Here we are on Wednesday morning at 3am. We have been out on the old dirt road since Sunday.  Getting on a plane and flying across the Atlantic  to Thailand is like time travel.  It is a whole different world here and I love it.  We are in Suratthani which is 12 hours south of Bangkok,  where I taught English for 2 years.   It is a lot to take if for Zoe and Owen but they are troopers.

This was Zoe and Owen`s very first  time flying and it was the most excited that I have seen them in a very long time.  It surpassed any Christmas morning of opening the toy they had been dreaming about for months.  It surpassed birthday parties, anything really.  It was a beautiful experience all on its own.  They had me in stitches and I fell in love with them all over again.  As we sat in the very small plane, waiting for take off, their faces were beaming with vibrant smiles of expectation.  As I watched them literally bouncing in their seats, I knew that all the money saved for this trip was worth every penny.  Already, just experiencing their first flight was heart warming.  We hadn`t even left Ottawa yet and I noticed a difference in them.  They were getting along instead of fighting, laughing together and working as a team and that is just awesome in my books.  

 It seemed like forever before the plane started moving. Finally, when it started backing out  from gate 5 Owen exclaims: `Do not tell me that we are going to take off backwards!` that had me in stitches and I noticed that the 3 ladies sitting in front of us were laughing as well.  I told them that it was Zoe and Owen’s first flight and they said: ``Obviously.  I was tickled pink to see that they were enjoying this magical moment as much as I was.   At take off when the plane accelerated speed, smiles beamed on their beautiful faces.  They glowed with expressions of wonderment and amazement.  Happiness filled me and I laughed and tears sprung to my eyes.  As the speed increased and the plane left ground the children laughed with the sensation. Owen declared:  It’s my first time flying!!!`. Zoe looked out the window and said: `` I can see the edge of the Earth`.  This was our moment.  It was magic and I knew it then and there that this was going to be a trip of a life time. 

At this point we were travelling alone as Jay was only leaving Canada the next day.  Zoe and Owen were awesome travellers and great team mates.  Our connection from Washington to Frankfurt was 50 minutes and we had to run from gate to gate.  They were with me all the way, running without complaint and helping to find signs for gate C18.

Finally after 36 hours of travel we arrived in Surat on Tuesday afternoon.   We are staying at the Wang Tai hotel in a great big room.  There`s a pool and free breakfast.  Things are good.

It is now Thursday and we are moving through jet lag which means that we have been wide awake since 3 am which is early morning here but afternoon in Canada.  It`s like part of us is still in our home land.  It is a weird feeling and at the same time it is magical to wake up so early in the morning where the world outside of this room is sleeping and we are wide awake spending time together.  Zoe is reading Owen just finished doing homework and now playing checkers with Jay. Yes we picked up Jay at the airport yesterday.  It is so nice to have him on board this great adventure.   There is so much more to say but we will soon be getting ready to go for breakfast which starts at 06:00.  

To sign off I will leave you with a story that Zoe wrote yesterday while sitting in a very traditional Thai restaurant.  I have to tell you that I am living through my children on this trip.  It is my 4th time here (yes I am spoilt) and they are helping me see Thailand with new eyes like I did a long time ago in 1997 when I first travelled here.  Things are so different that the children have to stretch their minds to all that they are seeing, hearing, smelling and experiencing.  There is so much to take in.

 The Cafe
By Zoe

Right now I am sitting in an old run down sorry excuse for a cafe.  I swear the smell of fish and roaring cars seem to be getting louder and stronger.  At least my coke tastes good.  Everywhere I look I see people eating Thai food.  It looks spicy. I do not know how people eat so much spice.  I mean this morning I ate a chilli pepper that was  below mild.  It was kind of like a mix between a hot chilli pepper and a sweet pepper so it was cool but still a little hot.  All I want to do is get out of this run down cafe.  It`s also hot but I just went swimming so my hair is wet which keeps me cold.  OMG the fish is so smelly, please mom can we go I say.  My mom answers no.  Then I say my nose is falling off.

