Thank God it's Monday!

This is a channel to help kickstart your week, to motivate you, to give you the energy you need to keep going. Our goal for these videos is to bring you into a new sense of what Mondays could be, what they are, and what they can be. I love Fridays and i love my weekends, but why can't we love our Mondays as well? This is the week that you don't limit yourself! Happy Monday!

November 2014
Cafewords

This was an amazing wrap to our year.  This meeting of the regulars with the new.  I have learned these nights have more to do with trusting the process and what needs to happen and come about then the 'too many plans'.  Don't get me wrong, I think this type of thing that we do needs a 'plan' in place, but there has been an environment created over time that has made having an idea capable of landing in the centre of the evening possible.  How that idea unfolds is left to a plan bigger than the planner. 

And thats what happened here.  This night in November.

I truly believe that those who can show up, be them new or regular attenders are meant to be in these conversations that unfold.

An architects manifesto project started us off and changed my heart.  Suddenly the questions and struggles I was working through in my work had come face to face with the humble words she had written.  

Past colleagues of an old life sat on a couch and related in ways that is beyond the plans and they filtered light into places we all needed to see.

We called out a writer to take that time.  That hard decision and struggling realization that there is a need that needs to be met and yet how?  How do we meet the needs of our spirits without crushing the needs of others?  Yet being a maker, an expresser is the most natural and purest form of a person that not meeting those needs of the self is not meeting the needs of those others.  So it's a cycle we have all known, a cycle we face again and again.

And I breathed a sigh of relief at how different and similar these people are.  How one can bring me spun around to a new thought, yet at the same time end up nose to nose with the same emotion I have carried.  

It's a unity thing.

This group.

What was created...It wasn't because of me opening up a home.

I relinquish that concept.

It was because everyone opens up.

And without that humble, open, vulnerable, safe and encouraging atmosphere,

It wouldn't be.

It couldn't have ever been.

So I thank-you, you creative warrior women.  I thank-you for traveling 2014 together and welcoming those who can come by.  I thank-you for teaching me that each step means something, and that it's the coming together that matters. 

Thank-you for all the conversations we have had in 2014 and all the conversations we will have in 2015!  I am humbled and honoured to be apart of your lives.  

 

The CreativesAmy LaiComment
2014 Breaks & 2015 Plans

There has been a sense in the air that I need to stop and wait.  Wait and discern.  Discern and decide.  Decide and act.  

There is a 'mama restlessness' inside of me that doesn't want to move until I have put my finger on what it is I need to focus on next.

For now, I am taking a break.  A break from 'Chewables' and a break from pressuring myself to get work out there.   I will still 'work' but I may be working in a different sense this December.  I will be bringning myself into a healthier place of this awareness so that 2015 can be a year of new life, of focus, of spiritual awareness and of maintaining myself along the way. 

I don't plan on being a mom who carves her life out for only her children.  No.  I want to be aligned with my faith, and in turn I believe that will bring me to understand the needs and desires of myself.  If I can understand the direction "I am called to be going" then I can connect with my husband at an honest level and if our marriage is settled in the moment we are in, then being parents in a way we want to be should become clear.  And doesn't everything else just trickle from there?

So I need a month.  A month to gather myself into a warm blanket and listen to whatever this new year, new life will mean.  Because there is more where all this came from and I don't want to spout out nothing.  I want to leak love out like an ocean through all the cracks.  I want the truth of life to slip through my fingers and into my work like an impossible deluge of rain.  I want to collide with those who need to hear in ways I can't understand, and I want to stop this voiceless fear that had me silent so long.  It's been a journey to become this woman and I don't want to stop.  I don't want it to end here and plug up the drains and say "thats all I can do."  

I am committed to becoming every day, and every year more of what I was called to do.  This was a training year....so now I am getting real. 

 

 

 

Amy LaiComment
Why Intentional?

"You're Intentionally Amy." My Grandmother says with a smile back to me, often after I let how I truly feel slip out in ways that aren't always delicate.   Delicate was never something I felt described me, so this whole middle name of Grace thing didn't mean anything to me.  Not until I realized that Grace had a whole other definition outside 'graceful like a ballerina'.

