Category Archives: author

Be Listening Within (mute the noise)

How many hours per day do you spend consuming other people’s beliefs, ideals, opinions?

Honestly?

One hour per day?

Four hours?

I used to fall into the scroll hole until I woke and realized what I was pouring into my brain each day.

Someone’s rant about the government.

Another person’s love of cats.

And someone else’s opinion on schooling.

Hours.

Every single day.

Now, I choose to limit my time going down the hole. My goal is thirty minutes per day of consumption.

I choose to be conscious of the opinions I am absent-mindedly fillings my heads with.

To be more conscious, at the beginning of 2019, I moved the apps around on my phone as well as unfriended/unfollowed many people. These two things worked for me.

Now, I am conscious and making space in my day to listen to the ideas swirling in my own head, to hear what’s stirring in my soul and to see where I want to go.

It has been a prolific start to 2019 as I have listened within and muted the outside noise. I encourage each of you to listen within, to the genius inside of you. We all have it. We are all one part of a great human race. Imagine if we all stopped and listened within.

But first we need to mute the noise.

Blessings as you begin this new year. 2019!

😘 Joanna




Be Leaving a Legacy (5th Anniversary)

December 26th, 2013 7:00am

The lady that will leave the largest legacy in my life left the earth.

Five years ago.

She breathed her last breath.

My dad at her side.

My boys and I sleeping at her house.

December 26th, 2018 7:00am

I set an alarm.

I woke and took a deep breath.

I began to ponder this adventure we have created these last five years and I must admit that I am shocked it has been five years living on this earth without my mama.

Some days, my breath gets taken away with grief and it seems like just moments ago that I was told that my mom had died. Other days, it feels like she has been gone for a hundred years. It truly is like the disciple Peter says: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. “

On days like today, I am able to look back and see five distinct legacies that my mom created for me and my boys:

  1. My Mama was thoughtful! She was incredibly present with her people and truly saw how she could add value to their everyday life. She used her “spidey sense” to buy the best gifts. She really saw people and what they needed. Most days, she was the gift people needed.
  2. My Mama was a “mover”! She was cycling in Mallorca, Spain eight months before she died, cycling up to 90km per day. If she said that she was going to do something, she did it. Plain and simple. Joanna, “I was to learn Spanish!” Boom, at 65 years old she signed herself up for a Spanish class. My Mama was an athlete her whole entire life from living on the farm, to playing basketball, to being one of the first moms to join a gym and finally her passion for cycling, hiking and cross country skiing. My mama was woman of her word and a mover to boot.
  3. My Mama was creative! Whether it was when she was quilting, creating in the kitchen or working in her garden, my mom always added her own flare to what she was doing. She was never afraid to try new recipes or create something with our boys, even if it involved sparkles. My Mama was a creator.
  4. My Mama was not perfect! She was the person who gave me permission to be perfectly imperfect. I saw her shed tears over the things that her relatives chose to do to her and I saw her unsure at how to respond. I saw her get angry and apologize. I heard her speak about other people and also then apologize. I watched her when I was younger as she moved jobs and share what it was really like to work as a teacher in an antiquated system. My Mama was a human “being”.
  5. My Mama was LOVE! At 7:00am in the morning when the boys wanted to watch cartoons, she would let them crawl into bed with her. Whenever we showed up at her front door, my Mama always gave the very best hugs and made space for us in her life. Every time, I needed to talk with her, she listened. She listened really, really well. Time. Hugs. Listening. And so much more than my simple words can convey. Who could ask for anything more? Pure love!

Today on December 26th, we put on our skinny skis and went down the nordic trails to remember my Mama and my boys’ super Nana. We talked about the legacy that she has left for each of us. We cried. We laughed. We sent a balloon up to heaven. In rememberance. As a symbol of our connectness and the legacy that will never leave each of us.

With gratitude for every moment that I could spend with my Mama here on earth.

For the legacy she left.

With gratitude for the Mama that I now get to be for my boys.

For the legacy I will leave.

Thoughtful.

Mover.

Creative.

Imperfect.

LOVE.

And the greatest of these is love.

Unconditional.

Unwavering.

Unforgettable.

LOVE.

Remembered on the trails today.