The End

We are off to breakfast now.   At yesterday`s breakfast Zoe and Owen discovered their first favourite Thai food which are Thai donuts.  I hope you enjoyed the beginning of our adventure and that all is well in cold Canada.


Zoe, Owen, Jay and Annie


The Bhakti Connection

 On Friday night (January 18th) the Bhakti Connection is bringing kirtan to Rama Lotus.  We will gather in the sky room from 19:45- 21:00.  The donations from this event will go towards our Fundraiser for Burmese/Thai refugees.  If you haven't heard yet. Zoe, Owen, Jay and I are leaving on January 27th with the goal of purchasing school supplies to a school very much in need.  So far we have raised $800.  Below you will find an interview with Amanda Porter a dear friend of mine who is a member of the Bhakti Connection. I hope you enjoy the interview and that we see you on Friday night!

For the people out there who have never experienced Kirtan, can you tell us what it's all about?

Group chanting meditation, like a concert that everyone has the opportunity to participate in either by voice or instrument or both!

Why did you call your group The Bhakti connection?
We came up with the name as a way to perfectly describe what happens during kirtan, one connects to that space of love where only loves exists and is limitless. 
This coming Friday's show you will be collecting money for our Fundraiser in Thailand and we thank you very much. What other causes have you helped with? 
Many local and international causes and supports(too many to list!!), currently we are focusing on local support, or helping local folks, like yourself, who are looking to bring funds/energy directly to a cause.
 I have heard through the grape vine that you have another album coming out.  Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, we will have this new album this Summer, in time for the Montreal kirtan festival, and the yoga music festival we host locally, Bhakti in the Woods!  It will also contain an electronic remixed version of one of our chants. 

What brought you to this devotion to kirtan?
My first yoga instructor invited me to a satsang, while I lived in Truro, Nova Scotia, and I was hooked! 
Your home is out in the woods and is surrounded by beautiful woods can you tell us what other aspects of your life you devote yourself to?
Personally, I'm devoted to my family, the plants and animals I keep on the farm,  keeper of the land I live on, to arts and crafting and all aspects of the creative flow, which is all held together by my strong spiritual daily practice of meditation.  The  devotion to myself is for all and everything.
 Thank you so much Amanda for the inspiration and insight. I look forward to Friday night where we get to celebrate together. You can view Amanda and other Bhakti members below.  Wow! Feel that vibration.  What a way to celebrate...

Happy 2013

Happy New Year!!!

I cannot believe it is 2013.  It still feels like we should be in the 90's.  Time does fly and that is why for this year I plan on taking things in stride and really sit back and enjoy the ride.  There are times where I wish things were different from what they are  but for 2013 I am going to work in gratitude and see the beauty that surrounds me.  My life is blessed with so many things and this is an exciting year with many changes.  Here is a glimpse for 2013.

On January 27th we are leaving for warm, sunny, beautiful Thailand.  I am so excited that I could burst.  It will be Zoe and Owen's first flight, first time swimming in the ocean and of course first time in a third world country.  We are all excited and nervous.  Owen is nervous for the plane ride, Zoe is nervous of the snakes and crabs and I am nervous about bringing my kids on such a big journey.  It will take us 36 hours to get there!  Washington, Frankfurt, Bangkok,  and last but not least Suratthani.  Jet lag will be a very interesting experience.  Stay tuned in because we will write our stories here for you read :)

You might wonder why I am bringing my children so far away when we could go somewhere closer like Costa Rica or something of the like.  Well Thailand holds a special place in my heart. I taught English there for 2 years and Zoe was made there.  It has always been my dream to bring my children to the land of smiles and my dream is coming true. 

As you might know our journey to Thailand is not only about lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean. We are going with a purpose.  We have raised $500 for Burmese Thai children who are in desperate need of school supplies. We would like to thank all of you who helped this dream come true.  I am really looking forward to giving my children the gift of giving.  If you want to donate there is still time!