Before this small website, there was "Amy: With Intentions".   At the time it was a dare to myself to learn how to write again.  A weekly exercise to get me writing and focus on the things I felt were important as I walked into my twenties. I didn't know it then, but that was the journey back to my core.  It took some years but Amy With Intentions became a blog I was happy with leaving behind and focusing on other things.  The concept of intentional living had sunk deep within my soul and somehow became a part of me. 

Intentional means to drop your expectations of the moment you are in.  It means that you are in the 'here and now' and you will be and find out what 'this now' means.  Eating a simple lunch brings a whole new expierence when it is done with intention.  A pinterest board made out of wishful thinking becomes a vision board full of potential and action.  An autumn walk becomes a journey for your soul... Anything and everything becomes a whole new expierence when intention is involved!

Breathing becomes a moment to remember, and when I write words on my chalk board painted fridge I think different, because words carry intentions and energy.  I may as well grasp this intentional thing for all its worth and write quotes and things that will inspire, move and help create a better place.  

So I choose the intentional life because the alternative is a side of me that brings nothing good.  I can be destructive, and so can anyone really.  I found a way to get to the best of me, and it's not me doing it.  I call it out right here and now.  It is a deeper calling on my heart and I know that God places desires in each of us, and for me it is to live fully and grasp the moments, so maybe intentional is my natural and most best place to be

Either way.  I do it

This intentional life.

I live it. 

 

Amy LaiComment
October 2014

For some reason this particular night stands out amongst the many.  It was a night pre scheduled to accommodate the Halloween Friday that was to be our night.  An earlier week in the month than what we are used to.  This was the week we needed this most.

In many ways, all these women are growing from where they started.  They are glowing with progress and even new faces seem to have come from places of experience and an understanding for the 'hard worker' one has to be in this world.

Yet:

As sold out as we all are on our crafts, we sighed a huge relief at the stories that came from around the table.  An architect-to-be made and poured us tea as we realized that it is 'balance' we crave.  And the process to find it is at times, brutal.

"What keeps you motivated to keep going?"  Is all I had to ask.

A deluge of insecurities, rediscovery and self identity was bounced off each other.

A Writer-Mom-to-Be , I soaked in the truth of discovering the self again and again.  

I think we all felt it, because there was something that settled this time around.  Something deep and that resonated with the core of us.  What one shared was like the heart beat of another.  Sometimes, it is possible to sit down and relate.  Sometimes even the pregnant writer can understand the artist.  And sometimes the artist can relate to the photographer.  

It's just how it is when you open yourself up to relating.  

So heres to more relating to each other and more nights of us around the table and trying our hardest to work through finding the rest of us through and around our work. 

The CreativesAmy LaiComment
Lost Items

 

"But theres a timeline on how long you can waste dwelling on the absent 

Keeping your eyes open as you live is not the same as staring at the dusty empty space where it originally was."

ChewablesJeremy LaiComment
First Trimester Report
©2014 Jeremy Lai

©2014 Jeremy Lai

The past thirteen weeks have been the most humbling weeks of my life.  I assume that the humbling has just begun, because you see... I am carrying a life. A life completely different from me.  A life full of unique possibilities and although it may share half of my DNA it has a unique voice that I cannot speak to.

We are calling 'it' Roo while we wait for the big ultrasound appointment coming up in about a month or so.  Names have been picked out but wait for delivery day to get used and for now Roo, because of Kangaroos ... and if anyone knows Winnie the Pooh, I need not explain.

Considering myself to be 'A Maker' this is about as 'Maker' as one can get.  This growing belly, heart beat inside of me, and purging my stomach of foods and smells I cannot stand.  This is the ultimate making.  I am a factory for life, dreams, hopes and personality.

This hasn't been easy, this morning sickness thing.  We mamas brave the storm of life and vomit in all sorts of places.  Cars, parking lots, garbage cans, toilets...other peoples toilets... we do what we can to stay hydrated and fed, but the truth is, it is the ultimate test.

Can you take care of your child's mother the way she deserves?

It would be so easy to skip the water and the meals... trust me,.... when you are vomiting daily...the concept of meals becomes a chore and for a fooide like me, well, utterly disappointing.

I have felt a little less than.

Sure, I get it, the hormones do that.  But the 'doer' and the 'maker' of me is yelling daily.  "Get up!  GO!  Do it all! Dance, write, sing, party, don't be slaking!"

I let it slip out a time or too.

"I am not making anything of worth right now!" 

A woman or two scowl in reply. 

"You are making a human being of major worth right now!"

