Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts that matter

What Happened to the Pursuit of Excellence?

By Mark Black

We live in a world of pursuits. As people we are always pursuing something. My question to you this week is “what are you pursuing, and most importantly, are they worth of being pursued?”

Most people are on an ongoing pursuit for stuff. Whether it’s the newest iPhone, the coolest car, or best handbag, we are always pursuing the next new, cool, shiny, thing that advertisers have skillfully convinced us that we need. Watch television for 60 minutes, and you will see on average, 12 minutes (or 20% of the overall time) of commercials for a variety of products. And with the advancements in target marketing, keyword analysis etc, those ads are increasingly more targeted to their viewers. It’s no wonder we are so easily convinced that we need the newest cell phone, car or revolutionary hair product.

There is nothing inherently wrong with material possessions. I’m not on a crusade to make you give up your things at all. It’s nice to have nice things, and within reason, I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with that. The problem, is when the pursuit of stuff, takes the place of the pursuit of the “higher good” as Plato wrote.

Too often we are taken off course in life and convinced that we ought to be spending time pursuing things, or power, or greatness. Media has become such a powerful force in our society that it has moved beyond a mode of communication, to possibly the most influential force in our world. And in the world of media, nothing is more valued that your “15 minutes of fame”, hence the success of reality television and the onslaught of reality TV “stars” who are famous for no other reason than that they were on TV.

This week I want to encourage you to pursue the higher good. To remember that our attention should not be consumed with the pursuit of money, power, stuff, or fame, but rather of excellence. We should always be in the pursuit of becoming better, of continual improvement and getting closer to excellence.

This past week my family and I had the opportunity to go to Disney World. We had a great time and my 3 year old daughter was in heaven. But what struck me most about our time at Disney was how EVERYTHING with the Disney name on it, was an example of excellence. From the grounds that were impeccably clean, to the smile on the face of EVERY employee. The way they were able to usher and in and out tens of thousands of automobiles efficiently and safely, to the way every event took place exactly on time. The whole park was a lesson in the importance of pursuing excellence. The success of the Disney franchise (whether you like the company or not) is undeniable. And a great part of that success is due to their ongoing commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

The pursuit of excellence isn’t very “sexy” today, because it doesn’t have any immediate rewards. You can’t go out and buy excellence, and pursuing it with great effort does not guarantee success, fame or fortune, and so many aren’t very interested. But they should be.

The pursuit of excellence, the pursuit of becoming the best person that we can be in all areas of life, is what we were all put here to do. It is our mission and our purpose. If all we ever did was do our best to pursue excellence in our lives, the world would be a much better place. And let me be clear, excellence does not mean perfection. None of us will ever achieve that (only one person ever did that and those around him didn’t like him too much:) Excellence isn’t perfection, rather it’s doing our best, to do our best, all the time. It’s 100% effort… always. In all that we do. And thus it will look different for each person, and yet it applies equally to all of us. It’s a challenge we all should strive to live up to.

So go out and be more excellent this week. Be a better version of you this week than you were last week. If you do that every week of your life, you may never reach perfection, but you’ll be a whole lot closer to it than you were when you started, and you’ll most certainly have spent your time on this earth in a worthy pursuit!


I received this in a Wellness email that we receive at work on a weekly basis.

Mark has truly inspired me to go out & pursue excellence – the right kind of excellence!

I encourage all of you to do the same!


Sheila xox

Summary of Life

1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats..
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food..
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair..
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandma's lap.

1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground...
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy..

1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional...
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions...
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.

1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus..
4) You look like Santa Claus.

At age 4 success is . . . . Not piddling in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . Having friends.
At age 17 success is . . Having a driver's license.
At age 35 success is . . . ..having money.
At age 50 success is . . . Having money..
At age 70 success is . .. . Having a drivers license.
At age 75 success is . ... . Having friends.
At age 80 success is . . .. Not piddling in your pants.

Happy Monday! Have a wonderful week!


Sheila xox

Monday, April 23, 2012

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1st Giveaway Winner!

