Tag Archives: Wordsmith

Be a Great Pyrenees (Post about Friendships)

As a dog, I would previously have been seen as a fluffy, golden retriever.

I love human beings and can talk to anyone, anywhere. I have made friends after a 4 hour plane trip and even made a lifelong friend in a checkout line in Nashville. She complimented me on my shoes. We stayed in contact and then I ended up finding her the same pair of shoes and sent them to her.

My boys often ask me to stop “chitty chatting”!

I might be weird as I will talk to anyone, but I won’t be someone’s friend just because our kids do the same activities , our kids are the same age, we teach in the same profession or we live on the same street.

I love every ONE, but my friends are people who are authentic, straightforward, family-oriented and passionate.

These last three years as I grew through deep loneliness and even discrimination as I wouldn’t share or talk about the greatest science experiment our generation has gone through. My golden retriever spirit died. I have happily morphed into the ever-watching guardian dog, the Great Pyrenees.

I still see you, but I am not going to chase you to hangout with you.

Watching.

Looking for what will happen next, but not engaging.

Watching.

Waiting to see who will “see” me back.

Watching.

I have gotten more mellow, more calm and more still.

Moving from an every chasing Golden Retriever to a watchful Great Pyrenees shifts things up in the friendship realm and many of my friendships fell away in the last three years.

I guess when you are doing a lot of chasing, you can think you have lots of friends, but it is truly the friends that will stand with you in the calm and the storms as a Great Pyrenees that are here to stay.

Thank you to my salt of the earth friends from the past and those to come in the future. I love you and I send you a big virtual lick!

Have an epic Friday folks and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Imagine ~ Campus Education System vs. Home Learning Education System

Imagine a learning world where you are amongst 29 other young humans that are your age, not your learning ability, but simply your age. Next add into this scenario one or two adults, that we call “teacher”. This is the campus system.

Now, imagine a learning world where you are amongst your family, learning in your neighbourhood, community or even travelling around the world. Next add into this scenario people of all ages, that we call “teacher”. This is the online learning system.

Imagine a learning world where you must be “present” and ready to learn between 8:25am and 2:30pm every Monday through Friday. Next add into this scenario when you are able to have holidays or days off.

Now, imagine a learning world where you can listen to your body and wake-up later in the winter and earlier in the summer. Next add into this scenario that you are able to take holidays when you choose to.

Imagine a learning world where you are required to follow a certain book or program because everyone else is doing it in your group. Next add into that your individual learning style that is different from how the book or program teaches.

Now, imagine a learning world where you choose the book or program based on your learning style and what you are interested in. Next, add into the program, deletions or additions that continue to build on what you already know and don’t know.

Imagine a learning world where you are embarrassed to go to the washroom or able to eat when your stomach is growling. Next, add into the program other young people that might verbally tease you or simply comment on these two natural functions of being a human being.

Now, imagine a learning world where you have cold or hot food available to you all day and your personal washroom is just down the hall. Next, add in an environment where listening to your body and your bodily functions are encouraged and praised.

Now, imagine this woman writing this post growing up in this campus learning world and now being blessed and fortunate enough to give her children a very different learning world.

That’s what I did.

I am privileged to have discovered this second world in 2014 as teacher. And now, I have had the privilege to experience it with our own three boys the last four year. It is very humbling and it is incredibly profound. I do not take these years learning in the world with our boys for granted. I do know that this isn’t for everyone, but I am FOR everyone to have an incredible campus or home learning experience whichever system you choose.

I love you.

Have an epic Sunday folks and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be on a Radical Sabbatical in the Swiss Alps (with a shift)

Feeling surreal in Switzerland.

SURREAL.

GOBSMACKED.

GrateFULL.

Happy Sunday Funday Folks! This journey started on Friday morning.

The 11 months and 10 days we lived in Switzerland in 2004 were some of THE BEST and the darkest time of my life (besides watching my mama die!)

The darkness of living through depression and having no energy but to sleep, to be working in a difficult teaching environment, having Steve away training for volleyball each night and living in a country that is clean and exceptionally beautiful for a reason. They ‘control’ each other. I have never been yelled at more in my life.

The BEST moments meeting friends and students that are still in my life today, living in a pristine natural environment, travelling easily and learning more about myself.

