joy and the story of my tattoo

The story of how I came to have a tattoo is also a story about joy.


It all happened about 17 years ago.

I am not even over-dramatizing when I say that when my first marriage ended, I  resolutely hauled all of the clothes out of my closet as I sobbed, threw everything in garbage bags, grabbed my beloved basset hound, and drove away from my life as I knew it in the dead of night.


I ended up back in my parents’ home and very gradually and gently, began to re-build and create a new life,


this life.


My break from my first marriage was abrupt and harsh, and though I knew for sure that leaving was for the best, there was much to grieve and much that I still cared about in that little  town that I had so quickly left behind.

Karen, for instance -not me, of course, but my dear friend Karen, the woman who had been my principal through my first few years of teaching elementary. Karen had become my mentor, not just in teaching, but in life: in leadership, in spirituality, in all things good that I aspired to become.

She worried about me after I left, calling me, sending me uplifting gifts, and even driving us both all the way up to Edmonton and back on the day before school started back in September so that we could attend Lilith Fair together.


What I remember most about that trip, though,  were the deep conversations during the long car ride –


Conversations that still stay with me even though she has been gone 9 years, having died of cancer a little over a year after my mom died.


On another car trip that summer, her and I  went to Calgary and each bravely got a tattoo in honour of her 45th birthday.

I had an orange and blue star inked onto my lower back, inspired by the paper lantern that hung in the bedroom of my new apartment.


The walls of that little bedroom in the top floor suite of the old house that I was renting were painted orange and navy blue and my landlord (who would become my future father-in-law) apologized profusely for this fact. I didn’t care, though,

I loved everything about that apartment, especially the bedroom. 

I would look up from my bed at that beautiful star,

while the bold, strong colours on the walls cocooned me up at night.

Emerging from underneath my feelings of hurt and betrayal was a sense of freedom and renewal that I had never before quite experienced,

an exhilarating sense of possibility that from that day forward I could and would re-write my life. I would choose new words to define my days,

words like integrity, truth, adventure, kindness,




And when I went to bed at night in my little apartment, even though I was alone, I felt




I rarely even remember anymore that I have a tattoo. It is mostly hidden, and I can’t see it. For a while I stated that I would, at some point, go back and have the star filled in with a more intricate and detailed design to make the tattoo more artistic and interesting, as it is really just an outline of a star filled in with solid colors.


However, even as I said it out loud back them, I doubted I ever would.

My minor act of rebellion was complete and I had no desire to subject myself to more needless pain.


The outline is enough.


Thank you, Karen, for your big love that summer and for holding my hand through the pain that I needed to then bear,

for generously taking me into the fold of your true self, uncovering to me truths and desires and ideas that I needed to understand then to be who I am now.


I am ever amazed by the intricate paths that the stories of our lives lead us down, cleverly and magically winding,

seemingly finding the fullness of circles (and stars)  to complete.











Spring PeaceCard Event

Permission to Blossom


When I am disciplined, I complete things. I treat myself well. I don’t gossip or complain. I feel massive surges of creativity. I sleep well. I feel a sense of vibrancy inside my body.      

                                                                                   Carrie-Ann Moss


Two-Part Workshop: Wed. April 13 & Wed May 11, 7-9pm

Hosted by Karen Westwood 
Featuring 3 fabulous guest speakers to inspire your own self-nurturing practices-

Participants will also be guided, in a playful and easy way, to create and identify meaningful-to-them daily practices that they wish to prioritize….
then we will all follow-up together a month later-

Guest Speakers:

*Cheryl Dick:

Cheryl Dick-073

Cheryl Dick has worked for major multi-national corporations and as a CEO in an economic development organization.
In her search for inner peace and wisdom in a fast-paced world, she turned to exploring different spiritual traditions and has spent the past 25 years practicing mindfulness and meditation.
She has been leading classes and retreats for the past four years with an emphasis on the work of Eckhart Tolle.

*Teresa Yauck


Theresa’s spiritual and physical yoga training began as two 10-day intensives (totalling 200 hours) at a registered yoga studio in Fernie BC.
This journey of self-awareness enabled her to deepen her understanding of the history of yoga, therapeutic breath and meditation, the practice of asanas and the meaning of Chakras, Bandhas and Mantras.
Upon completion of her 200 hour training, she has been teaching for the last year-and-a-half through the Be Fit For Life program at Lethbridge College and periodically at the Fitness Club.

*Brenda Rue


Brenda is a talented fabric and thread artist. Her latest passion involves creating gorgeous pieces inspired from colouring book images.
Brenda teaches classes locally and is now at a point where she is beginning to feel ready to compile her works into a show.
Brenda feels deeply inspired to live a creative life.


Cost: $80 for both sessions / $40 for one session
Past Participant price: $70 for both sessions / $35 for one session
Venue: TBA

Comment or message me for more info or to register





5 People I Admire

After hearing Chris Hadfield speak at a Leadership Conference in our community last week, I found myself thinking about well-known people that have inspired me. I am not always particularly in touch with pop culture, and I am certainly forgetting about people in all sorts of fields that I have looked up to, but here are 5 people that have been on my mind lately.

1.This man is so wise. Certainly, Chris Hadfield is technically and scientifically brilliant, but he is also funny and grounded and kind. What I admire most, though, is his clarity and perspective. This is a man that can hoist up a little girl on one hip and explain how chicken soup is made in space, but he can also remind us all in such a clear and unarguable way that we are all the same, we are in this together, and that we need to take care of the earth and each other. These simple truths coming from a man who has looked at our world, at us,  from a perspective that only a few have experienced.

2.  Ok. You might be tired of me bringing up Harry Potter. But. We at our house (well, mostly George and I) are still in the  throes of a re-visiting of the Harry Potter books, for me, largely inspired by this FB post about Alan Rickman that describes another wise man who displayed such joyful integrity to his art, and also knew how to listen.

3. How I have always loved Jane Goodall. Always. And here she is at 80, more beautiful than ever. Someone said to me once that gentle strength is the best kind of strength. Jane Goodall emanates a gentle strength and a sweetness of spirit that sees and fights for good, for nature, and for our collective positive evolution.

4. And Meryl Streep, oh Meryl Streep, another fierce woman that I have loved forever. To me she is unapologetically herself and I adore that authenticity that she has continually exuded and brought to her craft. She is unapologetic about aging, too, and seems willing to own all of the complex aspects of herself.  She’s also always struck me as particularly playful.

5. OK. One last Harry Potter reference. JK Rowling~ her interview with Oprah in 2010  affected me deeply:

Forever changed by her mother’s death. Edinburgh. Magic and depth and soulfulness. Celebration of imagination and creative inspiration. Did I say this interview may have changed my life? I actually just watched it again to be sure. More on this to come…….

Love is the most powerful thing of all.           JK Rowling


Origami Unicorn made by George

When I saw Chris Hadfield speak last week, he also talked about how he has learned to really listen, and in so doing has realized that pretty much everyone has a story, has been heroic, has their own reasons to be admired. I agree. I could easily list so many of you, all of you really, and describe at length your particular qualities that amaze me.

So, to us!

Go forth, love, and be the very best you! In this crazy world, it seems that this is the very best and magical defense we have.