Category Archives: blogger

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 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 Leaving a Legacy 

Words often can’t do moments justice, except maybe if you are an Inuit person who has fifty words to describe snow. 

Today, I had an incredible moment where my mom showed her heart and the legacy that she has left myself, my boys, her family and her friends.  I pray that my words will do this moment justice.  

Since my mom died three years ago, there are a few memory making places that I haven’t been back to because of circumstances or choice.  The beautiful Cottage Day Spa with the extraordinary human being, Pam, was one of those places I chose not to go.  The Cottage Day Spa holds a very special place in my heart as it is a place where my mom felt peace and was truly cared for, in body, mind and spirit.   Pam has a gift to share and a beautiful Cottage to share it in.  


For my mom’s last birthday, I planned an elaborate surprise birthday party including a limousine scavenger hunt, poster collage, brunch at her favourite restaurant and an afternoon with Pam at The Cottage for a facial.  

Jump forward three years and I hadn’t made an appointment to see Pam. Before Christmas of this year, was when I ran into Pam for the first time.  I hadn’t seen her in years.  I then ran into Pam a second time in the parking lot of our ski hill about a month ago and I knew it was time to go back for a visit. 

Today, I stepped into The Cottage Day Spa.  The memories of coming with my mom enveloped me. She was always so full of joy coming here.  Truly free and truly happy. Today, I was shocked when I sat down and Pam pulled out this note from my file: 


Before my mom died, she paid for my treatment today! Pam honoured my mom’s legacy gift to me from over three years ago and today I was given the most relaxing, kind, beautiful, mom-inspired facial.  

Legacy. 

Living legacy.  

Loving. 

Learning.  

Giving.  

Thoughtful.  

Kind. 

My mom’s legacy.  

What will you be leaving as a legacy through your thoughts and deeds? 

My hope is to leave a legacy of:

✨ My love of ALL people. 

✨ Being a river of money, constantly supporting and passing on. 

✨ Home being a place of peace and joy. 

✨ My desire to be strong and athletic.  

✨ My moments of creativity and inspiration through solitary actions of writing, painting and photography. 

✨ My gratitude for God’s divine moments in our lives woven through people, greatness, mistakes and living imperfectly perfect.  

My legacy. 

My mom’s legacy.  

My inheritance.  

My heart interwoven through her constant encouragement and presence in our lives. 

Forever and always. 

Amen. 

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 Rejected 

Sit with me today and ask yourself if you have ever been rejected. I mean really rejected, back-turning, door slamming, get the f* out rejected?  I also want to talk about the simple rejections that happen every single day as we live our lives.

Have you ever been dumped?

Rejection.

Have you ever applied for a job and not hired?

Rejected.

Have you ever apologized and had that person never speak to you again?

Rejection.

Have you put in a business or book proposal and received a denial letter?

Rejected.

rejected
In the sadness, anger and humbleness of rejection, what do we find?

A new way.

A new path.

A new resiliency.

A letting go.

Or holding tighter.

A fortitude to persevere.

Or a desire to walk away.

Rejection is a true gift, a branch of the gifts of grief.

It is ready for us to unwrap in every rejected moment.

gift-giving

We can choose our path with rejection.

We can envision rejection as a branch of a metaphorical tree.

Ponder, with me, how this gift of rejection can help us grow!

Perhaps rejection has come into our life because we have been growing roots in places that weren’t in rich soil.  We may have needed more light rather than darkness.  Or maybe something or someone new may have been needed in our life to bring us new living water. Rejection needed to create space.  Our branches may have needed some pruning so that we could have new growth in our life.

Rejected.

Rejection.

Light.

Growth.

Life.

All symbiotic and much needed in our lives.

Gratitude today for EVERY time I have been rejected in word, thought or deed.

Life-giving.

Gratitude-living.

Rejection.

Be rejected.

Be Walking out your Grief 

It is such a privilege to walk with someone and hear their story about living through the death of their precious mama.  

This is a treasure. 

It is an incredible gift to hear how someone is truly feeling about their life on any given day because of packed scheduled, presentations, or sleepless nights. 

This is rich.  

It is profound to get to know so many people negotiating grief while experiencing divorce, death, dog bites, loss of jobs, moving… The list is endless.  

This grief journey is priceless. 

I am blessed to be having these deep conversations on a daily basis now that I have been sitting in my own gift of grief. 


I am now learning to walk it out.  

Honesty, most days I still want to hide.  

I am broken inside. 

