Tag Archives: mom of boys

Be Starting a Radical Sabbatical

Our Radical Sabbatical – Chapter Two

And it begins… THIS IS day one! Truly, we really started two months ago when we rode away from school.  We rode away from a structured school system with times and schedules that often aren’t in the best interest of our children.  We rode away from preconceived notions of a 9 to 5 daily life.  We also rode into a life of the unknown, a life of exploring, a life where every day of the week can be similar or wildly different.  A new and familiar way.

Finding our rhythm.

Exploring new places.

Learning about our boys.

Closer to nature.

Closer together.

Our radical sabbatical.

As we stepped away from school, the first step was to find a distributed learning school that would meet the needs of each of our boys.  I phoned and emailed many schools. There were some that would send you weekly assignments and others where you could decide exactly what you could do with no teacher direction.  There is even “unschooling” where you don’t follow any curriculum and don’t work with a teacher. We chose something in the middle, partnering with the school that I used to work for before becoming an ‘accidental entrepeneur’ with the nutritional company that changed my life and I chose to partner with.  I am a trained teacher, but I know where I want my focus to be: Coaching my people to their best life and supporting my boys. The teacher we have the privilege of working with was my vice principal when I worked with as a Homeschool teacher and is also a very good friend.  Once we decided on the school, the teacher and I created a student learning plan for each of the boys.  These are individualized plans where myself, Sexy Neck and each of our boys would sit together and talk about our goals, and what are the strengths and needs of each of them.  It was rich!

Sabbatical schooling.

Personal goals.

Individualised plans.

Rich conversations.

Dreaming big.

Keeping things simple.

One wants a Youtube channel.

Another wants to complete a standing back flip.

And our youngest just wants to play with Lego.

Every child will be heard.

Every one of our son’s will get opportunities to lead.

We will get the opportunity to learn.

More about our boys.

More about their ways.

More about what fires them up.

More about what slows them down.

Sabbatical schooling.

Once we created a plan around schooling, we knew the next step was to find renters for our home so that we could live in a smaller space, closer to Sexy Neck’s work without having to worry about being away from a house for long periods of time.  We knew we were ready to live in our two room 900 square foot ski condo.  Imagine a hotel with two adjoining rooms, one with beds and a bathroom and another room with a kitchen and hide-a-bed. Eh viola, you have exactly the picture of what we would be living in.   We divinely found renters for our home through an old friend who reached out and said, “Hey, do you know anyone who is looking to rent out their home, my daughters are coming to university?”  Oh ya, we do!  We have know these daughters since they were wee ones and we knew that they were the perfect fit for our home!

The right people.

The right timing.

The right place.

Everything falling into place.

Unfolding effortlessly.

Without worry.

Without stress.

Walking out our dreams.

With this radical sabbatical.

In this small space.

With big dream.

Our radical sabbatical.

Once we had the school chosen and the house rented, it was time to declutter and start planning. And oh the decluttering we did. Following Dave Ramsey’s sage financial advice, we proceeded to sell more than $1,000 in clothes, toys and even a bed we weren’t using. I went through every single storage box in the basement and every cupboard and closet in the house. It was freeing! Stuff entangles me! Lastly, I went through all of my teaching boxes and found the resources that I knew I wanted to use. Four boxes widdled down to two boxes of treasures that I knew would help my boys learn.

Simplicity.

Freedom.

From stuff.

From clutter.

From chaos around us.

Freeing.

Simple.

As our radical sabbatical begun, the only thing left to ponder and pray about was what would we do to start the first day of school! We decided that a 1766 kilometres round trip road trip was in order. We visited two very special cabins for two nights each and ended up stepping into the 1800’s in Barkerville for the first day of school.

Stagecoaches.

Gold panning.

Old fashioned candy.

Cowboy boots.

Large hats.

Heavy guns.

Singing in the street.

King House B & B.

Three happy boys starting this first day of school in grades three, five and seven.

The Radical Sabbatical has begun!

Boys living their best lives.

Happy Mama.

Smiling Dada.

Dreams do come true.

Hold your visions.

As I hold mine.

Dream again if you haven’t recently.

Tell a friend.

And ask them to hold yours.

Radical Sabbatical.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Be Creating a King/Queen Culture (Top 3 Tips)

Lessons are everywhere if we look for them! Especially lessons about the culture we want to create for our kids.

