Tag Archives: life

Be Savouring the Seasons

One of the secrets sauce of life, I believe, is savouring the seasons. Both the physical and metaphorical seasons that we go through.

We can’t change the climate where we live, so unless you are planning on moving, we all need to embrace where we live.

We can’t change what happens around us, so unless we can time travel or have out of body experiences, we all need to embrace where we live.

The amount of discourse on the weather, right now, I find slightly overwhelming and mildly humours. The physical season is affecting many people’s metaphorical season.

Do we not have better things to dialogue about?

Is it really that interesting that one of Canada’s cities was the coldest place on the planet for one day?

How’s your heart doing today? Isn’t that a gooder!!

What about snow? There are places in southern Canada that have had snow this week and their schools have been closed because of it. Welcome to Canada my friends.

This northern girl grew up in cold and with snow piled up to the roof. She had to embrace it all with big heavy mitts.

Now, I live in a balmy four seasons utopia where I truly can say I enjoy each and every season.

Winter.

Deepness.

Spring.

Growth.

Summer.

Flourishing.

Fall.

Gathering.

To embrace this season, this winter wonderland a friend and I flew away to the ski hill on Wednesday.

To hike…

To cross country ski…

And to skate…

As a friend once told me, there truly isn’t bad weather, just bad clothing.

Put on that bikini, hat and sunscreen.

Or those gumboots and rain jacket.

How about that comfy scarf and tall boots.

Or those wool socks and long johns.

Four seasons.

Winter.

Deepness.

Spring.

Growth.

Summer.

Flourishing.

Fall.

Gathering.

Embracing them all.

Creating freedom.

Controlling what I can.

Choosing to embrace and release the rest.

Being free.

Each day.

As the sun shines, snow falls, wind blows or rain rolls in.

Blessings poured over each of you as you live life in the season you are in.

😘 Joanna

Be Sharing a Song

🎵 This is what I do! 🎵

I love seeing Mama’s who live “on purpose” in their day whether it is at work or at play.

They plan, schedule and make it happen and when someone gets sick their is no more lapping.

They shut things down, they hold the fort tight and just hold their baby knowing it will be all right.

No striving or goals will be checked off on that day, they just sit still and maybe have a play.

With the ones they love.

That override it all.

With the ones they love.

That they help hold tall.

With the ones they love.

They see them through and through.

With the ones they love.

They know inside what to do.

When things are flowing, the checklist may be long, but us Mama’s know that we need to be strong.

We need to hold space and show up with grace.

When we are focused and fierce and know exactly what to do, there is nothing that will stop us, not even the loo.

We need to have goals and show up as we are.

This is what I do!

With the ones I love.

That override it all.

With the ones I love.

That I help hold tall.

With the ones I love.

I see them through and through.

With the ones I love.

I know inside what to do.

I love being a Mama who lives “on purpose” in my day whether it is at work or at play.

There is no shame in doing, as long as you are being you!

There is no harm in being exactly who you are.

Show up.

Be you.

With the ones you love.

Show up.

Be you.

With the ones you love.

(A song written in the gift of grief, with fond memories of our Lab, Summer. May this bless you to be present and to live fully as a human being, not just as a human being. Be enough. Be free. 😘 Joanna)

NOTE: I started writing songs after my annual conference for my nutrition business in NASHVILLE in August. These songs just started pouring out of me there. What fun writing songs are… cannot wait to hear someone sing them!

Be Learning Life Lessons from a Lab

I was a cat girl growing up. Now, I am a lab girl for life!

I loved cats independence. Loved their gentle purrs and how they would sleep with you in the most obscure ways. My cat, Boots, loved sleeping right on top of my neck or chest.

Enter in Sexy Neck into my life in 1992 with a visit to his family home which was definitely a dog family. Their little dog, Mandy, was a sweetie. Someone to walk with, someone to greet you happily every single time you walked in the door and a great companion for everyone.

This cat girl growing up didn’t stand a chance! Nineteen years ago, I became a dog person, more specifically a Labrador retriever girl. My life would never be the same!

Over these years, I have had the privilege to learn from our two labs, KT and Summer. These are the specific lessons from Summer as this was a very Holy day celebrating her life.