And I slump back and realize that the purging of my stomach and the whole shift of my life is for the health and goodness for a tiny soul inside, and for me as well.  Because becoming a mama isn't a sentence for an artist.  It's a blessing. 

A child's eyes have the wonder every writer, painter, dancer, singer, musician needs and I will be drenched in it.  However this tiny life comes out, I will see life new and different because of it, and that will only make me better for it.

So I guess the morning routine of pee, vomit-in-garbage-can , and husband passes breakfast to slowly digest, is all worth it, and truly... how amazing is this growing belly?

 

 

ProfessionalAmy LaiComment
Why Grace?
©2014 Jeremy Lai

©2014 Jeremy Lai

I choose Grace again and again.  It's inescapable.  Not only because it is my middle name but because it is the call on this world.  It is the concept we all are living under if we only just grabbed the keys that hang around our necks.  We all have grace keys.  We all have grace moments and we all have the ability to pass on a grace key to someone else.

I freely talk about that time I did the unthinkable.  That time that swept me off my feet and made me think I was made out of heart break and endless pain.  Comments were made from sideliners, from the grace-holders who kept it hidden in fists instead of in open palms, and I was trashed.  I wasn't worth the risk or the comments of nothing more than disgust.  I was that bride who chose to throw the veil in the trash can because I couldn't fathom a way out.  So I torched a union for something that glittered gold in moments.  And the glitter moments, they were real and messed up, because that is how it is with people who are lost...they make unions in pain and they connect over loss and emotions run ragged from running.  

Running from Grace.

Everyone was running from Grace.

Everyone around that scene were grace-key-holders, stuffing them in the deepest pockets they could find because they couldn't comprehend how passing a key to three messed up spirits could solve the mystery they couldn't relate to.

And when it was all said and done and everyone was in their corners of destructed love and lies .... it was all just a hopeless mess.

But something happens in the hopeless.  Grace-keys shine , and those who can get over the egos, the pain, the denial and the rift of people trashing, they grasp the key and hold it out...they would rather pass on grace then let anymore of this continue.

And I tell you this, because this Canadian-Church raised girl in a generation of God-Isn't-Real, found more in a Grace that is gifted than in the solutions of this world.

I tell you this because I am watching all these broken stories and I want to hold my key high and shout Grace at the sky.  I want to cry with the hearts rather than ignore them.  I want to gather the men and women who found solace in each other, broke one another and tell them I understand.  That Grace understands.  That there isn't a messed up moment that couldn't be redeemed.  I want to tell them that I have seen miracles and I have seen new life come out of the cemetery of my dead one.

I want to sing and dance Grace all over these hearts because they need it, they will thrive in it, and I know that my Grace giving God has more in store than just blood and a cross.  There is everything fresh and renewed and that show,  it is not sold out, because it is yours and you are the honoured guest to a Grace-Event made just for you. 

So stop withholding Grace from each other, because that cheating wife, and that sneaking man, and that desperate husband just needed Gods Grace.  

I was that wife, and I couldn't have remarried a husband and found a whole new life if it wasn't for the messed up wedding and the  Grace that was given to me.

Give Grace like you would give water to a thirsty man.  Give grace even when the betrayal is deep and the circumstances bloody.  

Give Grace because the alternative is a war within your spirit that you will never overcome.

----

The key I am wearing is from  http://www.thegivingkeys.com where keys are made, bought and given.  Read their story http://www.thegivingkeys.com/pages/about-us 

I will be giving this key away this season to someone who needs Grace ... which is all of us.  

Amy Laigiving key, graceComment
September 2014
In lieu of actual photo from the night : A photo from a Summer Party around the table, 

In lieu of actual photo from the night : A photo from a Summer Party around the table, 

It's a new season, and everyone arrived with the same relief of getting back into some sort of schedule and life together.  It's a funny thing, this group of women that has collected around my living room over the past year and half.  The group that always swells over the months and yet comes back to the same core women. 

Strong women who push boundaries in their lives and work.  Women who are young, yet somehow taking on the world one month at a time.  The wine glasses on the most part, were left behind as we got into the meat of things.  The food was enjoyed, yet somehow it was left as we heard the adventures of the summer and the challenges of this new season before us.

An artists trip to Spain, a photographers summer of weddings, an Architects summer challenges and a freshman at the beginning of a theatre degree ... all these conversations lead us to discuss what brought us together to begin with.  

