I don’t have time to talk about you because if you are an important person in my life I am talking TO you.
I don’t have time to worry about if you have lost or gained weight, I am 100% focused on my own health.
I don’t have time to ponder what you are doing with your life, but I am praying that you would have a life filled with love, joy and peace.
I don’t have time to wonder why you left my life and want nothing to do with me as I am completely enveloped with love by the people who choose to spend time with me.
I don’t have any time to think about who you love or want to marry, I am focused on making my own relationships better.
I don’t have time to wonder why my family of origin has fallen far apart since my mom died. The rich relationships that have filled this Grand Canyon gap from my mom’s death and the ‘chosen family’ who shower us with encouragement are greater than any gift I could imagine.
I don’t have time to judge what you do with your money, your time or your relationships because God is showing me all the good He is doing through knowing you.
I don’t have time. I don’t believe in busy. I don’t believe in missing anyone.
I create time.
Busy is a swear word.
If I miss you, I reach out to you. The only people I miss are dead. They definitely don’t have any time.
Pure excitement for the screens with movies, tv shows, podcasts, games and music on the seat in front of us.
Plus wifi while flying through the air too!
1 yummy airplane meal.
Copious amounts of water.
Lots of veggies from home, 2 meal replacement vitamin-shakes so no one gets a bungled up but.
3 hours of fitful sleep.
1 lost water bottle.
1 lost hat.
1 Uber drive.
1 random security screening and tears from our eight year old. (It is the second time he has been randomly selected for hand swabbing)
10:05am Arrival in Paris
1 hotel in Montmartre that actually looks exactly like the pictures in the online photos. (Hotel Migny Opera)
Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris and very close to our hotel.
Danone pudding cups. Oh man, do I love these delicious things. I would never eat them at home, but the dairy products and bread here are just oh so delicious.
Gotta love parks that have workout equipment. Plus fooseball, two playgrounds, a fenced in soccer/basketball area plus a ton of benches to sit on.
Amazing multi-purpose random parks where Sexy Neck ends up in a “dip” contest with other dads.
Hot Crepes. Who loves Nutella?
Pain au chocolat. Oh my.
In bed at 5:00pm to get our bodies onto this new time zone.
November 1st, 2019
14 hours of time in bed.
We made a mockery of the incredible French breakfast buffet and showed our boys where our love for jam, ham and cheese on bread came from.
We have the smallest elevator in our hotel! This is an actual real-life photo.
In our travel with our boys, we have realized one event per day is the perfect balance for us.
Today’s event was a Natural History Museum our eight year old picked out.
From the hotel.
On the metro.
To the Jardin des Plantes.
A misty walk.
A longer line than we are used to.
It was awe. some.
From the garden and zoo surrounding the museum, to the century old building that house the museum, we were in awe.
Then another metro ride to the Champs d’Elyssee for dinner.
3 metro rides.
One where I saw a man watching Steve buy our metro tickets. Then I saw the same man go through a turnstile with a woman, pickpocket her phone out of her jacket then proceed to give it back to her. I have learned that pickpockets use distraction and bumping into people to take things. The women didn’t even know he had gone through the turnstile with her. She thought it was just sticky.
5.5 hours of walking, talking, holding hands.
1 French dinner at Alsace restaurant.
1 priceless second day in Paris.
3 sweaty subway rides which were a nice reprieve from the cold wind.
1 canal boat ride along the Seine River.
3 bottles or Orangina and hot drinks by the “contained” Notre Dame Cathedral. There were high barriers around the property. We told the boys they will definitely have to go back.
Back to our hotel and 118 steps up a spiralling staircase to our room for a pre-dinner rest. We chose to be on the sixth floor. Steve and I decided that we will choose a place with a ton of stairs when we are 70 years old to keep us active!
Dinner at the highest point of Paris, Montmartre beside the Sacre Coeur.
Another beautiful day in Paris.
Cobblestone under our feet.
A quick pop-in to the LEGO store for the boys and H & M for me.
2 more Metro rides today.
We went to my favourite museum on earth, and it was free because it was the first Sunday of the month. If you love museums, checkout their free days and always note what day they are closed. It’s usually one weekday.
Off to my pick for this part of the trip: Mussee D’Orsay.
