Spring Comes

dear friends,

I have been quiet for a few months.

It truly has been a winter,  an extended retreat into my home and into myself.


As do many women going through perimenopause, I found myself really struggling with related issues and recently underwent a hysterectomy. Christmas left me quite exhausted, then I needed to prepare my body and mind for surgery.


This extended time of introversion has been a beautiful gift though.

I am waking up to the understanding that as women we are very much cyclical beings, predictably and elegantly going through our own seasons. For many years, I have been so hard on myself for the times when I am less productive and engaged with the world,

not understanding that it is during these times that can feel so empty that all is in fact getting ready to be born again.


Over these last few months, I have thought often about my next steps, and the long and winding path that has brought me here. At times it has felt as if I have been waiting for a decade for something to happen,

and then I realize that in fact everything has happened.


I have raised three children, I have buried a mother and a step-mother, I have undergone 3 surgeries one of which was quite major,  I have navigated the school system trying to implement alternative & workable programming, I have supported my husband in his busy and intense career, and have begun to sow the seeds of my own.


And so here I am now.


It feels as if a chapter has ended and a new one is about to begin. Our kids are getting older and I can feel subtle new realities beginning to take shape as life alters in interesting ways,

and this long and winding road now feels as if it has happened in but a moment.


In terms of my work, I need to announce a few things.

Most of you know that I have pulled out of my little retail space and am no longer selling stationery.  I will continue to do more workshops but they, too, are evolving into something new. This will be my last blog from WordPress as I am presently collaboratively  building a beautiful new website that I am so excited about, and much of my writing will stream from there.



Stay tuned friends.                         Spring is on its way.








My Heart Surgery & Recovery & 10 beautiful things that got me through ~

It has now been a while since my open heart surgery, and it feels as if the time has  come to talk about it. Olivia said to me the other day, ‘Mom, do you get tired of answering people when they ask you how you are doing?’ My answer was ‘no’~

It was a significant thing to go through and it touches me that so many people were and are still so genuinely concerned.

Heart surgery is not uncommon. Most of us can name people we know who have gone through some sort of procedure to address a heart condition.

I am now connected to these people.

No one, however, can really prepare you for the invasiveness of heart surgery, nor for the accompanying feelings of overwhelming vulnerability that accompany allowing your heart to be stopped, worked on,
and no one really likes to talks about that crippling underlying fear

that things could go wrong.

For the first several weeks after surgery it was all I could do just to find ways to process all of my feelings and accept the complex experience I had been through and begin to heal.

How grateful am I now though?

My heart is fixed thanks to the truly spectacular wonders that modern medicine and technology have gifted us. I feel energy and vitality building in me that I have not felt for years, perhaps even never felt.

Nor is it possible for me to feel and see the world in the same way after having had major surgery. Everything looks just a little different,

a little brighter, a little simpler, even lovelier than before.

There were, of course, magical moments that will never leave me – shining moments that really got me through and helped me feel and know for sure that everything would be ok –

Here are my top 10…

1) All the big love that came to me before surgery. Flowers, messages, prayers, cards, hugs….Friends and acquaintances offering up love and support and letting me know that they were thinking of me. Right up until I went to sleep the night before surgery, I was still receiving new messages and feeling virtually held up by everyone.

2) Great parking spots the day before surgery and the morning of, as trivial as that may sound. Others had complained to us about the mess of trying to find parking at the Foothills, but for us it was literally a snap. It seemed as though just as we would pull up right in front of the hospital, someone else would pull out with smiles and waves. It was absolutely seamless and helped me trust that in even in the most mundane of ways we were being looked after.