We had such an incredible day on the Rigi.

Being back here now in 2019 with our boys is truly sublime.

Drove from beautiful Milan to the Rigi in the Swiss Alps.

With one stop in Locarno for our last Italian pizza and Calzone.

November 15th

Over 25 tunnels. (We lost count!)

One 17 kilometres long.

17 kilometres through this mountain!!
The tunnel! They do things right in Switzerland! **This picture was uploaded while driving THROUGH the tunnel. Unbelievable.

We arrived in Vitznau about 3 and a bit hours after leaving Milan. What an indescribable drive. I am not sure my pictures can even explain.

One Mountain Train (Rigi Bahn) straight uphill into the Swiss Alps.

Time Lapse of our 20 minutes ride up to the Rigi Kaltbad

We have snow folks!

Meeting old friends that we taught with and their wonderful eleven year old daughter.

A gorgeous place, an incredible meal and amazing hot pools. Kaltbad Rigi

Guten abend von de Schwiez.

November 16th

Guten morgen friends!

We started off with opening the hot pools before breakfast at 8:00am. We had a solo swim and play in the pools.

Then it was fruhstuck time here in the Alps. First, our super juice that helps our bodies deal with stress and goes everywhere with us. #partner

Keeping our super power juice cold!

After a buffet breakfast, we decided to head to the top of the Rigi via the Mountain Train and then hike down. What a gorgeous three hours. And God even gave us another rainbow, like He did on the Eiffel Tower and at Vimy Ridge.

How is it possible for a rainbow to be formed in light cloud without precipitation anywhere in sight?
On the top of the Rigi.

Now an afternoon of journaling, postcard writing, eating Swiss chocolate, shakes and German cookies!

Awe sweet boys! They are learning so much about people and culture.

PLUS another swim in the hot pools before dinner:

Dinner was many hours long, but the boys rocked it and luckily our friend’s play games like we do.

November 17th

This is THE shift! This morning at 7:20am, Steve headed down the mountain on the train to take two buses and another train to the Zurich Airport as he heads home, then travels to Mexico in five days for another fair.

I had tears this morning as we said goodbye. I love this man on so many levels.

We decided I would stay here with the boys until Steve is done his trip to Mexico. I will travel with the boys for 8 days in Germany visiting old friends and then back to Paris for 3 more days for some tourist activities. And surprises for the boys. 😉

BUT FIRST, one more morning on the Rigi, a get together with some Swiss friends at an old school bowling alley with a jukebox near Zurich, then back to Germany.

Hot pools at Hotel
Kaltbad.
A Berliner (donut) with Nutella. This guy is embracing the European life.
Morning game time after breakfast!
This wall in the restaurant was one of my favourite things to look at.
11:15am Mountain Train back to Vitznau.
1:00-4:00pm Get together in Zurich.

This is the building where we were…

Through that little brown door on the left lies surprises and beauty and bowling!

Then a 1.5 hour drive to one of our favourite spots in Germany with people living God’s plan through their lives and delivering a package from a mother’s heart to her daughter.

Finishing off the night with one of these… Sexy Neck would be proud! It was as good as I remembered.

Goodnight sweet friends from the Bodensee. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and for truly living these simple moments of an unfolding dream with us. I wish I could give you a HUGE HUG.

Be on a Radical Sabbatical from Vimy Ridge to the Armpit of France to Brussels, Belgium

WARNING: Nylons and short skirts are back in style over here (coming soon to North America), Canada Goose jackets are more popular here than in Canada, jogging is a huge deal over here, bikes and biking paths rocks and yes you can eat too many croissants. Cleansing tomorrow!

Monday, November 4th.

5 hours of driving, broken into two parts.

13,560 steps.

1 baguette.

1 shake.

2 bags of cookies.

4 yogurts.

2 bags of Whey Thin protein crackers.

2 E+shots.

1 bottle of water.

All used as sustenance for this day of transition.

From France to Belgium.

From past to present.

From past dreams to present-day dreams.

We left our cozy, sweet sixth floor Paris hotel room on Monday, November 4th to start out European road trip after picking up this sexy station wagon:

We had two special places we want to show our boys: Vimy Ridge and Harnes, France (which will be furthermore known as the Armpit)

First, Vimy Ridge. A place to remember. A place to learn. A perfect place to be in November (or any time of year!) We went through the tunnel and the trenches, soaked up the information in the new museum and had a private tour of the monument. God even gave us a rainbow, like He did on the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Could you imagine living eight feet under ground?