Two hours in the Museum D’Orsay was a hit. We climbed up to an observation deck on the fifth floor of the old train station and we asked the boys to see if they could recognize any of the artwork as we wandered around. We had a fun treasure hunt. But, I will admit that the biggest hit was the free virtual reality machine that gave the boys a two minute tour of the museum from the train station’s development over time.
16, 673 steps.
Over 700 of those steps straight up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Up in the day and down in the night is highly recommended.
Also, instead of accessing the Eiffel Tower from the plazas, come in from the side on Avenue Silvestre de Sacy. My boys found the sellers quite noisy and strange when we came from Pont d’lena yesterday to check out the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower truly was an inspiring and incredible place to visit and I know it will ignite many future conversations with our family.
At 6:30pm, we arrived back home to our hotel for a simple picnic dinner while writing in journals and looking at and sharing photos amongst our devices.
We are very grateful for this day!
We saw concrete evidence of art in action and what a “rough draft” and “final copy” looks like! Yup, always a teacher!
We discovered a rose placed on a fence below the Eiffel Tower that reminded us of our beloved Nana in heaven:
We stumbled into an obscure Starbucks after a very rainy walk from the Museum D’Orsay to the Eiffel Tower:
The sun came out for our trip up and down the Eiffel Tower and we even saw a rainbow🌈:
Steve and I have THE BEST travel partners in the world!! No complaints. Easygoing. Flexible. Great communicators of their needs. And so MUCH FUN!
This Mama’s heart is overflowing.
🚙 Today, we are off to visit the town used to live in in Northern France and also Vimy Ridge. Then Brussels, Belgium tonight for the next three days.
Isn’t it funny how a few days flat on your back allows you the privilege to reflect on health? February flu season is wafting through the house and it happened to grab on to me last Friday. The weekend was spent trying to breathe, staying warm and lying in a slightly upright position. Fun time for this jet engine energy girl. One thing about me, though, is situations like this help me grow.
These last seventy- two hours have afforded me the opportunity to think deeply about what I put into my body. Over four years ago, I was forty pounds heavier than I am today. Over four years ago, I was on a deep growth journey working through the grief of my loving mama. Over four years ago, I discovered, by my own willingness to never sit or lay in a pit too long, the best fuelling system for my body. And I want to stress “system” because there are no miracle products. Sorry. There are no one week detoxes that are going to fix your eating habits. Sorry again. And there are no amount of counting calories or points that will teach you how to nourish and listen to your body. Truth.
I now have partnered with the company that formulated this system over fifteen years ago. I have left my full time teaching life that I was very passionate about because I think all children are a gift from God. I now help match people’s personal goals to a system of products that support the systems that work within the body. And yes, we even touch on poo! After my mom died, as well as weekends like I just had, I know with 100% certainty that if we don’t have health we have nothing. If we don’t get a handle of how to fuel our bodies, we don’t have energy. If we don’t understand what our individual bodies need, we will have “dis ease”.
Here are my few gems from lying in the couch with “dis ease” if you truly want to learn how to fuel your body:
First, before you even try to uncover the food dilemma, how is your water intake and what amount of sleep are you currently getting? Furthermore, are you drinking enough water and sleeping enough for your body? How is your sleep hygiene? Are you able to sleep without your “handheld computer comforter” beside you?
Second, what do you LOVE to eat? Do you enjoy plants, meat, soups, fruit? Just because the current rage is to eat no fruit (no carbohydrates) or only eat meat (protein), you decide what is best for you personally and build your fuelling system around that.
Third, are you moving between the eating habits of starvation and overindulgence. Most people do. My company’s name literally means “balanced life”. This is your ultimate destination with your fuel. Eating every couple of hours with a balance of variety of foods that nourish you and bring you energy.
The four pillars of a healthy fuelling system.
One that doesn’t rely on feelings or emotions.
One that doesn’t flutter in the wind depending on the current ‘famous food’ that you can’t pronounce or diet plan you really only can follow when motivation is high.
Something that relies on you nourishing and listening to your body.
Something that allows your body to become more alive as you age and continue to grow.
Until we breathe no more.
Fuelling with water.
Recovering as we sleep.
Nourishing with lovely food.
Finding balance in all areas of our life, but especially with our food.
Comment below with your favourite fuelling tips.
Follow me on Instagram: @cannjoanna
If you need support in your fuelling, be free to ask me for more information at email@example.com
There are people in your life that show you how to live well and die well. People that you have the privilege to watch come full circle in life.
