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Be on a Radical Sabbatical from Munich to Milan

Munich.

Alps.

Milan.

Food and toilets too!

Travelling with these boys is ALWAYS fun!

Truly an amazing time. No social media fluff and puff.

Take a scroll through and see what we have been up to as we have wanders from Germany to Italy. Please leave a comment too!

November 10th

Munich.

Biggest toy store (and LEGO section the boys have seen).

Biggest beer.

Oldest central plaza in Munich (Marienplatz)

Walking everywhere on foot.

Seeing Steve at work!

This guy LOVES RC cars.
Yes, more handstands. We will have a whole blog with all of these.
We even made it to the City Hall at noon to watch the clock go round and round.
Hofbrauhaus – our waiter could carry 20 beer at one time!

With help from a friend, I was able to find gymnastics training for the boys in Munich. It was a cool experience for them and made them appreciate their gym back home even more.

After training, we were able to zip to where Steve was doing his Fair talking to families in the Munich area about his school district. We were very grateful to see what he does. CC bought a new jacket at H & M today which matched his Dada’s.

After the Fair, it was time to get back to the hotel, get packed as we had a 5 and a bit hour drive to Milan, Italy the next day.

November 11th

1 final shower in our bathroom/shower room. Have you seen this before?

1 hotel breakfast.

I loved this window where the tea sat.

1 shake for a boys who has eaten too much bread.

The rest of the family getting their breakfast.

1 more walk to Marienplatz.

1 more visit to the toy store.

Purchases of 2 Porsche’s and a German Shepherd figurine.

1 solo shopping trip to H & M for ME! I found some awesome Christmas gifts for the boys.

11:11 in Italy. Remembering.

1 final squeeze through the driveway from the hotel garage to the street. The rental car was beeping like crazy. Sexy Neck is a genius to work the angles to get our station wagon in and out of this garage.

5.5 hour car ride to Milan, Italy.

Through 5 countries.

From Germany to Austria, by Liechtenstein, Switzerland and then finally into Italy.

11 tunnels.

Clouds, snow and sun!

Switzerland

1 panic attack by ME! (The first 5km tunnel freaked me out and sent me into fight or flight even though cognitively nothing was wrong! It was a learning experience.)

1 very strange toilet. You pushed the toilet seat down to make it flush and the water to wash your hands went into the toilet. 🤪

Can you see the stream of water coming out of the wall? This is what you use to wash your hands. 😂😂

Another toilet for 50 cents.

5 amazing slices of margarita pizza, some gnocchi, a calzone and some gelato to end off this beautiful day.

1 awesome room at the Meininger Hotel/Hostel. (The same brand of hotel we stayed in in Brussels, Belgium).

This is how excited the boys get about a new hotel room!
This is mama asking them to sit still!

Steve is working hard to catchup on email and prepare for morning meetings. The boys are watching cartoons in Italian. I am doing laundry… Hence the huge pile by my feet!

Bongiorno from Milan, Italy!

November 12th

I had completely forgotten, or maybe I didn’t realize, how much Italians LOVE children. From the waiter ruffling our son’s hair and shaking their hands last night to the free metro rides and free entry to the museums, wow, I love you even more Italy.

Today was the day that our oldest son, twelve year old JC, has been planning for months. Tying in with his study of Ancient Rome, this would be as close as we would get. Milan. He rocked his negotiation of the metro system and got us everywhere he wanted to go. We even saw a movie being filmed by the fountain outside the Castle.

Today’s plan was a fun one! I love seeing my boys plan, take charge and speak with the locals along the way. Jackson even ordered our lunch in Italian and paid for it.

Parco Sempione (Park)

Castillo Sforzeaco (Castle)

FYI, we have run into these African men all over Europe trying to give you some string, that they then make you pay for. They were scary for the boys at the beginning but we have taught the boys to be very assertive.

Museum featuring the mind-blowing work of Leonardo da Vinci. Hallogram videos and sitting in the room he worked on for many years was incredibly awe-inspiring.

They said no photos… but I could resist taking these. It was a first person story of how Leonardo da Vinci came to be painting this corner of the castle in Milan.

Fried pizza for lunch. There was a HUGE line at Luini’s, so we knew it must be good. JC found this place on the internet through watching videos about Milan.

This young man was very brave ordering for our family in Italian.
Fried pizza. Was exciting but the boys didn’t love them.

Gelato in Gallerio Vittorio

Duomo Di Milano (Church)

Just wow!!!
Inside the church! I wish I had taken more pictures! The statue of St Bartholomew had us talking at dinner that night!
More prayers for Nana and Grandma in heaven. They have been ever-present with us this trip in so many ways. They had come visit us when we lived in Europe and we had travelled with them (and our two Papa’s) to many of these places.

Climbing over 200 stairs to the terraces of the Duomo.

FYI, this is on the Terraces is the DUOMO and they will blow a whistle and yell at you if you do a handstand!

A clean toilet in McDonald’s. (Probably the only reason I will take my boys there).

