Tag Archives: love

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 Knowing the Opposite of Love 

I am a feelings girl. 

I no longer apologize for this. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now, I harness this. 

People are powerful. 

We have emotions that fuel behaviour. 

We have passions. 

We have love!  

In my personal journey that I entered into as I walked through the gift of grief, the loss of my mama, I saw love.  

Pure love that no amount of pain could suppress. 

One moment my mama would be writhing and the next moment my boys would walk through the door.  

In that single moment, a smile would come on my mama’s face. Her eyes would open up and she would see them. She would hear them. She would be fully present and LOVING!  


On this journey, I also learned the opposite of love and it wasn’t what I had thought. 

During my four decades of life, I have surmised that the opposite of love was the feelings, thoughts and actions of hate. I realized the untruth of all of this. 

The incongruency. 

The inconsistency. 

I witnessed people, people I dearly love, be silent.  

Be unpresent. 

Eyes closed. 

Ears firmly shut. 

I asked them “why” and implored them to tell me “What could I do differently?”.

I received no responses. 

I had to sit with no answers. 

And then the moment hit me that the opposite of love had never been hate. 

Hate allows for discussion, emotion, action of some sort.  

The opposite of love has never been hate. 

It’s apathy. 

The nothingness. 

The unresponse.  

Love and hate are actions. 

Apathy is lethargy. 

Action and apathy are opposite. 

Apathy is meeting people to go sledding and one person decides to take a nap on the top of the ski hill.  This is not love! 

Apathy is inviting someone over for a two hour birthday party and they fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the party. (Note: The person is in their 30’s!). This is not love! 

Apathy is talking to someone daily and seeing someone weekly and then never being invited over to their house again.  They end up texting to tell you they are selling the house. This is not love! 

Apathy is having your phone in front of your face when someone is trying to have a heartfelt conversation. This is not love! 

Living in my gift of grief and my apathy examples, I implore you to be awake to love and aware of apathy.   


Keep your eyes open.  

Ears ready to hear.  

Be present. 

Be loving. 

I am a feelings girl 

Apathy is brutal! 

I no longer apologize for this. 

Nothingness is worse than hatred. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now I harness this. 
I don’t spend time with apathetic people. 

People are powerful. 

If THEY choose to be! 

Overflowing with love, with action and knowing it’s opposite. 💖

Lessons from a Super Nana who would be celebrating her 75th birthday this week!   I love you Mama. 😘 Joanna 

Be Untrainable (a post for my three boys) 

    Boys, there are some thing that I never want the world or anyone in the world to train out of you.  I watched all of you complete a triathlon on Sunday. Personally, I love how sports and being active can teach us about life.  I feel this to be particularly true about volleyball and Triathlon.  


                        OC- 5 years old 


    Volleyball will teach you how to deal with failures when they happen and get over them quickly.  It teaches you how to always work as a team and how to be a contributing team player, no matter the role assigned to you.  Volleyball will take you through a life full of emotions in only one match.  But oh, Triathlon, this teaches us even more about life.  


               CC – 8th birthday day 

    Triathlon teaches us so much about ourselves.  Three years ago, I wouldn’t even have considered doing one.  My mind was holding me back.  So that’s the biggest hurdle we need to overcome is our mind’s desire to hold us back from success and adventure.  With training, anyone can complete a swim, cycle and run triathlon.  


                      JC – 10 years old 

    Swimming in triathlon is a special part of the event because you can drown! Mentally, you need to overcome that thought of dying, overcome the affects of water and waves as well as “Just keep swimming!” as Dory likes to remind us to do.  Now, we get to cycling boys! The part of the event that could lead to injury.  Through contact with other racers or the road.  You may need to hold your composure with equipment failure or getting passed on the hills.  Always remember that the swim and cycle part are really getting you ready for the run.  Imagine the swim as your birth to elementary school years.   Cycling is that adventurous and fast teenage years.  The run is adult life. This is where the real magic happens.  Every little stroke in the water or on the bike has set you up for the run.  On the run one step at a time, you will need to focus. Neither looking back nor too far ahead.  The run, like life, is a time to savour and enjoy a race well done!  And you did this on Sunday!   You showed how you want to live your life and my prayer tonight is that no one will ever take these skills from you, all these skills that you exemplified during your triathlons.  

    Tenacity. 

    Drive. 

    Heart. 

    Intrinsic motivation. 

    Deep feelings. 

    Athleticism. 

    Creativity. 

    And oh did you love that Sun Rype buffet at the end! 

    Keep celebrating.  

    Keep being you.  

    Always be you! 

    Love your very proud Mama 

    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.  

    Be Having a New View 

    When do you feel your knees shake or your mouth turn to sandpaper?  What makes your mind spin with emotionally charged random thoughts? 

    For me, up until today, it was that building with the gigantic H on the top of it. Yessiree Bob, the hospital. 

    Knee shaking. 

    Sandpaper mouth. 

    Mind blowing. 