On this very cold & rainy morning …

I finally get to announce the winner to my very first giveaway!

And the winner is …

(Drum roll please)

True Random Generator - April 23, 2012

Comment #4 - Giveaway winner - April 23, 2012

Congratulations on winning my first giveaway!
I will be getting in touch with you today in order to send you the earrings!

A big thanks to all who participated… THANK YOU! : )


Sheila xox

Sunday, April 22, 2012


1, 7, 13 and 17: The star of my of my Instagram pictures, my sweet loveable rescue dog, Boots! Here he is going for a walk, enjoying some relaxing time on the couch, snoozing in the hallway & lastly putting himself to bed (in our bed) at 6pm on a Saturday night. Guess someone wasn’t happy he was kept up late on Friday evening!

2 and 3: Hubby & I coached a basketball team this year and this was our year-end brunch with the girls. They gave us gift cards to our favorite stores. Hubby = 150$ Source for Sports & Me = 150$ LULULEMON!! : )

4, 5, 6, 9 and 10: Attended my friend’s bachelorette! Complete with ‘Banana Golf’, ‘YouTube video-making: Call me maybe’, mustaches/crowns & of course, TP bridal gowns! Fun times for sure! Love those ladies.

8: I am completely obsessed with Jodi Picoult lately. Working on reading every single one of her novels. This is my newest read: Nineteen Minutes!

11: Almost pool time! Pool opens up Monday morning. Very much looking forward to summer vacation, reading & tanning by the pool.

12: Reminiscing about last summer. Best day of my life: August 13th, 2011.

14 & 15: New nails & outfit!

16: My two favorite boys relaxing on a Friday night!

I’m linking up with Jenni over at Story of My Life. You should too!

Hope you had a great week/week-end!


Sheila xox

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Dinner

This year my husband and I decided to host my family for Easter supper. Originally, we were supposed to go to visit my husband’s parents but with our the sudden birth of our new baby girl niece (2 months early), they were forced to drive immediately to meet their new granddaughter.

My parents had planned to arrive on the weekend from their trip to Florida. We were very excited to cook our very first TURKEY DINNER! I, of course, was extremely nervous. Luckily, my husband is absolutely amazing! He made the entire meal and taught me along the way. So next time, it is so my turn! : )

Here just a couple shots from the evening…


Some of the goods …


Mmmmmmm TURKEY!



My ridiculous husband can always make me smile. HA.



Boots {sportin’ a fresh haircut} posing for the camera! xOx



My brother and his lovely fiancé!




A shot of my Dad!




My amazing parents. Love this shot of them!


& of course, hubby & I forgot to get one of the two of us.
Oh well, next time when we aren’t busy hosting!


Hope you all had a lovely Easter this year!
I know we are extremely blessed in so many ways.


Sheila xox

My first GIVEAWAY!

First off, I would like to THANK YOU for being a reader of this blog! I am still a ‘newbie’ blogger & have few followers but wanted to know how important you are to me! Thank you for following. It is much appreciated!

So, what am I giving away you ask?!



These gorgeous earrings!

Both handmade & purchased at a local market.
I love supporting our local market & jewelry makers
-& finding gems like these on a Saturday morning!

They are just fabulous, don’t you think? …
& they could be yours!!!!! 

I thought they would be just perfect for my very first blog giveaway! :)
…. & Your chances are winning are very high
considering I only have 22 {amazing} readers!


Now, how do you enter to WIN? It’s simple. You get FIVE possible entries, and all must be represented by a separate comment on this post. Here are the ways you can enter!

1. Be a follower through Google Friend Connect
and leave me a comment on this post!

2. Follow me on Twitter, and let me know in a comment! @Sheila_Johnston

3. Tweet about this giveaway (including a link to the post),
and leave me another comment to say you did so!

4. “Like” Live, Laugh, Love {The Blog} on Facebook (click HERE to visit the page!),
and let me know in another comment!

5. Mention and link to this giveaway in your OWN blog post,
and leave another comment to say you did!

The giveaway will remain open all week until Sunday at midnight, and on Monday I will announce a winner (chosen via!)