Meeting Steve spontaneously in between his meetings. (I almost hit him when he came up from behind and surprised us)

Love this picture… anyone know how to photoshop Steve’s eyes open? Reminds me of his Gramps. Xoxo

2 metro rides.

Many kilometres of walking.

Dinner back at a very Italian restaurant by our hotel in the Lambrate area. The boys declared that this was the BEST pizza they have had in their life. (Sexy Neck and I thought last night was better!)

And MORE gelato and a play at the park in the dark before we head to bed at 10:00pm.

November 13th

Cake and pie for breakfast. Sure why not! We are in Italy after all! This is how our boys started their day. We are finding our rhythm with a buffet breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30, then a mid-afternoon snack and then dinner around 6:30 or 7:00. We are all feeling GREAT and are truly eating our way around Europe.

The boys made Daddy’s coffee for him this morning. They are becoming quite the jokesters. It’s hilarious to watch. Look at CC and JC’s faces.

This is our second and last day in Milan before we head north to meet friends in the Swiss Alps. We have been asking the boys each morning what they would like to do and it was unanimous that today would include:

Heading back to the Parco Sempione, a stroll by the Duomo again, a stop at the largest LEGO store in Italy that just opened on the 11th, a visit to the main train station and dinner there too! And yes more gelato too! We even convinced Sexy Neck to take the boys back into the Museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. He missed it yesterday when we went because he was working.

As the boys went back into the museum, I sat outside with a hot drink and got caught up on the blog. Now this is what a hot chocolate looks like:

It was hot and thick and absolutely delicious.

Ah my heart!!!

The boys wanted to checkout the largest LEGO store in Italy and along the way, CC decided to buy the Swatch Watch he had been looking at since we were in Brussels.

Lego, this is very cool! Which character are you?

We decided to head home to our hotel/hostel via the metro to cook dinner for ourselves. We had soup and salad. First, we went to our favourite grocery store, Lidl, to pickup some supplies.

One of the boys doesn’t like the metro noise!
What a man! A water man!
Dinner time!

A few handstands before bed doesn’t hurt! Right? JC attempting to walk around the room on his hands.

Ciao! Italy, it’s been a very fun couple of days. We want to own an apartment in Italy one day.

Next stop the Swiss Alps!

Be Taking a Radical Sabbatical with us!

Our Radical Sabbatical – Chapter One

Imagine biking away from school on June 28th knowing that you would not be returning to that industrial looking school building and schedule for over a year?  Imagine being able to design your learning, travel the world and live at a ski hill with the foundational goal of skiing every single day of the ski season? Imagine moving into a nine hundred square foot home with five people and no dishwasher nor in suite laundry?

Imagine.

What would your radical sabbatical look like?

This imagining above is the reality we are creating and that I will be writing about during our radical sabbatical. Our family of five is riding our bikes away from grades two, four and six and walking into grades three, five and seven as homeschoolers living in a two room condominium, overlooking the ski hill.  With the addition of two trips, one month long trip to Europe and one two week vacation in the spring, you now have the big picture of what is going to unfold over the next twelve months and corresponding chapters of this book about our life yet to be written.   

Could you imagine?  

Would you ever step out, take a time out and shake up your reality to press pause on life? 

Stopping all activities except skiing and gymnastics.

Withdrawing from all volunteer positions on boards and activities in our community.Renting out our main house and only bringing the bare essentials into our small living space.

Inspired by the gift of grief given to us by my beautiful mama over five years ago.

Fanned by the gift of grief given to us this year by Sexy Neck’s mama, grandma, grandpa, my aunt and our Labrador, Summer.

Walked out first and foremost, by Joanne Kraft when her family took a year off from activities outside of school. Her book, “Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical”jumped off the library shelf last winter and cemented this idea in my mind.

Watered and lovingly supported by our friends who live our freedom and growth lifestyle.

Practically supported by our teacher friends and the school that we will work with to educate our boys over the next twelve months.

Divinely inspired by our Father in heaven who knows our hearts and allowed everything to seamlessly and truly effortlessly unfold.

Now, we create space for us to live in a nine hundred square feet condominium.

Building a learning space for three creative and hardworking eight, ten and twelve year old boys.

Building a triple bunk bed so that we have more space to play.

A radical sabbatical.

Twelve months to pause and change our routine.

New rhythm.

New schedule.

New space.

Finding our rhythm.

Our schedule.

Our space.

So, I sit here and ask again: What would a radical sabbatical look like for you? It doesn’t have to be as extreme as what we have done, but maybe it’s something as simple as eating dinner together every night or what Joanne Kraft did and taking a break from extracurricular activities. Whatever speaks to you as you share our journey with us, may it be meaningful to you and light up your life!

These are exciting times my friends. Truly exciting!

xoxo Joanna

#befree

#momofboys

#isalife

<Note: Joanna is currently seeking a publisher to partner with to publish her book as she helps people be free on their own journey as she shares her radical sabbatical with others.>

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>

Be Observing International Women’s Day

What is a better what to observe and notice International Women’s Day than with words and photos.