3) Having my kids with me – It felt really important  that all three of my kids were nearby. I needed to feel them close, I needed them to be a part of all of it and understand what was happening rather than imagine the worst. I wanted them to see the preciousness of life that is more deeply understood when we come into close contact with trauma, sickness, recovery, and healing. My mother taught me to not shy away from these facts of life and I felt a responsibility to extend that important teaching to my own children. And so the kids were there at the hospital before, during, and after surgery…in the waiting room for hours and hours with their cousins while I was in surgery, on the hospital grounds running and playing under their Auntie’s supervision, on hunts for ice cream or treats with Glenna, and holding my hands during the days after as I started taking my little laps around the halls. Alex carefully watched over my vitals and supervised visits and messages from friends. George played numerous games of Battleship with Glenna between hesitant visits to my room when he would offer me quick kisses, and Olivia stayed close until everyone else except Dan had gone back home to Lethbridge. She helped me dress, checked my incisions, waited on me, meticulously mothered me.

4) An unexpected angel of reassurance -It’s difficult to describe the fear that I felt as my body was being prepared for surgery at 6am on the morning of April 8. Even the two Ativan that they gave me weren’t quite enough to completely calm me. However, after I was wheeled into the surgical suite on the stretcher, something happened that I will never forget….A doctor came up to me, whom I had never met, and told me he would be assisting in my operation.

He then told me that it was going to be great, and that if he was having open-heart surgery, this is precisely the team he would choose. We chatted for a bit longer, and then he left to carry on with his preparations. It is difficult to describe the power of that interaction, but the comfort that he gave to me extends even into this day.

5) Nurses – My grandmother had a distinguished and respected career as head nurse of surgery. Her and I were very close, and it was her that I thought of most often as I prepared for surgery. I imagined her watching over all of the medical details, and sending energies of competency, perfectionism, and love. Little did I think, though, about this deep professional care extending into the days afterwards, but it did,

as it manifested in the nurses who looked after me.

These women and men talked to me about what I was experiencing, watched my recovery with genuine concern, answered my questions, helped me move, sit, walk, bathe, covered me in warm blanket after warm blanket,

and showed me how to receive and be completely taken care of when I had no other choice.


Margaret Filchak

6) Other patients – Cardiac patients are encouraged to get moving as soon as possible. It is very important to start working the heart again. So the halls circling around the cardiac rooms are continuously peppered by people in their hospital gowns shuffling slowly along, often with family members walking along beside them. There are chairs dispersed for rests and visits, and it can feel a little like a turtle marathon with much encouragement and smiles coming from other patients and their families.

‘Oh you are moving well, good for you!’

‘And what did you have done – bypass or valve work?’

‘How many days are you at now?’ (everyone remembers their surgery date like it’s their birthday)

It is a such beautiful and inspiring thing to witness,

how quickly and naturally communities form wherever we are. It seems to me that, generally, we are all out  to support one another even when we are struggling and in pain ourselves. It is by far one of the most beautiful thing about human nature, this urge to form connections whatever our circumstances.

7) My beautiful chair– A few days before surgery Alex and Ry decided that my favorite chair should be moved from the living room to our back window. This is the great big, pillowy, floral print chair that Dan bought me for our first Christmas together. As soon as I saw my beloved chair tucked into the corner of our sunroom. I actually felt a little excited about my recovery as I imagined myself tucked deep inside of its cozy warmth, cup of tea and a pile of books by my side. Dan put a little antique wood table that had belonged to my grandmother at the chair’s side, and Olivia decorated the table with a little cup of flowers.

This was where I sat for a month,

receiving visitors, coordinating, watching Netflix, reading, drinking copious cups of tea, and watching Spring unfold.

7) Food – Before surgery, when people would ask me if there was anything they could do  I would say, ‘Well, yes, you could bring us food.’ I knew for sure this was the one area where we would struggle. As you all know, it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to shop for and feed a family and I am all about nourishing and healthy food, especially during times of stress and healing.  Let me just say that we were very well fed, and I am convinced that food is always one of the very best ways to help. Thank you, thank you, and thank you to everyone who helped in this way.

9) Walks in the sunshine– As soon as I got home from Calgary my little walks around the cardiac unit transformed into walks up and down our street, on the arms of my husband. We walked and walked and walked, many times a day, willing my heart to gradually strengthen and heal. The weather during those first few days and weeks was absolutely perfect, warm, and regenerative. Often, we were stopped by neighbours offering up hugs and words of encouragement and I felt as deeply loved and cheered on by our friends as I did by my surroundings; by our street, by the houses, the trees, the sunshine, by all of it.

