Tag Archives: joy

Be on a Radical Sabbatical in the Swiss Alps (with a shift)

Feeling surreal in Switzerland.

SURREAL.

GOBSMACKED.

GrateFULL.

Happy Sunday Funday Folks! This journey started on Friday morning.

The 11 months and 10 days we lived in Switzerland in 2004 were some of THE BEST and the darkest time of my life (besides watching my mama die!)

The darkness of living through depression and having no energy but to sleep, to be working in a difficult teaching environment, having Steve away training for volleyball each night and living in a country that is clean and exceptionally beautiful for a reason. They ‘control’ each other. I have never been yelled at more in my life.

The BEST moments meeting friends and students that are still in my life today, living in a pristine natural environment, travelling easily and learning more about myself.

We had such an incredible day on the Rigi.

Being back here now in 2019 with our boys is truly sublime.

Drove from beautiful Milan to the Rigi in the Swiss Alps.

With one stop in Locarno for our last Italian pizza and Calzone.

November 15th

Over 25 tunnels. (We lost count!)

One 17 kilometres long.

17 kilometres through this mountain!!
The tunnel! They do things right in Switzerland! **This picture was uploaded while driving THROUGH the tunnel. Unbelievable.

We arrived in Vitznau about 3 and a bit hours after leaving Milan. What an indescribable drive. I am not sure my pictures can even explain.

One Mountain Train (Rigi Bahn) straight uphill into the Swiss Alps.

Time Lapse of our 20 minutes ride up to the Rigi Kaltbad

We have snow folks!

Meeting old friends that we taught with and their wonderful eleven year old daughter.

A gorgeous place, an incredible meal and amazing hot pools. Kaltbad Rigi

Guten abend von de Schwiez.

November 16th

Guten morgen friends!

We started off with opening the hot pools before breakfast at 8:00am. We had a solo swim and play in the pools.

Then it was fruhstuck time here in the Alps. First, our super juice that helps our bodies deal with stress and goes everywhere with us. #partner

Keeping our super power juice cold!

After a buffet breakfast, we decided to head to the top of the Rigi via the Mountain Train and then hike down. What a gorgeous three hours. And God even gave us another rainbow, like He did on the Eiffel Tower and at Vimy Ridge.

How is it possible for a rainbow to be formed in light cloud without precipitation anywhere in sight?
On the top of the Rigi.

Now an afternoon of journaling, postcard writing, eating Swiss chocolate, shakes and German cookies!

Awe sweet boys! They are learning so much about people and culture.

PLUS another swim in the hot pools before dinner:

Dinner was many hours long, but the boys rocked it and luckily our friend’s play games like we do.

November 17th

This is THE shift! This morning at 7:20am, Steve headed down the mountain on the train to take two buses and another train to the Zurich Airport as he heads home, then travels to Mexico in five days for another fair.

I had tears this morning as we said goodbye. I love this man on so many levels.

We decided I would stay here with the boys until Steve is done his trip to Mexico. I will travel with the boys for 8 days in Germany visiting old friends and then back to Paris for 3 more days for some tourist activities. And surprises for the boys. 😉

BUT FIRST, one more morning on the Rigi, a get together with some Swiss friends at an old school bowling alley with a jukebox near Zurich, then back to Germany.

Hot pools at Hotel
Kaltbad.
A Berliner (donut) with Nutella. This guy is embracing the European life.
Morning game time after breakfast!
This wall in the restaurant was one of my favourite things to look at.
11:15am Mountain Train back to Vitznau.
1:00-4:00pm Get together in Zurich.

This is the building where we were…

Through that little brown door on the left lies surprises and beauty and bowling!

Then a 1.5 hour drive to one of our favourite spots in Germany with people living God’s plan through their lives and delivering a package from a mother’s heart to her daughter.

Finishing off the night with one of these… Sexy Neck would be proud! It was as good as I remembered.

Goodnight sweet friends from the Bodensee. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and for truly living these simple moments of an unfolding dream with us. I wish I could give you a HUGE HUG.

Be Thriving with the six to eight day per year peeps

Summer 2019 is here!

And its SURVIVAL mode for those people being inundated with company, people they see six to eight days per year. I had an epiphany to share with you, one to make you THRIVE this year.

First, start by thinking about those 365 day per year peeps in your life. Who are the people you live with or choose to have in your inner circle? What do you have in common with them and why do you choose to hangout with them? What do you talk about and what do you love to do together?

Now, think about those six to eight days per year people. Next proceed to throw everything that you thought about and love about your 365 day per year people and fling it directly into the bottom of the swimming pool. These peeps that are in your life six to eight days per year, may be old friends or family. They may be colleagues from your spouses work that you attend conferences with or neighbours you only see in the summer.

Here’s my secrets to not only SURVIVE but THRIVE with these peeps.

Remember that everything that you thought and love about your 365 day per year peeps has been flung to the bottom of the swimming pool, now throw any negative thought or judgement about the six to eight days per week peeps in there too!