I am softer and more affected by life.  

My heart leaks out of my eyes at unexpected moments, like today when beautiful Crystal told me she was proud of me.  

I want to lie on my laundry room floor and pray and wonder and ponder and rest.  

But, I know I need to walk it out. 

My lying down days are gone.  

I have lying down moments, like today in Superstore, which I still really enjoy. They no longer need to humble me for the whole day. 

I get out and walk. 

I talk. 

I swim. 

I write and play with words.  

I run. 

And I talk to people, lots of them because I love people.  

I bike.  

I workout.  

I do this to keep working things out. 

My body moves. 

My relationships grow. 

My minds ponders.  

My gift of grief keeps unpacking itself.  

Into this deep place where I am now able to have the privilege to walk with others.  

In their grief.  

On their own personal journey.  

Walking it out.  

What a blessing. 

I am blessed.  

I am enough. 

Each breathe. 

Each day.  

I am enough.  

Be Living In Between 

⚡️I had always thought that if you worked hard enough, you will get where you want to go.   Magically, everything would just all fall into place.  Nope I am still living “in between”. 

⚡️I had always thought there was a magic wand where “poof” healing would come after my mom had died and all would be well.  But all isn’t well. I feel things incredible deeply when I find out a friend’s mom has cancer or a preschool friend has cancer or a surgeon treats a friend poorly, just like what happened to my mom.  Sometime “in between” just sucks.  

⚡️I had always thought that if I did ‘my work’, communicated kindly and directly that all would be well.  I thought my relationships would flourish and we would all sing “kombiya” together.   I have some relationships with my family of origin that I couldn’t even consider “in between”, they are non-existent.  

⚡️I had always thought that if I reached certain goals in my life that all would be well.  I envisioned that life would be more fun and that there would be an ease or flow to it.  I have reached those goals, but I still sit “in between” as those goals have now changed.  


THIS I NOW KNOW FOR SURE… 

✨ I am “doing less” throughout my days, but I have never experienced so many more incredible opportunities coming into my life. These “in between” places are BEAUTIFUL.    I have more quiet times, more moments of “no coincidences” where I have to lie down and less ‘busyness’.

✨ My healing is a journey not a destination to be tackled. Actually, I don’t even know where my healing journey is going to take me next! Being “in between” the healing journey creates MIRACLES.   It has deepened my relationships, helped me focus on what’s important and allowed me the privilege to see into the beautiful hearts of women like Heather, whom I met today.  

✨ Relationships are like a game of baseball, each person needs to be willing to catch the ball.  I have been playing a ton of catch with my “people’s” back to me.  Imagine a baseball game looking like that?  You can only apologize so much, talk so much, and try to get someone to play for so long.  “In between” relationships are RAD because they mean I am REALLY free to be me.  

✨ It is truly each moment that makes life sweet…moment after moment.   Every day I love savouring the weather, the age of my boys, the laughter at myself when things go wrong, the watching as our dreams unfold.  Step by step, one lunch box making, wrestling match breaking, toy taking and sheer joy making day at a time.  “In between” is a SWEET place to be. 

Life is powerful when we are awake to the processes “in between” 

To the beauty and spaces that surrounds us every day.  

To people’s eyes. 

To people’s stories.  

To the sheer grandeur of the non-coincidences that unfold before me.  

The presence of God. 

Doing less. 

Being more. 

Healing and… 

Being broken. 

Playing catch. 

Facing forward. 

Leaning in. 

Moment by moment. 

In between. 

Awake. 

Savouring. 

Tasting.  

Enjoying.    

Knowing for sure that RIGHT NOW… 

I am ENOUGH! 

Living “in between” 

Be Living Lavish (not lacking a thing!)

Lavish luxurious living.

Not lacking a thing.

Could you imagine it?

Really?

I am living it!

Truly!

My mind has shifted from living in lack, in scarcity.

It has moved into a place of abundance, of lavish luxury!

I have realized that I have everything I need, in this moment.

I am listening, looking, learning and living as I talk about in my book, “I Am Free!” 

Inside and Out!

I previously believed,  I never had enough time or that time was ‘slipping’ away.  My lists seemed endless and my priorities were blowing in the wind by others visions for me.  I was flitting here and there trying to get things done and make up for “lost time”.   Now I know that I create my time and I have enough each day.  I enjoy and savour moments throughout the day.  The moments create a beautiful life.  I know that I have enough time.

FAITH! (not lacking faith!)

