Tag Archives: musings

Be Happy/Sad Hockey is Over!

Hockey in Vtown finished this afternoon. We love the coach, Z! She is the perfect balance of firm, fun and technical skills. She has continued to fuel our boys love for hockey.

We love the midweek connection we have had with papa and nana.

But frankly, I am exhausted. All of this driving, delving back and forth into my old life and how this season of our lives has unfolded.

I am happy/sad. My life is a dichotomy of mixed emotions most of the time, this is just another simple example.

OC got his first stick today:


20140312-161747.jpgOC is a star hanging out for two hours while his brothers skate.

JC and Papa getting the equipment on:

CC with his post-practice sweaty head:

20140312-161913.jpgAfter practice they had pizza for the players:


Letting go.

Saying goodbye.

Sitting in happiness with sadness.

He shoots.

He scores!

CC and JC on the ice together.

Be Letting Go of Ways to do Crap

In my family of origin, there have been expectations on how to do things. In most cases, ‘Get er done!’ runs supreme. The quicker the better.

Recently the debate has been on about how to finish off our kitchen. I want to leave the cupboards open. I love my jars. People outside my family of boys have strong feelings that the kitchen crap should be hidden away behind a door.


In our household, we have two distinct ways to lode our dishwasher. One of us likes to rinse and stack before putting them in the dishwasher. The other likes to throw em in and ‘Get er done!’. Guess who did this wonderful stacking?

Is there a right or a wrong way? Really there isn’t.

Next CC and I have had a puzzling week. He is a four year old on fire for puzzles. But I noticed something curious. In my family of origin, we always flipped all the pieces over then did the outside edge first. CC always started by putting the pictures and similar colours first and would even flip over pieces as he went.

20140305-220709.jpgIs he doing it wrong? Someone might correct him. Not me! I love allowing my children the opportunity to listen to their own ways to do things.

Today in my anger, I had a breakthrough.
In this Post-Industrial Age where we don’t need to be perfect doing the same task over and over and over. I want to experience more freedom on how to ‘Get er done!’ while being cast adrift on my boat of grief.

In light of my letting go of this mentality of having one way to do crap, I think of John Travolta who mispronounced Indina Menzel’s name on the Oscar’s. I heard on the radio the opinion that he shouldn’t have introduced anyone if he couldn’t do it perfectly. Really? Who can judge perfection these days and who hasn’t made a mistake? We are teetering on a fine line when we expect perfection from our families, people around us and celebrities. Let’s stop hiding and realize there is more than one way to do most crap.

I am grateful for good old John for ‘Staying Alive’. Not only did he show his humanness, he introduced me to my new theme song: Let It Go.

Let it go.

The wind is howling.

I couldn’t let it go.

Heavens know I tried.

To be a good girl.



No fears.

No right.

No wrong.

No rules.


The perfect girl is gone.

The storm still rages.

But I stand.

The cold has never bothered my anyways.
(Song lyrics from the movie Frozen, thank you Disney for letting me paraphrase).

My truth.

My way.

My anger.

Turned to letting go.

Let the storm rage on.

Be Creating a New Life (Painting again!)

I realized as I started painting YET ANOTHER item in our house tonight that my sole purpose of painting is to create new life.

Life without my mom a phone call away.

Life without my mom to negotiate schooling and my boys. Schools aren’t the best places for boys these days!

Life without my mom at our sides reading, laughing, cooking, exploring and painting.

I am not completely sure what this new life here in KCity is going to look like. My grief-filled emotional brain doesn’t know what to do in this new life.

So I paint.

I actually don’t really like painting and haven’t painted before.

BUT as I move my brush back and forth in silence tonight, I felt myself moving forward.

The sense of working out my grief.

Peeling off layers of grief as I add layers of paint.

Create new life in the things around me.

Waiting for God to unfold my new life around me in His perfect timing.

Being in my home.

Completely present with my children.

Changing poops.

Making cushion forts.

Playing cars.




One brush stroke at a time.

New life.


(I finished the fireplace tonight and had some extra white paint. I attacked our bedside tables that have been in Sexy Neck’s family for many years and probably are older than us.)

….Stop me if I start painting the toilet….

Be Building a Maisonnette

What did you yearn to have in your childhood home?

A cozy place to snuggle and read?

A place to climb?

A home for your dolls and toys?

Since the day we moved into our house last summer, our boys have wanted to build a fort/Maisonnette under the stairs.