And every day as we live out our legacy now!

Leave a beautiful, imperfectly perfect legacy my friends.

Love, Joanna

Be Soil, Sun, Water and Oxygen

More today, now than ever, we need connections and people to mentor us on our life journeys.  Between the smoke and mirrors of social media and the messages being portrayed in movies, streaming and in advertisements, finding our individual growth journey is more important than it ever has been.  Slowly, we are inundated with the perfect lives, the neatly wrapped up stories and lives that are missing connections with the people breathing all around us.   We have forgotten to look around.  We are often looking at our phone missing the people around us.  

Look out. 

Look within. 

See the beauty around you. 

See the beauty within. 

As I thought about people who have helped me become the “flower” that I am: colourful, a bit tattered at the edges, long, strong and loving life amongst my other flowers, I have realised that there have been four key people who have helped me on my journey.    

Donna S, one of my mom’s very best friends, has been my soil.  She has provided nourishment at the right time of my life.  She has always held space and made space for me to be me.  I have never felt judgement from her, ever.  Donna has been the ground that I could stand on when growing.  She, too, was married to a Principal, worked in a care giving position as a nurse and chose to be a stay-at-home mom.  Donna is also a mom of three children.  She makes the very best zucchini sticks, fresh from her garden.  It never fails on my birthday that I will receive a birthday card from Donna.  A handwritten card will often show up at other pertinent moments, like my first year of University and my first time living alone, I received a card in November. I will never forget sitting on my dorm room bed, reading the card and crying because someone remembered me and thought of me.  Isn’t that a nourishing thought?  Where would I be without this soil beneath my feet provided by Donna?

At our wedding in 1997

Who loves the sun? Jean R. was my “University mom” and she was my light and sun during my growth as a university student.  She showed me how to live a life of freedom being exactly who you are.  Jean gave me physical and spiritual food and she showed me how to tap into God’s love and grace.  She had created beautiful rituals around the holidays and always had a handful of people home for the holidays, unrelated, but always at home at Jean and Joe’s.  Jean was married to an Engineer and is also a mom of three.  She, too, chose to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her three children while having a hairdressing studio in her basement.  She was also the person that gave me light on my wedding day by doing my hair.  Where would I be without this light-filled person in my world?  

Doing my hair for my wedding. 

Now enter into my life, water in the form of Hilde W. or Mrs. White in English.  She came to me in a season of tremendous growth, early in my marriage.  Hilde was my German mom and also a mother of three.   She showed me how to soak up new ideas and how she literally turned a century old barn into a thriving hotel and restaurant in a village the population of an elementary school.  Living in room 25 of her hotel, she also taught me how to cook pizza on a wood oven outside and load a mean dishwasher.  She was open and accepting and poured great love into both us.  She watered us on a daily basis with her kind words, big ideas and hard work.  What would I be without watching this clear living water pour from Hilde?  

Hilde and my German sister, Katrin, visiting Canada in 2006. 

Lastly, I end with my mentor who has breathed life in me from the very beginning.  She was my mom’s fellow ‘hockey wife’, one of her best friends and Wendy knew me when I was in my mother’s womb.  Wendy is also one of the first people that all my boys met when they were born. She taught me how to show up in live,  just be and breathe. Wendy also reminds me never to forget to laugh.  She showed me how to live the gift of grief when she lost her husband in a car accident when I was in my teens.  Wendy gives the very best gifts!  Through her actions and her words she is like a breathe of fresh air and her hugs, ah her hugs, they literally give you life.   Wendy helped in the family business, worked in schools, but mostly loved on her three children.  Where would I be without seeing Wendy live with full life with full breathes and have so much fun? O’Wen! 

Around 1982 at Shakee’s pizzeria. 

All of us are flowers getting ready to bloom.  We just need to remember or find those that are nourishing us as soil, sun, water and oxygen.  I wonder who those people are for you.  Conversely, I wonder who you could be those things for. 

Soil. 

Sun. 

Water. 

Oxygen. 

Moms of three. 

Filled with light. 

Overcomers of loss. 

Living life. 

All very important elements and role models for me to have to truly bloom.  

Note: For the article that inspired me to write this post, take a look at this article.  Thanks Wendy W. for the inspiration, my fellow flower! 