    Emotional muscle building hospital. 

    I walked through seven years, um I mean days, of hospital time with my mom exactly three and a half years ago. If you followed my blog back then you know this meant pain, excruciating pain, worried nurses who thought they were going to kill my mom with pain meds, a stolen chair, sleeping on said chair and a final ambulance ride in the snow with my mama to the incredible hospice house. 

    Hell 

    Healing.  

    Stretching. 

    Restoring. 


    Today, I walked into the hospital to see another dearly beloved family member.  I didn’t want to go, but my peeps are so much more important than any discomfort that I may feel.  I put on my armour, remembered what I learned in my last journey and walked through the doors.  

    Walked through the doors with a “New View”, knowing that I had experiences that could help, a story that could support others and the keen sense to find tea, be in the right place at the right time and know the questions to ask when that magic right time happens. 

    Shit, I have learned something and grown into it!  

    I walked through the valley of he shadow of death, embraced it, rowed the waves of grief through it and now I can see the sun! I can see hope!  I can see a completely New View.  

    Standing strong. 

    Calm, steady words. 

    Mind calming. 

    Emotional muscle built hospital. 

    The gift of grief keeps on giving and will for the rest of my life. My mom’s life and death had been one of my greatest teachers.  It brought me to my knees and helped me learn to stand.  Let this five all my fellow grief journeyers hope.  

    Standing in my truth. 

    With my experience. 

    Soaring in my gifts. 

    With my journey. 

    Soaking in my New View. 


    With love and gratitude for all that I can do and share. This post is dedicated to a beautiful couple who are our role models and the hospital that is supporting them in their journey. 

    Be Open to Others Stories 

    Our family got yelled at today!

    Yup, “retired” guy yelled at us.  

    Full on angry ‘yell’! 

    Here’s the scenario and you can see the story from both sides: 

    Our family of five had skied across the mountain to get to our favourite run almost on the backside of the ski hill.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, slushy-snow kind of day.  

    We made it to the run right as the ski patroller was putting up the closed sign.  I spoke to him and asked if he was closing it because of hazards.  He said, “No, I am just closing it because it’s the end of the day.”  I looked at my watch realizing we had plenty of time to get down the run and then asked if we could take the run, even though he had just put the closed sign on it.  He asked if we were good skiers.  I assured him we were.  He told us to go ahead.  

    As we stood at the beginning of the run, with its closed signs at the top, a “retired”guy came off the t-bar and proceeded to yell at us saying “Don’t you know the run is closed! It’s closed!”  

    We chuckled and floated down the pristine, diamond-flecked snow on our skies.  And we talked about this valuable lesson.  

    How often do we judge what others are doing as ‘wrong’ in our minds? 

    I know none of us would yell at strangers, but how often to we do this? 

    How often do we see what others are doing and create stories in our own minds about what is going on? 

    Imagine now, like we did today, if we took the time to be open and get to know others stories.  


    Imagine if we lived our own stories and just sat in openness about others? 

    Kindly. 

    Lovingly. 

    Not being yelling “retired” guy in words or thought.  

    Sitting in an open posture. 

    Living our stories. 

    Day by day. 

    Being open to others stories. 

    Kindly. 

    Lovingly. 

    Listening.  

    Learning.  

    Living in our story.  

    Open to others stories. 

    Be Searching for Something 

    As I sit watching the sunset, I ponder that ‘something’ I search for.   That ‘something’ that will fill feelings of grief, sadness and overwhelm.  

    That space that I try to fill every time I open my phone to check Facebook. 

    The hole I avoid when I run away from what I am feeling.  

    The darkness I turn from every time I sit in numbness, not wanting to feel, not wanting to go down old trodden paths of pain.

    But sometimes life doesn’t give us a chance to avoid.  

    It allows us the privilege to sit up, to notice, to see our grief journey clearly and how much pain we have turned into gratitude.  

    This search for something that is really nothing outside of us at all. 

    We can’t avoid living life and why would we want to. 

    The privilege to be with our people, to see into the eyes of their souls and to get to know them on a deeper level. 

    Yes, Facebook could do that. 

    Walking away could help us reflect. 

    And that darkness I talked about, well, that only helps us see the brightness of the light.  

    See, I have learned to let go of my sense of judgement as things are neither good nor bad, they just are.  I have also learned to be present with what I am feeling, as these feelings are neither good nor bad, as well, they just are! 


    So, as you search for that ‘something’ today may you first look within your soul, your beautiful unique self sitting within you.  Resting in your spirit.  

    Being you! 

    Then may you look around you at those imperfectly perfect people around you. Building Knex, asking about the birds and the bees, reading books, playing with pillows… are what my people are currently doing. 

    Being them! 


    Search for that something that is already within you. 

    Beautiful.  

    Imperfectly perfect. 

    Neither good nor bad. 

    Just being. 

    Full of strength.  

    Overflowing with hope.  

    Sitting in the presence of His peace.  

    Knowing you are loved.  

