Category Archives: Flexibility

Be Living a radical sabbatical

What does this radical sabbatical actually look like and is Sexy Neck working? Are we divorced? Where are you? What are we doing? These have been the pervasive questions over the last month as we have lived this radical sabbatical. Some people have been inspired, some people have thought we are crazy and others have just looked at us with wide eyes as we explain how we are living.

5 people.

Yes, Sexy Neck and I are 100% in this together. (And not divorced)

900 square feet.

Condo living.

8 months.

On the top of a mountain.

At a ski hill.

With the cows.

Travelling to Europe and Asia.

Homeschooling.

Not volunteering for anything.

Taking a radical sabbatical from the life we previously knew in the city.

What does this radical sabbatical actually look like for our family of five?

The boys do formal schooling Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to Noon. This formal schooling involves the 3 R’s – reading, writing and math! And I am hitting them hard. Going over basic facts, teaching them grammar and helping them understand the basics of the english language. They are writing in a journal, writing stories and doing research. Our 12 year old is researching Ancient Rome and Tesla. Our 10 year old is immersed in simple/complex machines and robots. Our 8 year old learned everything he could about Bobcats. Did you know they pee in the water so that they don’t leave a scent? Previously, the boys have been in French immersion, so the older boys have been doing their math in french and our youngest continues to write in french. But, I haven’t been stressed about it. If we decide to dive back into french next year, we will do a bootcamp in the summer to help them get back up to speed. This year is all about filling in some educational gaps that I see and having fun learning about what they are interested in.

Now, to talk about Sexy Neck! Right now, he is in Mexico City sitting at a fair, promoting his school district to families considering international education. And he LOVES it! Sexy Neck isn’t taking a radical sabbatical this year, but we are one hour closer to his work, so he does have a shorter commute! We are looking forward to joining him on a few trips that he is going to be taking for work. Sexy Neck LOVES his job and couldn’t imagine leaving it. It is truly what he was meant to be doing: a combination of education, business, travel and working with people. His dream life! We are happy that our radical sabbatical works alongside his dreams and brings him freedom from his commute and a more relaxed mountain life. He also loves backcountry skiing, which he can do every day after work in the winter. Truly his dream life!

Everyone who knows us, knows our backgrounds in Kinesiology and our love for physical literacy. All of our boys have done gymnastics from very young to eight years old. After eight they could choose to continue in gymnastics and our two older boys have. They love the community of boys, their coach and being able to achieve their personal goals through gymnastics. Thus, our radical sabbatical involves two days per week commuting one and a half hours each way back to the city so that the boys can practice with their team. Other than gymnastics, our sporting life will involve exploring the ski hill we are living on and embracing every day of winter. The boys have a goal of skiing every single day of the ski season. We know it will be “Canntastic”!


Lots of people have been wondering about our daily routines. To recap, here are a few of our routines that we have established for this radical sabbatical:

The 3R’s Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to Noon. And yes the boys say it is hard. And yes, we do have a lot of fun and flexibility. The boys take a recess break when they choose and they also choose where they work within our 900 square feet. Sometimes it’s on the floor, on our bed, at the kitchen table and often it’s at their desk. Sexy Neck is teaching them guitar and I am doing the rest with their teacher and our friend, Michelle, from Traditional Learning Academy.

Sexy Neck is fully involved in his work as a Principal of International Programs. He continues to embrace his role working with his students, the homestay families, his amazing staff and of course travelling to promote his program.

The boys are continuing with gymnastics and loving every minute of it. It is very motivating and they love the goals they have set: our ten year old wants to do an 8 second handstand and our twelve year old wants to do a giant on the high bar all by himself. WOW!

Outside of these routines, I have been personally surprised by four different pieces of this radical sabbatical:

1. Our garbage and recycling has reduced significantly. From one large black bin of garbage per week, to one medium-sized black bag. To one large blue recycling bin every two weeks, to one medium blue Tupperware per week that I will sort at the recycling depot in about five minutes. This surprise feels pretty amazing.

2. It’s outstanding to see the people who have stepped up to support us on this journey. We know that it truly does take a village to educate our children. Not only did we take the boys to Barkerville, a town from the 1800’s to kick off the school year, we took them to Science World and the boys got a welding lesson from their beloved Papa in his beautiful garage. The two older boys learned to weld, drill, grind, sand, paint and create a rebar coat hook with their initial on it. This was really incredible to see!

3. Living in a condo with no balcony and no private outside space, I was worried about what our outside time would look like. If you know us, we spend a ton of time outside during a day, even when the boys were in brick and mortar school. The boys and I have LOVED the mountain life. We love the exploring on foot and by bike. We love the terrain. Sexy Neck has loved climbing to the top of the ski hill. Bring on the snow! I cannot wait to see what that life will be like covered in white!