Be Moving Mountains

One decision over 18 years ago to move to the Napa Valley of the North in the Okanagan Valley, Canada.

One decision to ski at the breathtaking Silver Star Ski resort.

Alpine, nordic, snowboarding too!

We created roots and many magical memories.

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A place to find powder.

A place to find likeminded peeps.

A place to find ourselves in the hectic season of life.

And now another decision:

One decision that we wanted to own our own place at the mountain.

One decision to ski at the rugged and friendly Apex Mountain Resort.

Alpine, Nordic, snowboarding and even backcountry too!

We are already putting down roots as we bought the condo from our good friends the Mend’s.

We are creating memories as we paint, wander and make it our own.

Family of five.

Mom of boys.

And a Labrador Retriever too!

Full of gratitude for our own place at the hill.

A place to play in the snow.

A place to make new friends and cherish the old.

A place to find peace in this growing season of our life.

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Growth around every corner.

Holding onto our vision.

Raising leaders or leaders.

Creating a band of brothers who love, hold peace and hope and never stop growing.

😘 Joanna

Be Opening the Treasure Box (Mother’s Day 2018) 

Five Mother’s Days! 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018 

Five specific moments to ponder the gift of grief that I received when my mom died.  

Five seasons of pondering, praying and seeing what my hamster mind would create with the unthinkable fact that I won’t have my mom’s physical presence with me until we meet in heaven. 

Five Sundays to remember that I made a decision that nothing bad would ever come from my mom’s death.  

And it hasn’t. 

Ever! 

The moments where the waves of grief come over me have helped me uncover treasure.  

The waves have washed away the debris and clutter.  Clarity has come.  

These waves have made me sit or lie down and ponder what pieces of gold that my mom gave me that I am now missing. 

This grief has given me the privilege to see my mom’s life in totality from a perspective I never imagined.   


As a daughter.  


As a neighbour.  


As a teacher. 


As a friend.  

Watching my mom’s life come to an end allowed me to see and feel in a new way!  I was able to see and feel her influence, to this day, as my fingers tap on this keyboard. My mom/Super Nana’s presence is still felt in our lives by those who knew her and people that now know us, but never met my mama.  

Below are the treasures I have discovered about my mom.  Miraculously, now ALL these treasures are held and given to me by different people in my life, especially Sexy Neck!  The light has overshadowed the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death. I am incredibly grateful for these treasures given in DEATH to me by my mom and now given to me in LIFE by my close family and friends.  


 The treasure box has been flung open: 

✨ My mama had a golden heart.  She was always open to others and felt things deeply.  Her heart was incredibly good. It was pure gold.  She was the most non-judgemental person you could meet.  (And she never commented on my choice of clothing!). 


✨ My mama had a silver stature and posture. She could have been a President of a large company or a Principal of any school, but instead she chose family first and help raise myself, my sister, my cousins, our friends and anyone she taught. We were given the ability to hold our posture no matter what came our way. She exemplified this.   She even helped me keep my posture when I said “F*ck off” to our neighbour Chris H. by washing my mouth out with soap.   


✨ My mama had a shining smile and life-giving words that flowed from those lips. She always found something good to say, even when  people, in the same situation, may not have found something good to say.   I remember when she was close to the end of her cancer journey and we were talking about her having cancer and she responded, “Why not me, JJ?”  


✨My mama was clothed in humility.  Her volunteerism, going above and beyond in all her teaching job was a treasure for me that I now out on every day.  She created healthy boundaries but still often found ways to put others first.  We often had our cousins on family vacations, neighbours over to swim and we even had one of my sister’s friends live with us for a year just because she needed a place to live.  She was always helping and connecting with her three siblings and often our summer holidays involved visiting them or having them at our house.   She was incredibly thoughtful and now I aim to be a magical memory maker, like she was for our family.  

(My mama always made homemade birthday cakes for me and then my boys birthdays.) 

✨ At the bottom of my mama’s treasure chest after all that gold, silver, shining words, and cloths of humility, I have found nuggets. 

Not the nuggets that my boys like to talk about, but the nuggets that stick with you that you pass onto your children.  Well, I guess in some way my boys did get their nuggets from me.  My mom’s words about these specific topics still ring in my mind: marriage, parenting, the cycles of teaching, friendship and life.   