    Searching for nothing. 

    Found! 

    *written for a special person in our life on this significant ‘something’ kind of day! 

    Be Leaving a Legacy 

    Words often can’t do moments justice, except maybe if you are an Inuit person who has fifty words to describe snow. 

    Today, I had an incredible moment where my mom showed her heart and the legacy that she has left myself, my boys, her family and her friends.  I pray that my words will do this moment justice.  

    Since my mom died three years ago, there are a few memory making places that I haven’t been back to because of circumstances or choice.  The beautiful Cottage Day Spa with the extraordinary human being, Pam, was one of those places I chose not to go.  The Cottage Day Spa holds a very special place in my heart as it is a place where my mom felt peace and was truly cared for, in body, mind and spirit.   Pam has a gift to share and a beautiful Cottage to share it in.  


    For my mom’s last birthday, I planned an elaborate surprise birthday party including a limousine scavenger hunt, poster collage, brunch at her favourite restaurant and an afternoon with Pam at The Cottage for a facial.  

    Jump forward three years and I hadn’t made an appointment to see Pam. Before Christmas of this year, was when I ran into Pam for the first time.  I hadn’t seen her in years.  I then ran into Pam a second time in the parking lot of our ski hill about a month ago and I knew it was time to go back for a visit. 

    Today, I stepped into The Cottage Day Spa.  The memories of coming with my mom enveloped me. She was always so full of joy coming here.  Truly free and truly happy. Today, I was shocked when I sat down and Pam pulled out this note from my file: 


    Before my mom died, she paid for my treatment today! Pam honoured my mom’s legacy gift to me from over three years ago and today I was given the most relaxing, kind, beautiful, mom-inspired facial.  

    Legacy. 

    Living legacy.  

    Loving. 

    Learning.  

    Giving.  

    Thoughtful.  

    Kind. 

    My mom’s legacy.  

    What will you be leaving as a legacy through your thoughts and deeds? 

    My hope is to leave a legacy of:

    ✨ My love of ALL people. 

    ✨ Being a river of money, constantly supporting and passing on. 

    ✨ Home being a place of peace and joy. 

    ✨ My desire to be strong and athletic.  

    ✨ My moments of creativity and inspiration through solitary actions of writing, painting and photography. 

    ✨ My gratitude for God’s divine moments in our lives woven through people, greatness, mistakes and living imperfectly perfect.  

    My legacy. 

    My mom’s legacy.  

    My inheritance.  

    My heart interwoven through her constant encouragement and presence in our lives. 

    Forever and always. 

    Amen. 

    Be Writing a Love Letter to My Boys 

    Dear My Boys, the ones my heart chose, 

    There is nothing on earth that I love more or am more proud of. 

    My “titles” of wife and mother are my DIAMONDS 💍.  

    When you calls me ‘love’, ‘sweetie’ or ‘Jo’, my heart melts. 💏 You are incredible to live with, dream with and be with.  it is such a gift to be able to hear your incredible ideas. 


    When I hear ‘Mama’, my heart soars. 🦋 You boys are my proudest achievements.  It is such a gift to be able to watch you grow.  


    My greatest 💃🏼 moments and memories involve you four.  

    My heart 💜 overflows as I write this.  

    I feel warm inside.  

    My mind is at peace.  

    Glory to God alone for this magnificent life we are creating together.  ❌⭕️❌⭕️

    Happy Valentine’s Day 2017 💋

    Be Rejected 

    Sit with me today and ask yourself if you have ever been rejected. I mean really rejected, back-turning, door slamming, get the f* out rejected?  I also want to talk about the simple rejections that happen every single day as we live our lives.

    Have you ever been dumped?

    Rejection.

    Have you ever applied for a job and not hired?

    Rejected.

    Have you ever apologized and had that person never speak to you again?

    Rejection.

    Have you put in a business or book proposal and received a denial letter?

    Rejected.

    rejected
    In the sadness, anger and humbleness of rejection, what do we find?

    A new way.

    A new path.

    A new resiliency.

    A letting go.

    Or holding tighter.

    A fortitude to persevere.

    Or a desire to walk away.

    Rejection is a true gift, a branch of the gifts of grief.

    It is ready for us to unwrap in every rejected moment.

    gift-giving

    We can choose our path with rejection.

    We can envision rejection as a branch of a metaphorical tree.

    Ponder, with me, how this gift of rejection can help us grow!

    Perhaps rejection has come into our life because we have been growing roots in places that weren’t in rich soil.  We may have needed more light rather than darkness.  Or maybe something or someone new may have been needed in our life to bring us new living water. Rejection needed to create space.  Our branches may have needed some pruning so that we could have new growth in our life.

    Rejected.

    Rejection.

    Light.

    Growth.

    Life.

    All symbiotic and much needed in our lives.

    Gratitude today for EVERY time I have been rejected in word, thought or deed.

    Life-giving.

    Gratitude-living.

    Rejection.

    Be rejected.