Tag Archives: waves

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 on the Water

Two years ago, almost to the day.  I started on a journey where I needed to learn to ride in the waves.

No choice.

Just had to do it.

The waves were metaphors, but overpowering.

My breathe was taken out of me many times, but I choose to not allow it to not overcome me.

The diagnosis of my best friend and mom having cancer.

The death of my beloved mom on Christmas 2013.

My grief was like living in a boat.

Some days the journey would be surreal, warm and comforting.

But without a moment’s notice the waves would start to pummel me, push me under and make me gasp for air.

I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t “do” anything.

I need to just “be” in the waves.

Feeling what I was feeling.

Allowing the grief, sorrow, pain to come.

Allowing myself to learn and let go.

Two years later, I am starting to learn to ride on the water with my four boys surrounding me.

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The waves are infrequent. The water is calmer. I can truly say that I have learned to ride in the waves and am now enjoying a time of being on the water, in the water of life.

Yes, the waves still do come.

Yes, I honour those waves for what they have taught me and how they have helped me become who I am.

And I am full of overflowing gratitude.

For all that I can do.

For who I am.

I am grateful for my boys.

I am grateful for the people that God has surrounded me with.

I am full of gratitude for my mom, her life and her death.

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Be Getting Hammered on your Holidays 

Hammered had a different connotations in my twenties and thirties.  Now that I am forty, being hammered has entailed waves and a flu virus. 

Last year, Sexy Neck received the gift of a pair of ripped shorts courtesy of the waves in Waimea Bay.  

Today, Waimea Bay gave Sexy Neck the gift of a shirt and face full of sand.  

Here are Papa and Sexy-Neck surveying the surf pre-hammering. 



Before. 



And after.  (He is happy the waves didn’t take his sun glasses!)

The wee boys had an incredible morning of boogie boarding.   I guess it is easier to ride a board then stand in a wave. 





Even OC got into the waves, but I only managed thus post-water shot. 



We are recovering from getting hammered with the flu this week.  

Fever.  

Chills.  

Cough.  

Running noses.

Sleepless nights.  

And this is the only hammering we hope to have during this spring break.  

Riding the waves.  

In the water.  

In life.  

Recovering from illness.  

Rejoicing in health. 

Good. 

Bad. 

Sand up your shorts. 

Sun on your face. 

Getting hammered.  

Be Going Under

The waves pour over me.

The grief is profoundly painful.

Tears flows readily.

One year ago, my mom went into the hospital in excruciating pain.

Seventeen days she spent there.

The first time!

Our family was forever changed.

The knots that held my life together were unravelled, split apart and thrown into the fire.

Relationships changed forever.

Expectations shifted.

Pain.

Anguish.

Out of control.

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I will walk through my grief.

I will keep moving.

I know my strength, my weaknesses, my failings, my ways…

I will reach up towards the friends who love and accept me.

I will ride my bike.

I will give myself time and grace.

I will lie down when I need to.

I will not use food to soothe my soul.

I will not watch the news.

I will not put this on my boys.

I will not put my heart into a place where I could be wounded.

I will continue to deal with my stuff.

I will continue to loosen the rope, letting go of expectations.

I will cry.

I will seek God.

I will keep my eyes open for the light.

I will hold on as I go under.

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Be Doing Nothing Special (More Irony)

I ain’t doing nothing special, but God is so present.

I can’t seem to pray or even open my bible or count my thousand gifts.

These rituals used to fill me with joy each morning.

I didn’t do it because someone told me to, I just did it because I could.

Now, I can’t.

I sit in a sacred space.

In grief.

In silence.

Within myself.

God pours himself out.

Through people.

Through nature.

Loudly.

All over and around me.

I watch.

I wait.

I remain open.

To see how he will pick up the broken pieces of my heart and my life.

I receive an email then another.

One says you need to see these lyrics.

Another one says you need to listen to this song.

BOTH SONGS ARE EERILY SIMILAR!

One woman lives in Leduc, the other Oyama.

They don’t even know each other.

How could this be?

God loves.

God lives.

God speaks.

These women listened and acted.

I sure didn’t do anything special.

The irony continues…

Here’s the lyrics and song if you are interested:

The song about oceans…and the lyrics to another song:
In your ocean, I’m ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin’ on my feet
It’s like I know where I need to be
But I can’t figure out, yeah I can’t figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There’s only one way to figure out
Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is risin’ quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave your side, no I can’t leave your side

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

In a daydream, I couldn’t live like this
I wouldn’t stop until I found something beautiful
When I wake up, I know I will have
No, I still won’t have what I need

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

Be Riding the Waves of Grief

Wonderful Counsellor.

Beautiful friends.

Inspired women.

Prophetic words.

I have had the privilege to come across a few women with the gift of prophesy or in my words “a way to speak God’s words into their own life and those around them.” I am truly privileged.

My counsellor, whom I started seeing last winter, has this gift.

Every time that I see her she will share a metaphor about my life and this metaphor will be confirmed by two or more people within twenty four hours.

Here is the latest prophetic instalment brought up by my counsellor and confirmed by Emi and Jenny.

My counsellor was speaking about grief. I heard her say that grief is like an ocean. You are going along on your life path when suddenly tragedy strikes and there lies before you an ocean of grief. The only way to get across it is to row. Sometimes the ocean is calm and other times the waves are rough. Waves can also come out of nowhere. But rowing we must do through tears, sun, love, sadness… You get the picture.

Here’s a photo my counsellor gave me. I am looking forward to a ‘calm’ moment while riding the waves of grief.
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As we row this ocean of grief, I am grateful for God’s presence and the prophetic words of those around me.

This is not the end to my wave metaphor, but only the beginning…

After I returned home, I checked my email. My inbox had a message from my University roommate, Emi, who has paved the path of grief by losing her dad last spring.

Here’s Emi and her dad:

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Here’s what she wrote:

I’ve read through this a few times… Good for thought and much rings true for me…

The link is here BUT this is what struck me: The author is talking about fifteen things they wish they knew about grief.

Number 3 is that grief comes in waves.

Whew, time to lie down, but this ain’t the end.

This morning, we woke up and I dragged myself to cross country ski lessons with the boys. My new motto is fake it til I make it! I shed an ocean of tears behind my sunglasses as I met many friends who had just heard about beautiful mom not joining us up on the ski hill. I was honest and then exhausted.

But God continues to help me walk one step at a time as I ran into Jenny from Elle Mikal. She made the toques for our family. Take a look here and here!

The first thing Jenny said to me is that grief is like a wave. She always thinks about being on a surf board. She told me to grab my bikini to ride the waves.

Riding the waves.

My boys at my side.

Tears falling down.

God is my guide

——-/———/——–/——–/—-/—-

Beautiful photos from Jenny, each with a story I will keep close to my heart.

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