When we lived in Harnes for one year, I used to come running on this land, given to Canadians from the French because of the significance of this Ridge during World War One. Being back in this place as a mother, I was touched by the Mother Canada statue at the front of the monument and all the mothers that have been affected by war. I am grateful for our country. 🇨🇦

After Vimy Ridge, we made a quick tour of the town where Steve and I spend our first year of marriage. Steve was playing professional volleyball for Harnes and I played a bit and coached ten year old boys volleyball. We found the gym with the cement floor and our old apartment across from the canal and coal excrement hill. I wish we had a video running as we drove into the village. At the time, we were surrounded by great teammates and didn’t realize what an armpit that we were living in. No train station. A little rough around the edges, a bit smelly and really in the middle of nowhere. An armpit.

Looking at the bar in the foyer where everyone would smoke and drink after the game, with their knee pads still on!
Our apartment was bottom left.
Harnes’ church in the top right. We took the photo and moved on!

We arrived in Brussels around 6:00pm. With time to checkin to our uber cool, mostly young person’s Meininger hotel/hostel and wander through Brussels and find an awesome Italian restaurant. We closed down the place!

Bonne Nuit sweet friends from room #401. (Every room number is an individual work of art here!)

November 5th

10,396 steps walk

A quieter day at our hostel hotel.

Buffet breakfast (9.50 Euros for each adult and 4.95 Euros each for the boys)!

Yes, we did have Belgian Waffles. The boys were very surprised there wasn’t any maple syrup.

We had a morning of math and writing in the common area then zipped to our old favourite discount grocery store, Lidl, to pickup food so that we could make lunch and dinner ourselves today.

The arcade games behind us have been a huge hit. Old school driving games and some pinball too.

From living three years over in Europe, we knew that concrete ping pong tables are at every school and almost every park. I tucked four paddles and some ping pong balls into our suitcase. We plan on many days of playing. We had this ping pong table one block away.

Today was CC’s turn to plan an activity and he researched and chose the chocolate store, Leonida’s.

CC didn’t find any chocolate that he liked!

These chocolates looked like a white mushroom with a chocolate, caramel filling. Wow!

We then walked and visited the famous Mannequin Pis. I hesitate to even post a picture because the surprise we received when we visited the statue….hmmm… maybe I won’t post a picture. Nah, I think I will leave the Mannequin Pis as a surprise for all of you.

After visiting the statue it was time for dessert before dinner – more Belgium waffles and some ice cream too!

We finished off the time in the city with a few handstands in the City Hall square and listening to some beautiful accordion music.

Evening was spent cooking together with four other multicultural groups and talking about a hilarious reality tv cooking show in a hostel where no one speaks the same language and there aren’t enough pots, plates or cups to go around. Plus, you are so tall that you keep bonking your head on the vent and one burner on the stove keeps randomly going on. After the hilarious and hot kitchen, dinner tasted good.

Goodnight from Brussels. What a spectacular view our room has looking across the canal towards the city and the lit up Ferris wheel.

November 6th

Our last full day in Brussels, Belgium involved wandering, waffles and a wonderful adventure to pickup our superfood nutrition from a friend of a friend who we had it delivered to. More room in our suitcases for presents for friends.

After saying “au revoir” to Daddy who will be working in Berlin and Düsseldorf for the next two days, we decided to try and find the Ferris wheel that we have been watching out our window in the evenings. We found the Ferris wheel plus stairs and concrete barriers to do parkour on, a construction site to watch and eat more Leonida’s chocolate at, a skateboard park, and many poles to “kong”. (To think I didn’t even know what konging was a week ago!)

It was CC’s choice for our meal today and he chose a waffle place. Imagine waffles with anything you want on them or in them. Our oldest had a smushed waffle sandwich with hamburger and cheese plus one with caramel for dessert, the other two had ham and cheese and then one with whipped cream for dessert. It was a memory making meal and a favourite for our boys. If you are travelling in Belgium or France with kids, Waffle Factory would be a safe bet for the family (as long as you aren’t looking for any fruits or vegetables!)