4. As the daughter of a teacher and a teacher myself, believe it or not, schooling has always been a thoughtful, somewhat worrysome process. The interesting thing about homeschooling is that I am being more intuitive: watching the boys learn, seeing what lights them up and letting them lead. No yearly plans, just living in the moment and finding resources as I need them. No stress of the September startup: Wondering which friends they would be with and which teacher they would have. Throughout the boys schooling, I known the importance of a teacher and their influence on their students. We have been fortunate to have incredible teachers and we have grown through some excruciatingly inflexible and mediocre ones. I am incredibly proud and honoured to be my boys’ teacher this year for grades three, five and seven. We don’t know if we will continue homeschooling next year, but for this month, it has been magical. I have learned that my boys LOVE to learn. They have embraced all the new skills I have thrown their way, including making a meal (spaghetti and meatballs), taking them to my health and wellness conference (anyone need more energy, want to sleep better, perform better or get rid of your fluffy tummy I am your girl) and learning to sew (curtains for their triple bunk!) alongside those 3 R’s that I talked about. I have seen where my boys have gaps in their learning and I have been able to fill them: capitalization, divisibility rules, number patterns, phonics, oh my! My heart is full. And only two pencils have been thrown in the process by my ten year old! A boy after my own heart with his emotions right at the forefront. I feel very grateful for this time together. I am not surprised at how much I truly LOVE being their teacher.

On September 26th, we celebrate our youngest’s eighth birthday.

We celebrate one month of this radical sabbatical.

We sit atop this peaceful mountain and ponder the adventure to Europe in November.

The projects that we want to learn about and where our questions will take us.

I have always believed that the beginning of all knowledge is asking a question.

And I wonder where this radical sabbatical will take our family.

A band of brothers.

Sexy Neck.

A homeschooling entrepreneurial Mama

Walking on this path.

Every day into the unknown.

With routines, that are flexible.

With surprises along the way.

Watching who shows up.

What lights them up.

And what this radical sabbatical will look like.

I pray for more days like today.

Love.

Joy.

Peace.

Patience.

Kindness.

Goodness.

Dignity.

Grace.

Living our best days.

On this radical sabbatical.

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 

Be Floored by a Ted Talk 

Creating and playing using words is my love.  

It soothes my soul and brings me great strength in moments that I feel weak.  

Today, I watched this Ted Talk TWICE and his stories, experiences and words on rejection brought me strength as I reflected on my stories, experiences, and my words. 

May this bring you as much freedom as it brought into my day! 

Jia Jiang – What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection

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.

 

Be Wondering About Your Why 

This week I launched myself into the deep end by sharing a new business venture with some very close friends. 

My mentor and teammate, TC, encouraged me to really question what my ‘why’ is. Why am I starting a business now? 

Why?  

Why? 

Why? 

My husband, Sexy Neck, loves his amazing job working in schools, but is very busy.   

 

Being his supporting partner and wife is a gift.  I love it! 

My three wee, active boys are eight, five and three.    

 

Being their mom is a blessing,  my most fulfilling role and ‘job’.   I love my boys! 

I have just returned to teaching after a five year hiatus, working with incredible families who school at home.  

Being a teacher is sharing my passion for learning, finding fun resources and being able to help students grow in depth of knowledge and spirit.  I love my profession.  

About ten months ago, I started distributing my friend’s product called GreenTeaHawaii.  

 

Being able to connect with people and sell a product you love is pure joy for me.   I love selling tea.  

And now I am launched.  

At ground zero of a new business. 

I am sharing my story and building a team of like-minded people focused on health that want to create residual income for their families. 

BUT why am I really doing this right now?  

It is because of the life my mom lived and the lessons her life and death taught me.  Ah man, I love my Mama.  

I feel that it isn’t a coincidence all these opportunities are coming my way.  

Her death has set me free.  

It has allowed me to ponder life, live my days and find my why’s. 

My ‘Why’ for this new business venture I discovered in my mom’s obituary that we wrote in December of 2013.   

“Gwen, in her home, profession and community never stopped teaching and learning.  Her servant heart complimented her active adventurous spirit.  In her finest role, Super Nana created magical memories.  Her exemplary life inspires us to love deeply, serve others and live fully.”

Loving deeply.  

Serving others.  

Creating magical memories for my boys, family and friends. 

Launching myself fully into a business that promotes health, builds people up and provides income to those who want to take the opportunity.  

Living my why.  

Loving my peeps.  

Loving these products.  

Loving this business. 

Loving how I feel.  

Being enough.  

Be Waiting for Friends

I have asked God to help me with new friends in our big city. I feel tired!