My gift of grief and my true knowledge of the circle of life was given to me by my mama in 2013 and if you have followed my blog the last decade, you know her beautifully, deep story begins here.
This blog isn’t about my mama’s journey, but about another woman, and her thoughtful husband who brought such life and wisdom into Steve and I’s life. These wise and kind people are Colleen and Murray. Sexy Neck’s Grandma and Gramps.
See, when my mom died, it was a shitstorm of 25 days. Truly. My sister was on holidays in Australia. It was Christmas time. As a family, we had never talked about the possibility of my mom dying even though she was living with a very serious cancer diagnosis for over six months. It’s a perfect example of “seeing things how we are, not how they are.” We had no plan. No map. No idea what to do. It was the perfect storm for chaos and overwhelm.
GG and Gramps showed me how different death and celebrating a life can be. Gramps died one and a half years ago from cancer, within two weeks of being diagnosed. GG has been living with Alzheimer’s for over a decade. GG peacefully died a few weeks ago.
It was wonderful. A true celebration of lives well lived. Gramps was cremated. GG wanted a green burial. Therefore, in this picture Gramps lies with GG in the most beautiful wicker basket. The funeral home had never done a green burial before. I think they were as curious as us all. But GG and Gramps had a plan and the family, Linda, Ron and John, just had to follow the plan.
It was beautiful. The pastor shared many special memories. We saw family and friends we hadn’t seen in years. The great-grandchildren (my boys and their two cousins), an uncle and aunt, their great-uncle and his partner even went on a scavenger hunt looking for other relatives in the cemetery. Gramps had brought their spot to be laid to rest many, many years before.
What a privilege to watch Gramps and GG’s lives to be celebrated. What a gift to have them in our lives.
Now, the journey becomes personal. What do I want. How can I make things beautiful and simple for my family. It is with one hundred percent certainty that I know we will all die sometime in the very distant future. I know that I want to live and die well. Really well.
Thank you for the gift Gramps and GG! We love you. We miss your presence in our lives and we will miss our visits at The Quay.
Off to talk to my family about where to spread my ashes and the celebration of life that I want to take place in a gymnasium with bouncy castles and cotton candy.
The lady that will leave the largest legacy in my life left the earth.
Five years ago.
She breathed her last breath.
My dad at her side.
My boys and I sleeping at her house.
December 26th, 2018 7:00am
I set an alarm.
I woke and took a deep breath.
I began to ponder this adventure we have created these last five years and I must admit that I am shocked it has been five years living on this earth without my mama.
Some days, my breath gets taken away with grief and it seems like just moments ago that I was told that my mom had died. Other days, it feels like she has been gone for a hundred years. It truly is like the disciple Peter says: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. “
On days like today, I am able to look back and see five distinct legacies that my mom created for me and my boys:
My Mama was thoughtful! She was incredibly present with her people and truly saw how she could add value to their everyday life. She used her “spidey sense” to buy the best gifts. She really saw people and what they needed. Most days, she was the gift people needed.
My Mama was a “mover”! She was cycling in Mallorca, Spain eight months before she died, cycling up to 90km per day. If she said that she was going to do something, she did it. Plain and simple. Joanna, “I was to learn Spanish!” Boom, at 65 years old she signed herself up for a Spanish class. My Mama was an athlete her whole entire life from living on the farm, to playing basketball, to being one of the first moms to join a gym and finally her passion for cycling, hiking and cross country skiing. My mama was woman of her word and a mover to boot.
My Mama was creative! Whether it was when she was quilting, creating in the kitchen or working in her garden, my mom always added her own flare to what she was doing. She was never afraid to try new recipes or create something with our boys, even if it involved sparkles. My Mama was a creator.
My Mama was not perfect! She was the person who gave me permission to be perfectly imperfect. I saw her shed tears over the things that her relatives chose to do to her and I saw her unsure at how to respond. I saw her get angry and apologize. I heard her speak about other people and also then apologize. I watched her when I was younger as she moved jobs and share what it was really like to work as a teacher in an antiquated system. My Mama was a human “being”.
My Mama was LOVE! At 7:00am in the morning when the boys wanted to watch cartoons, she would let them crawl into bed with her. Whenever we showed up at her front door, my Mama always gave the very best hugs and made space for us in her life. Every time, I needed to talk with her, she listened. She listened really, really well. Time. Hugs. Listening. And so much more than my simple words can convey. Who could ask for anything more? Pure love!