Striving to not just do, but do well and do amazing... it is a challenge this journey of Creative & Innovative, but with each other, no matter what stage of life we are in, student, newly independent artist or new mother to be.  

We are makers.

Heres to another season of making!  

In all it's forms.

In all it's and ways. 

Why Ocean?

One summer when I was about ten or eleven, my family went to the beach almost every few days.  And during that time I made a friend, a boy about my age, with brown hair and eyes and a gangly body.  My sister about fifteen/sixteen allowed me to amuse her with my energy for running into the waves, diving under the water and feeling the sand hit my face.  I would burst out of the water, take deep breaths and laugh loudly trying to entice her in.  The boy as I had noticed over time, would watch us.  Watch me.  He would swim on his own but always with an eye at my joy over the waves.  Eventually over the days that followed, he began to interact with me, and suddenly I had a friend.  I was young, but not too young to realize that this boy and I had a spark of friendship that perhaps wasn't just friendship.  But of course, that is just speculation now...It was then and there in the waves off the coast of Nova Scotia I settled my heart deep in the ocean.  On the drives home from the beachside that summer, I would daydream about the boy on the beach and the joy I had found there.

To this day, I always remember that boy and our summer beach days together.  I never saw him again, but I think of him fondly.  I remember the dimple in his cheek and the laugh he made when I did something lunatic crazy as I usually did.  

There is something sacred in it.

In the ocean I mean.

The way it moves and swells.  The way it mirrors the sky with all its blue, grey, green glory.  The salt lingers in the air and the waves sound like a song.  A song that changes in rhythm, melody and tune at any given moment.

For those of us privileged enough to be raised by it, we are given to moments of advantage that others do not have.  For our lands do not roll on forever the same.  No.  Our lands are vast and varied by the watery depth of the ocean influenced weather.    The rolling hills, the cliffs and the coves that capture land from sea is something that Nova Scotia is all too familiar with.  I couldn't live without this landscape...I may travel, and still my heart beat aches.  Where is the ocean?  Where is the sea?  Where is the salt in the air that brings my spirit alive again?

I once thought I could leave it all behind.  Heartbreak does that to you.  It makes you think starting over and forgetting would be the best thing... but I have found, that it would be the worst thing.  If you leave your roots behind you in effort to forget and move on, you are denying the honest soul in you. If you move, move with respect and honour to your past.  If you need to start over, start afresh and anew, but do not start without coming to terms with the roots that are deep in soil of the land and hearts you leave behind. 

The ocean is my heart.  It has captured every heartbreak and every sorrow, and it has also captured every good and wonderful thing I have come to know.  This is why I am a bird of the sea.  This is why my wings cannot be clipped for as long as I live and journey through life, I will always need to remember and be reminded of the truths that lie within the sea. 

Everything changes, nothing stays the same, and yet it all moves apart of one story that continues forever.  Nothing is for certain, but like the tides of the ocean, everything is brought in and out of life with a pull that has a purpose and reason.  

 

 

Amy LaiComment
Why Motivation?

Motivation became a middle name for me.  It was the rope that dangled down in the dark places offering a lift out.  It was the single solitary coloured balloon that floated in my sky.

Motivation became a way of life, and the more I lived it, the more I lived fully.

Motivation is such an overused word that we often scoff at the notion.

"Heres another Motivational youtube video put together with instrumental music and images of sick children.  Another typical "I beat the odds survival video". "

So I guess, I was the cliché-girl who found herself at the end of a heart break and on the beginning of a motivational kick.

And the kick hasn't left.  Two years later I aim to consistently spew out motivational words and projects.  Because somewhere amidst all that cliche mambo jumbo I found some real stuff.

I found words that weren't just.

"If at first you don't succeed..."

"You can do it."

No, I found brilliant shiny words.

"Love yourself out."

"Blessings can come out of the mistakes."

And so I chew on motivation like a vitamin because I needed it.  Still need it.

Weeks of illness and I claim motivation now more than ever.  This isn't a time for me to crumble and despair.  My life isn't over and my life is so rich and full, that even the weight of sickness cannot stop me.  There is nothing more brilliant and sexy than a woman who values herself more than her fears. 

And my fears have been at war with motivation.

And motivation wins again and again.  Because there is always more words and always more inspiration.  But the fear...it cannot become more if I am staring it straight in the eyes and watching its every move.