💫 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 💫

💫 Enjoy all the seasons, especially winter. Rolling around and sliding down slight inclines on your side is especially fun!

💫 Wag your tail at everyone but bark at the mailman.

💫 Always be on the lookout for food. You never know what you will find. Even things that you need to lick off the pavement are enjoyable.

💫 Be a baby watcher. Stand as close as you can with your wet nose on the baby blanket. Diapers are the best things to smell on babies. (We called Summer our “Nanny dog”.)

💫 Pour out love to the humans CLOSEST to you. Always be happy to see them. Always greet them at the door. Always look up to them with adoring eyes, especially when they have treats for you.

💫 Love children. All children. Always love those children that will rub your ears, your belly and play fetch with you.

💫 Take your master cross country skiing at all hours of the day. Be their companion and confidante listening to all their stories. Don’t get stuck in the powder!

💫 Be content being with, playing with and taking care of your core group of people. It’s the simple things.

💫 You are never too big to cuddle or have your ears and belly rubbed.

💫 Don’t leave the food you like unattended on the table. It might disappear! (This is a lesson from my boys: Nine and eleven year old. This is something Summer just started doing last year, which was ironic because her arthritis was so bad that we had to lift her into the car. That piece of toast on the table, though, no problem!)

💫 Don’t trust strange dogs.

💫 Be present

💫 A little mess doesn’t matter.

💫 The stuff you leave behind is meaningless. It’s the memories, the cuddles, the smells and the moments that create a MAGICAL life!

🙏🏻 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 😘

Magical memories with this puppy: swimming, always being happy to see us, chasing golf balls, cross country skiing, eating every crumb off our floors, shedding a small dog every day, being my comfort and companion, witnessing the birth of all three of our boys…

Thank you faithful friend. Thank you for the life lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I will miss you every day!

February 5th 10:28am 💜 Summer 🙏🏻

Be Talking About Death (Green Burial)

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.

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 Moving Mountains

One decision over 18 years ago to move to the Napa Valley of the North in the Okanagan Valley, Canada.

One decision to ski at the breathtaking Silver Star Ski resort.

Alpine, nordic, snowboarding too!

We created roots and many magical memories.

43335447_492824484569523_2267337682512248832_n

A place to find powder.

A place to find likeminded peeps.

A place to find ourselves in the hectic season of life.

And now another decision:

One decision that we wanted to own our own place at the mountain.

One decision to ski at the rugged and friendly Apex Mountain Resort.

Alpine, Nordic, snowboarding and even backcountry too!

We are already putting down roots as we bought the condo from our good friends the Mend’s.

We are creating memories as we paint, wander and make it our own.

Family of five.

Mom of boys.

And a Labrador Retriever too!

Full of gratitude for our own place at the hill.

A place to play in the snow.

A place to make new friends and cherish the old.

A place to find peace in this growing season of our life.

43399121_275968719692848_742294370224439296_n (1)

Growth around every corner.

Holding onto our vision.

Raising leaders or leaders.

Creating a band of brothers who love, hold peace and hope and never stop growing.

😘 Joanna

Be Learning from Animals and Children

One March day, I asked my boys to give me an animal. An animal I could draw!  I didn’t know what I was asking at the time but it ended up creating deep conversation and insight about animals between my boys and I.  

Here is how it unfolded in pictures drawn by moi in my day planner and the subsequent research that I did on the spiritual and biblical significance of each animal.  The most divine aha for me was that every animal the boys suggested on each day met me exactly where I was at on that day!  I wonder which animal will land on you today? May we all continue to be open to God around and within us. 









May these words and imagines encourage you to be open to the divinity of children, the soulfulness of drawing and the power of words that tumble in our heads and out of our mouths.  

Be free! 

Be enough. 

Show up as the animal you want to be today! 

😘 Joanna 

Be Walking on YOUR Path

Do you feel your chest beating faster?

Or maybe you are holding your breath?

Perhaps you think your heart is going to jump out of your body?

Or maybe you mind is a swirling mess?

I am going to take a guess.

You aren’t walking on your own path.

The external becomes the internal.

It almost crushes you from the inside out.

The words and actions of others around you, blow you around like a hurricane.

One cruel word.

One harsh no.

One insensitive criticism.

