Tag Archives: boys

Be a Papa Dealing with Death

Death.

Divorce.

Despair.

Distance.

These four D’s that I talked about in my last post can bring us to our knees.

These gifts of grief can also help us rise into who we truly are.

This is what it’s been like for our Papa as he finds a new normal without his beloved wife after 52 years.

The partner Papa loved to share with and bounce ideas off of.

The woman who showered him with food love and a beautiful home.

The exceptional mother of his handsome boys.

The ever present Grandma of his five grandchildren.

Papa could have easily been brought to his knees but he truly has risen.

Going to many of the grandchildren’s events in the last three weeks.

Planning a funeral to honour his beloved wife and my mother-in-law.

Papa has poured out gratitude for everyone’s help.

He has poured out his heart in tears and given himself space to grieve.

May all people deal with grief like our Papa. He is a role model for us all.

Blessings poured over you, Papa, as you walk this journey. We, your fellow grief journeyers, are so proud of you.

Xoxox

Be an Inner #Influencer

#influencer

Who else has noticed the hashtag and word #influencer pop up all over social media?

It is everywhere, chosen by many people as the hashtag of 2019 to grow businesses and get their message out there. I am not buying the #influencer message and here is why: We need to be an #innerinfluencer and not just unconsciously digest the #influencer around us, with their edited pictures and image of the “perfect life”!

These are my three reoccurring thoughts about why we need to be an #innerinfluencer:

First, do you remember taping up posters of famous people on your physical walls and saving them on your computer desktop? It was dreamy. It was wondrous. It was also very fake! The pictures were staged. The smiles probably were too! And now with the invention of photo filters, everyone can have these pictures too! When you open a magazine or even a friend/acquaintance’s social media page, it is most likely filtered, photoshopped and staged just like the pros. Who knows if they had a fight with their husband two minutes before or are a million dollars in debt? The pictures won’t show or let us know what’s really going on.

It’s really doesn’t matter though, because in the 21st century YOU are the star of YOUR life. Go on a journey to look at your own unique gifts and talents. Look back to your childhood and when you were free and hanging up those posters of Ricky Schroeder or Backstreet Boys. What did you truly love to do and what did you want to be? This will be the greatest influence in your life. Be an #innerinfluencer. We can no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by magazine pictures and social media posts by celebrities or friends, it truly is only an illusion.

Second, do we really know the lives of the people that are calling themselves #influencer and do we want to have them influencing our lives? I was truly shocked to hear about the divorce of the Bezos. (He is the CEO of Amazon and they had build their business together.)

I have seen the power of outside influencers over and over in education where one child and even one word from another child can shift the personality and culture of individual children and an entire classroom. For example, just this year, one of my boys walked away from a beautiful friendship. This friend of my son’s is a heart-centred, kind and so much fun. My son and I have watched this boy become mean and moody because of the influence of another student in the class. My son lovingly created space and allowed his #innerinfluence to guide him. He walked away from this friendship. This is the greatest lesson my son has had with friendship in his short life and it has been a gift.

Take time to know the people who have influence in your life. Ask yourself three hard questions: Are you allowing yourself to be influenced by people who have your values and desires? Are you choosing to be influenced by people who mirror who you are and where you want to go? Can we really know these things about people not in our inner circle? Boom shakalaka. Three hard but very important questions to ask about influence. Here they are again:

1️⃣ Are you allowing yourself to be influenced by people who have your values and desires?

2️⃣ Are you choosing to be influenced by people who mirror who you are and where you want to go?

3️⃣ Can we really know these things about people not in our inner circle?

Lastly, the greatest influencers in my life don’t even participate in social media. Where do your greatest influencers exist? My influencers are my Sexy Neck, my three boys, my mother in heaven, my Heavenly Father, and a circle of friends that share their lives with me. I love the music of many musicians. I love the acting of many actors. I love the athleticism of professional athletes. I am inspired by many social media personalities with their beautiful quotes and pictures. BUT, rarely do I allow this group of people, unless I know them personally, to influence my life. I choose to be an #innerinfluencer, leaning into my gifts and talents, looking at where I need to grow and living as a human “being” with my tribe every day of my life.