Hatha Teacher Training

In October I started Hath Teacher Training at Rama Lotus.  Although I already teach Kundalini yoga I was looking to deepen my practice and my journey into the self.  I am loving the experience of going deeper.  We have an amazing group and it is great to immerse myself in the yogic philosophy. I feel very inspired to live in the moment and thus my 2013 New Year's resolution to be content with the moment,  where I am at,  with who I am,  and with whatever challenge, adventure, sorrow, I am faced with in any given moment.  This takes discipline and commitment and I am feeling committed.   I understand that there will be many slips and falls and opportunity for compassion towards myself on this journey into the now.  It is a life long commitment for sure!  We graduate on April 7th and already I suspect that I will miss these weekends of study, yoga and friendship but alas that is not living in the moment! 

On July 1rst my landlord is moving back into this house we have been inhabiting for the last 4 years.  This means that in the spring we will be house hunting looking for that perfect place that can give shelter to me, my children and our daycare family.  We want to stay in walking distance of Devonshire and ideally on the East side of Preston but open to other possibilities on the West side.  If you hear of any potential houses for rent at a decent price let us know.   I feel quite attached to this space as it works perfectly for us.  In my 42 years I have noticed that things always work out.  So I am putting it out there; ``universe help us find that perfect space to live and support families in our community.  I am staying open to possibility. ``


Zoe, Owen and I are also loving being part of the scouting community. Every Monday we meet our scouting friends at either a church or in the great outdoors.  It is such a wonderful feeling to be part of the scouting community.  If you have kids in cubs or were one as a kid you know that it is a great program.  The  children are guided towards leadership, activity and community.  I just love it and hope that Zoe and Owen will want to keep going right into adulthood.  I had some pictures to post of us making these great rattles out of hide but alas I accidentally erased them. 

The White House
The White House is no longer white but the name has stuck and she remains The White House in our hearts. The interior walls have gone from rotting old wood to nice, fresh smelling, pine and cedar.   My craft room walls are painted red and yellow and the ceiling blue.  Zoe and Owen both have a bedroom. There`s a kitchen and it is all coming along wonderfully. 

If you are wondering if we are moving in, the answer is: no.  It will be a great space to hang out, gather with friends, do yoga and host workshops.  Yes, workshops.  I know I have been pretty quiet on the workshop front these last few months.   I took a little break to focus on yoga and my family.  Sometimes one has to acknowledge the treadmill of life and get off for a while.  I am not there yet but in a few months Annie Bananie will reappear with workshops gallor in a wonderful space called The White House and of course in town for those who do not wish to drive up to Wakefield. Although I guarantee you, the drive is soooooooooo worth it :)

Before and...

Daycare Family 
People say to me all the time: ``I could never do your job, I do not know how you do it.``  Well I could never sit at a desk, staring at a computer all day and tackling office politics. I would rather be surrounded by little beings who run, play, laugh at my jokes and are open to kitchen dance parties.  I won`t deny that there are days that I am tired. I am human just like everyone else but seriously I love my job. I love children, they are full of magic and insight.  I am grateful for my job and the families that walk through my door.  I also love teaching yoga and giving workshops.  My job satisfaction revolves around helping people.

Of course I am grateful for so many other things like the fact that  I live in Canada, my health, my body, my car, snow (maybe not the snow banks on my street, gotta work on that one),  my family, friends, community, coffee, a fresh salad and it goes on and on.   

Gratitude is not to be underated. Think about it when we live to appreciate all that surrounds us, we learn recognize the richness of our lives.  We recognize how lucky we are to have families, communities, a roof over our heads, opportunity, and so much more.  When we practice daily gratitude we fall into a space of contentment.  We appreciate our children`s energy for life. We appreciate our jobs for the security it gives us.  We appreciate the small things like fresh sheets, a full deep breath, a hug, a clean kitchen, a mess after a great party, a kind gesture from a stranger and the list goes on.

For my new year`s resolution I am living in daily gratitude. I am writing 5 things a day that I am grateful for and I when I feel the urge I will share these tokens of gratitude with you.  Before signing off I will give my gratitude to you the reader.  I appreciate you reading my words and hope that somewhere along the way they bring inspirationCiao for now.