Category Archives: author

Be Learning About Shame/Guilt 

Brene Brown is the shame expert in our generation, but I want to add my two sense as shame has been my game for most of my life.  I have been shamed, shamed others and watch people shame.  It’s powerful emotion and one that can be used as a tool to destroy! 

Your spirit.  

Your belief in yourself. 

Your belonging.  

Your being.  

First, let’s talk about the difference between shame and guilt to get this emotional, mindset roller coaster rolling down the track.  


For me, the difference between shame and guilt involves the external versus the internal.  Have you every had anyone ‘put’ something on you, that’s most likely shame.  My most recent example was when someone criticized what I said during a conversation they overheard and then, without me asking for feedback, they told me what I ‘should’ have done.  When I get ‘should’ on, I know it’s shame.   Someone is trying to tell you what to do and wielding the shame sword to get you to do it.    My father recently told me that “I thought mom and I had brought you up better than that.” Yup, I am 43 years old and that is called good ‘old’ shame.  

No should.  

Just could.  

No shame.  

Just guilt.  

No swords. 

Just freedom.  

Guilt for me is a super power that comes from within.  It moves you to deeper places.  It helps you grow.  It’s the feeling inside, “Oh, I could have done that!”  You realize your mistake and seek answers to make it better for next time.  It completely happens within.  It could have been triggered by an external event or conversation but no one ‘put’ anything on you.  It’s 100% coming from you.  This happened recently with something I ate.  I felt guilty afterwards because it wasn’t fueling my body but instead was feeding an emotion.  My guilt allowed me to move into a new place thinking about fuel versus feeling foods.  

Your spirit. 

Your belief in yourself. 

Your belonging.  

Your being.  

Free to live your life.  

Free to make mistakes. 

Free to listen within. 

Everyone living without shame ‘put’on each other.  

Free to get off the shame roller coaster.  

Free to step aboard the guilt train. 

Be Free.  

Be Enough.  

Be You/Do You 

Yup, do you!  

Two words that I heard a few weeks ago and they have been spiralling around in my brain like a bad swear word that you wouldn’t want to say in front of your mom.  It kind of sounds dirty but it was profound for me. 

I realized, in a light bulb moment that, I am doing so many other people in my daily life that I am forgetting to ‘do me’! 

Nothing like a good sexual innuendo, isn’t there!  

But, you know me and my fairly open-minded conservative diatribes, so what in the world am I talking about. 


What I am actually talking about is the beautiful metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping those around you.  

As I walk through my life I literally see people running out of air.  I watch them rush to drop off their children at school. Rush to pick them up.  Rush to activities.  Rush to make dinner.  I think you can see the ‘rush’ I am showing you.  This ain’t one of those good ‘rushes’, if you know what I mean!  They are holding their breathes through life, like I have the last few weeks.  

So, what am I suggesting that we do with this naughty analogy? 

🥇 First, stop doing everyone else.  Look around at the people in your life, look at your “to-do” list that you are creating on a daily basis and ask yourself “How many of these things on the list do I want to do?”  

🥈 Second, find a way to ‘do you’.  

Be you.  

From within you and then out to others.   

What pleases you? 

What do you enjoy? 

Doing you. 

How did I figure out how to live this “Do you” philosophy in life? Because really inspiring quotes and words are only great when we create some ‘action’ to go along with them.  Right?  Here’s what I did: 

I looked at the ambiance I wanted to create in my everyday life: I realized that I like having music playing while I make dinner and a candle lit when I am on Zoom calls for my nutritional coaching.  

I wondered about who I do in my life: I saw that I am able to have authentic, real and beautiful relationships without shame. I don’t have to stroll down the ‘walk of shame’ no matter what happens!  That shame thing was old stuff for me.  

