Tag Archives: motherhood

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 Wondering About Writing

As I wonder and wander through my daily life and hangout with my peeps, many of you have asked, “What are you going to be writing next?”

A few of you might now be wondering, “What do you mean next? What happened to the book that I have been editing for the last year?”  Well this happened:

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I decided that this beautiful book about finding freedom on the inside and outside as a human being was just for ME!  And here is the book cover:

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Yup, it took me slightly over a year to edit and I decided to put this little baby into the filing cabinet.  And I feel free!  It was just for me.  It has been an incredible year of growth and seeing it written on the pages of a book over twelve chapters has been humbling and freeing!  I released it into the filing cabinet and for the last two weeks I have been wondering what WILL I be writing next?

I write every morning to pray and meditate over.  I write to hold and create my vision.   I write to pour out from within.  I allow my words to come out from pen to paper without judgement and without stopping.  It just flows from within, uninhibited, flowing wherever it wants to go.  I write to edify others.  I write to pour out inspiration on facebook.  I write because words do matter, they are the sword of the spirit.  They come from within and wield power.  My sword is covered with white chocolate and is meant to be sweet and easy to savour.  I pray my words always fill the sweet spot in your soul!

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Now what am I going to write, I wondered? And then I remembered these beautiful journals!  Letters to my boys that I started writing when I was pregnant with each of them.  Letters that I wrote daily or weekly about what I was observing as I have the privilege to watch them grow.  Writing between a mama and her boys, from my heart to theirs.  I stopped writing when my mom was living with cancer and since 2013 these journals have moved homes and sat in a cupboard.   And now as I have been set free from the book I completed, I am now going back to my boys.  Backwards to move forward.  Slowing down to speed up.  Writing to them, for them and with them as I watch them grow!

If writing isn’t your thing, what will you wonder about and where will it take you?

Wonder.

As you wander.

Be a human being.

Be present.

Be awake.

Be.

Enough.

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Be Living A Brut-iful Life!

img_8886 As I sit, ponder and let my mind wander, I think of all of you reading this 2017 message. Each of my Facebook friends and all 996 of you that follow my blog. I want to pour out extra love to everyone going through their sprinkling of brutal and beautiful as I did three years ago.  Couldn’t that be all of us?  Isn’t life imperfectly perfect?  What a brut-iful life we are living here in the stunning Okanagan Valley!  A sprinkle of brutal, but ALWAYS beautiful!

Three years ago, I walked with my mom as she was being released into heaven.  I walked as a daughter, an advocate, a pain reliever, a massager, a water getter, a midwife and had to make phone calls that I never thought I would have to, I think back at how brut-iful these moments were.  Brutal moments where I just have to lie down and cry and beautiful moments where I lie down and rejoice!  All magically weaved together into living each day with the gift of grief.

My boys were playing in their “Astronomer’s Lair” a few days ago, and I was very surprised to walk in and see them playing with old Tupperware bins.   I experienced one of my brut-iful moments when they proceeded to inform me that the extra bed was a place for their beloved Nana.  It was a lying down rejoicing and crying kind of moment!  The boys were 2, 4 and 6 when my marvelous Mama went to heaven, but she is still very much present in our lives!   It is slowly moving from brutal memories into beautiful moments.  Don’t underestimate your power to leave an impact on peoples lives!

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As I send  you wishes for an healthy, energetic, adventurous 2017 filled with dreams, may you savour all your brut-iful moments knowing that they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Day by day.

Beautiful.

Brutal.

Memory-Making.

Healthy.

Living EVERY day.

Brut-iful living.

Brut-iful life!

Smooch, Joanna

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Be a “Messy” Christian

Messy.

Yup, that describes me.

I ain’t no one hour sitcom that figures it all out.

I don’t live in a magazine showhome.

Nope, not me.

Today, I bawled my eyes out twice talking to my friend in Germany and my cousin in PG.

Yup, crocodile tears rolling down my face.

Yup, that’s me.

I am the kind of girl that sometimes doesn’t even comb her hair.

And sometimes I even wear the same clothes TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Had to admit it.

I don’t set aside specific “quiet” time to pray.

Not a lot of quiet time to be had.

