All posts by Be Enough

Be Wondering about Water, Garbage and Plastic

🎶 Fish and Chips and Vinegar, vinegar, vinegar. Fish and Chips and Vinegar. Pepper, pepper, pepper salt. One bottle pop, two bottle pop, three bottle pop, four bottle pop, five bottle pop, six bottle pop, seven bottle pop, pop. Don’t throw your junk in my backyard, my backyard, my backyard. Don’t throw your junk in my backyard cause my backyard’s filled. 🎶

Anyone else remember this song? It came to mind today as I took a 75 kilometre (46.6 mile) bike ride around our beautiful valley this morning. I also pondered a few things about our beautiful, healing planet.

What would happen if every person in the world resolved never to buy a container that was composed of water or was water itself? Shampoo, lotion, laundry soap, cleaning products, juice, chicken broth are a few that come to mind. Imagine if products ONLY came in concentrated pacs or bars or granules and then we added the water to that product once we purchased it. I have no idea how this would work, as I sit here on a Sunday night, but I wonder how much money would be save in transporting costs and how would the world we live in change?

What would happen if everything that a manufacturer churned out, they also had to dispose of on their own property? How would our personal spending habits change if we had to dispose of every single product that we acquired in our own backyard? (Yes, now you see the connection to the song I was singing at the top. HAHA!) How would the cycle of consumerism profoundly change with these two patterns?

What would happen if every plastic product on earth was banned? I am not a scientist, but I have heard rumblings that recycling is the greatest myth of my generation. Plastics are mostly petroleum based and there are some scientists that believe that they are never destroyed, but simply get smaller… and smaller… and smaller…. (Yes, you can see what I am throwing out there!)

And that’s all for this Sunday night folks. Keep thinking, hugging and loving what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be Wondering Why I Wrote My May 28th, 2023 Blog Post?

In the wake of what I wrote on May 28th, 2023, I have had many, many people reach out via phone call, messenger and text to express their shock at what I shared about my mental and physical journey the last few years.

Yes, I am strong, but I am also a sponge. I feel things deeply.

Yes, I am a good listener, but I am also not great at sharing what I am experiencing. I feel things deeply.

Yes, I am realizing that I need to create a circle of support where I can be seen and heard. I feel things deeply.

Yes, I am one thousand million percent grateful that I wrote what I did and shared what I went through. I know that I truly shocked some of you, but I think it really reminds us that these last few years haven’t been easy for many people, whichever side of the “fence” you chose to be on. I wrote this post and had it sitting in my “drafts” for a few weeks, but I decided to publish it for three groups of people.

First, this last autumn season we had two very remarkable young woman living in K-City, one was my niece and the other was Bubba’s daughter, my oldest friend in the world’s daughter. It was such a special time to have them here. When I wrote this post, I thought of them and our three boys. Perhaps one of them will stumble on to this when they need it the most. I hope my sharing will help them is some small way.

I never wrote this post because I needed help right now or I wanted something from someone or I wanted to bring shame or guilt onto anyone else. My message was simply to help one other person, either now or in the future when someone stumbles upon that blog. One beloved friend wrote to me a few days after my blog: “I just wanted to say a huge thank-you for sharing your last post on Be Enough about re-claiming your health (mental and physical)…. Basically all you have been through and how you’ve described it is EXACTLY how I’ve felt the past 3 years.”. The second reason was simply to help one person feel less alone!

Lastly, I was also thinking of all the young people who have committed suicide these last three years. (And no, suicide was never an option or thought for me personally, but my darkest moments made me think about the hopelessness people must feel when they attempt or commit suicide.) Every day in Canada 11 people commit suicide and 200 people attempt it. Did you know that 75% of the people who commit suicide are male? The saddest part for me as I learned about suicide rates in our beautiful and “in need of healing” country was this rate is rising, not going down, with everything we know about mental health.

I wonder what would happen is more of us shared our stories, without worrying about judgement of being labelled or worrying about being put into a box or then having people try to “fix” us. I wonder if people were exactly where they are, when they are, how they are what our communities would look like?

And that’s all for this Thursday folks. Love what you do!

xoxo Joanna

Be Restarting Your Health Journey – vroom vroom

I can count on my left hand those that know that in 2019, before Steve’s mom died, that I was training for an Ironman triathlon. My goal was to swim almost 4 kilometres (2.5 miles), bike 180 kilometres (112 miles) and finish it all off with a Run/walk a marathon (42 kms and 26 miles.). I gave up on that dream when she died and we spent every few weekends in Vancouver for a few months. 