Get ready to look at you: What are your standards for healthy relationships and how do you want to interact with all people, no matter how often they are in your life? For me, this is pouring love and bringing the joy. I don’t share much about my life or even feelings at all, with my six to eighters, I save this for my 365 days per year peeps. But I do have fun with everyone. We eat nourishing delicious food. We go on and find adventures. We talk about travel. We discuss health. But I do not go into the deep end! Remember all that stuff that you had flung down into the deep end of the pool? Don’t go there! Oh I used you and boy what a mess it made.

These six to eighters can’t keep up with the change that happens in the other over three hundred and fifty days of your life. They can’t embrace the change because it would be like getting hit by a fast moving train. The people who can keep up, are on the train. Invested in you. In your inner circle. Those every day peeps who support and love you. The six to eighters receive the benefit of your high standards and love-filled hospitality. But that’s it folks. You may end up talking about things you don’t give a shit about for hours, but you ask questions and listen. You probably will end up doing mind numbing activities that were never on your wish list, but you will discover the joy and enjoy the ride. You will create space to recharge with who you are as you live these six to eight days per year. I exercise. I read. I spend a lot of time locked in the bathroom. I bring games I enjoy playing. I bring up new topics of conversations and then change it back once I see the six to eighters eyes start to gloss over.

Imagine….

Pure joy.

Overflowing love.

Judgement thrown away.

Negative thoughts too!

Thriving with the peeps who show up six to eight days per year.

Staying on your train, but diverting long enough to embrace other peoples rides.

THRIVING!

Be a Toastmaster

Do you feel like you have to increase your life insurance or at least put on extra deodorant when you need to speak to a group of people?

Have you heard of Toastmasters?

Are you afraid of public speaking?

Did you know Toastmasters started in 1924?

Do you find it difficult to listen?

Do you know you have a unique perspective to share with the world around you?

When a mentor of mine told me about his over twenty years with Toastmasters, I was curious. I had never heard of it, nor did I know what it was even about. After being asked to speak in front of adults at my company’s events, I knew I needed to checkout a Toastmasters meeting. Speaking to children is no problem for me. I even find it fun and feel like I can be one percent myself. Speaking to adults, makes my face turn crimson red and the sweat to start flowing down my back.

Thanks to Vic Lindal’s encouragement and support, I googled a local meeting time and went. The meetings are an hour long and there is actually a timer to ensure that we don’t go over time. There are prepared speeches, humour, impromptu conversations, evaluations and amazing growth that happens at every single meeting.

I have regularly been attending meetings for over a year. Jumped this September into the role of Secretary Treasurer. I can honestly say that Toastmasters has changed the trajectory of my personal growth, not only in my public speaking, but my ability to listen and lead small groups with growth.

Last fall, I was asked to speak, with a microphone in hand, to two hundred pre-service teachers and I loved every minute of it. This spring, I am preparing to speak to a thousand plus people about technology and our children at a local university. Speaking has become a place of peace and joy for me.

This last Wednesday at our Toastmasters meeting, I was the Toastmaster, the person who runs the meeting! We had the theme of Winter Wonderland and it truly was the most fun I have ever had as a speaker and leader. I introduced the “Toasties” who had prepared speeches. I kept things flowing and managed to keep us exactly on time.

Now that you have a bit of knowledge about Toastmasters, I encourage everyone to seek out a local meeting to attend to see what its really all about. See how it feels for yourself. You receive three meetings for free and the vibe at every meeting is different in every club. Our OC Toastmasters Club is fun, kind-hearted and growth-focused. We love and desire for everyone to contribute and bring their unique gifts to the meetings.

Now, I must come back to that last question I asked at the beginning. That one about your unique gifts. Find a way to feel comfortable sharing with others what you are passionate about and the unique gifts that God has given you. They are there, I promise you. If you can’t see them, talk to me and I will help you discover them. Once you know what they are, learn to share them, speak them out and listen to the gifts of those around them.

What a journey!

What a life!

Thank you Toastmasters for being the impetus for even greater learning and growth that I could imagine.

Be Finding Forward

Forward.

Moving not backwards.

Forwards.

Moving in a direction.

Which one will we choose?

Moving from the west to the east.

Finding the dance that takes you forward.

Into your dreams.

Into your spirit.

Into your spidey sense.

Presence.

How does one stay present?

Moving forward?

This is what I have learned and this is what propels me forward.

Taking peeks into the tiny, narrow, rear view mirror to pour gratitude into where I came from.

Gratitude.

Love.

Letting go.

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Looking straight-forward into my large, expansive windshield watching the exciting places I am going.

Joy.

Peace.

Light.

Eyes, wide open, looking for the gold thread of hope woven throughout my day.

Holding my empty hands of faith.

God’s goodness poured out over all our lives.

Into my hands.

Will we choose to look for it?

Will we choose to have open hands to receive it?

Moving forwards.