A perfect hideaway.

A clubhouse.

A special space.

My heart longs to create a healing home where we can rest. As last week unfolded, I knew our family needed a project for the weekend. I immediately thought of the fort. We must have hit the right moment as the construction gears were in motion on Friday night about ten seconds after I mentioned the fort.

JC and Sexy Neck came up with the design. I cleaned out my stuff from under the stairs. The boys found some wood and they were off.



20140224-124755.jpgHere is the finished product on Sunday night:



The boys want to put wood on the sides, add a rope ladder, paint, add a curtain for privacy, a bookshelf and a few more nicknacks will come and go.

The boys were incredible working with their dad. Sexy Neck was amazing at involving the boys every step of the way. The were able to measure and cut wood. Problem solve when the wood wouldn’t fit on the platform. The boys screwed in the floorboard, OC was a natural. Finally, they got to choose everything that they wanted in the fort.

Building self-esteem.



Bodies and minds in motion.


The boys Maisonnette designed and created by them.



Be Having Nothing to Give (choo choo!)

We are on a one way track to healing.

Chugging down the track, snotty horns a blaring into my Kleenex.

The rickety old train with its heavier than normal road.

Chugging along.

Not making a stop.

Not picking anything up.

Just chugging along.

You want to get on this train?

Observe carefully.

Run along and jump.

This train can’t stop.

It may never start again.

This train wants to hide in the shed.

But with three wee train cars on the back, there ain’t no rest.

Weekends, the big handsome steam locomotive comes along to give us a pull.

But other than that we are stuck with the dirty, coal steam engine.


On the track.

Teary eyes forward.

Trying hard not to fall off.

Wow, this is one big hill.

“I think I Cann, I think I Cann!”


Be Painting Yet Another Wall.

This wall is a paint can full of love for my boys.

First my man, Sexy Neck:

And then my wee boys:

My imperfect love poured out.

God’s redeeming love making it perfect.

All that I have.

All that I am.

Love I cannot describe.




A wife.

A mother.

Poured out through paint, through words, through actions.

Freely given.


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Be Removed From Life

I am fully on my face, waiting for God to take my hand.

Guide me.

Like a blind woman.


In imperfection.

With grace.

Most days, I don’t ‘know’ what to do. My ‘to-do list’ is empty. This autumn season taught me to reach for God’s cloak, this winter has taught me to wait for Him.


One step.

One breath.


My brain doesn’t work the way it used to. The uber-organized, relationship focused Joanna has disappeared.

Praying is difficult.
Reading onerous.
TV leaves me saddened.
Listening to others sad stories crushes me.
Hearing mundane complaints makes me want to turn and run.
Answer the question, “How are you?” boggles my brain.

Ambiguous comments and indirect speech where people don’t say what they want nor feel, is a language I can’t decode. It hurts my heart and pains my mind. I can’t make sense of this. Life seems to be pretty black and white to me at the moment.

“Will it help my family?”

“Will it help me take better care of myself?”

Sorry environmental concerns, fundraising for Africa, dust bunnies in the corners, life has collapsed in the Cann household and we are starting the rebuilding from the bottom.

Healing the people.

I am completely with my family, but completely removed from my life.

This is a Holy time.

Without fear.

With no judgement for myself or others.

With only sadness, love, desperation, laughter and rich family times all cuddled together like a beautiful rose wrapped present.

Removed from expectations, to do’s, fringe friendships, busyness.

Every night I lay in amazement at how God works everything out. How He holds me close and takes my hand. I am humbled by the people walking closely with me and how they know how to help without me saying a word. I lay in awe at the infiniteness of God and how finite He is with me.

The small things.

The whispers during my quiet days.

His presence.

Multitude of coincidences.

Grief, what a gift!

Be Before and After At the Wall (orange wall)

There is a sacred place in Jerusalem called the Wailing Wall or Western Wall. This wall is believed to have been part of the Temple of Solomon. Checkout 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 in the bible for more insight.

As I have been painting our living room wall orange, I have been pondering the Wailing Wall. This is a sacred place for Jews to go to pray and lament. My personal orange ‘wailing wall’ has been a place where I pray and lament.

I pray:
⭐️ May this home be a sanctuary.
⭐️ Help me Jesus!
⭐️ Lord, be enough for me this day.
⭐️ Help me ‘understand’ why I want to stuff my mouth with food.
⭐️ Lord, be with each of my boys. Be present to them.
⭐️Help me put one foot in front of another when all I want to do is lie under my duvet.