I can count on no hands nor fingers those that know the depth of my physical and mental health struggles the last three years. Here’s the honest truth on what the big picture looked like for me:

🔆 Two summers of not wanting to get out of bed even when the sun streamed in my window. 

💪🏻 Two plus years of sheer willpower and “push” to get off my butt to exercise, which has been a first for me in my entire life. 

🧥700 days of hiding under extra-large clothing, even in 30 degree Celsius weather. 

🙈 700 days of hiding, to be honest. Not wanting to see people, run into people I know or even reach out to friends. 

🙏🏻Tried two different counsellors, neither were a good fit. (or is it “neither was”? hahha)

😩Reached out to no one nor shared with anyone the depth of the pit I felt that I had dug for myself. 

👀The heaviest weight I have ever been in my life, even more than my three pregnancies or after my mom died. (This sure doesn’t feel good!) 

And why I am writing about this now and what changed for me? 

Did I lose weight? Finally found a professional counsellor I could trust?  Started seeing other human beings, outside my work, on a regular basis? None of these things happened for me!  

Four things did changed for me and they all involved random conversations with other people when I stepped outside my four walls. The message I am going to share with my stories is simple: If you relate to any of the six points I wrote down above, don’t wait 700 days to reach outside of your four walls. Right now, listen to a podcast, text someone, go for a walk, ask your neighbour for an egg or simply reach out to another human being in any way that feels good for you. 

The four things that finally helped me make some really HUGE personal shifts took place over a six month period of time. 

First, I have always been someone who listens to podcasts when they do laundry or when I drive or go for a long solo walks. In October, I was introduced to a podcast that began THE shift. Mel Robbins, your twice weekly podcasts have been something that have given me so many tips, moved me to take some small steps and gave me the shovel that started my dig out of my mental and physical hole. Your life journey is powerful and I am grateful that you share with us all. I gave your ideas a try.

Second, in October, I was at my lowest point of this two plus year journey. I was in Vancouver and a friend knew I was in town. We went for a walk and she shared about an App that helped her with her eating habits and overall health. I gave it a try. 

Third, in April, Steve and I were out for our evening walk and we ran into some neighbours.  They shared that they were doing a “Couch to 5km” walk/run program that was simple and tailored to what you want to do. (This was humbling to consider as four years ago, I would run 20 kilometres for fun on a weekend!) I humbled myself and gave it a try. 

Lastly, at the end of April, I was at a teacher’s conference and three of my colleagues were sitting around a table. Suddenly, one of them shrieked about a job that was available at our school and said, “You would be amazing at that!”.  They immediately called over my boss and she wholeheartedly agreed.  I decided to apply. 

In all of these instances, I was showing up in the world as my unhealthiest, unhappiest, down in the lowest point in the second most challenging spot in my life.  (My mom’s death was and is still number one!) 

But, I just showed up and walked. 

I showed up and walked some more. 

And I simply did my job to the best of my ability! 

Now, things are shifting in radical and profound ways (more on that in a later post!). 

Be you. 

Exactly where you are. 

Show up, how and when you can. 

Reach outside those four walls around yours. 

And watch things unfold. 

Let my life be a testimony that there is always hope. 

The best is truly YET to come for me, Sexy Neck and our boys. 

And the best is YET to come for you too! 

Strap yourself in folks for what is to come and love what you do! 

Xoxo Joanna 

Be Framing Your Job with One Thought

 My one thought about my job today: I can be replaced in a minute.  The leadership of my school is so remarkable, I could probably be replaced in less than a minute.

Yes, it’s true for me and for you.  No one is irreplaceable in their work.

I recognized this shortly after my mom died and I fully grasped that she was truly irreplaceable.

Gone forever.

Never to be replaced.

Yes, we have had phenomenal people “fill in the vast gap” my mom left, but no one can restore her place in our lives as a mom and super nana.

A job is a unique arena of life as we all need to find ways to house and feed ourselves, but this great loss made me understand the temporality of work and life.

This morning, I am interviewing for a new job for the next school year. I am taking this mentality into my interview and I feel free.

Free to ponder.

Free to choose.

Free to open the door and see if this new opportunity will help me be a better wife, mom, friend, teacher and human being living on this earth.

Free to live!