I believe we are living in a world where reality is shifting, what we see is not really the way things are. The reality is the prettiest pictures and the slickest words get the greatest amount of attention, if we choose to pay attention. I want to encourage each of us that read these words to be looking outside with eyes open wide and looking within with hearts open wide.

You are a unique human being. There is truly no single human being in the world that is just like you.

May my words be an #influencer for you to look within as an #innerinfluencer because this is where the juicy dreams live in the 21st century.

😘 Joanna

Be Learning Life Lessons from a Lab

I was a cat girl growing up. Now, I am a lab girl for life!

I loved cats independence. Loved their gentle purrs and how they would sleep with you in the most obscure ways. My cat, Boots, loved sleeping right on top of my neck or chest.

Enter in Sexy Neck into my life in 1992 with a visit to his family home which was definitely a dog family. Their little dog, Mandy, was a sweetie. Someone to walk with, someone to greet you happily every single time you walked in the door and a great companion for everyone.

This cat girl growing up didn’t stand a chance! Nineteen years ago, I became a dog person, more specifically a Labrador retriever girl. My life would never be the same!

Over these years, I have had the privilege to learn from our two labs, KT and Summer. These are the specific lessons from Summer as this was a very Holy day celebrating her life.

💫 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 💫

💫 Enjoy all the seasons, especially winter. Rolling around and sliding down slight inclines on your side is especially fun!

💫 Wag your tail at everyone but bark at the mailman.

💫 Always be on the lookout for food. You never know what you will find. Even things that you need to lick off the pavement are enjoyable.

💫 Be a baby watcher. Stand as close as you can with your wet nose on the baby blanket. Diapers are the best things to smell on babies. (We called Summer our “Nanny dog”.)

💫 Pour out love to the humans CLOSEST to you. Always be happy to see them. Always greet them at the door. Always look up to them with adoring eyes, especially when they have treats for you.

💫 Love children. All children. Always love those children that will rub your ears, your belly and play fetch with you.

💫 Take your master cross country skiing at all hours of the day. Be their companion and confidante listening to all their stories. Don’t get stuck in the powder!

💫 Be content being with, playing with and taking care of your core group of people. It’s the simple things.

💫 You are never too big to cuddle or have your ears and belly rubbed.

💫 Don’t leave the food you like unattended on the table. It might disappear! (This is a lesson from my boys: Nine and eleven year old. This is something Summer just started doing last year, which was ironic because her arthritis was so bad that we had to lift her into the car. That piece of toast on the table, though, no problem!)

💫 Don’t trust strange dogs.

💫 Be present

💫 A little mess doesn’t matter.

💫 The stuff you leave behind is meaningless. It’s the memories, the cuddles, the smells and the moments that create a MAGICAL life!

🙏🏻 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 😘

Magical memories with this puppy: swimming, always being happy to see us, chasing golf balls, cross country skiing, eating every crumb off our floors, shedding a small dog every day, being my comfort and companion, witnessing the birth of all three of our boys…

Thank you faithful friend. Thank you for the life lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I will miss you every day!

February 5th 10:28am 💜 Summer 🙏🏻

Be Giving Four Tech Tips to Parents (speech preparation)

In April, I am going to be sharing my experience with technology and our three boys to a group of parents, professors and community members at the local University. I will be on a panel with four experts that have immersed themselves in learning and being awake to technology.

Here is my speech, your comments are appreciated:

When I was growing up I had a neighbour named Michael. He was not allowed to eat gum, candy or anything that had sugar in it. When he became a teenager, he always seemed to have a piece of gum in his mouth as soon as he walked down the end of his driveway. He was focused on when he could have his candy and gum. He was a sugar zombie. As I now raise three boys in a overtly technologically driven world, like sugar was for my generation, and ponder them as teenagers, this has been in the forefront of my mind. As parents, my husband and I always “start how we want to finish”. We don’t want to do anything that won’t help our young children grow into adults.