10) A shift from fear and waiting towards trusting and being. Even though I had great faith in my brilliant and well-respected surgeon, and deep hope for my future, open-heart surgery was  an event I had been fearing for a long time.

We all have major, transformative events in our lives that shake us up; deaths of loved ones, health issues that catch us by surprise, ends of relationships, and so on. These sorts of events always have the power to drive us deeper into fear and or resentment, hold us hostage, make us distrustful of life, paralyze us –


They can make us more determined to find the light, the adventure, the play, the stillness, the ways to love, the reasons to celebrate, and the courage to take those brave leaps towards our dreams.


Grandma Carol’s Garden 2015; Garden theme ‘Full Hearts’

Once again I am restored and choose happiness.

Thank you, dear heart.


On Mother Goose, Bridges, and ‘Thrive’

Mother Goose

Last week I was in Calgary for a couple of cardiac tests that my surgeon had ordered to be completed before our next meeting with him in a few weeks –

These tests were within a few days of each other,

and when I received short notice of the second test, we decided to go up a couple of nights early and enjoy some time as a family. Dan and I have been busy and preoccupied lately and have decided to make a concerted effort to play more.

So on Saturday afternoon we headed up to Calgary with the kids.

For the next day and a half we toured the mall, swam, read, had a few delicious meals, and spent an afternoon walking outside on that first glorious day that truly feels like Spring. It was a little retreat that felt healing and devoid of expectations,

a spontaneous escape.

On the morning of my test, though, we were packing up our hotel room, suddenly overwhelmed again by weekday realities.

We needed to figure out the easiest way to get to the hospital and where to park, Olivia was worried about the homework she needed to finish, and Dan was making calls for work. I was feeling tense and nervous and was barking at the kids about picking up their stuff, hurrying,

and on it went…

Suddenly, though, George started laughing,  pointing, and calling us over to the window.

Olivia looked first, then Dan, and all three were laughing like crazy.

I could not imagine what could be outside of an 11th story window that could be so funny but Dan said, ‘Karen you have to see this’.

This is what they were all looking at,


This gal.

She was just sitting on the ledge honking madly at us,

and    she    would     not     leave.

The kids were absolutely beside themselves. We all were. This goose was positively insistent that we notice her.


Here’s the thing.

There are moments in life,

wherein it feels pretty clear that we are being looked out for…. there is that sudden sense that we are definitely not alone, and that maybe the veil between worlds is a little thinner than we realize and there are infinite creative possibilities for communication and expressions of love.

I have had many such moments, and this was one of those times.

This message felt pretty clear

Lighten up,


Everything is going to be ok.


This silly and deeply comforting bird, or our Mother Goose as George affectionately called her, didn’t fly off until we all had walked away first, back to our business….

We calmly carried on with our day and all, of course, was well.


During our lovely aforementioned Spring walk, we came upon the much discussed new Peace Bridge.


The Peace Bridge (great name!)  is a pedestrian bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, that accommodates both pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Bow River in Calgary.

Of course, whenever we are with Dan we can’t miss the opportunity to check out new pieces of architecture,

but while he’s analyzing the form and details of the structure, the English major in me is often busy creating metaphors in my head.


Like my recurring geese,

bridges have been a frequent symbol in our lives as of late.

Olivia is in the midst of a big project whereby she has to carefully construct a bridge out of toothpicks for science, and she was also just telling us that in class the other day her teacher had created a whole playlist of songs that included the word bridge.

Of course Dan and I both raced to say,

Like ‘Bridge over Troubled Water?’,


This period of my life does feel like a period of bridging and as I think about those around me I see many friends and family members in similar positions,


walking and working towards new situations, uncomfortably wedged in the in-between part.


Perhaps, though, much of life simply is a bridge,

as change is ever-constant and life is always surely moving us to what’s next.