So folks, as you ponder this next year ahead of you, what would you change if you knew you could be replaced in your job tomorrow, but never be replaced as a mother, father, daughter, brother, sister, cousin…?

Here temporarily.

Never to be replaced within your “family”.

Have an epic Tuesday and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be a Hard No to Retention and Acceleration

My current occupation as a teacher is as an Online Teacher with students in Kindergarten through grade nine. I help set-up individualized programs for my students, suggest resources, provide weekly feedback on learning samples, do home visits three times per year and write two report cards. In my world as an online teacher, everything is individualized for the student. Yes, every little thing! Parents are free to use any resource from any grade, with some supplementation when needed. Students can work on their individualized plan throughout the year or intensively for months and set-up the schedule that works for their family’s rhythm and any activities that they choose to schedule.

Sidenote: I LOVE THIS HOME LEARNING LIFE!!!!!

In the last three years, I have worked with over twenty-five different families, totalling almost fifty unique students. Out of these fifty students, I have had four students whose families have wanted their children accelerated through the grades that they are currently in. This means that they felt that their child was exceeding what was expected for that particular grade in the nine or ten subjects that they were enrolled in with me: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, ADST, Art, Careers, Christian Studies, Physical Education and a Second Language, if they were in grades 5 through 9. Yes, they believed that in every single subject their were not only above the grade level, but they needed to be in the higher grade. This has put me in a terrible position as the educator “gatekeeper” for this process to happen. I have had a mom scream in my face, inches from my face. I have had a mom have every email and ever conversation revolve around acceleration. I have had mom’s question why I didn’t think their child should be accelerated. And I have had to get really crystal clear on my thoughts around accelerating children, which was never a discourse that I had had in the years I spent in the public campus schooling system.

First, I think all children are amazing with unique gifts and talents. Truly! I see such gold in all the students that I have the privilege to work with over my 23 years of professional teaching and many years before that through coaching and camps. I have never met a student that I didn’t genuinely like. I see preciousness in all of them.

Second, I believe that if you are in favour of and allow for acceleration that you must also be in favour of and all for retention. And, I would NEVER encourage retention for any reason. I have worked with a student in grade seven that was born with part of his brain missing that functioned intellectually as age five, but whom fit in completely with his grade seven class with the support of an EA. (Educational Assistants or EA’s really are saints!) I worked with a hard-of-hearing student in grade six, who had difficulty communicating, but could write like Shakespeare. I also had a student who couldn’t sit in his seat nor focus when someone was verbally speaking to him. He needed to move and have visual cues. Imagine if any of these students’ were “retained”. What needed to happen is that, I as the teacher, needed to be “retrained”. I needed to see what supports and programs needed to be put into place to support this student and their learning style so that they could be with their peers. Retention would not have solved anything. Retraining of me the teacher changed everything.

If we have this flexibility in the online learning world plus I fully believe that retention is never an option, how can I support acceleration?

If a child is bored, try hands-on learning or games.

If a child is flying through their resource, choose a different one or let them fly.

If a child needs greater challenges, have them take an online course or write their own problems to solve.

If a child is wanting to be with a friend in an older grade (yes, a parent has even given this reason to me for acceleration), they can learn patience to meet with their friend after school or at other activities.

Retention.

Acceleration.

These two words really mean to me that we need to retrain ourselves to see what the child is needing to do to learn in the best way possible.

Stepping off the soapbox today!

Have an epic May long weekend and love what you do!

xoxo Joanna

Be Astounded by Top-Down Wipers

I was 49 and 3 days years old when my son pointed out a Lexus with a back wiper that came down from the top.

Astounding.

Revolutionary.

Mind blowing.

Why don’t all wipers come down from the top?

The wiper was hidden up at the top under the overhang of the car. I didn’t even notice it! It wiped away the equal amount of the window as a wiper coming from the bottom, so why don’t all cars have this?

Imagine scraping the snow off the window in the winter without a wiper to contend with at the bottom?

Imagine not having that back wiper sticking out to grab onto an oversize sweater you are wearing?

Imagine less wear and tear on the wiper as it doesn’t sit in the snow/rain/hail/sun every single day?

I am guessing in the next few years that every single car will have a back wiper that comes down from the top, unless someone can tell me some negatives from this really revolutionary idea.

And that’s my random thought from this week.

Have a sunny, relaxing Sunday and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be Married for 26 Years

May 3rd, 2023

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary plus two days of me being 49 years old. The best part is that Sexy Neck’s birthday is two days from now, yes it is a fun week of celebration, at least this is what we thought when we were university students on our semester ended in April and Steve was getting ready to head to the National Team.

