About Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

The importance of prayer in your life.

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Do you find time in your life for daily prayer? Or is it something that you do when you “need” something from God, Allah, Buddha, or whomever you believe in? Growing up Greek Orthodox and attending a Catholic School, prayer was always something that I was encouraged to do and something that I passed on to my daughter. Every night before bed she says her prayers. The irony of all this is that I taught her a Greek prayer many years ago and she could recite it before she actually knew the meaning behind it. Do you take time out of your day to pray? With the pandemic going on and all of the restrictions around attending church I’ve found that I’m missing that connection. I’m missing being in a place where I don’t need to explain myself because for the most part, everyone enters because they believe. I miss venerating the holy icons and seeing these works of art all around us, listening to our silent prayers.

It is because of this connection that I decided to join a prayer group for the Christmas fast. As Greek Orthodox Christians we fast for 40 days before Christmas. I don’t know how I will do on the food part but I know that I can take a few minutes out of my morning to read the Holy Gospels. This group is 40 people each assigned a gospel reading to start on. We continue down the line until Christmas Eve when we’ll read the last one. Along with that we pray for each person in our group, that God may have mercy on us all. Over the last few months I’ve had multiple conversations with friends about journaling and starting our days with gratitude. While I continue to try and do that, this is something that I can easily wrap my head around right now. Maybe because in the wee hours of the morning when I wake up I don’t need to “think” about a topic or solve my own problems, but rather I can read the word of God and be grateful for the day ahead, which we all know is never promised to us.

So I ask you my friends, what is the importance of prayer in your life? Do you find yourself coming to prayer when needed or have you found a way to blend it into your daily life? Drop me a comment or send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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How are you really feeling?

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As we’ve entered month eight of this pandemic how are you really feeling? I know I have had quite the journey over the last eight months. More ups and downs than many people have in a lifetime but no matter what I have to keep moving forward. Many years ago, as I was leaving a position that I held for a few years, I was gifted with a framed print for my office. The print was of the poem The Dash. That framed print now sits in our home office. The other day as I was fighting with the computer to do what I needed it to do, I looked up and there was the poem. It reminded me that no matter what we do, it is today that we need to make count, because tomorrow isn’t promised.

I’ve been thinking a lot during these past eight months…but really haven’t we all. What is the bigger plan for myself and my family. God knows my kid is destined to do amazing things and my husband, well the best thing he did was marry me a decade ago (ha! ha!) so now what about me? Was the fundraising jobs I held and the money I raised my destiny? Should I be working on a greater goal, other than raising an amazing human (my daughter)? Have any of you been in this place of questioning during this pandemic? Wondering if coasting though life, as I’ve heard some friends call it, is enough? Has the magic answer hit you in the face yet or are you still digging for it? What tools have you used to figure out the next part of your dash? I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, in case you haven’t read the poem by Linda Ellis, I leave it for you below.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Oh what a day!

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Oh what a day yesterday was! I think that the world was holding its collective breath and finally was able to breathe again. At least that is what it seems to this American born woman living in Canada. I have said it before, I’m not here to talk politics but no one should take away what November 7, 2020 means for women. We finally have the first woman as Vice President and a woman of colour who is first generation, talk about an accomplishment. Imagine how proud her family must feel, like the families of so many Greeks that I know, who celebrate each accomplishment. Her parents came from Jamaica and India with a dream of a better future, a better life. Well within that life their little girl was able to achieve the second most powerful office of the United States of America. Let us stop and think about that.

Growing up my parents always told me I could be anything I want to be. But I’ll be honest, they never told me I could be president of the United States. As much as they gave me the best that they could and pushed me to educate myself and do better, those words were never said. Did that hold me back from achieving my dreams, absolutely not because they supported me in other ways (and still do) each and every day. When my daughter was a baby people would say she’s such a princess, or what a doll, etc. From when she was little I would always tell her she had the power to be the Prime Minister, the President and then a princess. The words you choose to use when speaking to your daughters matter. The empowerment begins at home with you. Our girls will be made fun of on the school yard and challenged in the classroom. They will have to deal with not fitting the “look” of a certain type of group or being included because let’s be honest, sometimes kids are just plain mean. Saying all of that, let us take the time to lift our girls up. Let us show them that if they set their minds to it and work hard, they too can accomplish anything. And let us adults work harder so that when they are Kamala’s age there is no glass ceiling because we’ve smashed the crap out of it!