Maybe the point is to just stop every so often rather than fixate on what’s at the other side, because beauty is not just there, it’s here too,

over and beyond the rail and down in the waves of the Little Bow,

in the inspired and joyful architecture,

in the vibrant and playful red,

in the curves and the rounding structure, and the gorgeous blue sky framed through the arches,

and in the people moving by us on their Sunday strolls.


It’s all beautiful,

and we are supported.


I have just begun reading Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington.


So far, I am quite enjoying it. Much of it does not feel like new information, but the contexts and examples that Huffington offers are current, interesting, and important. The book is persuasive and highly readable,

and shows us how the business world in particular must move towards integrating wellness for all.

Also, just when I think I have read every great quote, Huffington found some new ones to thrill me,


And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”                                                    Iain Thomas















On decluttering, walking, and my little girl….


It is an interesting period for me,  right now ~

The time has come, my heart surgeon has informed Dan and I,

to move ahead with my heart surgery.

I am now waiting to go through for a few more tests

and then we will be given a date.

I have felt all sorts of emotions around the processing of this big news:

relief, conviction, fear, anger,  excitement, anticipation, confusion, frustration, deep gratitude….


One of my biggest challenges, though, has simply been around what to do with myself during this time.

I am the sort of person that thrives on expansion in every direction and operating from her extensive lists,

constantly setting new goals and getting things done,

drawing lines through my items accomplished  as quickly as I add more new things to do.

This all, I admit, makes me feel productive and useful and alive and a part of things.


Yet, here I am,

suddenly being asked to      slow        right        down,

and take loving care of myself in all ways to prepare for what my body is about to go through ~

My priorities have suddenly become

not adding too many new things to my lists,

long walks and stretching,

eating wholesome foods,

staying calm and grounded by being mindful and meditating,

attending to myself and my family, and letting my family and friends attend to me.


I am also slowly but surely tidying things up at home,


paying attention to many of the little chores and projects that will allow me to feel organized and happier during my recuperation time.

One of those projects involves decluttering my working space, the room that stores all of my many books, paper and art supplies. This is a job that I have been trying to get to for at least two years, as the room has become a chaotic disaster, nothing more than a place to put everything.

I am finding myself moving through this particular task gently and lovingly, working on it a bit each day, combing though books and old pictures, cards, old journals,

making recurring trips to Michael’s for more wicker baskets,

and feeling so re-inspired by all of the wonderful things that I forgot I owned.


As the space begins to transform and stuff gets cleared out I feel noticeably lighter.


And so it strikes me that perhaps, in life,

there may be times of transition,

wherein we feel seriously called to declutter not just our rooms but our life in its entirety.

We must stop, blink as if we are just waking up,

assess our surroundings, reflect on where we are putting our time and energies and ask ourselves,

‘Is this necessary?’

‘Do I even want this anymore?’

‘Is this a good use of my time?’

‘Does this serve me? Does this serve my family?’

‘Is this still a good fit?’

‘Does this still interest me?’

Magically, I am finding that in the distilling, the decluttering, the clearing away,

and the slowing down,

a gentle and bright clarity is undeniably coming.

Surprisingly, underneath all of the stuff and the people and the events and the clutter and the aspirations,





I was driving by our urban lake one afternoon this week, and heard a tiny voice inside my head say,

Walk around the lake.’


I thought,

committed to my new plan of slowing down and listening.


After dropping off several bags of used books at George’s school, I returned to the lake and walked its perimeter.

The weather was cold, but the air was still.

It was just me alone with the sounds of my steps,           my breath.

I passed a handful of senior citizen couples, we all smiled at each other and said hello,

and one older gentleman deeply engrossed in preparing his fishing line as he sat on a bench,

and, oh yeah,

these guys.

Why hello, Canada Geese.

I see you.


we all are.


Thich Nhat Hanh writes,

Walk wherever you are. Don’t wait for the perfect forest path. Even when you go to the bus stop, make it into a walking meditation. Even if your surroundings are full of noise and agitation, you can still walk in rhythm with your breathing. Even in the commotion of a big city, you can walk with peace, and happiness, and an inner smile. This is what it means to live fully in every moment of every day of your life.