Today on December 26th, we put on our skinny skis and went down the nordic trails to remember my Mama and my boys’ super Nana. We talked about the legacy that she has left for each of us. We cried. We laughed. We sent a balloon up to heaven. In rememberance. As a symbol of our connectness and the legacy that will never leave each of us.
With gratitude for every moment that I could spend with my Mama here on earth.
For the legacy she left.
With gratitude for the Mama that I now get to be for my boys.
For the legacy I will leave.
And the greatest of these is love.
Remembered on the trails today.
And every day as we live out our legacy now!
Leave a beautiful, imperfectly perfect legacy my friends.
There is a pervasive message in our culture that is saying “stay positive”, “think positive”, shift your mindset to be more positive and everything will be AWESOME!
Those that know me, know that I do have a positive mindset, but I did not, I repeat, I DID NOT, get there by being positive all the flipping time.
Let me tell you a little story about these three geniuses above:
My boys were 7,4 and 2 years old when my mom was dying. This grief experience would become the greatest gift that our family has been given! Plus, isn’t it amazing to know that we all having the incredible Nana waiting for us in heaven. When we were given this gift of grief, I spoke with my counselor, a tremendous amount, about how we grieve as human beings She taught me, and my children showed me, that the very best grievers are actually children. What they do is feel things very deeply, stay in each moment and move in and out of grief very quickly. This was exactly our experience. They would see or remember something from Nana, wham, the tears would come. Then they would see their favourite LEGO and wham, they are smiling and playing again. My counselor taught me that the best thing I could do for them, and myself, was to sit with them in their grief, feel things with them and wait for them to shift or helps them slowing shift after being present with them. Rarely, did I need to do anything but merely sit and be present with them.
Imagine this same grief journey, if I constantly put on a positive face, ignored their feelings and told them to be positive. “Just be positive” said over and over and over again. In a child’s world, this would be completely invalidating their feelings and not give them the permission to feel or grieve. I wonder what counselling they would need later in life to get over not feeling the feelings they had during this time?
This year is going to be our fifth Christmas without my marvellous mama and I must admit that I have become an expert at negotiating grief. I sit with myself. I feel things deeply and then gently move myself when I know I am ready. I cried in the pool this morning while swimming lengths. I feel the feelings, I let the tears flow.
I am blessed because I can now see and sense this grief process working in others and I easily give them space to move through the process. We do this often with relationships, situations, and even with our food. I can see people giving themselves lashes for not being positive enough or at all. I can see people trying so hard.
This brings me back to the positive rah rah that is overpowering our culture. I WANT TO BE A PERMISSION BEARER. As I observe and grow a business in this culture of a constant positivity, my message has clearly become “keep sh*t real”. The more honest my customers can be with me, the more I can walk with them. The more we can sit with each other in the real sh*t that exists in this world, the more we can move each other into positive places. We have to sit together, listen together and then move!
Feel the feels.
Sit in them.
Then look, seek and find solutions and that positive place.
When you look around and feel like sh*t because you aren’t positive enough, pretty enough, doing enough or…. <insert what it is for you here>… keep it real and sit with your sh*t. And realise that when I look around and see the pervasive positivism overwhelming my feed, it’s usually being put out into the world by men, young couples or empty nesters. You don’t often seen mom’s waking up to puking kids or having to put every single thing they had planned that day on hold because of a child with a fever, spewing the positivity message 24/7.
It’s about keeping sh*t real. Finding a way to keep taking one step forward every day towards where you want to go. Surrounding yourself with people who will cheer you on and be positive even when you have spit up on your shoulder and haven’t combed your hair. Find that tribe that keep things real and can be positive when you can’t be.
If you aren’t feeling that you are good enough, positive enough or that you are doing enough, STOP that sh*t. Remember my lessons from grief that my boys taught me.
God has given you many talents that you may not be able to see right now.
God is taking you through a season that is going to give you great strength.
God is going to reveal everything to you in EXACTLY the right time.
BUT, life isn’t always okay, amazing or incredible.
But you “Cann”:
Always hold hope.
Always brings peace.
Always hold love.
Always keep sh*t real.
Even when the positivity police try to overtake you.
Learn from my greatest teachers, my boys, in this upcoming season.