Because

I am a sniper for fear and I aim well and strong.

 

Amy LaiComment
Why Write?
©2014 Jeremy Lai

©2014 Jeremy Lai

Sometimes I ask myself the question "Why write?  Why write at all?" 

It's a question that comes out from the dark places.  The places I go to when things are not as intentional as I want them to be.  Because, lets face it...I thrive on the intentional.  I get energy, drive and life from inhaling an intention.  

But even intentions get stale and become like bad morning breath that you can't seem to chase away.

So in those moments I ask myself why I do it at all... I know its a dumb question and I know I always and forever will be tripping over audible words in conversation only to quickly go and write it down and find myself there in the paragraphs all precise and clear.

But I have to ask.

And I always come back to.

I was made to be a word/story girl.

I know this.

It has come back to me again, and again.

After a book consumed, a new intention written down, a new story in progress, a new journal it all gives me the biggest rush that only a romance can give.

And thats it

I am in love with words and story.  Head over heels, an addict really.  I consume them like water in dessert. 

I write because if I didn't, I would not be me.  I would not be Amy Grace.  Girl of intentional living with words and story as her harmony. 

There are stacks and stacks of journals from age six onward that prove writing isn't just a hobby for me.  Its a way of life.  It is the way I find myself and reunite with my spirit and soul.  Journals are not for the ones in denial, they cannot lie or tell a story a different way when things go different.  Journals are the historical documentation of every idea, thought, dream, wish and attempt.  These are the books that have helped me work through life one step at a time.  And those gaps of times when I didn't write...when pages glare empty or a journal abandoned too early.  Those are the markings of when I was in denial and recovery. 

It is important to declare and remind ourselves of the reasons we do things.  

Why do anything if we cannot reflect and find anew the intention behind our whys?

Whys are important.

If we can answer a 'why', we are giving ourselves and those around us a better version of us. An honest one.

I write because it is the part of me that always stays true.  No matter what stage of life I am in, what other activities I do, what people are in my life , I will always be writing through those things.

I write, because somewhere inside of me, Amy Grace, is a heartbeat that lives for words and stories.

And right now my heart beats strong and healthy.

Amy LaiComment
Summer Letter 2014

Dear Ladies,

Summer is when things mature and grow.

Remember those good old days in school.  The days when September rolled around and you showed up and your classmates looked different?  Some older, some with different trendy hair styles.  Others with teeth missing, or a new piercing.  Things always stayed the same but somehow changed at the same time. 

I am watching you create, be, expierence and take rests in these glorious few months!  I am so thankful to see the photographs linger on my computer screen as I scan the updates.  These are growth moments.  These are the times of experience that will take hold of your work...

Do not doubt the rest or the work that you feel called to do .  Summer is a season to rest in what is.  And what is, is where you are at. 

Be where you are at.  If you have a job, work for the thrill of an artist with a pay check no matter the occupation.  An artist with money in their pocket is an artist with a secret investment to be made.  If you are in that tough spot of scavagening food and money, don't despair.  There are things growing, things that are growing for you.  Work on your craft, rest from your craft, do both as if it was your living.  When you rest.  Rest.

When you work, work.

You inspire me.

You keep me going.

You remind me to do.

Make.

Live.

I cannot do it without the echo of my sisters making along side.  I hope your summer is teaching you.  I hope you are feeling the summer sunlight soak into your pours and revitalize you.  Because, ladies I have to tell you:

There is a harvest coming.  

A harvest that will bless you, encourage you, move you and bring you into a new place.

I hope you are ready for what this Autumn will bring, because after a summer like this, you can only expect to be gathering and harvesting for a very long time.

Amy Grace 2014

Amy Grace 2014

So rest in the summer months of the growth of your work, life and experiences.  Don't beg it to grow faster, because it is at the pace it needs to be.

And while you wait, live and do.

Until September when we toast again over a glass of wine and something scrumptious.

Amy Grace. 


 

 

 

Teaching at Neptune Theatre School
78ef3a33ecbd44d2eacb7c928828129f.jpg

I have been spending the summer months teaching a very special group of children.  A new batch come in every week but the feeling stays the same.  

Glee. 

