Tag Archives: friendship

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 In Relationship or Right? 

As I lay my head down on the pillow, I ponder relationships, as I often do.  My peeps.  My random people.  All humans who crossed my path today.   

I shower gratitude over the people in my everyday life: our neighbours, our friends, our teachers, our coaches, our secretaries, our service industry works.  

I feel sadness and wonder what I could do with those ‘lost’ relationships.  I wonder about what I could have done differently and I often come to the conclusion of: NOTHING. 

As I lay my head down on the pillow, I realize that some people would rather be right than be in relationship.  It is truly their way or the highway.  They actually like to be “highway patrollers” telling others how to drive on the highway of life.  For me, my patrollers, are no longer in relationship with me because I didn’t do what they wanted me to do.   I don’t want to drive my vehicle in their style.  They are right and I am wrong.   And I am totally okay with that! 

I may be wrong but I walk in freedom.  Complete and utter freedom.  As a recovering perfectionist, I am no longer afraid of wrong.  I am no longer afraid to fail.  I am failing faster than ever before as I learn about fueling my body and moving out of my comfort zones. (Because we all know that this is where the magic happens!)   I believe our greatest learning happens when we pick ourselves up after we fall down. I am no longer afraid of others judgements or insight in my wrongs.  I am too busy growing myself. I honestly don’t have time or energy to judge what others are doing. Plus, I value relationships over being right. 

I love my peeps, where we can talk honestly and opening about where we are at.  Our lives aren’t all glossy like a magazine cover, it is like a gorgeous diamond bracelet with the shine and shadows.   No one is striving to be right nor wrong but to be in relationship.  

Loving. 

Laughing.  

Learning.  

Living.  

In relationship! 💛

(This post is written in celebration of a group of women who met this morning to share the life and death of their beautiful mamas! #griefgirls) 

Be Walking out your Grief 

It is such a privilege to walk with someone and hear their story about living through the death of their precious mama.  

This is a treasure. 

It is an incredible gift to hear how someone is truly feeling about their life on any given day because of packed scheduled, presentations, or sleepless nights. 

This is rich.  

It is profound to get to know so many people negotiating grief while experiencing divorce, death, dog bites, loss of jobs, moving… The list is endless.  

This grief journey is priceless. 

I am blessed to be having these deep conversations on a daily basis now that I have been sitting in my own gift of grief. 


I am now learning to walk it out.  

Honesty, most days I still want to hide.  

I am broken inside. 

I am softer and more affected by life.  

My heart leaks out of my eyes at unexpected moments, like today when beautiful Crystal told me she was proud of me.  

I want to lie on my laundry room floor and pray and wonder and ponder and rest.  

But, I know I need to walk it out. 

My lying down days are gone.  

I have lying down moments, like today in Superstore, which I still really enjoy. They no longer need to humble me for the whole day. 

I get out and walk. 

I talk. 

I swim. 

I write and play with words.  

I run. 

And I talk to people, lots of them because I love people.  

I bike.  

I workout.  

I do this to keep working things out. 

My body moves. 

My relationships grow. 

My minds ponders.  

My gift of grief keeps unpacking itself.  

Into this deep place where I am now able to have the privilege to walk with others.  

In their grief.  

On their own personal journey.  

Walking it out.  

What a blessing. 

I am blessed.  

I am enough. 

Each breathe. 

Each day.  

I am enough.  

Be Living Lavish (not lacking a thing!)

Lavish luxurious living.

Not lacking a thing.

Could you imagine it?

Really?

I am living it!

Truly!

My mind has shifted from living in lack, in scarcity.

It has moved into a place of abundance, of lavish luxury!

I have realized that I have everything I need, in this moment.

I am listening, looking, learning and living as I talk about in my book, “I Am Free!” 

Inside and Out!

I previously believed,  I never had enough time or that time was ‘slipping’ away.  My lists seemed endless and my priorities were blowing in the wind by others visions for me.  I was flitting here and there trying to get things done and make up for “lost time”.   Now I know that I create my time and I have enough each day.  I enjoy and savour moments throughout the day.  The moments create a beautiful life.  I know that I have enough time.

FAITH! (not lacking faith!)

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Before, I would worry about spending money $$$$, didn’t enjoy spending it nor never thought that we would ever have enough.  I budgeted, spreadsheeted, pondered and prayed about how to make our finances “work”.  Now I know that we can create the financial future that we want by being awake to how we are spending money, by saving practically and enjoying the journey along the way.  I now find money EVERYWHERE and my boys do too!  It is fun to see how this currency we have created is coming our way.