After our waffle meal, we went on a cross city journey to retrieve our super food box. This beautiful soul below received our package and allowed us to pick it up at her house. We are looking for partners in Belgium if you know anyone who lives there and is into helping people get healthy and wealthy!

We finished this day off with a hallway workout and a few more races on those old school video games in the common area.

Oh and I have to show you one of the bikes that captured my heart. I love this country for their biking culture: the trails, the bike shops, and the bike themselves.

This was a father who was going to pickup his daughter from school.

November 7th

Gooood morning from Brussels and goodnight from Frankfurt, Germany.

3 hour and 58 minute drive.

18 minutes in the Netherlands.

1 stop at the awesome “rest stops” on the side of the Autobahn. 50 cents for the toilet.

Side note: I was surprised at how many Burger King’s, Starbucks and McDonald’s are now available at these Autobahn rest stops. Twenty years ago, these rest stops were a highlight because of their uniqueness and you never knew what you were going to get.

We did get yelled at for not knowing that the ketchup dispenser had a foot pedal, so that kept things real for us.

Oh ya, on our way out of town, we had CC’s last choice for activity: Driving to a RC Car store, apparently the last RC car store in Belgium. The owner, Bernard, was THE BEST! We were able to hear stories about his story, his family, his businesses and all the trophies that lined the entire store. It was a blast. The boys were super happy and CC was pumped to walk away with a race car he can fix up.

After enjoying the RC car store and our Autobahn experience as well as seeing many churches in the distance, we arrived in Frankfurt!

We are pumped to be staying at Monopol hotel across from the Hauptbahnhof with a breakfast buffet, free mini bar, a bathtub and a hotel that has a door that swings out. (It’s the little things that these boys are finding interesting!!)

After checking in, we took a cruise across the street to the train station to have our first German pretzel and see what a train station looks like. It was as spectacular as I remembered. The book and magazine store was delicious. I loved watching people bustling around and the whooosh as the trains pulled into the station.

The boys were enamoured with this miniature train station in the huge train station.

Guten Nacht sweet friends. We love you ♥️ and if you have made it to the end of this entire blog post air hug 🤗 and high five!! Leave me a comment so I can send them to you!

Be on a Radical Sabbatical in Paris

October 31st, 2019 – Paris

The Radical Sabbatical in Europe begins.

3 flights.

22 hours.

Pure excitement for the screens with movies, tv shows, podcasts, games and music on the seat in front of us.

Plus wifi while flying through the air too!

1 yummy airplane meal.

Copious amounts of water.

Lots of veggies from home, 2 meal replacement vitamin-shakes so no one gets a bungled up but.

3 hours of fitful sleep.

1 lost water bottle.

1 lost hat.

1 Uber drive.

1 random security screening and tears from our eight year old. (It is the second time he has been randomly selected for hand swabbing)

10:05am Arrival in Paris

1 hotel in Montmartre that actually looks exactly like the pictures in the online photos. (Hotel Migny Opera)

Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris and very close to our hotel.

Danone pudding cups. Oh man, do I love these delicious things. I would never eat them at home, but the dairy products and bread here are just oh so delicious.

Gotta love parks that have workout equipment. Plus fooseball, two playgrounds, a fenced in soccer/basketball area plus a ton of benches to sit on.

Amazing multi-purpose random parks where Sexy Neck ends up in a “dip” contest with other dads.

Hot Crepes. Who loves Nutella?

Pain au chocolat. Oh my.

In bed at 5:00pm to get our bodies onto this new time zone.

November 1st, 2019

14 hours of time in bed.

We made a mockery of the incredible French breakfast buffet and showed our boys where our love for jam, ham and cheese on bread came from.

We have the smallest elevator in our hotel! This is an actual real-life photo.

In our travel with our boys, we have realized one event per day is the perfect balance for us.

Today’s event was a Natural History Museum our eight year old picked out.

From the hotel.

On the metro.

To the Jardin des Plantes.

A misty walk.

A longer line than we are used to.

It was awe. some.

From the garden and zoo surrounding the museum, to the century old building that house the museum, we were in awe.

Then another metro ride to the Champs d’Elyssee for dinner.

14,862 steps.

3 metro rides.