💥 Only boring people are bored.  

💥 Don’t share anything that’s negative with her (or anyone) about your marriage because they will remember and you may not tell them how you worked it out.  

💥 Don’t be so hard on your oldest child. 

💥 You are a great mother.  

💥 Wash your hands before you eat. 

💥 The same issues in teaching cycle around and around, just wait for it to correct itself. 

💥Find friends who love the same things you do.  

💥 Be a good person.   

💥 Make your bed.  (I have to admit that I still make my bed, but I really could care less if my boys make theirs.) 

💥 It’s never too late to do anything.  (My mama got her teaching degree in her late 40’s, took Spanish classes after my cousin moved to Spain and was cycling with a group in Mallorca, 90km per day, eight months before she died.) 

💥 Make no excuses.  Find a way to do what you want to do or ask for help.  (I am not very good at asking for help, but I am working on that!) 

💥 Be kind.  Work hard. Make shit happen.  

💜 MOM 💜

Her treasure box is open. 

Feel free to take what landed on you today.  

I thoroughly love all the treasures I have personally have been given and continue to discover.  

Thank you God that light always prevails.  

Always look for light, my friends!  Even in the darkness, you will find a sliver.  

This is my wish as we all celebrate Mother’s Day in our own way! 

Take something from the treasure box of my mom’s life.

A golden heart. 

Silver stature. 

Shining smile. 

Cloth of humility. 

Nuggets.  So many nuggets.  

With gratitude for all the women in my life who have my mother’s loving, vibrant and thoughtful heart!  I am blessed.  


😘 Joanna 

Be Learning from Animals and Children

One March day, I asked my boys to give me an animal. An animal I could draw!  I didn’t know what I was asking at the time but it ended up creating deep conversation and insight about animals between my boys and I.  

Here is how it unfolded in pictures drawn by moi in my day planner and the subsequent research that I did on the spiritual and biblical significance of each animal.  The most divine aha for me was that every animal the boys suggested on each day met me exactly where I was at on that day!  I wonder which animal will land on you today? May we all continue to be open to God around and within us. 









May these words and imagines encourage you to be open to the divinity of children, the soulfulness of drawing and the power of words that tumble in our heads and out of our mouths.  

Be free! 

Be enough. 

Show up as the animal you want to be today! 

😘 Joanna 

Be in Deep Knowing

In one moment, things can flip from flabbergasted to “aha I get it!”  Today, that shift happened for me. 

All week, I have been praying and setting the intention for ‘depth of insight’ on six things: 

🏠 Our Home 

😘 Sexy Neck, Steve 

⛷ Apex Mountain 

👱🏻‍♂️ My dad 

🥛 My business 

💥 My brand (how I want to show up in the world!) 


Every day I have been writing at the top of my planner these goals for this week.  Today, when I sat with my pen and planner, I realized that I wasn’t searching for depth of insight but more of a deep knowing. I wrote this down: 


Then, in the next moment as I sat with my pen in my hand with my thoughts tumbling around my hamster brain, I decided to draw a lion. I drew this lion and then decided to google what the lion in the bible and spiritual realm represents. Can you guess?  


DEEP KNOWLEDGE! 💥💥💥

Wise

Powerful

Fierce Guardian 

Hearth of God 

Be open to signs and wonders that show you that you are on your path. 

Be open to flipping from flabbergasted in one ‘aha’ moment over words and a lion. 

Be open to staying positive that your personal answers will come. 

Be open to the still small voice that asks you to draw a lion. 

Now, off to sit in this deep knowing with gratitude for this beautiful planner I get to write in every day. Thank you to my beautiful friend Miriam for giving it to me and for the amazing Vancouverite Danielle Laporte for creating this divine gift in my life. 

😘 Joanna k

Be Having Spongy Strategies

A little while ago, I went on my facebook live to talk about “standards” and got all us thinking about whose standards we are living by.  Our parents? Our culture? Our teachers or coaches?  Our pastors?   In the video, I also talked about: “What is the standard of being a good person?”.  Being a good person used to be my standard.  Now, my standard is LOVE, giving love. Freely, without barter.  Like these words that I pour out through my feelings and thoughts into this blog.  Giving freely with no expectations of any behaviour. I encourage you to listen to this facebook live and ponder your own personal standards.

