Tag Archives: Family

Be Untrainable (a post for my three boys) 

    Boys, there are some thing that I never want the world or anyone in the world to train out of you.  I watched all of you complete a triathlon on Sunday. Personally, I love how sports and being active can teach us about life.  I feel this to be particularly true about volleyball and Triathlon.  


                        OC- 5 years old 


    Volleyball will teach you how to deal with failures when they happen and get over them quickly.  It teaches you how to always work as a team and how to be a contributing team player, no matter the role assigned to you.  Volleyball will take you through a life full of emotions in only one match.  But oh, Triathlon, this teaches us even more about life.  


               CC – 8th birthday day 

    Triathlon teaches us so much about ourselves.  Three years ago, I wouldn’t even have considered doing one.  My mind was holding me back.  So that’s the biggest hurdle we need to overcome is our mind’s desire to hold us back from success and adventure.  With training, anyone can complete a swim, cycle and run triathlon.  


                      JC – 10 years old 

    Swimming in triathlon is a special part of the event because you can drown! Mentally, you need to overcome that thought of dying, overcome the affects of water and waves as well as “Just keep swimming!” as Dory likes to remind us to do.  Now, we get to cycling boys! The part of the event that could lead to injury.  Through contact with other racers or the road.  You may need to hold your composure with equipment failure or getting passed on the hills.  Always remember that the swim and cycle part are really getting you ready for the run.  Imagine the swim as your birth to elementary school years.   Cycling is that adventurous and fast teenage years.  The run is adult life. This is where the real magic happens.  Every little stroke in the water or on the bike has set you up for the run.  On the run one step at a time, you will need to focus. Neither looking back nor too far ahead.  The run, like life, is a time to savour and enjoy a race well done!  And you did this on Sunday!   You showed how you want to live your life and my prayer tonight is that no one will ever take these skills from you, all these skills that you exemplified during your triathlons.  

    Tenacity. 

    Drive. 

    Heart. 

    Intrinsic motivation. 

    Deep feelings. 

    Athleticism. 

    Creativity. 

    And oh did you love that Sun Rype buffet at the end! 

    Keep celebrating.  

    Keep being you.  

    Always be you! 

    Love your very proud Mama 

    Be Having a New View 

    When do you feel your knees shake or your mouth turn to sandpaper?  What makes your mind spin with emotionally charged random thoughts? 

    For me, up until today, it was that building with the gigantic H on the top of it. Yessiree Bob, the hospital. 

    Knee shaking. 

    Sandpaper mouth. 

    Mind blowing. 

    Emotional muscle building hospital. 

    I walked through seven years, um I mean days, of hospital time with my mom exactly three and a half years ago. If you followed my blog back then you know this meant pain, excruciating pain, worried nurses who thought they were going to kill my mom with pain meds, a stolen chair, sleeping on said chair and a final ambulance ride in the snow with my mama to the incredible hospice house. 

    Hell 

    Healing.  

    Stretching. 

    Restoring. 


    Today, I walked into the hospital to see another dearly beloved family member.  I didn’t want to go, but my peeps are so much more important than any discomfort that I may feel.  I put on my armour, remembered what I learned in my last journey and walked through the doors.  

    Walked through the doors with a “New View”, knowing that I had experiences that could help, a story that could support others and the keen sense to find tea, be in the right place at the right time and know the questions to ask when that magic right time happens. 

    Shit, I have learned something and grown into it!  

    I walked through the valley of he shadow of death, embraced it, rowed the waves of grief through it and now I can see the sun! I can see hope!  I can see a completely New View.  

    Standing strong. 

    Calm, steady words. 

    Mind calming. 

    Emotional muscle built hospital. 

    The gift of grief keeps on giving and will for the rest of my life. My mom’s life and death had been one of my greatest teachers.  It brought me to my knees and helped me learn to stand.  Let this five all my fellow grief journeyers hope.  

    Standing in my truth. 

