Bettering Yourself – Week 18 – Apr 29 – May 5, 2013, Be More Spontaneous

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I am going to Be More Spontaneous. I am going to get out of my comfort zone, and work hard on erasing my fear of trying new things, so I can grow and stay fresh.

By losing my fear of improvising, I am going to co-operate with friends and do something fun, instead of saying no, and sticking to my routine energy-draining activities. I will let you know how it goes next week.

Review of week 14 – Read Less Newspapers

Reading the online newspaper

Reading the online newspaper

By doing this week’s bettering yourself exercise, “Read Less Newspapers”, I learned that it is easier for me to watch the news on television or the internet. In a way, I am creating my own newspaper by choosing which stories interest me, and editing out the sensational.

When I had a daily subscription to the newspaper, I felt obligated to read it, or at least skim through it, as another copy would be delivered the next day, and yesterday’s newspaper is out of date.

I enjoyed Conan O’Briens’ joke at The Washington Press Bureau dinner this week:

“If you don’t believe newspapers are a thing of the past, ask my blacksmith”.

photo credit: selva via photopin cc

Bettering Yourself – Week 17 – Apr. 22 – 28, 2013 Read Less Newspapers

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I am going to read less newspapers. I cancelled my daily subscription to The Vancouver Sun, and only receive Saturday delivery now.

This saves time and money, and trees. small_196120731 I can read the stories I choose to online, or watch the news on television while cooking dinner.

By choosing what content I want to read, I will also be able to avoid some of the negativity and sensationalism that is inherent in newspaper reporting. I will let you how it goes next week.

href=””>Bright Meadow via photopin cc

Review of Week 16 – Write Down What I Spend

small_137669551For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I wrote down what I spent each day to see where my money was going. With four males living in my house who are all over 6 feet tall, and weigh over 200 pounds, it makes sense that the majority of my money is spent on groceries, but I didn’t realize how much it was until I wrote it down and added it up.

Once my two teenagers and 20 year old start paying for all their car expenses, I will ask them to pitch in for food, because these days, adult children tend to continue to live at home for a long time, especially when they are talking about going to college.

This week, I shopped at Costco and bought case lots of beans and corn, and large bulk packages of hamburger which I seasoned and froze in sections to create multiple meals, and all the food was eaten, with hardly any waste. Now I know to plan the meals and lunches ahead, and encourage them to eat the items that will expire soon, to ease the strain on our finances.

href=””>wallyg via photopin cc

Week 16 – Apr. 15 – 21, 2013 Bettering Yourself – Write Down What I Spend


For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I am going to write down what I spend each day, to see where my money is being spent, so I don’t rack up debt by not paying attention.

Depak Chopra describes debt as:

“Spending Money you haven’t earned, to buy things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like”.

As my three sons get older, there are less wisdom teeth extractions, school band trips and hockey tournaments to pay for, but in a tough economy, I have to be careful not to rack up debt, so I am looking at which areas I can cut back on, or ways to increase my income.

Writing down what I spend this week will give me a good idea of how to create a budget for myself. I will let you know how it goes next week.

Photo credit: flickr pin, creative commons

Review of Week 15 – Learn About Minimalism

Minimalism eliminates distractions

Minimalism eliminates distractions

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I filled my recycling, garbage, organics and donation bins to overflowing with 20 year old items that I no longer have any use for.  I shredded old income tax returns, threw out old shoes, and the rooms in my house were cleaner and looked bigger.

Joshua Becker, author of the books “Simplify” and “Living With Less” has many tips on his website on the merits of adopting a lifestyle of minimalism.  I found this description of minimalism on his website:  

It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value. – The Minimalist FAQ

By clearing out my environment, I also cleared out my mind, adding calm to my home.

It is a process that I am continuing to work on.  I am learning to forgive myself for getting rid of items that I paid a lot for, or have sentimental value, by focusing on the joy someone else will feel when they can use an item I no longer need.