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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November is here

In the United States November is a big month with Thanksgiving being in it and it being such a huge holiday. When I moved to Canada, November became do I dare say it–anti climactic. Yes we have Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day for my US friends) and I will wear my poppy with pride but I don’t decorate my house for it, I don’t have a huge party for it. I do my part and remember those who have served for our country (on both sides of the border). So once the Halloween decorations come down, I feel like it is okay for the Christmas decorations to go up. When I was living in the US I would never have a tree up before Thanksgiving. It would always go up on the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year, which is unlike any other I’ve lived, I feel like we deserve the Christmas cheer to last a little longer. We deserve all of the those wonderful feelings of Christmases past that a tree, decorations, etc., evoke. So when will you put up your tree? I’d love for you to leave me a comment and let me know.

Every first of the month I try to put out a Facebook message wishing my family and friends a great month. Reminding us that it is a new start, as really every day is. Also reminding us that this is not a dress rehearsal and to make today count. So my wish to you my friends is a wonderful November. One filled with health, happiness, laughter and love. Know that you don’t need the first day of the month or the week to make a change. Any new day (or new hour for that matter) can be your first day in whatever you are trying to accomplish.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Happy, Happy to me!

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Well as I recently celebrated another year around the sun it is time reflect. 2020 oh what a year you have been. As I sit back and think about the last year let’s be real, calling it a dumpster fire will be using a kind term. Not only were we all dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic and the repercussions of that, but personally, my year was filled with various medical issues that were presented to people close to me. I missed out on so many events, trips, special events and really what about the overall mental drain this put on all of us.

So rather than going on and on about everything that sucked and God knows I can fill a few pages of that, I’ve decided to focus on the positives. I am grateful for the time I got with my family. My husband was out of work many, many months due to our province being in various stages of lockdown because of the pandemic. Along with him being home, our kiddo was home since schools were closed. Throw in some online learning, missed graduations, recitals, birthday parties and my gosh it wasn’t easy but we somehow got through it. We grew as individuals and as a family. We learned to appreciate each other even when we were working through our own feelings of the fear of the unknown. God knows there is no parenting book on how to raise a child during a pandemic, or if I’m wrong and there is one, it was probably sold out with all of the toilet paper!

According to the encyclopedia Britannica middle age is considered anything between the ages of 40 and 60. So being in this “middle age” phase of life I’m grateful for my health. I am able to wake up each and every morning and put on my pants one foot at at time still. Yes there may be more aches and pains than there have been in previous years but what we don’t realize as we’re going through life is that we do a number on our body. It isn’t until one day we sneeze and throw out our backs (figuratively speaking not literally) that we’re like oh crap!

I’m grateful for technology. It is hard when your family is not close by. To be able to FaceTime my parents, see my brother’s family including my nephews growing up even when I can’t physically be there is huge. For the memes sent by a friend at 5am as she heads out to workout or the check in text at 10:30pm because she was thinking about you. This pandemic has brought us closer together even though it is keeping us apart.

I’m grateful for the sun shining. Yup I know that sounds cliché but there is something special about those fall days where the sun is still hot enough to warm you up. When I’m waiting to pick up the kid and the wind lets down for a bit and the sun hits your face and a feeling of calm comes over you. It is as if mother earth is telling you, I got you, we’re okay.