    With my experience. 

    Soaring in my gifts. 

    With my journey. 

    Soaking in my New View. 


    With love and gratitude for all that I can do and share. This post is dedicated to a beautiful couple who are our role models and the hospital that is supporting them in their journey. 

    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 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 Rejected 

    Sit with me today and ask yourself if you have ever been rejected. I mean really rejected, back-turning, door slamming, get the f* out rejected?  I also want to talk about the simple rejections that happen every single day as we live our lives.

    Have you ever been dumped?

    Rejection.

    Have you ever applied for a job and not hired?

    Rejected.

    Have you ever apologized and had that person never speak to you again?

    Rejection.

    Have you put in a business or book proposal and received a denial letter?

    Rejected.

    rejected
    In the sadness, anger and humbleness of rejection, what do we find?

    A new way.

    A new path.

    A new resiliency.

    A letting go.

    Or holding tighter.

    A fortitude to persevere.

    Or a desire to walk away.

    Rejection is a true gift, a branch of the gifts of grief.

    It is ready for us to unwrap in every rejected moment.

    gift-giving

    We can choose our path with rejection.

    We can envision rejection as a branch of a metaphorical tree.

    Ponder, with me, how this gift of rejection can help us grow!

    Perhaps rejection has come into our life because we have been growing roots in places that weren’t in rich soil.  We may have needed more light rather than darkness.  Or maybe something or someone new may have been needed in our life to bring us new living water. Rejection needed to create space.  Our branches may have needed some pruning so that we could have new growth in our life.

    Rejected.

    Rejection.

    Light.

    Growth.

    Life.

    All symbiotic and much needed in our lives.

    Gratitude today for EVERY time I have been rejected in word, thought or deed.

    Life-giving.

    Gratitude-living.

    Rejection.

    Be rejected.

    Be Retiring and Releasing

    Do you know when you have been holding onto something for too long?

    It just sits in the back of your brain, popping up in your head like an annoying old boyfriend.   As these thoughts roll through your mind like a movie, you have to decide to continue to let them float on by or to let them go.

    Often if you sit with these thoughts, you just know when it is time to let things go!

    For over six years, I have been fortunate to have a leave of absence from a teaching job.  And it was an amazing teaching job, which makes it hard to let go of.  I hold no regrets.  Only fabulous memories with inspiring people surrounding me.

    I taught in towns and villages all through the school district.

    I had students get picked up via dogsled and horseback.  I had students create the most amazing projects and share the most incredible stories.

    I had a custodian that inspired me daily, saran wrapped my entire classroom and help me survive my first classroom teaching experience.

    I had families that I was fortunate to know well and even teach many of their children.

    I had the very best CEA’s (Teacher’s Assistants).  These women were the best teammates you could ever ask for when teaching children. They were even willing to dress up with me in PJ’s to help teach the children a lesson on responsibility. Oh that was a fun day!  The tolerated my math lessons as Grandma Cann and cried with me when students were having a hard time.

    My colleagues were superior and they continue to inspire me living their lives on Facebook and Strava or when I head back to VCity and run into them on the street.  These colleagues are the ones creating amazing drama productions, music performances, coaching teams, creating community schools, teaching en francais and so many other incredible educational feats during this season of teaching children.

    And oh my Principals, they were bar none the best.  Servant-hearted, caring Principals.  People that Sexy Neck and I often talk about and ask, “What would Linda or Jim or Tom or ________ do?  I was so fortunate to have the best leaders.

    So as I let go, I am fully awake and completely saddened.  The ebb and flow of life, I am realizing.   A chapter in my teaching story is complete!  I am releasing and allowing new space for things in my mind, in my life and in my wildest dreams.  I am grateful to be alive!

    My resignation letter is in:

    IMG_4819[1]

     

    Be Celebrating Another Nana

    This post has been percolating in my mind for many months.  Stewing, forming, mashing all up together in my head and within the deepest part of my heart.