I have been very fortunate to have made very empathetic, thoughtful friends in our old town down the highway. Many have visited, most keep in touch. This is enough. I am blessed with friends.

I am happy to drop my son off and observe those around me. Normally, I am the one trying to connect and engage with others.

I am content to allow my son’s teacher to connect with him without my input or guidance or even an introduction. I will meet her at parent-teacher conferences in October.

I am okay with walking along and watching my beautiful boys beside me.

But this is not the end of my story.

Two Fridays ago, I took the boys to the library. There was a woman there with two boys. Her youngest son was hanging around my boys. We had a brief conversation.

At dinner (the same day!), I told my husband that I met a very interesting woman this morning at the library.

After dinner, we went for a bike ride downtown (see here) and who did we run into on the ride back? The woman from the library, Andie. We met her husband and saw her boys again.

Last night, we went for a walk in the rain. We were walking down the path in the downpour and there was a woman walking towards us. I didn’t recognize here, but she said, “Hi Joanna!” It was Andie without her glasses on.

I wonder where we will meet again.

God is so good. It was amazing to see a familiar face.

Side note: I made a joke awhile back with my friend “D” that any new friends I meet will have to have wet hair. I know funny, but I am just into real people that walk in the rain and don’t worry about getting their hair wet.

Haha God. You truly are omniscient.

Be Enjoying A Move From A Small Town To THE Big City

We have moved! After two months and fourteen days of living in my awesome parent’s basement while doing renovations, our family of five and all our stuff has arrived at the new house.

Bye bye twenty foot storage container

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Hello to life with a swimming pool

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Yum for cheaper sushi. Our family’s favourite food! JC even ate Miso soup with me.

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Yeah for new discoveries: a frozen yogurt buffet where you choose from twenty different frozen yogurts, add a topping if you want, then weigh it to find out the damage.

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Now to just get everything into their rooms in a somewhat organized fashion.

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Stay tuned!

Be In A Restful State

I feel that I have a healthy understanding of what my strengths and limitations are. I know that one area I need to work on is learning how to “rest”.

I think the physical posture of rest is important for me to learn. I have endured numbness, tingling and muscular fatigue in my limbs and face for almost four years. I think learning to physically, mentally and emotionally rest is the key to my healing.

Day two in our new house and Sexy Neck modelled “rest” for me well, even with our three boys mulling around.

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Be Pigpen, Not Lucy

I used to know it all!

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I could stand on my box and spout off all sorts of interesting facts and you bet that I would always spell it write right.  Oh I had opinions, my friends, and they were usually right or wrong.

I used my six foot frame to play any and every sport.  I never rested, nor sat down very long.

My prayer life was as rich as putting a sliver of milk chocolate in a cup of hot water.

Almost four years ago, after the birth of our second child, my world fell apart.

I started having numbness and tingling, muscular fatigue, memory loss and other “annoying” physical ailments.   I felt despair that was like a river of mud.  I thought thoughts that were as dark as this muddy river.  I held onto my old self, but ended up having to let it go.

God was creating a new ME.

He used the people in my life to wade into the muddy water. My Tuesday night bible study leader, a faraway friend in Alberta,  a mommy friend from the beginning, a friend from University life, a teacher I taught beside and a husband who stood by me through it all!

I wouldn’t have survived the mud without the prayer of these Saints, the encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of each other and the opportunity to see miracles working through them.  God weaves everything together for His good, even my tingling, my problems and my “pain in the ass” attitude.

About three months ago, someone called me “Pigpen”.  I was tremendously hurt by this.  I stewed over this comment for days.  Then I felt extremely grateful and such depth of insight that it could have only been from God.

Thank you Jesus as I would rather live the rest of my life as Pigpen than as Lucy.

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PS.  Sexy Neck just told me that I would probably be more like Linus.  I like to be warm and cozy in my blankie.  HAHA!

Be A Snail Lover

YUCK!

I am coming to conclusion that being a mother to boys is going to stretch me in more ways than them trying to use me as a wrestling mat.

My boys have always loved insects.  I can be outside in the garden and suddenly I will hear, “Butterfly”, “Bee”, “Look”, or I will see them hunched over something on the sidewalk.

I love being a stay-at-home mom because I can always stop and take a look at what they are inspecting.  I can keep little insects alive and I get to slow down and just be.

Our latest insect loving from the weekend: Snails.

No snails were hurt during this photo shoot.

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JC watching over the snails. 

Here are a sequence of photos I took while watching one of the snails.  He ended up touching the lens of the camera.  Awesome!

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These photos are not edited.  I was laughing my head off as I took them so that’s why they are a little blurry.

Snails have personality!  Sorry mom that they like to eat your plants.