Lastly, I looked at my assets and what I could give to the world: I realized I was giving away my greatest gift like a floozy, my time. I can choose what I want to do with my day and what I want to wear while doing it.  I am 100% responsible for my greatest asset, time.  I have started to treasure, organize and find freedom with my 86,400 seconds each day (and not be so free in throwing it away to anyone that walks by.) 

Ambiance. 

Relationships. 

Assets.  

How to ‘do you’! 

What are three simple things you could think of to ‘Be You/Do You’? I know it will be simple.  It may even be fun along the way.  Ponder all the energy and vitality you will have to share if you ‘do you’ first.  

No one else. 

100% you.  

Just you.  

Getting to know you.  

All day long. 

Do you! 

Be Open to Others Stories 

Our family got yelled at today!

Yup, “retired” guy yelled at us.  

Full on angry ‘yell’! 

Here’s the scenario and you can see the story from both sides: 

Our family of five had skied across the mountain to get to our favourite run almost on the backside of the ski hill.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, slushy-snow kind of day.  

We made it to the run right as the ski patroller was putting up the closed sign.  I spoke to him and asked if he was closing it because of hazards.  He said, “No, I am just closing it because it’s the end of the day.”  I looked at my watch realizing we had plenty of time to get down the run and then asked if we could take the run, even though he had just put the closed sign on it.  He asked if we were good skiers.  I assured him we were.  He told us to go ahead.  

As we stood at the beginning of the run, with its closed signs at the top, a “retired”guy came off the t-bar and proceeded to yell at us saying “Don’t you know the run is closed! It’s closed!”  

We chuckled and floated down the pristine, diamond-flecked snow on our skies.  And we talked about this valuable lesson.  

How often do we judge what others are doing as ‘wrong’ in our minds? 

I know none of us would yell at strangers, but how often to we do this? 

How often do we see what others are doing and create stories in our own minds about what is going on? 

Imagine now, like we did today, if we took the time to be open and get to know others stories.  


Imagine if we lived our own stories and just sat in openness about others? 

Kindly. 

Lovingly. 

Not being yelling “retired” guy in words or thought.  

Sitting in an open posture. 

Living our stories. 

Day by day. 

Being open to others stories. 

Kindly. 

Lovingly. 

Listening.  

Learning.  

Living in our story.  

Open to others stories. 

Be Searching for Something 

As I sit watching the sunset, I ponder that ‘something’ I search for.   That ‘something’ that will fill feelings of grief, sadness and overwhelm.  

That space that I try to fill every time I open my phone to check Facebook. 

The hole I avoid when I run away from what I am feeling.  

The darkness I turn from every time I sit in numbness, not wanting to feel, not wanting to go down old trodden paths of pain.

But sometimes life doesn’t give us a chance to avoid.  

It allows us the privilege to sit up, to notice, to see our grief journey clearly and how much pain we have turned into gratitude.  

This search for something that is really nothing outside of us at all. 

We can’t avoid living life and why would we want to. 

The privilege to be with our people, to see into the eyes of their souls and to get to know them on a deeper level. 

Yes, Facebook could do that. 

Walking away could help us reflect. 

And that darkness I talked about, well, that only helps us see the brightness of the light.  

See, I have learned to let go of my sense of judgement as things are neither good nor bad, they just are.  I have also learned to be present with what I am feeling, as these feelings are neither good nor bad, as well, they just are! 


So, as you search for that ‘something’ today may you first look within your soul, your beautiful unique self sitting within you.  Resting in your spirit.  

Being you! 

Then may you look around you at those imperfectly perfect people around you. Building Knex, asking about the birds and the bees, reading books, playing with pillows… are what my people are currently doing. 

Being them! 


Search for that something that is already within you. 

Beautiful.  

Imperfectly perfect. 

Neither good nor bad. 

Just being. 

Full of strength.  

Overflowing with hope.  

Sitting in the presence of His peace.  

Knowing you are loved.  

Searching for nothing. 

Found! 

*written for a special person in our life on this significant ‘something’ kind of day! 