FINANCIAL FUN! (not lacking a cent!)

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I used to think, that I was a border collie when it came to relationships.  My role was to herd everyone together and to make sure that everyone was okay.  I would endless reach out to people and communicate in a way that I thought would “make things better” by often listening to gossip or by saying I am sorry are just a few examples.   I now know that I am a loving, strong woman with a wonderful tribe of people surrounding me, with their own personalities and traits.  Everyone is responsible for themselves.  I no longer am responsible for the herd, but choose to enjoy those that are attracted to my golden retriever personality.

FRIENDSHIP (definitely not in lack here!)

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I am humbled to admit that before I never thought that I could do enough. EVER!  I ALWAYS felt that I was at fault if something went wrong. I ALWAYS felt that I was never able to meet anyone’s standards, even my own.  It was pressure, my friends, pressure to perform to the MAX.  I rarely rested.  I never let my mind sit, afraid of the lengthy to-do list that would push my face down into the pavement.  I now know, that I am enough.  I am doing enough, each day, with my gifts and imperfections.  I ALWAYS know that I can add value to people.  I ALWAYS feel freedom just to be.  My mind can sit and I often find myself lying down on the ground in awe of the divine moments that come my way!

FREEDOM (soooo much freedom)

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What are the possibilities for you to move from lack into lavishness?  Is it related to your thoughts on food, friends, exercise, sleep, sex, communication, spirituality, writing…?

As we enter the season of the new school year, may we all move into a place of lavish luxurious living!  This is my hope for everyone who reads this post!

SMOOCH, Joanna

Be Not Computing

“So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.”
-Wendell Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
The inspiring words behind this post.  The simple message of doing something that won’t compute.
Be unreasonably kind.
Do something loving that doesn’t make sense.
Don’t explain.
Just give not computing a try!
Let us know what you decide.

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 Had by a Hat

I was gotten.

I was had.

By a hat!

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In my beautiful, handmade salad dressing!

This little ditty started way back in 2009… SIX YEARS AGO.

It started with a cake and here is the story.

For over two years, this hat has now been going back and forth between my friend Double D and I.

Last week, I kindly asked my friend Double D if I could get some of her amazing, beautiful balsamic salad dressing that I think she should sell.  I pulled into her house on Friday afternoon, looking for her to jump out of somewhere and throw the hat into my car.  Previously, I had put the hat ten feet up in her tree when she was away on a relaxing weekend away.

I searched the bag and NO HAT!  I looked under the paper in the bag and NO HAT!

Whew!
Relief!

Joy!

Peace!

The hat was STILL in her hands!

But then, alas, I opened the beautiful jar of creamy, delicious handmade salad dressing.

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I fell on the floor.

I groaned and I moaned.

And the boys laughed and laughed and laughed.

I WAS HAD BY A HAT!

A few boys are very happy about the hat!  CC has been wearing it ever since it arrived back in our home via salad dressing.  IMG_8488[1]

Dude!  Don’t mess with Double D.  She is one smart and creative woman!

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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Be the Power of One

One word.

One email.

One step.

One blog comment.

One moment.

I am touched in this season by the power of the people around me.

The thoughtfulness of the people around me.

The consistent encouraging comments by Levi on my blog showing me God’s love.

The great communication from friends from afar helping me feel connected.

The cookies dropped off at my door helped feed my brood of boys a special snack.

The incredible emails I have received which move me spiritually and encourage me greatly.

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Below is just one example from my friend, ‘Shell’.

Here are her words:

This morning I awoke to read your blog
Needing to connect amidst the fog

Thanks for sharing your journey of grief
The sea of emotion beyond belief

What have I learned since from you, dear friend?
That your Mama loved you unconditional… right to the end

What a treasure she is and heaven’s now richer
Though I wonder why God doesn’t explain that when we turn to scripture

Please know, dear friend, that I care for deep
And this morning I read your blog and began to weep

Thank you for sharing and remaining transparent
About life, love and being a parent

Have you ever read such beautiful, resonating, encouraging words?

Can you be someone’s power of one today?

Will you see the work of One Great God in your own life?

I am a walking testimony to God’s great goodness and love. I am a testimony to the power of the people whom God surrounds us with when we are most vulnerable and humbled.