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Before, I would worry about spending money $$$$, didn’t enjoy spending it nor never thought that we would ever have enough.  I budgeted, spreadsheeted, pondered and prayed about how to make our finances “work”.  Now I know that we can create the financial future that we want by being awake to how we are spending money, by saving practically and enjoying the journey along the way.  I now find money EVERYWHERE and my boys do too!  It is fun to see how this currency we have created is coming our way.

FINANCIAL FUN! (not lacking a cent!)

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I used to think, that I was a border collie when it came to relationships.  My role was to herd everyone together and to make sure that everyone was okay.  I would endless reach out to people and communicate in a way that I thought would “make things better” by often listening to gossip or by saying I am sorry are just a few examples.   I now know that I am a loving, strong woman with a wonderful tribe of people surrounding me, with their own personalities and traits.  Everyone is responsible for themselves.  I no longer am responsible for the herd, but choose to enjoy those that are attracted to my golden retriever personality.

FRIENDSHIP (definitely not in lack here!)

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I am humbled to admit that before I never thought that I could do enough. EVER!  I ALWAYS felt that I was at fault if something went wrong. I ALWAYS felt that I was never able to meet anyone’s standards, even my own.  It was pressure, my friends, pressure to perform to the MAX.  I rarely rested.  I never let my mind sit, afraid of the lengthy to-do list that would push my face down into the pavement.  I now know, that I am enough.  I am doing enough, each day, with my gifts and imperfections.  I ALWAYS know that I can add value to people.  I ALWAYS feel freedom just to be.  My mind can sit and I often find myself lying down on the ground in awe of the divine moments that come my way!

FREEDOM (soooo much freedom)

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What are the possibilities for you to move from lack into lavishness?  Is it related to your thoughts on food, friends, exercise, sleep, sex, communication, spirituality, writing…?

As we enter the season of the new school year, may we all move into a place of lavish luxurious living!  This is my hope for everyone who reads this post!

SMOOCH, Joanna

Be Getting Untangled by a Weed

When I was a child, I never wanted to jump off the boat into the water.  The only way that I learned how to water ski was because I was afraid to fall into the weeds, so I decided to never fall.  I wouldn’t swim out to the buoys because I couldn’t see the bottom or I could see the weeds down below.  I am not sure which was worse.

Today, I swam two point one kilometres (1.3 miles) across our local lake with over 1200 other swimmers.  Six weeks ago, I couldn’t swim longer than 300 metres (984 feet) without putting my feet on the sandy, shallow bottom.  Yup, swimming along the kiddy area trying to keep my heart in my body!

Over the six week, I trained with a group who met every Saturday.  I listened.  I watched.  I put my head down into the water and did my best.   Throughout the week, I swam with a new friend who was in a similar place as me.  We made shrill shrieks as we entered the cool water.  We swam together.  We drank some lake water.  We eventually went around and around those buoys, but we had never swam across the lake.

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Until today.

Today, I awoke to the still lake water.  I watched it shimmer as the sun peeked out from behind a cloud.   I watched excited, nervous, wide-eyed people, over five hundred newbies, get ready to swim across this lake.

And you know what happened?  Within a few moments of starting the race, my leg got tangled up with a week.  Right leg started kicking, my mind was annoyed.  I had a choice.

Carry this weed throughout the race or shake it off and move on.

I kicked my right leg and off it slid and on I went.

Full of strength and grace.

Supported and lovingly held by this beautiful water.

Feeling like a dolphin, a mermaid or even a fish heading home.

I untangled more than that weed today.

As I swam head down, stroke by stroke,

I realized that that weed was a symbol of my emotions.

Am I willing to acknowledge where I am at in any given moment?

Am I will to shake it off, untangle the emotion and let it go?

Am I willing to swim my race, allowing the emotions to come, and just continue?

When you are swimming, there really isn’t much choice, but swim.

In life, there really isn’t much choice, but to live.

With our emotions.

Wherever we are in our stroke on the lake of life.

Riding the waves, like I did with my grief.

Finding camaraderie among people on the same journey, listening, learning.

With the strength and grace of practice, mental mindset and allowing myself to be.

Being me.

Being enough.

While getting untangled by a weed.

I am post-race untangled here!  Oh what a beautiful feeling!

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(Note from the author: Thirty-nine minutes swimming in a lake will bring up such metaphors.  I had the most mental clarity and mental “stillness” in that water today than I have ever had in any moment in my entire life! WOAH)