So as my brother reminds me, I’ve entered my 29th year again (plus, plus) and I am going to use the life experiences I have acquired to take this year head on. After what has been thrown at me in 2020, I know that I can take on whatever comes my way.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Taking time to enjoy the small stuff

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With Canadian Thanksgiving being earlier this week there is so much to be grateful for this year. From my family, to our health, to our friends and everything else that comes along with being over half a year into a pandemic. If living during these times does nothing, it helps you realize what is important and what truly matters. As I was perusing through Instagram one day a few different people I followed were reiterating what a good friend of mine told me a few months ago. You should take some time to quiet your brain, to focus and start your day with gratitude. For someone whose mind races a lot and tends to be go, go, go, that’s hard. I wake up on some mornings with good intentions but life happens. Today I had a moment. I had dropped off my child to school and was walking back to my car. Usually I’m looking down and am rushing to the car. Today I happened to look up. Sometimes you need to take that moment and look up. Stop, whatever it may be you’re doing and focus on the gratitude in you heart. Today I am grateful.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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It Is Your Civic Duty

Now I have always been excited to do my part and my civic duty. I remember as a little girl going with my parents to the Salvation Army (their local voting centre) on election day to watch them cast their vote. Back then you just gave your name (the person volunteering probably already knew you) and they checked you off. You went into your little booth, pulled the curtain around you, grabbed the special tool and were off. So many dreams were created in that booth. You felt as though you ACTUALLY had the power to create change. After all, that was the American dream.

In the city I grew up in, I was lucky to work for a few summers at City Hall. I got to know some of the politicians and see how things worked from the inside. Maybe because of this reason, when I became of voting age, I remember being excited to vote. My friends who have known me forever often asked if I had never left would I have run for politics? The answer is maybe. I am a person who likes to evoke change. I like to be part of the solution group. I also believe that you can’t bitch if you don’t vote. I have friends who choose not to vote and I yell at them. Usually the response I get is we’re in Massachusetts, it will always be blue. If you don’t know, a blue state in the US is a Democratic State and a red state is a Republican state. Since 1900 the state of Massachusetts has voted for the Republican presidential nominee 10 times, so definitely not unheard of, just not the norm. And the attitude of “my vote doesn’t count” is what many people say is the reason why the outcome of the 2016 election was the way it was. Now I promised myself before I sat down that I would keep this as non political as I could. My goal isn’t to recruit more Democratic, Republican or Independent specific voters. My goal is to get you to just get off your butt and go vote. To believe, like me, that you (and your vote) can make a difference.

The America of today is different than the America I left over a decade ago. Were the same issues facing the country then? Absolutely, things don’t change overnight. Did I as a Greek-American woman feel as though I was discriminated against–absolutely (those stories I’ll share at a later time). But regardless of all this did I feel as though I could bring about change to the world around me and make it a better place? You bet your bottom dollar I did. So off I went every day to try. As a member of the human race please do not give up. A friend posted a meme with this messaging and I thought the words couldn’t ring more true: “I’m mentally drained from the pandemic, racism and murders in addition to my own personal shit. I’m MF tired.”

Please my friends muster up the strength to register to vote if you haven’t done so already. The voter registration deadlines vary by state but from what I can see are between October 4th and 27th, with a couple of states letting you register in person day of. To see what the rules are for your state click here. If you are in the USA and haven’t registered yet, please go here. If you are like me and voting from abroad please go here.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Well Hello There My Friend…

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So you’re probably thinking what the hell is she doing in my mailbox. It has been a while my friends. Life as we know it has changed for all of us with this pandemic we’ve now been living for the last six months. To be honest I’ve thought many times about writing but literally, what the heck would I say? Hello, we’re alive but in lock down. Hello, we’re in phase one. Hello, we’ve moved to phase two. Finally in phase three. Who had the desire to write in the middle of a lock down? Certainly not me. But as my husband keeps reminding me, we paid for this site so it is time to come back and share some of myself.

How are things where you are? I know so many of my friends in the US and Europe are living different lives than we are here in Canada. Some are virtual learning/working, some are hybrid, some have actually gone back to classes/workplace. Many friends who work in office buildings in downtown urban areas are still working from home here. And I have to say we’re lucky here in Canada that our schools opened for in person learning in September. A staggered start but it provided some “normalcy”. Parents had the choice to do online learning, in person learning or pull their kids out and home school. We have friends doing all of the above. At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your family, for us that was in person learning. The kid went off to a new school this year learning in French and is in grade one. My baby is no longer a baby. She has her own unique style, opinions about things and is ready to take on the world. She’s trying to navigate her place in this world and of course that comes with some hiccups but I hope she knows that I’ll always be in her corner.