This wordsmithing woman threw together some words and founds some pics to show you the faces of the inspiring woman surrounding me.

May the women around you stand by you.

Lift you up.

Hold you up.

Pray you up.

And never stand you up.

The woman in my life that is ALWAYS very present was my Mama.

She made me a better mom to my boys, a more thoughtful friend, a more forgiving wife and always helped me to get over my temper tantrums.

I am grateful for all the women in my life.

If you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with, I am kick *ss.

These are the women in my life.

The ones that truly care and you know that they are there.

Ones that help you with your babies and your business.

Those who nurture your mind, heart and spirit.

Women that help you grow, that you may not even have in a photo. 😉

Thank you to all you wonderful women!

😘 Joanna

Be Sharing a Song

🎵 This is what I do! 🎵

I love seeing Mama’s who live “on purpose” in their day whether it is at work or at play.

They plan, schedule and make it happen and when someone gets sick their is no more lapping.

They shut things down, they hold the fort tight and just hold their baby knowing it will be all right.

No striving or goals will be checked off on that day, they just sit still and maybe have a play.

With the ones they love.

That override it all.

With the ones they love.

That they help hold tall.

With the ones they love.

They see them through and through.

With the ones they love.

They know inside what to do.

When things are flowing, the checklist may be long, but us Mama’s know that we need to be strong.

We need to hold space and show up with grace.

When we are focused and fierce and know exactly what to do, there is nothing that will stop us, not even the loo.

We need to have goals and show up as we are.

This is what I do!

With the ones I love.

That override it all.

With the ones I love.

That I help hold tall.

With the ones I love.

I see them through and through.

With the ones I love.

I know inside what to do.

I love being a Mama who lives “on purpose” in my day whether it is at work or at play.

There is no shame in doing, as long as you are being you!

There is no harm in being exactly who you are.

Show up.

Be you.

With the ones you love.

Show up.

Be you.

With the ones you love.

(A song written in the gift of grief, with fond memories of our Lab, Summer. May this bless you to be present and to live fully as a human being, not just as a human being. Be enough. Be free. 😘 Joanna)

NOTE: I started writing songs after my annual conference for my nutrition business in NASHVILLE in August. These songs just started pouring out of me there. What fun writing songs are… cannot wait to hear someone sing them!

Be Learning Life Lessons from a Lab

I was a cat girl growing up. Now, I am a lab girl for life!

I loved cats independence. Loved their gentle purrs and how they would sleep with you in the most obscure ways. My cat, Boots, loved sleeping right on top of my neck or chest.

Enter in Sexy Neck into my life in 1992 with a visit to his family home which was definitely a dog family. Their little dog, Mandy, was a sweetie. Someone to walk with, someone to greet you happily every single time you walked in the door and a great companion for everyone.

This cat girl growing up didn’t stand a chance! Nineteen years ago, I became a dog person, more specifically a Labrador retriever girl. My life would never be the same!

Over these years, I have had the privilege to learn from our two labs, KT and Summer. These are the specific lessons from Summer as this was a very Holy day celebrating her life.

💫 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 💫

💫 Enjoy all the seasons, especially winter. Rolling around and sliding down slight inclines on your side is especially fun!

💫 Wag your tail at everyone but bark at the mailman.

💫 Always be on the lookout for food. You never know what you will find. Even things that you need to lick off the pavement are enjoyable.

💫 Be a baby watcher. Stand as close as you can with your wet nose on the baby blanket. Diapers are the best things to smell on babies. (We called Summer our “Nanny dog”.)

💫 Pour out love to the humans CLOSEST to you. Always be happy to see them. Always greet them at the door. Always look up to them with adoring eyes, especially when they have treats for you.

💫 Love children. All children. Always love those children that will rub your ears, your belly and play fetch with you.

💫 Take your master cross country skiing at all hours of the day. Be their companion and confidante listening to all their stories. Don’t get stuck in the powder!

💫 Be content being with, playing with and taking care of your core group of people. It’s the simple things.

💫 You are never too big to cuddle or have your ears and belly rubbed.

💫 Don’t leave the food you like unattended on the table. It might disappear! (This is a lesson from my boys: Nine and eleven year old. This is something Summer just started doing last year, which was ironic because her arthritis was so bad that we had to lift her into the car. That piece of toast on the table, though, no problem!)

💫 Don’t trust strange dogs.

💫 Be present

💫 A little mess doesn’t matter.

💫 The stuff you leave behind is meaningless. It’s the memories, the cuddles, the smells and the moments that create a MAGICAL life!

🙏🏻 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 😘

Magical memories with this puppy: swimming, always being happy to see us, chasing golf balls, cross country skiing, eating every crumb off our floors, shedding a small dog every day, being my comfort and companion, witnessing the birth of all three of our boys…

Thank you faithful friend. Thank you for the life lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I will miss you every day!

February 5th 10:28am 💜 Summer 🙏🏻