Tag Archives: heaven

Be on a Radical Sabbatical in Paris

October 31st, 2019 – Paris

The Radical Sabbatical in Europe begins.

3 flights.

22 hours.

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.

14,862 steps.

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 museum.

1 French dinner at Alsace restaurant.

1 priceless second day in Paris.

November 2nd

18,971 steps.

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.

November 3rd

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.

Monet

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.

Observation Deck
Virtual Reality Machine

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.

“Acceptance” posture. What will be will be!

🚙 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.

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 Keeping SH*T Real

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.

Rails and Trails, 2018

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. 

Germany, 2003
Robyn’s wedding, 1998

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.

That’s okay.

God is taking you through a season that is going to give you great strength.

That’s amazing.

God is going to reveal everything to you in EXACTLY the right time.

That’s incredible.

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.

Sit exactly where you are.

Feel things deeply.

Move when you are ready.

Always hold hope.

Always bring peace.

Always hold love.

Always keep sh*t real.

😘 Joanna Cann

Be Seeing Green!

We went to visit Papa.

We saw one of these:

images (6)

But it was green.

It was the exact green transport ambulance that brought my mom from the hospital to hospice house last Christmas.

And what did my three year old say as we drove by this green transport ambulance:

“Mom, look! An ambulance! We can tell it to go to heaven, get Nana and take her to Papa’s house!” 

I wish son!  I wish!

My three year old thinks an ambulance took Nana to heaven.

He now calls my parent’s house, Papa’s house.

He wants to bring Nana back to Papa too!

Me too, son! Me too!

In sadness.

With gratitude for these moments with my boys.

Goodnight!

Be Hearing Night Night from Nana

I looked out the car window and saw the sun setting through the cloud. I exclaimed, “A slice of heaven!”

Almost three year old OC said, “Nana in heaven!”

Then we had a family discussion on what being dead means.

OC piped up, “Nana talk to me.”

Our seven year old added, “She talks to me too!”

I asked them what does she say.

OC said, “Night night. From her house in heaven.”

Enough said.

Night night everyone. 20140725-212805-77285465.jpg

Be Wanting To Call Papa and Nana

Here’s the conversation we had when two year old OC told me he wanted to call Papa and then Nana on the telephone. Papa was up cross country skiing, so I knew he was out of cell range. My dear, ever-present mom died on Boxing Day.

OC, who do you want to talk to on the phone? (YouTube video link!)

Sweet child working out his sadness of why he can’t call his Nana. These are his very own words.

I was Surprised!

I was humbled!

I am amazed!

Be A Golf Camper

I love the order of golf.   The manicured lawns (Don’t want to think about how they get that way!), the beautifully placed flowers, the nicely layed out sand traps (at least when you aren’t playing.) and the friendly atmosphere like you are part of one big “Club”.

P1010038

Our oldest got a taste of golf course life this week as he did a three day mini-camp at a local golf resort.  He loved hitting his “big dog”, riding in the cart and the ice cooler with cold water on the side.  Amazing!

In the “Easy Guide to the Etiquette and Rules of Golf” that my son got on the first day, it states that you introduce yourself on the first tee AND when you finish playing you thank them for their company and shake their hand.  Plus they don’t allow cell phone on the golf course.  Can you imagine that skills and conversations that these players are able to have without any distractions from technology?

P1010043

While JC was at camp, I have had the opportunity to walk around with CC and OC.  We have had a relaxing time.  First, it is so peaceful.  No cars within the pathways surrounding the golf course, just my feet pounding along the path.  Second, we have seen amazing wildlife: birds, butterflies, marmots, ducks and even a few turtles came to say hello.

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P1010049

We eagerly awaited JC’s return from the practice range.

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The little brothers were very excited to see him pull up in the golf cart, especially when it was the hockey cart!

P1010053

Be Wearing High Heels in Heaven

I love high heels! Love. Love. Love. 

They make women look so elegant, almost like they are floating down the street. 

The legs of high heeled women look a mile long.

Women’s feet in high heels look dainty and small no matter the size of the feet.

I hate how high heels feel.  THEY HURT! 

Recently, I went shoe shopping to replace the two shoes on the left:

Image

I tried on a few pairs of high heels, and I think I am going to have to save my high heel wearing days for heaven.  

This six foot tall girl can’t squeeze her size nine feet into high heels without pain in her feet, legs and I am sure one day, my neck.  Plus, how do you walk in them and look elegant instead of a giraffe waiting to topple over?  

So, I will stick with my two new pairs of shoes on the right, my “sensible” shoes I will call them.   

Be A Declutterer

I read in the Four Hour Work Week that we only use twenty percent of the things that we have.  Actually Tim Ferriss has an interesting perspective on the 80 20 rule.  Check him out:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_4-Hour_Workweek

The last three weeks, I have spent decluttering and going through our stuff so that we can put our house up for sale.

Here are the results:

ImageImageImage

These are the main “kid” areas of our house and they were overflowing with toys.  There were toys on top of shelves, stuffed into corners.  Now everything has a place to go.  We had a great morning of playing and it was amazing to see my boys putting things back into their places (without being asked)!

All this decluttering makes me thinking of the verse in Matthew 16:19 where Jesus says: “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  

I want to hold loosely to my stuff on earth because it is only “stuff”.

It is the people in my life that truly matter.  JC running into my arms after Kindergarten with a huge smile.  CC giving me his little smirk as he tells me a joke and baby OC’s squawk as he yells from the top of the bunkbed. Sexy Necks presence as he holds us all together!

Beautiful moments.

 

P.S. Don’t ask me to show you our parents basement where alot of this “stuff” has gone.  I am thinking we should just have a garage sale instead of moving it.  Cann boys, what do you think?

Be Letting Go

Tis the Season of Rushing… I am starting to feel things rev up inside of me as the calendar becomes packed up and the to-do-list gets longer.

Thank God for the insight of children.

We were playing at the playground last week and JC looked across the lake and exclaimed: “There is a piece of heaven!” Here is the photo I took of what JC was looking at:

Image

Amid the storm that often brews for people during this season, the light of God shines through.

I am definitely in the eye of a storm. I need to keep focused on His light and His love and His ways.

Tomorrow is week two of living 60 kilometres down the lake. When our family of five was staying in this lovely basement suite beside the vineyard, I felt calm and relaxed. But this weekend, we stepped back into our life and I feel confused trying to figure “things” out and I feel ‘harried’.

I am reminded of a saying that I heard when I first became a Christian because I definitely can’t figure this one out.

“Let Go and Let God.”