I have one week of teaching left for this Season and I have learned three things:

1.  Creating a sense of wonder is worth it.

2. Staying present is essential.

3. Children can give or drain energy depending on your attitude.

Wonder is worth it because wonder is what creates a sense of hope.  When we have wonder over something, there is a part of our insides that jumps and grows.  Creating wonder for children isn't a hard task.  It happened when I decided to show up to the first day of work (albeit late after a car breakdown in a major intersection) dressed as a fairy and staying in character all week.  It happened when I chose to story tell after all little bodies were tucked in tight and small in a circle with sounds they echoed.  (Once Upon a time there was a girl who bumped into a tiger...ROAR...)  It happened when, after a busy day of learning they all fell on the blanket and with quiet voices talked about magical things.  It happened when fairy dust in the form of glitter was sprinkled over their heads as they wished.  It happened.

As adults we loose that sense of wonder so fast, but I found it.  It happened when I ate dinner on a beach as the sun was setting and the grey clouds swirled above us.  It happened when I tasted the most delicious chocolate peanut butter cup from a local café.  It happened when I stepped into a move with a dance partner that was the most in sync we have been in a long time.  It happened when I covered Little V's toes in a sandbox.

Staying present is what makes all of these things have meaning.  Children don't know how to worry past their next thought.  They may worry on a lost item, or something they just remembered they forgot to do, but mostly...they worry on nothing.  They are present in the moment.  And as one precious four year old who has been taking grammar classes said through a stall door "I didn't quite know it before, but I am going to take longer than I thought.  I need to poop."  and later again said, when asked to sit up.  "Obviously, I am very tired right now."  

How honest.

How true.

May I remember to communicate in a way that is real to the present. 

How is our attitude towards children? 

It is so easy to see how others can be drained by them.  They see "responsibility" "work" "annoyance". I see "freedom"  "play" and "learning".  The days I chose to look at my teaching job with the word "Job", I went home drained.  I went home craving a break.

The days I went to my teaching position with the word "Learning".  I learned.

I hope they did too.

But

I learned 

The most.

I am thankful to have experienced these wonderful life lessons this Summer. 

 

 

Walking in Halifax City
©2014 Jeremy Lai

©2014 Jeremy Lai

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is a Canadian East Coast treasure.  Growing up just outside the city but always near the ocean I was everything typical of East Coast little girl.  Every Sunday skipping rocks into the oceans surface of the Bedford Basin and spending summers in the almost deserted but still thrumming community of Sandford, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at an old farm.  The rock beach behind the farm being a treasure trove full of secret pirate notes planted by my grandfather.  I didn't know any different.  The salt water was engrained in me and the waves of an ocean were like the beats of my heart-dreams.

©2014 Jeremy Lai

©2014 Jeremy Lai

It took a few formative life changing years to realize the East Coast Glory that I was raised in, is in my blood stream.  The salty tears that stream down my face from time to time are Halifax, Nova Scotia made.

I wouldn't put it past you to think "Halifax...just a small city with some bag pipers and New Scotland history in the mix.  Nothing special to sink your teeth into."

And that would be fine.

But I need to share... this City, this province is a treasure trove.

The city is small yes... in comparison with its East Coast competitors.  Maine, New York City... they are all on steroids... but Halifax, it has gems.

The Nook on Gottingen opened and run by Mark Pavaloski and his glorious partner in crime Katie Roux - two dear friends who show hospitality that will blow you away.

The endless places to eat good food and have a good time with friends.  The Board Room CafeMorris East, The Middle Spoon, and there is even a secret Speak Easy along Barrington Street if you can figure out the place and password that changes weekly.

The wind blows through the city streets reminding us to dream and move.  The salt air infiltrates your lungs as you walk and there is nothing more relishing than a moment with your thoughts and the ocean air.

Neptune Theatre whom so dearly trained me for eight precious months sits as a becan of story among a city full of Indie theatre.  

Red Swings litter the core waiting for anyone to take a journey 

Halifax Local stores collaborate together and become a tie...

And East Coast Lifestyle...a clothing company that has boomed through the stores, instagram, online orders and journeyed across roads...stems from this very place.

Halifax is making its way on the map, and my roots are salty and deep here.  My cheek is pressed to the moist dirt with the fog swirling around me.

That endless fog that comes with this east coast city...it is everything refreshing and cool to touch.  

And when I returned to Halifax after an East Coast journey to New York City...I realized the truth of me:

Walking in Halifax City is a look at my heart. 