My Little Girl


Our sweet Olivia perfectly engaged in her own walking meditation -this photo taken many years ago by my dear friend Andrea.









On forgiveness, letters new and old, and no more single digits

On Forgiveness

‘The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world’                  Marianne Williamson


Of course.

If everyone from ex-spouses to kids on playgrounds to leaders of states and religions found it in themselves to forgive each other,

the world would suddenly look very different.


I know,

far easier said than done.

The roots of conflicts are long, twisted and deep,

and it can feel impossibly difficult to get past unimaginable betrayals and hurts of all kinds.


forgiveness has been on my mind as of late.


Richard Holloway, a Scottish writer, wrote

‘When true forgiveness happens it is one of the most astonishing and liberating of the human experiences’.


I get it because

I had a moment like that once. A moment of forgiveness that was utterly astonishing and liberating that caught me completely by surprise.

I am not ready to write about it yet, but in due time, I will.


One day over the Christmas holidays however, I did experience an afternoon of


I don’t even know what else to call it.

It was a very hushed and thoughtful sort of afternoon in Waterton. The weather was frigid and we were hanging out in our cottage, each of us doing our own thing.

Random long-ago events and people kept popping into my mind,

distasteful little snippets of memories that I didn’t even realize were weighing on me…


The teacher that made fun of me in grade school because I wrote too much,

the old boyfriend whose stinging, guilt-inducing words I can still hear,

the friend who lied to me,

the time I lied.



as I remembered the old hurts,

based on my distorted and fuzzy memories,

I did what felt right and quietly and gently just let each one go.


They didn’t know any better and I didn’t know any better.


Binding layers slowly drifting away, fragments of forgiveness released

to dissipate,


a seemingly insignificant exercise but not,


one afternoon’s humble contribution towards the healing of our world.

Letters new and old

Now that I am in the business of card creation and retail,

I have been thinking a lot about the wider context of sending and receiving letters, cards and messages,

especially given that I am also a writer.


My dear friend Charlotte and I used to laugh over the memory that when we were kids I could spend hours in office and stationery stores, whilst she was enamored with drugstores.

Hence, she is now a physician and I am…..well, still smitten with words and paper.

Preparing to write this piece, I looked through just one of the boxes I have that is full to the brim with cards, letters, and notes that I have received over the years,

identifiable scripts of family and friends, pictures the kids have drawn,

even doodles, quotes, and bits and scraps of paper that have for one reason or another captured my attention,

my stashes of paper love,


my inspiration.


This is the recent stuff,

I could dig much deeper to the time of

pre-Dan, pre-kids, pre-this-life-now,

but those particular collections I keep hidden farther away but still kept to be found one day,

when my kids are ready to know the fullness of who I was before them.


For now, though,  I am far more captivated by the more recent bits,



these are the stories of me and us,

the love-filled evidence that both makes up and fills up my heart.


There is, I believe, such tremendous power in telling people how we feel about them,

and an even greater power in actually taking the time and energy to write our feelings down and let people hold onto and savor our messages,

tangible reminders of support and love.

I am so delighting in this path that I am now on, and I look forward to talking  in more expansive ways about the possibilities around sending and receiving all sorts of messages of love and peace,

because I am certain that there’s something in all of that that’s a little more sacred and precious

than we even realize.

No more single digits

This week our George turned 10.


We are undeniably leaving the world of young children and entering the more complicated realms of tweendom and teenager-hood,

and even wedding planning and such!

I am, however, ready for the wild ride.

Truth be told, even despite the more trying days (and there are trying days),

I have never quite gotten over the feeling that

I am the lucky one that gets to mother these three and witness the unfolding of their beautiful lives.

I suspect that I have just as much to learn from them as they do from me.

maybe more.


Mom, today would be your birthday too.

You would be 68.

and I wish, as I have wished a hundred thousand times before, that you were here to guide us and enjoy these kids, as you would have done ever so completely,

but the truth that I have always trusted and known

is that you are.