As I shredded up old income tax returns, I thought about how the people and animals in my life come first, then my stuff, not the other way around.

photo credit: <a href=””>Dean Terry</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>




Week 15 – Bettering Yourself – Apr 8 – 14, 2013 Learn about Minimalism


It's not always about what you add, but what you take away.

It’s not always about what you add, but what you take away.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

– William Morris

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I am going to learn about minimalism, and how I can achieve a minimalist mindset.

As I was clearing clutter out of my house, I reached an impasse.  It was easy for me to clear the obvious clutter, broken, mismatched items and duplicate items, but personal items that I have had for a long time that have a connection to my past, are difficult for me to get rid of.

Small items like my son’s first shoes, the Christmas ornament I made in grade one, hold sentimental value for me, and I feel sad when I try to get rid of them.

The reality is that I no longer need these items and have no place to store them, so I must find a new home for them, and create a minimalist atmosphere in my home, and create space for new items to come to me.

As I study the minimalist mindset this week, I am going to seek tips on creating space and simplicity in my environment so I can travel light, and as William Morris said, have only items in my house that are either useful or beautiful. 


photo credit: <a href=””>Nomad Photography</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

Review of Week 14 – Recognizing my Ego

I worked on recognizing my ego for this week’s bettering yourself exercise, and I learned the truth in Eckhart Tolle’s statement that “the present moment is the enemy of the ego”.  

When I was thinking about past limitations or future uncertainties, it was my ego getting in the way of my happiness again.

When I felt as if I needed more and more of something, (attention, food, recognition), like waiting for my family to comment on how good the dinner is, I recognized it was my ego surfacing again; not allowing me to be content with what I have, or with the happiness I felt in the present moment.

Instead of being able to enjoy the present moment, my ego was focusing on getting to some place in the future instead of enjoying the now.  For instance, I cooked some new Mexican recipes this week that my family loved, and my ego started me thinking I could open a Mexican restaurant.  How bizarre, I thought.  But the ego can be deceptive, so it is something I am going to continue to watch out for.

What is ego?

Uncovering the ego in yourself is confusing and complicated.  Eckhart Tolle has studied the ego, and describes it as that “voice in the head”, the “incessant thinking and the emotions that are associated with it”, it comes from the “thinker” in us, and is not who we really are.

The egoic thoughts always contain  the “sense of self” in every thought, says Eckhart.  They are based on “Identification with previously held opinions, our nationality, race, religion,etc. or items that make us feel separate from other groups, either superior to, or not as good as, but in any case they separate us from the rest of the world in some way.

The native philosophy was based on the oneness or circle of life that connects us all, and this folktale says what ego is in a simple story:

The ego is identification with thoughts of self

The ego is identification with thoughts of self


Why Golf Reminds Me of My Dog

Golf is a good walk spoiled -  Mark Twain

Golf is a good walk spoiled –
Mark Twain


photo credit: <a href=””>jovike</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

Why Golf Reminds Me of My Dog…..

It starts pouring when me and my dog are on a walk, and there’s no umbrella in my bag.

I feel like I know him, then he does something  unpredictable, and I’m a beginner again.

My grass is full of his divots in my back yard.

He kicks up a lot of sand when he “goes”   in the trap.

I throw him the ball so many times I lose track of the score.

I like spending time in nature with him and getting some exercise.

When I hit the ball into the water, he becomes a ball retriever.

– Ann Hoy 



Paul Casey and The Golf Ball Stealing Dog.

Photo by Russ Kinnaird, Getty Images


Some golf courses allow dogs on the course to clear the greens of geese, and others allow them on as companions to golfers.  Imagine how surprised professional golfer Paul Casey was while competing in The European tour, when a dog ran on the green and stole his ball.

It happened at The Kingsbarns Golf Links in Saint Andrews, at The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in October 2012, while Casey was putting for eagle on the 12th hole.

A spectator grabbed the ball on the 13th hole and Paul Casey was able to play the ball without penalty, although he probably pulled out his towel and wiped it off first.


Click the link below to watch the Golden Retriever who is a full time valet at the golf course