Amy LaiComment
Walking in New York City

This East Coast small city girl of Halifax, Nova Scotia decided that an adventure to New York City after eight months of theatre training was a necessary check mark. After all the classes, dedicated early mornings and learning, I felt I had to see this shiny city that spurs so many artists into action.  It was a necessary and exciting journey to take on. 

At first, the plans were with friends.  Lovely travelers who bring life to everything that they do, and I was excited...and yet, we all felt that this trip, although necessary for me, was not necessary for everyone. 

Plans changed.

A family traveled instead.

 And walking in New York City was not less glamorous then it would have been with my best lady at my side.  I felt her presence on my wrist (a key bracelet) as I journeyed the streets she had walked before. 

I walked into Central Park as the first day progressed and with wild-city-wonder took in the nature that contrasted with the sudden city around it.  Birds were loud as if demanding attention.  Music laced with wind this jungle-city-park was full of moments I had to sink into my thoughts and try to find myself within it all.  City.  Nature.  Nature. City. 

I walked through Times Square and felt the hype, the drive for more...and yet my heart wasn't truly wanting 'things'.   It was wanting 'stories'.  Sifting through stores and although easy enough to release money into a cash register to receive clothes I don't usually allow myself, I was not given happiness, nor did I expect it.  I knew the purchase of items was not my bag.  I have a gift of saving and the gift of spending.  I can save for what I need and I can spend for the sheer response of living a life that needs to be lived.  Money is not to be glorified but used, as food is to the stomach, In and out, so money should be.  The ebb and flow of receiving and using.   

I entered "The Strand" and immediately felt at home.  Finally, peace and courage within a simple but complex building of rows and rows of books.  I could breathe easy here, it was inviting, normal, clean of thoughts...like one could blank slate and think from the start.  There was a canvas bag that said it best for me "She has a way with WORDS, red lipstick & making an ENTRANCE. - Kate Spade"....along with four books I took these with me with pride, thinking I had a bit of my own heart to carry back home with me. 

Phantom of the Opera 2014 

Phantom of the Opera 2014 

Attending a Broadway show...a dream finally realized with the perfect white dress found for such an occasion.  Showering luxioursly and taking my time relishing in the preparation.   "Phantom of the Opera" was even more than I could ever hope it to be.  The Majestic Theatre presented the show with elegance and standard one could only imagine of.  All the mysterious phantom characteristics like a thread that pulled the whole opera together in a seductive and spirit stirring show.  I could barely breathe when they sung "Think of Me" ,  "The Phantom of the Opera" , "Past the Point of No Return" and "Down Once More".  It was an evening of swoon, seduction, surrender and ended with appetizers wine and amazing conversation. 

Then the Zoo with all it's creatures and awaiting secrets of what animals do.  It kept the sacredness of wilderness and space and it reminded me of everything that made it.  The One who pieces life together for us one part at a time.   

I was moved... I was overwhelmed with joy.

And then it hit.

Overwhelmed. 

By a city that didn't give me the time to be me.  Or rather, the pressures that built to see it all, and taste, feel, expierence it all.  I pushed back.  No.  I need time to write this out, time to go back home and figure out what it was that I was feeling.

It wasn't for lack of desire to expierence or overwhelming of the culture of the city.

The city and the hustle and bustle was a lot less than my expectations,  I was met with what I viewed a normal crowded big city.

But.

Something inside me was upset.

Because the big city adventure girl I thought I could be.

I wasn't.

I didn't want this.

The lights, the flickering ads, the sights, the pace... it wasn't me.

And yet, I wanted to want it.

Sure, I was everything dazzled, enraptured and loving the dress up nights and the delicious food at every bite, but there was something missing.  

The time I needed. 

Part of this, the nature of travel, and the other part... the nature of a Halifax girl being exactly that.  A Halifax girl...and she loves her city.  Her family, her life.

It can be disspointing to realize that everything you thought you wanted was not what you wanted at all.  

What you wanted was right in front of you the whole time.

And isn't that the lesson that I find true time and time again.

All that shiny isn't golden.

What is golden is what stays true and real no matter the circumstances.

The real gold is in you.

Amy Grace - a Natural East Coast Girl.

Amy Grace - a Natural East Coast Girl.

The real gold is what you naturally do without the push.

I write.

I rest the best in my city.

I love short, quick but high risk adventures.

I am a natural east coast girl. 


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