This is what my morning quiet time looks like:

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(Insert three wee boys at the end of the table running around, yelling eating breakfast.)

I do talk with our God throughout my day.

Please Lord, help me keep these boys alive!

I don’t attend church every weekend.

But I do worship and show gratitude to our Lord every day.

No, I am definitely not a nice and tidy Christian attending church every weekend, tithing my ten percent with my perfect “everything is just fine and dandy” smile on my face.

I am one “messy” believer in the Maker of the Universe, glory that God came for the imperfect, the ones that don’t have it all together, messy people like me!

Beautiful to know that God came as a baby, Jesus, and that we get to celebrate his birth next week!

And he was born in a stable.

Now if that ain’t messy, I don’t know what is!

Glory for imperfection.

Tears.

Love.

Life.

Friendship.

Fellowship.

Togetherness.

Celebrating.

My messy life.

With a beautiful birth.

Jesus.

Be Saying Adiós to Diapers

Have you ever made a commitment to do something every day, many times per day for SEVEN years?

I didn’t, but it happened. How, I don’t really know.

I have changed diapers for exactly 7 years, 2 months, and 3 days starting on Friday, April 6th, 2007 and finishing up my diaper changing career yesterday, on Monday, June 9th, 2014.

I have had my fair share of help, Sexy Neck, my mom, random visitors and even my dad have lent a hand.

I think I need a certificate on my wall to mark this day, that’s a lot of bum and crevice wiping as well as money. We probably spent around sixty bucks per month on diapers. Math is not my strong suit, but we spent over NINE THOUSAND dollars on diapers. Woah! (Side note: Sexy Neck, the Math teacher, has informed me that it is more like $5,200, but still a lot of money. Thanks for reading the blog honey and for correcting my Math. We can thank Mr. Crampton for my confused Math skills.)

We are very excited to be starting our diaper-free life.

OC has been ready for many months but after our trip up north and seeing baby G in diapers, the deal was sealed. The diapers disappeared all together. Bye bye diapers. Now the trip training, high fives, floor cleaning, extra laundry and loud cheers ensues for the next few weeks while OC masters the skill of going in the toilet or on the pee tree.

* Just a note about what is ‘trip training’ for all my new mommy friends. The best thing is that you don’t have lengthy discussions or ask multiple times per day, “Do you have to go potty?”. I take OC to the potty at regular times, when I go or the brothers go or before we leave the house. We take a trip to the potty, no questions asked. No screaming or crying for anyone and no special rewards. Just us and our books relaxing on the toilet.

Here are our favourite potty books and OC in ‘action’! We laugh and laugh and laugh about Liam’s poo in the toilet. We relax and read and take deep breathes et viola. Poop in the potty.

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What a cute little tush!

Independence.

Positive potty excitement.

Wiping bums.

Washing hands.

Cheering brothers.

One very happy mama.

Freedom.

For all.

Be Asking What You ‘Did’ on the Weekend

As a stay-at-home mom, my Monday to Fridays are weekends and my weekends are a holidays because I have all my boys at home.   My favourite quote as I raise up young men, “The days are long, but the years are short?”

My usual weekends involve cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving, encouraging, creating and loving up my boys to get ready to launch them ‘back into the world’ for another week. I feel profoundly grateful that I can be my three boys first teacher and that Sexy Neck supports me emotionally as well as financially. I feel completely content with my ‘job’ but sometimes I cringe at the Monday morning school drop-off where people ask about your weekend.

Tomorrow, I am going to be laughing my head off as I answer the question, “What did you do on the weekend?”.

I did surgery on a bear!

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Thanks JC for taking the photo of me sewing on daddy bear’s head. Nana would be proud. We had daddy bear sitting by Nana’s sewing machine since the fall, but we brought him home.   I sewed on my first teddy bear head. I can do anything.

New.

Risk taking.

Needle.

Thread.

One head at a time.

Grace.

Peace.

Joy.

Huge smile from JC.

Proud Mama.

Another great day.

Week.

Weekend.

Doing.

Being.

Be Really Real (no juice here!)

I am finding it difficult to write. I deeply desire to be positive, uplifting, encouraging, but I feel none of these things.