One perceived snide look.

One RBF.

And your heart beats faster.

You feel like you may need to sit down.

This is a sign.

Your body is talking.

Your mind is listening.

Your spirit is guiding.

IMG_2308[1]

Sit.

Listen.

Ponder.

Find out how to get back onto YOUR path.

This magical place where you will soar.

No matter what anyone says or does.

Where you can dance like no one is watching.

Walk fast or slow.

Your heart will be home here.

Above your feet step by step.

Yes, you may feel uncomfortable here on this path.

BUT, it will be magical.

IMG_2311[1]

The most exhilarating ride of your life.

Listening to what you were created to be.

Without comparison.

No judgement.

Only you being you.

Exactly how you were meant to be.

Walking on YOUR path.

This week, my wish for myself and everyone reading this, is that we will find our steps to take.

Breathe by breathe.

May our no be no and your yes be yes.

May excitement and joy find us around every corner that we take.

IMG_2313[1]

Walking out our days.

Every step of the way.

Savouring everything that passes by.

Just as we are.

Who we are.

Being.

us.

On OUR path!

IMG_2310[1]

 

Be Catching What Tony Robbins was Throwing 

I am unique. 

You are unique. 

Our worst days can become our most SHINING moments! 

We can live a beautiful life! 

Thank you Tony Robbins for these life altering, state changing facts.  When I sat, danced, screamed and sang alongside 15,000 other awake people last week only a baseball throw from Tony Robbins my body and mind changed on a cellular level.  


My family has noticed it. My friends have felt it.  My God had acknowledged it.  

Changed. 

On. 

A. 

Cellular.  

Level.  

Forever.  

This isn’t about motivation or will power or trying to push ourselves to “get over stuff” or be better!   

It is about embracing our suffering, changing gratitude for fear and living in a playful, joyful high energy state.  It’s about creating and living in a beautiful state every moment of ever day. 

Can you imagine it? 

Does this sound like an exciting, beautiful life?  

It is! 

Completely a wondrous world seen with new eyes. 

A world where challenges happen and I can use the Tony Robbins response, “Isn’t that fascinating?” Try that one on for size next time things don’t go your way and watch your heart rate not even skip a beat. 

Isn’t that fascinating?  

I now live in a state of pure determination, high energy, not fuelled by will power, while living in a beautiful state for me, JJ! 

It’s not about stuff, big houses or shiny cars. 

It is about people. 

For me. 

People.  

Relationships. 

Emotion. 

Energy.  

Dating my man, Sexy Neck, every single day! 


Being fully present with my boys as my phone sits in a handmade Lego box with a phone charger included. 


 Listening to my Peeps needs, meeting them where they are and sharing all that I am learning especially what Tony Robbins is all about. 

I live in effortless ease.  

With discipline with my food, movement and phone.  

The three keys for me.  

I upgrading my inner home every day. 

Spiritually. 

With support. 

Bringing sexy back.  

If you want to feel what Tony’s all about. Let’s chat… because I am more than happy to keep the ball rolling. 

A beautiful state. 

Using motion for emotion.  

In gratitude. 

For all that I have.  

And for all that I am going to do!

#befree #100million#abeautifulstate 

Be Awake 

Awake.  

The world around me sleeps. 

Calm, rhythmic breathing, like a heartbeat.  

Steady.  

Predictable.  

Breath.  

Awake. 

Pondering the dying.  

Their raspy, grasping breath, like a tight fist holding on.  

Wavelike. 

Unpredictable.  

Breath. 
Awake.  

Allowing my thoughts to tumble.  

My thoughts to jumble. 

My heart to mumble.   

Mumbo jumbo. 

Awake.  

Allowing myself to be, just as I am.  

Awake.  

Open. 

Pondering.  

Unafraid to feel. 

Deeply.  

Awake.  

Alive.  

Outside in. 

Coming out of the fog of oversaturated information from the world around me. 

Going within. 

Fully alive and awake to what is happening around me.  

Living inside out.  

Rightside up.  

Standing strong. 

Weak in the knees.  

Pondering a future on earth without one of my role models, my overcomers, my heros! 

Awake.   

Steady.  

Feeling.  

Inside out. 

Facing forward.   

Looking into the unknown.