Category Archives: Parenting

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 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 Lighting up Flu February

3 little sickies lying on the couches.

3 red faces.

3 fevers hot.

White candles burning.

Filling up the space.

3 little boys lit up with light.

Holding space with my boys.

Holding my boys.

Water.

Soup.

Apple sauce.

Toast.

3 little boys down for the count.

Not for long, though, so world watch out!

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With gratitude for the choices that I have made to allow these days to be simple days where I still get paid.

Freedom.

Day by day.

Being present.

Mothering my boys.

Being me.

Be Living a Dream 

Our home is in another’s hand.  

We are roaming around our region in Grandma and a Papa’s truck and camper. 

No plans.  

No agenda. 

Just living in the moments that create our days and make our lives.  

It’s a dream of ours to do this.  

Creating a bit of financial freedom through sharing our home.  

Making carefree memories for our boys.  

Day one is complete with a stop for a paddle and kayak.  

  
Throw in a post-hockey camp tailgate party provided by friends celebrating their sixteenth wedding anniversary.   

 A stop at a beach then up the road for ice cream.  

Now we are tucked in and ready for sleep on our friends beautiful acreage with crickets singing us a nightly toon. 

Don’t be surprised if you see our rig pull into your driveway if you are living close by…. 

No plans.  

No responsibilities. 

One moment. 

One day.  

One life.  

Living a dream with my boys and friends.   

 

Be Saying ‘Yes’! 

I have many incredible mentors in my life.  

Women.  

Men. 

Children. 

Time.  

Life.

Death. 

One incredible mentor that I am blessed to know is Linda Lou, my old Principal.  

Often when I am living life, her sage wisdom will come into my head.  

Last weekend was one of those marvelous moments! 

Linda Lou ALWAYS tried to find a way to say ‘yes’ to every person, adult or child that she worked with.  She was an incredible negotiator.  She listened well and she came up with amazing solutions so it was a yes for everyone.  

After a few days of feeling like a drill sergeant with my boys: fill your water bottle, grab your hombag, where is your helmet…. I decided to say ‘yes on Sunday.  

First I said yes to post-breakfast painting:  

 and then my oldest wanted to make a brunch buffet for everyone.  (CC had shared earlier in the week that he loved our resort in hawaii because he could take whatever he wanted at the breakfast buffet.) 

And then we finished off with some sewing:  

 

Just say ‘yes’ and see what happens.  

Creativity? 

Freedom? 

Joy?

Laughter? 

New adventures? 

I wonder what will come our way next! 

Be Rolling, Jumping and Balancing

What do you personally think every human being should know or be able to do?

For Sexy Neck and I, we believe it is essential that our boys learn how to move their bodies safely.

Thus, gymnastics is a priority for our schedule and our budget.

Man, it isn’t cheap!

As we move into our winter activities, we say goodbye to our autumn gymnastics class.

Thank you for teaching our boys to balance, hop and roll.

I wonder if we made gymnastics mandatory for us all, what would our Western-living lives look like?IMG_7482

Be the Power of a Penny

This blog post was started in the summertime as I was playing a “healthy living” game with my friend Penny and an old neighbour and her friend T.  I had to add to the post after our ski vacation a few days ago… and finally introduce you to one wonderful human being and friend.  Formally know on my blog as Princess P and now just Penny.

Here is a photo of the people playing our summertime game: My teammate Penny and I on the right and our wonderful opponents on the left. 20140704-135917-50357437.jpg

Here are my boys sharing some after dinner books at Auntie Penny’s house. My boys cherish the wonderful books she had for her own children.  We love going over to their house for dinner!

20140704-135916-50356828.jpgPenny made a special point to celebrate our middle guy’s fifth birthday before she went on an European summer holiday. He was thrilled with the very special transformer and book she bought him.

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And now while they were working hard to renovate their bathrooms and get ready for their own three wonderful children’s arrival, Penny and Bob came to spend a few wonderful hours with our family on the ski hill.

Penny knew my mom always made PJ’s for my boys at Christmastime and look what she got the boys:

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One of the other gifts that my mom has always given me over the years is a knitted scarf and look what I pulled out of the Christmas bag from Penny:

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A very lovely, hand-loving-made scarf!

The depth of gratitude I feel is incredible.

When you lose someone important in your life, there is a HUGE hole.

Forever.

The greater the love, the deeper the hole.

But others will lean in and close the gap.

The hole won’t pull you in and down.

People are holding me up right now in prayer and physical presence and “knowing”.

Penny has brought us such joy through these beautiful, thoughtful, handmade gifts.

These were very important to our family.

Healing through fabric.

My mom is gone, but never forgotten.

She lives on through all of us who “knew” her.

Generous.

Thoughtful.

Caring.

Kind.

Mom.

And now the power of a Penny!

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