Be Writing a Love Letter to My Boys 

Dear My Boys, the ones my heart chose, 

There is nothing on earth that I love more or am more proud of. 

My “titles” of wife and mother are my DIAMONDS 💍.  

When you calls me ‘love’, ‘sweetie’ or ‘Jo’, my heart melts. 💏 You are incredible to live with, dream with and be with.  it is such a gift to be able to hear your incredible ideas. 


When I hear ‘Mama’, my heart soars. 🦋 You boys are my proudest achievements.  It is such a gift to be able to watch you grow.  


My greatest 💃🏼 moments and memories involve you four.  

My heart 💜 overflows as I write this.  

I feel warm inside.  

My mind is at peace.  

Glory to God alone for this magnificent life we are creating together.  ❌⭕️❌⭕️

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017 💋

Be Finding Forward

Forward.

Moving not backwards.

Forwards.

Moving in a direction.

Which one will we choose?

Moving from the west to the east.

Finding the dance that takes you forward.

Into your dreams.

Into your spirit.

Into your spidey sense.

Presence.

How does one stay present?

Moving forward?

This is what I have learned and this is what propels me forward.

Taking peeks into the tiny, narrow, rear view mirror to pour gratitude into where I came from.

Gratitude.

Love.

Letting go.

be-finding-forward

Looking straight-forward into my large, expansive windshield watching the exciting places I am going.

Joy.

Peace.

Light.

Eyes, wide open, looking for the gold thread of hope woven throughout my day.

Holding my empty hands of faith.

God’s goodness poured out over all our lives.

Into my hands.

Will we choose to look for it?

Will we choose to have open hands to receive it?

Moving forwards.

Dancing the dance of my life.

Trusting.

Fun.

Faith.

Forward.

Smooch, Joanna

Be Hope 

Hopelessness is a paralyzingly dis-ease.  I have felt it in the core of my being, the deep down dusty place that seems hard to reach.  Hopeless that circumstances will change.  Hopeless knowing death brings physical disconnection.  Hopeless knowing that I may no longer be the same.  

But, I stand and lie down today knowing that this did-ease called hopelessness can be overcome.  Our circumstance we absolutely cannot control, even though I thought I could, BUT we can control our conclusions about these circumstances.  

One wintery day, only two months after my mom died, I make a conclusion that only great goodness would come from the gift of grief I received from her death. I decided that I would live in a negativity fast and a positivity feast, as Steve and Wendy Backlund describe it.    Guess what happened?  The last three years have been a walk in greatness.  I have found my passion that melds my teaching brain, coaching mindset and mother’s heart.  I have found my meaning and my passion for how I can be a permission for hope no matter your circumstances.   Through great nutrition, an ever growing mindset and being able to learn new truths about myself every day through the circumstances around me, I have found hope and freedom!  

Hope replacing dis-ease.  

Hope in any circumstances.  

Hope overflowing.  

Hope pouring. 

Over me. 

Through me.  

Hope.  

Be Wondering About Writing

As I wonder and wander through my daily life and hangout with my peeps, many of you have asked, “What are you going to be writing next?”

A few of you might now be wondering, “What do you mean next? What happened to the book that I have been editing for the last year?”  Well this happened:

i-am-free-book

I decided that this beautiful book about finding freedom on the inside and outside as a human being was just for ME!  And here is the book cover:

i-am-free-book-cover

Yup, it took me slightly over a year to edit and I decided to put this little baby into the filing cabinet.  And I feel free!  It was just for me.  It has been an incredible year of growth and seeing it written on the pages of a book over twelve chapters has been humbling and freeing!  I released it into the filing cabinet and for the last two weeks I have been wondering what WILL I be writing next?