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(Me and my journal!)
I really want to string some pretty words together but my heart is swearing! My mind is screaming. My body is weary with grief.

I feel hurt.

I feel despair.

I feel anger.

I feel frustration.

I have become aware that my words on this blog evoke emotions. My photos, especially the one of my lying on my laundry room floor in January, are difficult for some readers.

I have to admit that this blogging thing started off anonymously with twenty people I didn’t know reading my blog daily. One year after starting and during the height of my mom’s cancer journey, there were over eight hundred people checking my blog daily!. This is a strange sensation knowing that the audience I now have before me knows me and uses this blog to ‘see how I am doing’!

Now the second thing I will admit as I sit in my red chair, the rain pounding down, as I reflect on this blogging journey is that I have been serving you juice.

Good old apple juice.

Showing you a side of me that I think you want and need to see.

Keeping the information rated G for the general audience.

Tonight, I am giving you a good old gulp of red wine on the eve of the remembrance of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The night before Jesus died he washed his disciples feet, served them bread and wine, symbolizing his body and blood.

On this night I feel like I want to die. I am listening to the rain pound down hoping it will clean me up. I want to curl up. I don’t eat nor drink. I burst into tears during a children’s storybook, at the lack of communication, through this pouring rain. I HATE RAIN!

I cry out about the missed moments. Why didn’t I stand closer and notice how mom made her jam, lasagna, apple pie crust…

I am overwhelmed by the differences between men and women as I sit surrounded by males including Sexy Neck, my boys and my father. Oh mama, where are you?

I have so many questions rattling around in my head that I want to ask my mom. I can’t breathe as tears streak my face.

My mom, my first teacher and the teacher I modelled my love of my students after. The women who showed me how to spend weekends preparing for the week, lunch hours to meet the needs of the students less socially inclined and going above and beyond in many ways. To be watching my son’s teacher with her systems, testing and explanations that end in ‘I could show you the research!’ ,my legs want to run straight to my mom for a chat in her garden. My mom had such insight about schooling. But I am alone to figure this one out. Utterly alone.

I feel sick to my stomach when I see the sad faces of my friends when I talk about my mom. I see what an impact her life and death had on them I want to talk about her but their faces make me stop.

I have never felt so lonely in my life.

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Deeply missing the times I took for granted.

Tearfully desiring all the times my mom was so beautifully present, unassuming, supportive and there.

Mom cannot be replaced. Absolutely nothing in the world can fill this gaping hole. I will continue to sit in my grief as this is my season. There is nothing another human being can do to erase my pain. Don’t feel sad for me. I am not drinking my feelings away nor shopping or eating them away.

I am sitting.

I am noticing.

I am hoping.

I am waiting.

For the rain to go away.

For a glimmer of sun.

To create a new way.

A new life.

Without my mom.

Damn this hurt.

So, if you don’t hear from me for awhile it has nothing to do with you. If I don’t know the answers nor want to organize things remember I am building new neuron brain pathways. Many of my pathways led to my mom!

I am exhausted.

Overwhelmed by waves.

I am doing my work.

Rowing my boat.

Staying afloat.

On the ocean of grief.

Waiting for Jesus to walk on water.

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Be on Blades (Skating again!)

In my grief, I am learning to hold captive to every moment. As winter comes to a close here, I decided to take the boys for one more skate on the outdoor rink.

JC and CC loved racing and playing tag. OC took his first tentative steps on his ‘cheese cutter’ skates.

We all had a blast.

20140303-211609.jpgYup, those are boats in the background. We are skating right beside the lake.

20140303-211615.jpgCC with a full mask of snow courtesy of his big brother.

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I laughed.

I raced.

I am still faster for one more year!

Be Marrying Your Mommy

Sweet moments with our middle guy.

CC video:

Who are you going to Marry?

I have already been praying for my boys’ partners. I feel that who you chose to marry is one of the biggest decisions a person can make.

I chose one pair of my mom’s ear rings for each of their partners. I pray that they can feel mom’s love, kindness, thoughtfulness and adventurous spirit.

Lots of interesting conversations here as we row our boats of grief together.

It is a beautiful, rich family time.