One where I saw a man watching Steve buy our metro tickets. Then I saw the same man go through a turnstile with a woman, pickpocket her phone out of her jacket then proceed to give it back to her. I have learned that pickpockets use distraction and bumping into people to take things. The women didn’t even know he had gone through the turnstile with her. She thought it was just sticky.

5.5 hours of walking, talking, holding hands.

1 museum.

1 French dinner at Alsace restaurant.

1 priceless second day in Paris.

November 2nd

18,971 steps.

3 sweaty subway rides which were a nice reprieve from the cold wind.

1 canal boat ride along the Seine River.

3 bottles or Orangina and hot drinks by the “contained” Notre Dame Cathedral. There were high barriers around the property. We told the boys they will definitely have to go back.

Back to our hotel and 118 steps up a spiralling staircase to our room for a pre-dinner rest. We chose to be on the sixth floor. Steve and I decided that we will choose a place with a ton of stairs when we are 70 years old to keep us active!

Dinner at the highest point of Paris, Montmartre beside the Sacre Coeur.

Another beautiful day in Paris.

Cobblestone under our feet.

A quick pop-in to the LEGO store for the boys and H & M for me.

November 3rd

2 more Metro rides today.

We went to my favourite museum on earth, and it was free because it was the first Sunday of the month. If you love museums, checkout their free days and always note what day they are closed. It’s usually one weekday.

Off to my pick for this part of the trip: Mussee D’Orsay.

Monet

Two hours in the Museum D’Orsay was a hit. We climbed up to an observation deck on the fifth floor of the old train station and we asked the boys to see if they could recognize any of the artwork as we wandered around. We had a fun treasure hunt. But, I will admit that the biggest hit was the free virtual reality machine that gave the boys a two minute tour of the museum from the train station’s development over time.

Observation Deck
Virtual Reality Machine

16, 673 steps.

Over 700 of those steps straight up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.

Up in the day and down in the night is highly recommended.

Also, instead of accessing the Eiffel Tower from the plazas, come in from the side on Avenue Silvestre de Sacy. My boys found the sellers quite noisy and strange when we came from Pont d’lena yesterday to check out the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower truly was an inspiring and incredible place to visit and I know it will ignite many future conversations with our family.

At 6:30pm, we arrived back home to our hotel for a simple picnic dinner while writing in journals and looking at and sharing photos amongst our devices.

We are very grateful for this day!

We saw concrete evidence of art in action and what a “rough draft” and “final copy” looks like! Yup, always a teacher!

We discovered a rose placed on a fence below the Eiffel Tower that reminded us of our beloved Nana in heaven:

We stumbled into an obscure Starbucks after a very rainy walk from the Museum D’Orsay to the Eiffel Tower:

The sun came out for our trip up and down the Eiffel Tower and we even saw a rainbow🌈:

Steve and I have THE BEST travel partners in the world!! No complaints. Easygoing. Flexible. Great communicators of their needs. And so MUCH FUN!

This Mama’s heart is overflowing.

“Acceptance” posture. What will be will be!

🚙 Today, we are off to visit the town used to live in in Northern France and also Vimy Ridge. Then Brussels, Belgium tonight for the next three days.

Be a Papa Dealing with Death

Death.

Divorce.

Despair.

Distance.

These four D’s that I talked about in my last post can bring us to our knees.

These gifts of grief can also help us rise into who we truly are.

This is what it’s been like for our Papa as he finds a new normal without his beloved wife after 52 years.

The partner Papa loved to share with and bounce ideas off of.

The woman who showered him with food love and a beautiful home.

The exceptional mother of his handsome boys.

The ever present Grandma of his five grandchildren.

Papa could have easily been brought to his knees but he truly has risen.

Going to many of the grandchildren’s events in the last three weeks.

Planning a funeral to honour his beloved wife and my mother-in-law.

Papa has poured out gratitude for everyone’s help.

He has poured out his heart in tears and given himself space to grieve.

May all people deal with grief like our Papa. He is a role model for us all.

Blessings poured over you, Papa, as you walk this journey. We, your fellow grief journeyers, are so proud of you.

Xoxox

Be Writing a Blog about Your Blog

Have you ever thought about writing a blog?

If yes, what would your blog be about?

