What do you do?,wildflower inspiration, and my birthday…..

What do you do?

I have been asked this question 7 gazillion times.

Basically, if I leave the house, someone asks me this question.

Sometimes, all I can do is pause and stare blankly because even though I have been asked this question the aforementioned 7 gazillion times, I still don’t quite know how to answer,

nor have I yet come up a with a satisfactory reply.

What do I do? 

Like…..what do I do with my time???

hmmmm…..well I plan meals and buy groceries and pay all of our bills and manage our finances and correspondence and maintain records for Dan’s limited company and put on holidays and family events and go to meetings and take minutes and send e-mails and receive emails and meet with teachers and make appointments and cancel appointments and re-schedule appointments and go to umpteen functions to help Dan represent his firm and do laundry and run up and down the stairs and help my daughter manage her dyslexia and help her with homework and studying and I drive the kids to activities and school and I run errands and sign forms and talk all of my 3 kids through issues that arise and I write a blog and I sometimes do courses online and I write and I write and I write and I read and I read and I did ‘grief recovery’ for a while, and I try to keep us all healthy and active and fit and dressed and organized and calm and happy and I dream and I think and I plan and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food.

Is there a name for that?

I haven’t come up with one, and if I was to start spouting off a list such as this one to my waiting listener it all starts to sound a bit silly and perhaps even a little desperate, and not nearly as impressive as those one word answers  that neatly and clearly sum up one’s profession,

like lawyer, doctor, professor, librarian, accountant, or architect.

For a long time, I really struggled with this,

because I am a perfectionist and a high achiever and an academic at heart.

Yet, after having my first baby I left my teaching career

and delved into twelve years of love and grief and family and absolutely consuming domesticity.

And here I sit now, in a bit of a blur,

thinking to myself what just happened?, and

excuse me but how many years did you say have gone by?


Still, for countless significant and beautiful reasons, I do not regret a single moment,

which does not mean to imply that I have not also felt a crisis of identity throughout those years,

or that I have not questioned my worth and contributions, value and purpose, hundreds of times.

Nor has it always mattered that I have been told over and over by my husband and kids that my worth and value are immense and true.

I have often had a hard time believing them,

given that we live in a culture that has a very specific definition of success, and I am surrounded by so many friends and peers who are wondrous examples of that fixed societal definition,

while I have been at home.


I have come to my own definition of success whilst being forced to find my worth separate from a label, and I can so clearly see now the shining radiance in so many around me, regardless of what they ‘do’.

True success, I believe, is all about character and has everything to do with how we move through the world, and less to do with what we do in the world.

It’s about integrity, confidence, and generosity,

and it implies kindness and openness and courage,

traits that take time, tears, commitment and a trust in life to develop.

I understand now, too, that every person’s life trajectory is unique and that none of us are really in a place to judge all of the factors and unique circumstances that may land a  person on a particular path.


A better, more interesting question to go around asking people might be,

What do you love to do?

Or even just,

What do you love?


Wildflower Inspiration

Check out this lovely little video produced in partnership with Travel Alberta to promote the annual Wildflower festival in Waterton, held every June.

Our wonderful friend, Lyndon, opens up the video, and speaks with such joy and passion about what he loves.…..

My Birthday

Something I LOVE is…..

my birthday.  I do.

I love deciding that for a whole day I am not going to wash a dish, or cook, or worry, or hurry.

I love savoring wishes and love and connection from all the people that I love.


I love how excited my kids get, almost as excited as if it was their birthdays.

I love how they jump out of their beds in the morning and hop onto ours with wishes and kisses and surprises,


I love the feeling of treating myself and listening to my whims, and I always think,

We ALL need to do this more of this.

If you happen to bump into me tomorrow,

I will likely be sipping my London Fog in Chapters with Dan and the kids, or I will be perusing the books for an extra long time, or I might be checking out the lovely wares at the Christmas artisan fairs while getting terribly excited about Christmas, or perhaps I will be enjoying a gorgeous dinner out with my family.

How lucky am I?


The best is yet to come…….























On Jian, 365 Days of Wonder, and exciting things ahead….

On Jian

Never has it been my intention to routinely address big news stories –

That is not what this blog means to be about.