After considering my own standard for living life, I became overwhelmed with depth of feeling about what I was dealing with in my daily life. These past weeks have been a deep, cherished growing time.   I work part time as a Physical Education teacher, I run a full time nutrition business that I am very passionate about.  I am loving on an elderly labrador retriever.  Add on to my plate running a VRBO guest house, creating time to write and workout all while pouring love and being present to three beautiful boys, that will give you a small snapshot of daily life.   As my husband has been travelling in Asia the last few weeks, my sponge has gotten more and more full.  I can tell that the sponge has become too full, as one night I yelled at my boys to put on their pajamas.  Really!  Yup, yelling, crying, feeling disgust and not being open are my ways of knowing my sponge is becoming full! Do you know your feelings that arise as your sponge gets saturated? And what the f does one do with those feelings?

Let me give you the privilege to share what I did this past week to make it to the end of the week still upright, continually smiling and still living within my standard.

Every day I move my body.

In some way.  Anyway.  Kitchen dance party or going to the gym.

I find a way.

Laugh.

Find someone who always makes you laugh or listen to something.

Find a way to laugh.

Bath.

Showering helps too!

There is something that is very refreshing and soothing about water.

Even though your sponge is full, find a way to get water moving around your body.

Limit your input.

For one day this week, I did not check any type of social media.

I purposely stayed in the “real world”, present to what was going on around me.

I found a way to have less input and more me.

Go within.

Pull the curtain back.

Look in the dark corners.

Thank those places that brought out the anger, the tears, the disgust.  Allow them to be.

That’s where I find me.

Hiding in the back, around the corner.  Truly me.

Live through the spongy times.

Fully awake to what you are feeling.

Knowing they will take you to a deep place.

A place to learn, to grow, to create roots to keep you from blowing over in the stormy weather.

A place to create an even larger sponge to deal with what comes your way in life.

A place to feel deeply.  Look deeply.  Be Deep.

Time to rinse out that sponge.

With one deep breath.

With the “spongy strategies” from the gift of grief from my mama.

Move.

Laugh.

Water.

Limit.

Go within.

xoxo Joanna

Be Finding Balance Again (Overconsumption has taken over!) 

Overconsumption rules the world right now and, in my opinion, is ruining the world. 

From the plastics that are flooding the earth and waters. 

To the devices that are flooding our brains and bodies. 

On to the food that is stripping our lands of minerals and then not giving our bodies what it needs even when we think it’s good for us. 

Overconsumption has taken over! 

Did you know that most teens now spend more time on devices than an adult spends at their full time job per day?  

Did you know that some family’s have their children signed up for activities every single day of the week? 

Has anyone else noticed that rarely do we talk about reducing or reusing what we consume, instead all our energy has gone into recycling?   

Tonight, I lift my glass and say cheers to finding a balance life. 

True balance. 

Harmony within and around. 

Time and space to be. 

Energy and effort to do. 

Balance between men and women. 

Testosterone and estrogen. 

Just enough.  

All around. 

In balance.  


Our three boys ages, 10, 8 and 6 receive four hours of screen time PER WEEK. Today, their brains were flooded with the sounds and sights of skiing on snow. Their bodies climbed trees, hammered rocks, played piano and even jumped on mattresses in the basement later in the day.  

My husband and I don’t allow screens anytime on Mondays and Wednesdays when the boys have activities.  The rest of the week, they are free to choose when they use their “tech time”.   They are open to choose how to spend their free time.  It is in these in between time that is so fun to see what they create. 

Imbalance is killing us. 

Overconsumption is killing our planet. 

Each of us, can find ways to create balance. 

Individually it is easy. 

Collectively it makes a difference. 

Balance in mind, within our bodies and through our spirit.  

Imagine this place of balance for you, what it would look like and feel like. 

Who would be around you? 

What would you eat? 

What activities and moments of stillness would flow through the day? 

What would you do tomorrow if you lived a day in balance? 

You ‘Cann’ do it. 

😘 Joanna Cann