On healing, giving thanks, and dyslexia


This past week, I lost a least 100 pounds, or so it felt like.

In an unexpected and terribly powerful swoosh of love, I somehow was finally able to let go of an inner demon that has haunted me for a good ten years. There is no need to delve into the specifics, but just know that this was a fear/worry that in many ways was always lurking underneath even my most sincerest of  smiles and happiest and buoyant of days.

After a couple of recent sessions with a therapist healer/friend of mine as well as two separate conversations with two different highly intuitive women that both know and love me so well,

this 10-year-old daunting monster effectively and suddenly melted into a wimpy Wicked Witch of the West puddle.


monster drawing by George

Here’s the thing. Sometimes healing takes time, sometimes even years and years and years, and we may begin to feel that we will always be trapped and stuck and hurting,

Yet, often we just need to have many layers of experiences before we can be truly ready to let something big go.

Then….sometimes the letting go is quick and dramatic as it was for me this week, or sometimes it is slow and steady….

BUT, peace is always available to the willing, the persistent and the open-hearted.

That, I know.

Giving Thanks

I will never forget my neighbour once saying to me that she never quite got over the feeling of being in loving awe of her children. Every new phase and age holds precious gifts.

I remember, too, my mom saying that mothering a 30-year-old was as interesting and wonderful as mothering a child,

which makes sense to me now as our Alex is in her 20s and our relationship with her only continues to evolve.

So, on this weekend of giving thanks and whatever the particulars of the relationships in your life,

may we celebrate all of the ages and phases of all of our loved ones and  again reaffirm the notion,

that in whatever form it may find itself in,

family is everything and abundance is only ever really about love.

wedding table


I am on a bit of a quest to begin talking about dyslexia and parenting sensitive kids.

Though I taught elementary school for almost 10 years, it has been my mothering experiences that have really forced me to look at these issues from the inside out.

We desperately need to have real conversations about the related  and complex challenges that many kids and parents face.

Just this week I heard personal stories of three local families that are  struggling with their middle-school aged children having major anxiety related to sensitivity or a learning disability.

When I am discussing dyslexia, please note a few things:

1) I am speaking from the perspective of an educated parent who has done her research but I am not an expert.

2) My daughter is vivacious and capable and happy. She has dyslexia and she is highly sensitive, but these things are only parts of what make up the wonder of her being. She is fine with me writing about dyslexia, because she wants people to understand what the world feels like for people like her.

3) I use the word dyslexia for lack of a better word. It is a blanket term that can mean all sorts of things to different people. Depending on who you talk to and where you live, dyslexia is either the proper term, layman’s language, in vogue educationally or not. Regardless, it is usually used to talk about kids who have trouble learning how to read, spell, and may often struggle with math, despite having at least average intelligence. They are often bright sensitive kids who just learn differently and they often shine in creative areas.

The 2 biggest awarenesses that I have had in the last 5 years about dyslexia have been, ironically, about how I need to frame things.

1) Kids with dyslexia need to feel accepted.

They spend a colossal amount of time and energy having to catch up, work harder, and create their own innovative ways of coping. They are smart enough to know that they are different and this causes them no end of grief. Moving through a world that emphasizes academics can slowly and surely chip away at their self-esteem, so what my daughter needs to hear from me is,

‘I love you just the way you are. To me, you are perfect and I would not change a thing about you.’

2) Kids with dyslexia need to have their worries validated, because to them their worries and struggles are very real.

This morning when I dropped my girl off at school, I said to her,

‘I know this is hard. I want you to know that all of the things that you worry about are totally real, and I support you.’

That’s it. I could see her face, her heart, her soul,            relax,

completely ~

all because I didn’t say this time,

‘You will be fine. It’s not that bad. It’s not a big deal. Just don’t worry so much about it.’


There’s so much more to say, and there’s tons of hope and light in it all,

but for now let’s call this conversation opened.


I am reading this right now and highly recommend it. Beautiful, powerful insights!

Happy, happy weekend of giving thanks and celebrating abundance!