After watching my boys learn and negotiate playing ping pong with each other, I have become clearer on exactly what I want for the culture within my family and business. Imagine a little white ball going back and forth, off the roof and walls, teaching us about culture. Yup, that’s how I roll! Lessons are around every corner and at the end of every ping pong paddle.

Here are my three tips for anyone that wants to create a culture where everyone is treated like the royalty they are.

A king.

A queen.

Uniquely created.

Individually gifted.

God-given talents.

Royalty.

My King/Queen culture is:

1. Calm & Strong.

2. Focused & Fierce

3. Humble & Proud.

When my boys were hitting the ping pong ball back and forth, the boys that were calm and strong were the most successful. Flailing, getting annoyed, crying, having temper tantrums on the floor and flopping around like a a leaf in the wind, didn’t help move forward the skills my boys were trying to learn in ping pong. In my life, when I have allowed my emotions to run rabid and guide me, I am neither calm nor strong. In the culture I am creating, calm and strong must reign. The ability to be present exactly where you are, as exactly who you are. The ability to look at situations and what’s happening around me with a peace in my heart and knowing I can handle anything.

Calm & Strong.

Have you every played ping pong or tennis or any other racquet sport? How do some players just smash the ball into the corner of the court? How do they always seem to hit the exact spot that you can’t reach? They are one hundred percent both focused and fierce. They seem to not hear nor see anything happening around them but the object they need to hit. This is the culture I want to create. And something my oldest son has mastered in ping pong. He can really hit that ball. In this King/Queen culture in my business, the focus is first on the person being helped or served. Nothing else matters, I listen without judgement or preconceived notions. I am fiercely focused on finding out what they need and how I can help. Looking for that exact spot where they might have a nutritional hole that needs to be filled.

Focused & Fierce.

Lastly, in this culture the one that will be the most successful must be both humble and proud. When I was watching my boys play ping pong, I could sense the happiness and sense of pride in a shot well done and I knew that they were humble when they won. No showboating or boasting would have been tolerated by the other brothers. Isn’t it amazing to see people that love what they do, take pride in what they do, but are also willing to learn. I truly believe that having a humble heart that knows there is more to learn is such a beautiful thing.

Humble & Proud.

A culture of people willing to learn. A culture of people open to what’s happening around them.

Living as human beings that are:

Calm & Strong.

Focused & Fierce.

Humble & Proud.

In all areas of life, but especially while playing pingpong.

😘 Joanna

<Pop over to Instagram to say hi! @cannjoanna>

Be Soil, Sun, Water and Oxygen

More today, now than ever, we need connections and people to mentor us on our life journeys.  Between the smoke and mirrors of social media and the messages being portrayed in movies, streaming and in advertisements, finding our individual growth journey is more important than it ever has been.  Slowly, we are inundated with the perfect lives, the neatly wrapped up stories and lives that are missing connections with the people breathing all around us.   We have forgotten to look around.  We are often looking at our phone missing the people around us.  

Look out. 

Look within. 

See the beauty around you. 

See the beauty within. 

As I thought about people who have helped me become the “flower” that I am: colourful, a bit tattered at the edges, long, strong and loving life amongst my other flowers, I have realised that there have been four key people who have helped me on my journey.    

Donna S, one of my mom’s very best friends, has been my soil.  She has provided nourishment at the right time of my life.  She has always held space and made space for me to be me.  I have never felt judgement from her, ever.  Donna has been the ground that I could stand on when growing.  She, too, was married to a Principal, worked in a care giving position as a nurse and chose to be a stay-at-home mom.  Donna is also a mom of three children.  She makes the very best zucchini sticks, fresh from her garden.  It never fails on my birthday that I will receive a birthday card from Donna.  A handwritten card will often show up at other pertinent moments, like my first year of University and my first time living alone, I received a card in November. I will never forget sitting on my dorm room bed, reading the card and crying because someone remembered me and thought of me.  Isn’t that a nourishing thought?  Where would I be without this soil beneath my feet provided by Donna?