And I lament, oh how my heart grieves so many things:
💔 Our best friends moving to Vancouver Island last March.
💔 Moving from our ‘hood’ on 29th Crescent in May.
💔 Mom starting to show she is unwell in June.
💔 Saying goodbye to friends popping over and being ‘known’.
💔 Moving to a new city and neighbourhood in July.
💔 Mom being in the hospital and beginning her journey with cancer.
💔 Starting new activities and schools for the boys in September.
💔 Riding the cancer wave with mom and dad all autumn.
💔 Mom’s final hospital and hospice time in December.
💔 Mom’s death on Boxing Day.
💔 Broken relationships are finally exposed. (My sensitive soul is actually more relieved than grieving this one!)
💔 Living each day without my mom.
💔 Watching my dad, Steve and the boys grieve.
💔 Existing in a world without my mom a phone call away, without her popping by, without her listening ear, without her presence, without her hugs.


I pray.

I lament.

I grieve.

I choose.

To paint.





I can survive!

I am full of gratitude for my boys!

I sit in the desert.

I wait.

I rely on my blessed friends.

I look for how God will bring me out of this.

I believe.

I rest.


If you need me, you know where I will be!

Be On the Team (6 Points)

Apparently, I use a whole stadium full of sports lingo in my language.

High five!

Hurry hard!

With speed this time.

Go! Go! Go!

I imagine it has to do with growing up shooting around the hockey rink while my dad played. Perhaps it could be the plethora of hours I spent playing volleyball (or really any sport)in a gym. Or even the days we spent on the snow while talking about the hockey rink or what was transpiring in the gym. Could it be my infatuation for tennis and ringette in my younger years that fuelled this sporty language acquisition? Maybe I could even put the blame on my very athletic parents.



She scores!

This sports lingo has been a tremendous oar as I have had to row through my grief about cancer with my family and now with the loss of my ever-present mom.

Upon reflection of the words I choose, I have come up with six points on the scoresheet that are helping me understand how to be the healthiest, fittest and strongest player for the team.

Turn on the scoreboard, here we go:


I have always tried to be a team player. I have always wanted everyone to be on the team. I have always felt the need to encourage people on the team that surrounds me – my friends, neighbours, family members and even the mail lady. This was a lot of energy going into being on the team as well as trying to be the team manager and cheerleader.


I am not interested in having people on the team who tell me I am now in charge of organizing things for the team. Sorry, every person is going to have to pull their own weight, plan their own lives, holidays, trips. I ain’t taking over the coaching role mom vacated. I definitely don’t like the cheerleader’s outfit nor the fact that the manager doesn’t get to play the game.

(1985/86 Ringette Team)


I am definitely not interested in having people on the team who have told me they need to have communication boundaries. If you can’t talk as a team, there is no team. Plain and simple. Oh ya, my children are on my team til they are eighteen so you better figure out what you need to do to swing the bat for the team. Otherwise, you will most likely will find it frustrating coming onto the field to play with a team you don’t know, but may have known twenty years ago in Little League.

3. GIVE ‘SOMETHING’ OF YOURSELF TO THE TEAM. (Not just expensive gifts!)

I am not interested in players who want to be on the team, but not be open or available to anyone by sharing something of themselves. Being on a team means give ‘n ‘r for the team: physically, emotionally, mentally.


I am no longer interested in being the one to plan, ponder and even worry about how you are fitting in with the team. Time for each person to step up to the plate and say what kind of skates don’t hurt your feet. Practice saying what you want then if you don’t get what you want, get off the bench. and get it yourself. No more moaning and groaning.


Lastly, on this team there is a place for mistakes. Yes, I just painted two walls of my house orange. Yes, I often say the ‘wrong’ thing in your eyes. Yes, I am raising my boys imperfectly with all my love. Oh ya, you can also throw your judgements (or prayers concealed as judgment) down the luge track.

(1990 High School Volleyball Team)


If you want perfection, stick to the 100 metre dash, keeping your eyes on the finish line, practicing to the best of your ability knowing I wish you well.

(1991 Volleyball Provincials)

I choose to play on a team.

I was laughing out loud as I write this post. What great memories my parents created for me through sport. What a privilege it is to be in such a ‘raw’, fragile time!