When Sexy Neck and I got engaged in November of 1996 at the West Edmonton Mall we were talking about a possible wedding date. We thought it would be hilarious if May the 3rd fell on a Saturday in 1997 so that could be our wedding date! Well, God knew that our brains would think like that and yes, you guessed it, our wedding day was on Saturday, May 3rd, 1997.

Sidenote: Sexy Neck was going to propose at the top of the rollercoaster at WEM, but we ended up getting in a disagreement because I didn’t want to go on it. He ended up putting the personally-designed ring in an ice cream, which I thought was the sweetest thing ever! I was shocked.

May 1

May 3

May 5

The beginning of May is a week of celebration!

On top of thinking about the date in which we decided, or God decided, for us to be married, I have been reflecting on being married for more than a quarter of a century.

It’s all about “choice”!

Yup, choice.

Not sex, love, infatuation, coercing, settling, changing someone, manipulation… it’s simply about a personal choice made daily by each person in a marriage.

I remember in the pre-marriage counselling that we did before May 3rd, 1997, the counsellor talked about marriage as being about a “daily choice”. As I sit here today, I couldn’t agree more.

My personal choices that I think about often are:

  • Do I bring out the best or worst in my husband?
  • How do I listen and also feel heard?
  • How do I show love even when I don’t feel the emotion of love?
  • How do I support my husband’s personal life journey even when it adversely affects my own life?
  • Do I want to be my husband’s biggest cheerleader or the “bring him downer” in his life?
  • How can I share my needs and also consider my husband’s needs?
  • How do you live with someone who has very different standard of timelines and schedules? (We shared a computer when doing our Bachelor of Education degrees. It worked beautifully because I always finished my projects a week ahead of time and he did everything the night before. And guess who always beat me in the marks department, yup Steve! Probably because I always stayed up with him and proofread all of his work. HAHA)

Choice.

Love.

Partnership.

Best friend.

Marriage.

Choice.

26 years baby!

Have a wonderful Wednesday folks and love what you do!

xoxo Joanna

Be Leaning Into Pain and Moving Towards Pleasure

I have had quite a few lessons in life where I have had to lean into pain. How about you? Any pain coursing through your body and mind these days?

As a 15 year old, I had a very close friend who decided to hangout with older friends that partied, smoked and drank. I had to literally walk away from her as we discovered we no longer had anything in common as I pursued my athletic goals and knew that health was my future. It’s painful to lose people who you have been friends with you for years.

As a 21 year old, I was injured in my third year of university volleyball. Right after I hoisted the cup as the captain of my university team declaring we were the best team in Canada, I had to make a choice. I made a very painful decision to retire from volleyball after deciding not to do a surgery with a questionable outcome.

As a 39 year old, I grieved deeply as we moved from Vernon to Kelowna. I said goodbye to my parents living ten minutes away. We lost the routine of preschool pick-up seeing friends who had known us since before we had kids and having the beautiful Vernon Music School and the “Peanut” park just down the road. No longer could we drive 25 minutes up the hill to be at both world class downhill and cross country skiing.

Now in 2023, I am watching quite a few people in pain around me right now: Dealing with deaths, or divorces or illnesses or poor choices by those around them or …. just plain and simple pain.

What I want to say friends is: LEAN IN! Lean fully into the pain. I don’t believe that ignoring it, drinking it away, binge watching netflix or not fully acknowledging pain helps us as human beings in any way. Denial and distraction don’t really help us move through the pain. These two D’s help us get stuck!

Right now, we are personally having to lean into some pain, some uncomfortableness and a lot of uncertainty. I know that leaning into these feelings will help us move towards pleasure and not make any rash decision based on pain.

Not one single decision based on the pain we have experienced have been good ones.

Lean into the pain, then seek the pleasure and run towards it.

Sit against that wall in the darkness and feel that pain going through your body and then know the sunshine of pleasure will be just around the corner.

I have experienced it.

I know it.

I choose it!

Lean into the pain.

Feel it.

Soak in it.

Feel.

Deal.

Heal.

Then you will be able to truly make a decision based out of pleasure and not pain with the added bonus that you won’t make any rash or “bad” decision based on that pain alone, like we have done in the past!

Now, go have an epic Thursday and love what you do!

xoxo Joanna