At our wedding in 1997

Who loves the sun? Jean R. was my “University mom” and she was my light and sun during my growth as a university student.  She showed me how to live a life of freedom being exactly who you are.  Jean gave me physical and spiritual food and she showed me how to tap into God’s love and grace.  She had created beautiful rituals around the holidays and always had a handful of people home for the holidays, unrelated, but always at home at Jean and Joe’s.  Jean was married to an Engineer and is also a mom of three.  She, too, chose to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her three children while having a hairdressing studio in her basement.  She was also the person that gave me light on my wedding day by doing my hair.  Where would I be without this light-filled person in my world?  

Doing my hair for my wedding. 

Now enter into my life, water in the form of Hilde W. or Mrs. White in English.  She came to me in a season of tremendous growth, early in my marriage.  Hilde was my German mom and also a mother of three.   She showed me how to soak up new ideas and how she literally turned a century old barn into a thriving hotel and restaurant in a village the population of an elementary school.  Living in room 25 of her hotel, she also taught me how to cook pizza on a wood oven outside and load a mean dishwasher.  She was open and accepting and poured great love into both us.  She watered us on a daily basis with her kind words, big ideas and hard work.  What would I be without watching this clear living water pour from Hilde?  

Hilde and my German sister, Katrin, visiting Canada in 2006. 

Lastly, I end with my mentor who has breathed life in me from the very beginning.  She was my mom’s fellow ‘hockey wife’, one of her best friends and Wendy knew me when I was in my mother’s womb.  Wendy is also one of the first people that all my boys met when they were born. She taught me how to show up in live,  just be and breathe. Wendy also reminds me never to forget to laugh.  She showed me how to live the gift of grief when she lost her husband in a car accident when I was in my teens.  Wendy gives the very best gifts!  Through her actions and her words she is like a breathe of fresh air and her hugs, ah her hugs, they literally give you life.   Wendy helped in the family business, worked in schools, but mostly loved on her three children.  Where would I be without seeing Wendy live with full life with full breathes and have so much fun? O’Wen! 

Around 1982 at Shakee’s pizzeria. 

All of us are flowers getting ready to bloom.  We just need to remember or find those that are nourishing us as soil, sun, water and oxygen.  I wonder who those people are for you.  Conversely, I wonder who you could be those things for. 

Soil. 

Sun. 

Water. 

Oxygen. 

Moms of three. 

Filled with light. 

Overcomers of loss. 

Living life. 

All very important elements and role models for me to have to truly bloom.  

Note: For the article that inspired me to write this post, take a look at this article.  Thanks Wendy W. for the inspiration, my fellow flower! 

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.

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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.

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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 Finding Balance Again (Overconsumption has taken over!) 

Overconsumption rules the world right now and, in my opinion, is ruining the world. 

From the plastics that are flooding the earth and waters. 

To the devices that are flooding our brains and bodies. 

On to the food that is stripping our lands of minerals and then not giving our bodies what it needs even when we think it’s good for us. 

Overconsumption has taken over! 

Did you know that most teens now spend more time on devices than an adult spends at their full time job per day?  

Did you know that some family’s have their children signed up for activities every single day of the week? 

Has anyone else noticed that rarely do we talk about reducing or reusing what we consume, instead all our energy has gone into recycling?   

Tonight, I lift my glass and say cheers to finding a balance life. 

True balance. 

Harmony within and around. 

Time and space to be. 

Energy and effort to do. 

Balance between men and women. 

Testosterone and estrogen. 

Just enough.  

All around. 

In balance.  


Our three boys ages, 10, 8 and 6 receive four hours of screen time PER WEEK. Today, their brains were flooded with the sounds and sights of skiing on snow. Their bodies climbed trees, hammered rocks, played piano and even jumped on mattresses in the basement later in the day.  

My husband and I don’t allow screens anytime on Mondays and Wednesdays when the boys have activities.  The rest of the week, they are free to choose when they use their “tech time”.   They are open to choose how to spend their free time.  It is in these in between time that is so fun to see what they create. 

Imbalance is killing us. 

Overconsumption is killing our planet. 

Each of us, can find ways to create balance. 

Individually it is easy. 

Collectively it makes a difference. 

Balance in mind, within our bodies and through our spirit.  

Imagine this place of balance for you, what it would look like and feel like. 

Who would be around you? 

What would you eat? 

What activities and moments of stillness would flow through the day? 

What would you do tomorrow if you lived a day in balance? 

You ‘Cann’ do it. 

😘 Joanna Cann