I started writing this blog over ten years ago. I believe that there is value in every person writing a blog about one thing they are passionate about, just one thing they are passionate about. It can be anything. A blog is simply a post with a title, two or more pictures and some words strung together in a personal way.

My blog is about my passion to see people living as human “beings” not just as human “doings” on the hamster wheel of life. I want to see people:

⭐️ live AWAKE

⭐️ feel ADEQUATE

⭐️ know ABUNDANCE

⭐️ be ASSURED they are “enough” exactly as they are right now.

In my time as a blogger, I have written over 750 posts. I have had over 17,000 visitors visit my site.

A few of my recent and memorable posts have been:

⭐️ Be Learning Lessons from a Lab where I shared lessons our family learned from our dog as we reflected on her life.

⭐️ Be Savouring the Seasons was a blog I wrote when I kept hearing people complain about the weather. This is one topic that human “doings” love to discuss.

⭐️ Be a Toastmaster was a blog I wrote about my experience in that organization. The post was inspired by a task I needed to complete on my Visionary Communication pathway. I needed to write eight blog posts in under one month. I completed this is February, 2019.

I am very grateful that over ten years ago I took the time to start writing down my thoughts, my poems, my song lyrics as well as journeys of people around me through this “beenough” place. Blogging is one tool that has helped me survive and thrive through the death of my beautiful mama, becoming an entrepreneur, leaving my teaching job and being a mom of boys and wife to Sexy Neck.

Tonight, this process of sitting and writing about this blog has reminded me why I blog. As much as I love blogging, I want to see my blog become a book. Why? For me personally, being a daughter of a librarian, growing up with weekly public library visits and being surrounded by shelves of books in our home, there is something about books. I love the smell of them. I love holding a book in my hands and feeling the pages between my fingers. And the sound of pages flipping is one of the most peaceful sounds I know.

Now, I wonder who will join me in this blogging world from my group of readers. I am very curious to see what you would choose to write about.

Blog away.

You are enough.

Exactly as you are.

Be enough.

😘 Joanna

<come hangout with me on Instagram @cannjoanna>

Be Writing a Blog about Your Blog

Have you ever thought about writing a blog?

If yes, what would your blog be about?

I started writing this blog over ten years ago. I believe that there is value in every person writing a blog about one thing they are passionate about, just one thing they are passionate about. It can be anything. A blog is simply a post with a title, two or more pictures and some words strung together in a personal way.

My blog is about my passion to see people living as human “beings” not just as human “doings” on the hamster wheel of life. I want to see people:

⭐️ live AWAKE

⭐️ feel ADEQUATE

⭐️ know ABUNDANCE

⭐️ be ASSURED they are “enough” exactly as they are right now.

In my time as a blogger, I have written over 750 posts. I have had over 17,000 visitors visit my site.

A few of my recent and memorable posts have been:

⭐️ Be Learning Lessons from a Lab where I shared lessons our family learned from our dog as we reflected on her life.

⭐️ Be Savouring the Seasons was a blog I wrote when I kept hearing people complain about the weather. This is one topic that human “doings” love to discuss.

⭐️ Be a Toastmaster was a blog I wrote about my experience in that organization. The post was inspired by a task I needed to complete on my Visionary Communication pathway. I needed to write eight blog posts in under one month. I completed this is February, 2019.

I am very grateful that over ten years ago I took the time to start writing down my thoughts, my poems, my song lyrics as well as journeys of people around me through this “beenough” place. Blogging is one tool that has helped me survive and thrive through the death of my beautiful mama, becoming an entrepreneur, leaving my teaching job and being a mom of boys and wife to Sexy Neck.

Tonight, this process of sitting and writing about this blog has reminded me why I blog. As much as I love blogging, I want to see my blog become a book. Why? For me personally, being a daughter of a librarian, growing up with weekly public library visits and being surrounded by shelves of books in our home, there is something about books. I love the smell of them. I love holding a book in my hands and feeling the pages between my fingers. And the sound of pages flipping is one of the most peaceful sounds I know.

Now, I wonder who will join me in this blogging world from my group of readers. I am very curious to see what you would choose to write about.

Blog away.

You are enough.

Exactly as you are.

Be enough.

😘 Joanna

<come hangout with me on Instagram @cannjoanna>