    How could I best pour out my words for another beautiful, vibrant, gardening Nana?

    Tonight, I just decided to sit down and write.

    Tonight, I am celebrating another Nana.

    I remember one day after dropping JC off at school in Vtown, a very good friend of mine K walked up to me in the parking lot.  I am not sure where the little boys were, but K and I ended up standing in the parking lot and she shared her news.

    Her beautiful mom, Wendy, was diagnosed with cancer and they didn’t think it could be cured.
    WUMP!

    If you know my friend K, you know both her mom and her dad.  Like my parents used to be, their lives were woven throughout the fabric of their grandchildren and children’s lives.  Nana Wendy was a Super Nana, just like my mom.

    I didn’t know at the time, but K and I would walk similar journeys as grieving daughters and mom’s of young children as we watched our Super Nana’s and mom’s live and die with cancer.  My mom wouldn’t be diagnosed until many months later and would pass away two years before Nana Wendy.

    On December, 29th, 2015, just two short months ago, I was able to be present and sit as K and her family celebrated Wendy’s life.  Ironically, it was two years to the day that we had celebrated my mom’s own life.

    Wendy’s celebration of life was truly remarkable and not something that I soon will forget. Candles were lit.  K read a beautiful poem.  Her brother shared his mom’s life story and some humour to go along with it.  K’s daughter shared her heart.  Family and friends shared stories.  It was the most lighthearted, beautiful, inspiring, celebration of life I had seen.  I felt like I had the opportunity to sit with Wendy, getting to know her more through her family, while in her garden.

    This moment reminded me about the depth of character, which we all have, that allows us to grieve deeply, yet celebrate a life.   This same depth allows us to smile at little children and be grateful for an unborn baby that K’s brother’s family was expecting, while feeling sadness about the loss.

    Life is created in these beautiful seeming “opposing” moments, created by amazing families, like K’s!

    It is about embracing all of lifes beauty at all times.

    I am extremely humbled to call K my friend and to have journeyed this passage of time with her through cancer treatments, hospital stays, time in hospice and celebrating our moms lives and deaths.

    With gratitude, I pour out these words.

    With humbleness of heart for being able to watch this journey unfold.

    With a great lump in my throat for the loss we both endure.

    With sadness for our children that have lost their Super Nanas.

    With love pouring out because of how our mom’s lived their lives.

    To the max!

    With laughter.

    With a good book at their side.

    A beautiful garden to tend to.

    And a family that deeply misses their presence.

    Hugs to our Nanas in heaven.

    IMG_4072[1]

    Be Pondering String, Puppies and a Lion 

    Lying on the ground. 

    In silence. 

    In peace.  

    Tangled woven fabric all around me, across my face circling my body. 

    Standing arms flailing. 

    A puppy, playfully pulling around, like he’s chasing his tail, helping me unravel. 

    Around. 

    And around. 

    The puppet strings are cut. 

    I no longer need to wrestle or perform. 

    I can be. 

    Me. 

      
    A lion walks beside me. 

    He smells like heaven. 

    Lush and green. 

    Warm and luscious. 

    We are walking freely.  

    Together. 

    Alone.  

    In peace. 

    Enough. 

    Enuf. 

    Nuf said. 

    Giggle. 

    Giggle. 

    Giggle. 

    (Thank you to lovely Linda for helping me be and amazing Ang for the inspiration! Glory!) 

    Be Celebrating a “Cann”tastic Christmas 2015 

    Celebrating friendship, Jesus’s birth, family, and just being together!  We had an amaaaaazing Christmas.  Love a duck, I do have to say it was “Cann”tastic! 

        
     There were so many coincidences and blessings that came our way.  The opportunities we have to talk and sit with people were inspiring.

    Skiing.

    Skating.

    Bowling.

    Road Trip.

    Lego.

    Sleds.

    Food.

    And discovering a ski sign with our last name on it.

    A “Cann”tastic Christmas!