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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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Be Living A Brut-iful Life!

img_8886 As I sit, ponder and let my mind wander, I think of all of you reading this 2017 message. Each of my Facebook friends and all 996 of you that follow my blog. I want to pour out extra love to everyone going through their sprinkling of brutal and beautiful as I did three years ago.  Couldn’t that be all of us?  Isn’t life imperfectly perfect?  What a brut-iful life we are living here in the stunning Okanagan Valley!  A sprinkle of brutal, but ALWAYS beautiful!

Three years ago, I walked with my mom as she was being released into heaven.  I walked as a daughter, an advocate, a pain reliever, a massager, a water getter, a midwife and had to make phone calls that I never thought I would have to, I think back at how brut-iful these moments were.  Brutal moments where I just have to lie down and cry and beautiful moments where I lie down and rejoice!  All magically weaved together into living each day with the gift of grief.

My boys were playing in their “Astronomer’s Lair” a few days ago, and I was very surprised to walk in and see them playing with old Tupperware bins.   I experienced one of my brut-iful moments when they proceeded to inform me that the extra bed was a place for their beloved Nana.  It was a lying down rejoicing and crying kind of moment!  The boys were 2, 4 and 6 when my marvelous Mama went to heaven, but she is still very much present in our lives!   It is slowly moving from brutal memories into beautiful moments.  Don’t underestimate your power to leave an impact on peoples lives!

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As I send  you wishes for an healthy, energetic, adventurous 2017 filled with dreams, may you savour all your brut-iful moments knowing that they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Day by day.

Beautiful.

Brutal.

Memory-Making.

Healthy.

Living EVERY day.

Brut-iful living.

Brut-iful life!

Smooch, Joanna

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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 Holding a Vision

“We become more able to articulate our own boundaries, dreams, and authentic goals. Our personal flexibility increases while our malleability to the whims of others decreases.” (The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron)

In my mind, I am holding a vision of a life where I spend more time with my brood of boys and close friends than I do currently.   

Expansive hours together.  

Cooking, drinking, talking, shaking things up! 

Magical memory making moments all over the world.  

Eating breakfast in Germany, lunch in France and Swiss fondue in a mountain hut.  

Riding and boating through the canals from Amsterdam to Budapest.  

Skiing, surfing and visiting our friend’s south of the border.  

Big visions. Big dreams.  Big ideals… that will be exciting to watch unfold.  

I have been holding smaller visions and watching them unfold, so I just hold and watch, hold and wait.  

Taking little steps every day! 

Two weeks ago, we watched our neighbourhood Block Watch signs go up.  In September, I held the vision that our neighbourhood would have a block watch.  I talked to a few people, collected names, we attended a meeting and viola, the block watch is in place with 100% participation. 


Two years ago, when I started my health journey with my nutrition company, I envisioned that our family would rent a place at a local ski hill.  I didn’t have expectations on how but I knew it would happen.   I started talking to people and looking.  Soon, a friend heard we were looking and viola, we are now enjoying our second year at the condo.  


Allow me to be a living testimony that you can create beautiful, wild, wonderful visions for your life.  Hold tight to them and don’t allow the expectations of others or the ‘old stuff’ in your life to hold you back.  

Being myself.  

Listening to my heart.  

Living my life.  

Holding my visions.  

Comment below if you would like to share your vision: 

Being vulnerable.  

Adding accountability.  

While watching your visions unfold.  

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