On September birthdays, the Terry Fox Run and peace-building granola

On September Birthdays

Though it can be a challenge to gather and celebrate birthdays in September, I would still like to acknowledge a couple of Virgos dear to my heart.

It is well-known in my family that I give much importance to celebrating birthdays….

I believe that the very fact that we exist, completely apart from outer success or accomplishments, is the worthiest reason for celebration.

So first of all, BIG love to my husband who worries for us, works SO hard for us, plans adventures and gifts for us, is there for us, talks us through our tears and struggles, and cheers and supports us always~

I have always told Dan that his energy and talents are larger than life, and he should thus use his powers for good. He spends every breath working towards that end, and for that I will love him for all eternity.

Secondly, happy wishes to my step-mother Elsie. As I write and think about the evolution of our relationship over the last 7 years,

I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards this woman,

who in her infinite wisdom never once tried to take my mother’s place and always honored our need to remember Grandma Carol.  In doing so, she firmly won her place in my heart.

From the start, Elsie,  you loved our kids as your own grand-kids, gifted them with countless expertly sewed costumes, baked dozens of homemade buns that went straight from your oven into their mouths, and showered them with words of pride and encouragement.

In your own distinct ways, you both shine.


The Terry Fox Run

Today was the annual Terry Fox Run at George’s school. It was an especially well- attended and organized event this year for our little neighbourhood school.

Though it has been 33 years since Terry Fox died,

today the story of his life touched my heart in a way that it perhaps never has before,

I fully and finally understood that Terry was truly a young and tenacious pioneer of doing the right thing, and of making up a new right thing.

What a radiant soul that lives on and on and on…

It was a particularly difficult assembly,

as the school community and staff was quietly but surely honoring another radiant young man, a teacher,  in the throes of his own struggle with cancer.

I am always in awe and inevitably moved to tears when massive love and support can organize itself into an event and pull itself into one space. These are the sorts of moments that always end up defining us ALL,

and today it happened again in a little school gym filled to the brim with kids, teachers and parents,

and it was my deep honour to have witnessed it.

I read an article this week that suggested that in every situation we should ask ourselves,

‘What would love do?’


Love would do what Terry Fox did, determinedly continuing to run on through wind, rain, pain, and exhaustion~

Love would do what Marcus Karpati is doing, moving through his illness with indescribable courage and grace and even taking the time and energy to visit his school, co-workers, and his beloved students,

and Love would most definitely pour itself into a little school gym, multiplying itself beyond and within,

and circling itself around everyone gathered there.




Peace Building Granola

I sometimes think that I could subsist entirely on seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and cereals.

My family, of course, is not at all interested in the bird diet,

but they are still always very happy to see a freshly made pan of granola on top of the stove.

Though there are not a lot of things that I make repeatedly,

mostly because I get either get bored with making the same foods or I can’t remember where I discovered a recipe to start with,

this granola is a rare standby in our home.

After I introduced my dear friend Heidi to the recipe, we affectionately started referring to it as our  ‘love, peace, heart healing, friendship-building granola’.

See, there are actually other people who talk like I do!

I do need to credit the wonderful Jamie Oliver– I have tried many other granola recipes over the years but always come back to his –

It is super easy and satisfying, and so heavenly with warm steamed milk. I have been known to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and for my bed-time snack,

all in the same day.

 Jamie Oliver’s Granola

* 2 cups oats

* 1 heaped cup mixed nuts

* 1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)

* 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 5 tablespoons maple syrup

* About 3 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I usually soak the dried fruit in water while the granola is baking, to soften it)

Preheat oven to 350°. Put oats, mixed nuts, mixed seeds, coconut, and cinnamon on a baking sheet. Stir well; smooth out. Drizzle with maple syrup and olive oil; stir. Bake 25-30 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so take out and stir, then smooth down with a wooden spoon and put back in oven. When granola is golden, remove from oven, mix in dried fruit (roughly chop any large pieces); let cool. Serve with milk or yogurt. You can keep leftover granola in an airtight container about 2 weeks.