Be Paper Dolls 

As spring is often a time of cleaning up, incredible growth can happen when we unearth some ‘old stuff’. The beauty of ducluttering and cleaning up is you really don’t know what you will discover way down deep.  

For us this week, it was my mom’s old paper dolls.  They are believed to be over 60 years old.  Beautiful, thick, coloured paper, a few personally coloured by my mom.  The boys enjoyed touching, playing with and dressing these paper dolls.  I could envision my mom playing right alongside them. 


Did you have paper dolls? What does this ‘unearth’for you? 

Seeing and touching these paper dolls grounds me. 

I feel connected to my past and my future.  

I feel love and care, my mom sure loved and cared for us.  

I loved the conversation I had with my boys as they asked about the clothing and where the paper dolls came from.  

I soaked in simplicity.  Feeling the thick, strong, resilient paper in my hands.  Watching my boys gently play and talk together.  

The legacy left in paper dolls.  

Grounding. 

Connecting. 

Love. 

Conversation. 

Simplicity. 

All just by being paper dolls. 


May we all continue to buy useful, beautiful or legacy pieces to have around us.  

I am grateful for these. 

Paper dolls.

#befree #beenough #gratitude 

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 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 Living Reality 

Ask anyone I taught with, I was a reality tv junky. 

Addicted? 

Probably! 

The Bachelor.  

Big Brother.  

American Idol.  

Survivor. 

At the schools I worked at, I used to organize Survivor Pools where we each would ‘be’ a character and we would see who would be the ‘Sole Survivor’! 

Hours upon hours of reality tv, where my week would be organized around the specific day and hour the show would be on. 

Survivor was Thursdays.  

8:00pm. 

5:00pm if you had an eastern channel!

I loved it when my mom moved to town because she had that eastern time zone channel. 

Yup, imagine revolving your whole week around a reality tv show?  I did it!  Yes, I did! 

When my oldest, who is now nine, was four months old, I knew I had a wake-up call from tv land and I realized I had to make a decision.  

I had just started maternity leave and was home full time with JC!  I was moving from an incredible, full 14 hour days as a teacher, to home and my Reality tv land.  Can you see where I was going?

I knew I had to make a choice: watch reality from the couch or live it everywhere I went.   We decided to live it.  We stopped paying for cable television.  We started being intentional about what and when we wanted to watch tv shows on the Internet or via DVD’s.  We saw less commercials.  Our boys have rarely seen a commercial in their lives and often find them annoyingly interrupting to what they are watching.  

(Sidenote: The constant Oil of Olay commercials on the children’s network, Treehouse, also persuaded me to cut cable. Did I want my boys to think that women’s faces looked like that?)

Now, I live in reality every day with my brood of boys.  

I live it everywhere I go.  

Television shows and movies are rare. 

Connecting with others and creating space to be is happening every day. 

I have space to let my mind meander.  

I have nothing ‘pulling’ me away from my vision of what I want my daily reality to look like.  

My living ‘reality’ involves copious amounts of food in somewhat strange combinations, refereeing wrestling matches, going off the beaten path and lots of high energy activities.  That sounds exactly like reality tv, doesn’t it? 

Survivor anyone? Who will be the sole survivor?  Some days it’s me!

Big Brother? Me and my houseful of boys.  


Really real. 

Living life.  

Awake.  

Aware. 

Alive.  

Perfectly imperfect.  

Being me.  

In my reality.  

Hmmmm…. maybe it’s time to get rid of Facebook?  But that’s really real, isn’t it? 😂

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.

img_9138

 

"Be a human BEING, not a human doing!"