I wanted to share with you a photo from pick up earlier this week. They had painted circles in the schoolyard to help the kids with social distancing. How resilient are our kiddos for all of these changes that have come and continue to come their way? Happy Friday my friends! Have a safe and happy weekend!

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Are we living the dash?

There are days that we sit here and chug along.  Really just going through the motions of life, doing the same things, day in and day out.  But when we stop and take a look to assess the damage, holy…it is like a slap in the face.  Now this can be with the good stuff and the bad.  We’re so busy and on the go that most of us don’t actually stop to assess our lives regularly.  Are we living the dash?

Trying to live your life purposefully and/or with meaning is a goal we should all be working towards.  Otherwise, what was our purpose on this earth?  I know each of you, and myself included were put here to do more than just take up space and use the resources.  Our goal should be to inspire one another, encourage one another.  Our goal should be to touch one person’s life each day, if we can accomplish that, then little by little, through small changes, we are not only changing the world, but we are living our dash.  Take a few minutes and try it today.  See how you can empower someone else, see how you might be able to do one thing to change the life of someone, even if it is your own.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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Seriously clothing industry?!

So as I sit here and type this I think it is important to give you a bit of history as to how I came here.  For the last nine months, hubby and I have been following a Keto way of eating (WOE).  What that means is that we eat high good fats, moderate protein and low carbs.  Low carbs in the area of less than 20 grams a day.  To give you an idea that is one average sized potato or the bottom of a hamburger bun.  They call this a WOE because truly you’re changing your thinking about food, which in turn is changing your body.  So with this new WOE has come weight loss.  And with this weight loss has come the need to purchase new clothing.  Now for a girl who has been in the plus sized world her whole life, moving out of that world into the “normal” store world is a bit daunting.  In the plus sized world, I knew that when I walked into the store, it would be people who looked like me.  Either a little bit smaller or a little bit bigger, but at the end of the day if you weren’t of a certain size, you weren’t shopping there.  In the “normal” world, the size zeros and two intermingle with the size 14 and 16s.  And you have everything in between.

I am a tailor’s daughter in case you didn’t know so from a young age I understood body measurements and the importance of knowing them and altering clothing to fit your type of body.  So one thing I had going for me this whole time is my measurements were that of a models. No, no I never had a model’s body but my measurements were even, they fit.  Now this new body isn’t even and doesn’t fit. So dresses are out and mix and match is in, which brings me to my latest shopping expedition.  I go to the GAP in hopes of finding some clothes.  Their jeans tend to fit me well.  Now one little tidbit that I’ve found is that the outlet clothes in adults fit larger than at the actual store, where as the outlet kids stuff needs to be sized up.

Anyways, I’m at the actual store and find a pair of jeans I’m looking for in my size, super.  Then I move to tops.  I’m looking at a few different ones and you know when you can just tell some stuff is sized bigger? Well in this case I grab a medium, large and XL.  Three different designs, three different sizes and all three fit.  Now I assure you if you haven’t seen me I’m in no way shape or form a medium size.  But thank you Gap for stroking my ego for a few minutes. But my point in bringing this up is we have a generation of girls growing up with visuals of models who are size 0, 2 and 4s and while progress is being made both on the runway and in mainstream media to show women of all sizes, this crap is playing with our minds.  How is a girl not going to feel bad when she really is a medium but can also fit into an XL?  Why can’t there be more consistent sizing?  Why can’t your measurements reflect the same size regardless of the brand?  How can the measurements of a typical size 8 be considered an XL by some manufacturers? Seriously clothing industry?!   As a mom to a daughter, I know that these are issues that she will face in the coming years and something that we’ll have to navigate together.

What is your experience?  Have you ever been able to wear multiple “sizes” in one store?  Is my experience a one off or am I not alone?

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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