Our discussion around technology began when our youngest was four months old and I flipped on a children’s television channel and saw an Oil of Olay commercial. I asked myself if I wanted my son to grow up thinking that women looked like that? The answer was no and the cable was taken off the television. Our boys are now 11, 9 and 7. They have access to technology but have maybe seen the nightly news five times in their entire life. My husband and I have come up with four guiding questions or tips about technology that have helped us as we parent our boys.

BUT, before I share these tips, I want to give you a bit more depth of insight about our vantagepoint as parents. All of the information in the world, is now in our pockets, we can also take pictures, communicate immediately, count our steps and even open our garage door. When we grew up, we had to access a library, find someone, or have a gigantic set of encyclopedia Brittanica on our shelves at home to access information. With this power in our pocket, we also know that it lights up our brains like cocaine. Oh it feels good! Technology gives us instant gratification. And we have observed that most people spend more time with their technology (than?) with any human being in their life. Therefore, we don’t take technology and our children’s connection to it lightly.

NOW, here’s our four questions we use to guide us. I implore each of you to steal our questions or be inspired to create your own. May you find a healthy relationship with technology for you and your family.

First, how do we want technology to look in our family knowing the average usage of screen time is 6 hours per day for children?

We held a family meeting to discuss this and we talked about our weeks as well as the activities that we live to do. We decided on 4.5 hour per week. Yup, per week. The boys created Tech Coins so that they could personally keep track of their time. We know they will soon be teenagers and I don’t want to be keeping track of their technology time. I want them to be able to know when enough technology is enough. Remember my neighbour and our motto for parenting: “Start how you want to finish”.

Second, we wondered how do we help grow creators using technology not just consumers. Like good food, alcohol, shopping… we believe you can consume too much technology. Have you ever met a young child that can only talk about technology? I believe we are dealing with an overconsumption! In our boys, 4.5 hours of technology per week, they do play a few games that are apps. They mostly will create skits that they video, make cartoons, build things or make stikbot movies.

Here’s the big question, number three: How do we engage in social media as a family? I use it sparingly for work, after I overcame my own addiction. My boys don’t do it at all. Common Sense Media recommends that children aren’t ready til 14 years old. And as my husband has worked as a Vice Principal at both a middle and high school, I don’t know if our boys will have access to social media before they leave our home at 18. Haha. My husband estimates that 70% of the issues he dealt with were at least partially connected to social media. It’s a platform that creates communication and a life that isn’t real. I read things personally, that I know that person wouldn’t say to another living human beings face but the technology had caused a disconnect. We are all about connection.

Our fourth question was one from my journey, do we crave technology? Can we leave it for an hour or two or a day or a two? I am proud to say that I now can. But now I am very careful to see if my boys are being seduced into the instant gratification of technology. If yes, we talk about it, then take a break for a day or two.

Image from http://www.rearfront.com

People worry about zombies coming to the earth, but I think they are already here… mouths dropped open, head down, phone in front of their face, running into poles on the sidewalk, ignoring every human being around them. To prevent a generation of zombies, I ask:

1. How does technology look like for you and your family? What do you want it to look like?

2. Are you using technology to create or consume?

3. How do you engage with social media?

4. Do you crave technology?

A few questions to ponder as we live in an ever changing technological world and strive to raise awake, creative human beings and not zombies.

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 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 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 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.

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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 a Swim, Bike, Runner…

The beautiful summer days of adventure, creating, dreaming, reading, eating, movie watching as well as swim, bike and running followed by a fantastic Sun Rype buffet to finish it off.

A few weekends ago, our four, seven and nine year old boys embarked on an athletic event that is so delightful.  It took our youngest 8:49 to get to the Sun Rype buffet table where they can choose any Sun Rype products.  Our seven year old was 10:18 and our oldest zipped around the course in 21:07.   They had a fantastic morning!  Look at those medals too!  This kids triathlon knows how to create magical memories for kids!  And that is what our family is all about!

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OC – age 4.

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CC – Age 7 + one day

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JC – Age 9

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Our Cheering squad and our amazing racers!

Love these summer days!  Love these moments.

May you create magical moments each day.

In words.

In actions.

In being.

In thought.

In spirit.

With intention.

In being.

You!