I write every morning to pray and meditate over.  I write to hold and create my vision.   I write to pour out from within.  I allow my words to come out from pen to paper without judgement and without stopping.  It just flows from within, uninhibited, flowing wherever it wants to go.  I write to edify others.  I write to pour out inspiration on facebook.  I write because words do matter, they are the sword of the spirit.  They come from within and wield power.  My sword is covered with white chocolate and is meant to be sweet and easy to savour.  I pray my words always fill the sweet spot in your soul!

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Now what am I going to write, I wondered? And then I remembered these beautiful journals!  Letters to my boys that I started writing when I was pregnant with each of them.  Letters that I wrote daily or weekly about what I was observing as I have the privilege to watch them grow.  Writing between a mama and her boys, from my heart to theirs.  I stopped writing when my mom was living with cancer and since 2013 these journals have moved homes and sat in a cupboard.   And now as I have been set free from the book I completed, I am now going back to my boys.  Backwards to move forward.  Slowing down to speed up.  Writing to them, for them and with them as I watch them grow!

If writing isn’t your thing, what will you wonder about and where will it take you?

Wonder.

As you wander.

Be a human being.

Be present.

Be awake.

Be.

Enough.

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Be Living A Brut-iful Life!

img_8886 As I sit, ponder and let my mind wander, I think of all of you reading this 2017 message. Each of my Facebook friends and all 996 of you that follow my blog. I want to pour out extra love to everyone going through their sprinkling of brutal and beautiful as I did three years ago.  Couldn’t that be all of us?  Isn’t life imperfectly perfect?  What a brut-iful life we are living here in the stunning Okanagan Valley!  A sprinkle of brutal, but ALWAYS beautiful!

Three years ago, I walked with my mom as she was being released into heaven.  I walked as a daughter, an advocate, a pain reliever, a massager, a water getter, a midwife and had to make phone calls that I never thought I would have to, I think back at how brut-iful these moments were.  Brutal moments where I just have to lie down and cry and beautiful moments where I lie down and rejoice!  All magically weaved together into living each day with the gift of grief.

My boys were playing in their “Astronomer’s Lair” a few days ago, and I was very surprised to walk in and see them playing with old Tupperware bins.   I experienced one of my brut-iful moments when they proceeded to inform me that the extra bed was a place for their beloved Nana.  It was a lying down rejoicing and crying kind of moment!  The boys were 2, 4 and 6 when my marvelous Mama went to heaven, but she is still very much present in our lives!   It is slowly moving from brutal memories into beautiful moments.  Don’t underestimate your power to leave an impact on peoples lives!

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As I send  you wishes for an healthy, energetic, adventurous 2017 filled with dreams, may you savour all your brut-iful moments knowing that they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Day by day.

Beautiful.

Brutal.

Memory-Making.

Healthy.

Living EVERY day.

Brut-iful living.

Brut-iful life!

Smooch, Joanna

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Be “UnBusy”

Right now, I can sense a whirling of energy around me.

Fluttering here and there.

Cars driving quickly.

People walking swiftly.

All around the city.

This way and that.

Me, I choose to be “UnBusy”.

Busy is the swear word of the season.

Right up there with the f-word.

Beside the bar of soap that my mouth got washed out with.

Busy?

Keeping ourselves occupied?

Have a great deal to do?

These are a choice.

Being busy is a choice.

What’s on the ‘to-do’ list is a choice.

Yes, it is 100% up to us.

Fluttering here and there.

Driving quickly.

Walking swiftly.

All around the city.

This way and that.

Or not at all.

I used to rock the ‘to-do’ list.

This list would make me feel productive.

Make me feel occupied.

Now I have created space to be.

Sitting here.

Moving there.

Talking here.

Wondering there.

I purposely move slowly and with ease.

Walking quietly in the crackle of snow.

All around my beautiful city.

Wherever my boys or mind take me.

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Incredible beauty surrounding us in this season.

Ready to envelop and shower us with peace.

Right now, I sense a purple energy all around me.

Loving.

Being.

Seeing.

Allowing.

Peace in this season.