monkeys were disturbed in the night, and alerted them of the attack.   The legend told is that as long as the monkeys remain on the Rock, so will the British.   These monkeys live and roam freely up in the mountain of rock seldom going into the town.  You could tell they were use to having their pictures taken and almost always seemed posed for the camera.

The final two nights were spent in Amsterdam and it was a very different feel compared to other cities.  Very big, lots of bicycles and an endless supply of pot.  I guess that’s what Ontario will have to look forward to.

We made a promise to each other to travel a minimum of one week per year with just the two of us, no kids allowed.  Sometimes we drove other times we flew, whatever we could afford.  I truly believe this promise helped us reach 30 years of marriage.

Do you believe that vacations can rekindle the love?  Where was your most romantic vacation?