Good Luck!!


Sheila xox

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sometimes & Always Linkup

Sometimes: I wonder how a baby that weighs 2lbs1oz can be so feisty!

(Our lovely tiny niece, Molly!<3)

Always: Hubby & I will love Molly!!!!!!!

Sometimes: I wonder why it’s so hard to think “Eat Healthy”

Always: seem to find my way to the fridge to eat some cheese. Oopsies!

Sometimes: I think that our lovely SPCA-rescue dog Boots,
could totally use a new little friend from the SPCA …

(Meet Pearl, ain’t she just the cutest little thing. Almost looks kinda like our Boots-ey)

Always: I am reminded by my husband that we are able to handle 1 dog quite comfortably right now but a second will be more money $ & more walking … etc.
He always enjoys jolting me back to reality!


Link up with the lovely Megan & her post “Sometimes & Always”


Sheila xox

Bucket List 2012

Hello Lovelies!

I know what you are thinking. We are already 1/3 through the year already, what is with the Bucket List? Well, I thought better late than never! I’ve had these sort of in my head & thought the list should be blogged about!

So here goes …

- reach my ideal weight – work-out and cook healthy regularly (3-4 times a week)

- take a photography class

- visit at least 5 new places

- visit 5 new (non-chain) restaurants

- read 20 books

- go to a Red Sox game

- participate in volunteer/charity work and raise money for a good cause

- have a spa day with some girlfriends

- bake and cook at least 5 NEW recipes each month

- start a book club with my staff

- find a workout partner and workout right after school

- go see 10 movies in the theatres

-Live, Laugh, Love Everyday!!


Stay tuned for updates on how this list is actually going …


Sheila xox

Monday, April 09, 2012


DSC_9652 Cropped

Following the proposal x.O.x, this blog was created
to document our whole wedding planning process.
Since I did not get around to actually blog much about it
(because I was too busy actually planning, of course),
this blog has grown more into a creative outlet
where I can share things that happen in our lives & the things that I love : )

As soon as I met Ryan, my life had changed in the utmost positive way!

We live such an amazing life together,
we always make sure to laugh every single day
(even at things that others would not find funny)
& we love each other deeply!
So of course, everyday one should live, laugh, love & read my blog! 
Sheila Johnston
What can I tell you about myself? Let’s see. I am a sister, daughter, aunt, wife and now momma-to-be. I come from a family of 4, whom I love very much. I am from, grew up & am still living on the East Coast of Canada - although have spent time going to school in Western Canada & spent a year in Australia (fruit picking). I am easy-going, social, have an intense love of cheese (any type except blue cheese, yuck!) & love pizza. I enjoy reading, movies, the beach, basketball, rugby, running & hot yoga. I could, and have, eaten a box of Kraft Dinner every single day for a straight week. I love the new vegetable noodle kind (healthier too). I am a teacher. I have been teaching grade 5 for 4 years now and absolutely love it (most days). I have a passion for educating & inspiring youth as well as learning new things.

Our "Love Story"

Our "Love Story" Video (by The Floating Landscape)

Key West, Florida

Hubby & I were lucky enough to hit up Key West, Florida, this year for our March Break vacation. Thanks to my amazing parents who bought us the tickets to head down there to visit them as our Christmas present this year. It was an amazing trip filled with lots of relaxation, visiting, good food, lazing by the pool, margaritas, book reading & full-day water excursion (where hubby & I burnt to an absolute crisp)~!!!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip…



Sheila xox

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Miracle!

Introducing our new little niece! : )

Molly Susan Debra
2lbs 1oz. (she actually gained an ounce this week)
Doing great!
Apr 3 2:21am by C Section!
Mama (hubby’s sister) & Dad are beyond super proud of their little miracle baby!
She's teeny tiny but amazing, Dr's have deemed her fiesty!
Molly came 2 months early on specialists demands.

She has totally captured the hearts of her aunt & uncle!

We are beyond excited & cannot wait to meet Miss Molly!


Sheila xox


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