Dancing the dance of my life.

Trusting.

Fun.

Faith.

Forward.

Smooch, Joanna

Be Riding Nana’s Bike (Post about Joy!)

Lately have you felt that happiness that just flows out of you?

Your teeth seem whiter and brighter?

Your smile is larger than life?

Joy seeps out through every skin cell in your body?

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Last weekend, we decided to get the bikes ready for a ride to a local coffee shop.

We noticed Nana’s old bike in the back of garage from when our friend Sara used it last year.

We asked our oldest, JC, if he wanted to ride Nana’s bike.

The ride was PURE joy for him and it flowed through us all.

He loved the feeling of being up on Nana’s bike.

He was mesmerized with her gears.

We talked about all the different places that Nana used to ride her bike and how she would often just miraculously show up in our backyard for a ‘break’ and a drink of cold water.

Really we knew that Nana loved a destination and she loved seeing her people!

As we watched JC ride Nana’s bike, happiness flowed out of us all.

Our teeth seem were whiter and brighter.

Our smiles were larger than life?

Joy was seeping out through every skin cell in our bodies?

A perfect joy-filled precious moment.

Just being.

Enough.

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Be Saying Goodbye to Orange 

I am not sure what happened, but I am going with it.  

Yesterday, I decided to was done with our orange walls.  They served their purpose. They helped me wail and gave me a place to ‘put’ my grief.  

Here is the story of the orange walks.  

After celebrating my birthday, I knew my pain had turned to peace.  So, I picked up a brush and roller this morning and began to pain.  

   

I was able to talk to my boys about the  pain I felt when Nana died.  I told them that painting this wall orange helped me.   I told them I wanted to paint this wall white today because of the peace, love and joy that surrounds us now. 

Peace.  

Love.  

Joy. 

Now back to the wall to no longer wail but to have a whale of a time doing something my mom loved to do.   

  Thank you God for giving me perseverance to deal with my stuff and to have such a supportive partner.  

Be Filled with JOY

I think many people are quite curious about me in this season of grief and remembering wrapped up with Christmas.

Curious as to my state of mind.

Wondering how I am doing.

I think I may ‘appear’ to be too happy for some people in my life.

But I am here to tell you I am not happy about many things…and my life has nothing to do with happiness right now.

For me, joy comes with or without happiness.

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It hits me no matter my daily circumstance or season.

Joy is not from me, but a gift from God.

Gratitude, love, joy!

Flooding me, pouring out, flowing in.

It is nothing I am ‘doing’.

I am just ‘being’.

Being present with the people God has surrounded me with.

Allowing my sadness to hit me.

It is one year, less one day, since my mom’s death.

One more ‘first’ to live without mom.

In my sadness, I know JOY will be coming.

The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

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Leaning into Him through my struggles.

Thanking Him for ALL I am grateful for.

Watching JOY fill this season.

Merry ‘joy-filled’ Christmas to you and yours.

Be In Calm After The Storm

Mom is at hospice. She has had a very peaceful and restful day.

Awaiting arrival of Rea, Michelle, Craig, Sydney, Abby and more loved ones.

Mom is well loved.

Time for me to Be Still.

Be with mama soaking up her love, strength, peace.

There is no fear here as we sit just love and peace.

Time for me to Be Present.

Be with mama enjoying her soft skin, her beautiful smile and the light of her eyes.

Sit with my dad in his grief.

Retell old memories.

Create new ones.

Cry with my wee boys who know Nana is going to die.

Get a big hug from my big sister. She gives the best hugs.

Accept any and every hug so that I don’t float away in grief. Thanks to Neil and Steve for doing that for me today.

Sit with my big cousins. I adore them. Admire them greatly.

Soak in my aunts and uncles deep love for my parents.

Say thank you and I love you.

Lean on anyone left standing.

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Nana and I watching Wheel of Fortune and drinking cranberry juice. Well, I watch Nana and Nana is resting.

Peace. Love. Hugs.

Be Bike Riding in -10 degrees Celsuis

We’ve had a few hurdles to overcome lately! Do you get that impression?

One of our barriers to jump over has been our cars. More than once in the last few months, I have left my interior light on which has cause my battery to die. Just over a month ago, right before my mom’s surgery in Vancouver, my husband was in a car accident.

This morning we woke up with my husband’s car leaking fluid, probably related to the accident. He then was planning on taking my car, but my car had a dead battery! With stealth speed and a positive attitude, he managed to maneuver his car into position, jump my car and then get to work! Whew!

This left me to first bike ride JC to school, then down the other way to CC’s preschool and now back home. We will do everything in reverse in about an hour.

We did it all with a smile on our faces in the -10° weather.

Here are the boys ready to go:

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Here I am on the path to CC’s preschool. CC and OC are in the chariot bike trailer.

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All I could thing about as I rode was mom’s words as she walked out of the hospital yesterday and she breathed in the cool crisp air: “ahhhh, that feels good!” I agree Mom!