Usually, I graze over the news. I want to know what is going on in our world

and I want to be able to speak intelligently to issues,

but I have learned that I cannot fixate on upsetting current events –

Also, I have lived long enough to understand that things are not what they first appear to be, and nothing is fixed,

or black and white.

As well, my energy and focus is better served when it is gently oriented towards my own little corner of the world.

Peace at home.

Occasionally, though, a story feels deeply significant and I am drawn to speak to it.

Or sometimes, a story veritably rocks my little corner of the world, my very perception of the world, and I find myself suddenly obsessing.

So it was when Jian Ghomeshi’s story broke and I read that first  Facebook post of his while standing in our kitchen after supper that Sunday night.

For the next few days, I couldn’t even look away so crazy deep was my need to understand. Even as I was reading article after blog after comment after article, I was baffled by my own intense reaction and kept wondering why this was all hitting home so hard.

How could I be so emotionally involved? 

How could I possibly be feeling betrayed by someone I didn’t even personally know.

I have had a few conversations with friends about the whole messy unfolding affair since,

and have realized that I have not been the only one really struggling with this –


Now that some time has passed, though, I am ready to share my emerging thoughts…


I have always wanted and needed to believe in the basic goodness of people, and I really don’t think I am alone in this desire.

People crave mentors and heroes and wise and loving leaders.

In this crazy and hard world that so often makes no sense at all,

there is a very deep part of us that fervently looks everywhere for wise guidance and loving leadership.


mentors, if we are lucky enough to find them, come and go,

people we admire die and or leave us,

those that we put on pedestals often come crashing off and down,


At the end of the game, pawns and kings go back into the same box.  (italian proverb)

Time and time again in my life, I have looked around for that perfect hero/mentor/guide and realized that at the end of the day that


I must be her, and she must be me.


We must all ultimately find that integrity and clarity within or we will forever find ourselves floundering.

Peace at home.


Thank you, Jian, for re-opening a terribly important conversation around violence.

You ended up releasing a veritable tidal wave of emotionally charged thoughts and opinions, stories and impressions, experiences and perceptions that just won’t stop.

As with a traditional Native American talking circle, you held the stick first and it is now being passed around our giant country-wide circle where all have finally been given a new chance to speak out and be heard.

There was an imbalance of power that is righting itself as each new voice finds its footing, a disconnect that is re-wiring to something a little more truthful and real,

as this circle of conversation only continues to widen and inevitably expands to include the deeply important issues at the very heart of this complex and disturbing story.

This is where the seeds of healing and action are always sown, after all, in the listening and the acknowledging.


365 Days of Wonder

Who here has read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, the beautifully written story of August Pullman?

Auggie was born with a terrible facial abnormality and in an attempt to protect him from the outside world,

his parents have home-schooled him his whole life, but then decide to send him to middle school. The book is narrated by Auggie and those around him. It is a funny, gorgeous, moving story about courage and acceptance.

I first heard about Wonder from a staff member at Olivia’s middle school. Her school loved the book so much that they sought out corporate funding to purchase every student their own hard copy,

and even made a quote from the book their motto for the year,

‘When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.’ W. Dyer

Recently, I saw a follow-up to this book in Chapters called 365 Days of Wonder. I bought it immediately.


365 Days of Wonder is a collection of beautiful precepts or words to live by, inspired by the middle school teacher in Wonder, Mr. Browne, who loves to use quotes in his teaching.

This companion book to Wonder further explores the character of Mr. Browne,

and is the most lovely compilation of daily ‘precepts’ garnered from all sorts of sources

from ancient Egyptian tombstones to fortune cookies to original contributions.

I know that there are countless books out there full of quotes,

and that social media feeds are brimming with positive affirmations and all of this can start to feel old,

but I promise you that this book offers up something fresh and quite special.

Exciting things ahead…..

As a child, November was always my favourite month. My birthday is in November~


artwork by Olivia

In November we can start to feel excited about Christmas in a way whereby all the wonderful possibilities of what the holiday might look like are still far-off and dreamy.

Even snow-falls have a more magical quality in early Winter.

This November feels especially ripe with beautiful promise. At the end of the month I will be revealing a project that has been in the works for over a year,

and I am as giddy as this guy~


artwork by George