starting over

I am the kind of person that loves setting goals, dreaming up plans and projects, getting excited about what’s next…



Lately I have also become quite enthralled by the ways the different windows in our house frame the trees, the sky. I look and look, up through the skylight while I soak in the tub or out my window if I lay down for a minute on a Friday afternoon, tired from the week.  Each view is different…

the dance of fall colours and light and weather. I am certainly not overlooking a dramatic vista, I am just in my house.

It’s good to plan and create and act, but it’s also lovely to just sit and look and be.

Sometimes in those moments I even think,

‘This is enough, just this.’


Olivia said to me the other day, ‘What if I decide not to follow this dream that I have told everyone is my dream. Then what? ‘ And I said to her, ‘it doesn’t matter if you have told the whole world’.

Dreams are fluid and fun and are allowed to change as we grow.

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Also, the whole landscape of what we thought was real, and even what we thought would always be or what we always wanted,  can change in a heartbeat.


The Kenow fire raged its way through Waterton and burnt 70% of the forest. Waterton looks raw and vulnerable but at the same time she is now more powerfully spectacular than ever. She’s wise and has been through some intense stuff. A beautiful wise old crone of forests, giver of life.



And I know with every fiber of my being that watching her rebirth herself will be pure magic.


Dreams can change. And everything that we knew to be true about ourselves, and about what we thought was real can fall away in an instant. I have felt this happen again and again in my own life,

and I see it happening all around me right now in every aspect of our world. Everything we know is being challenged, so then maybe what we thought we wanted, what we thought was important, is being challenged too.


This doesn’t mean that we stop coming up with new dreams, or revamping the old ones, or that we live in fear and feel ourselves victims of bigger and terrifying forces we cannot control –


but I have learned to surrender to the complex web of unfoldment that I could have never in a million years have orchestrated myself

and trust that even in what is painful and heartbreaking and even in that which feels like utter destruction and devastation,

there are often aspects serving us that we cannot begin to comprehend, even if it’s just a rallying of love.



Next year the wildflowers in Waterton are going to be extraordinary.

We are stronger than we think.


Happy weekend of ‘Giving Thanks’ everyone. May you sit and bask in the simple beauty of what you already have and what you see out your windows.











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 dangers, our Canada, and bear grass….


The other night I had a dream that hundreds of little black birds were swarming around me, pecking at me, pursuing me. I felt the relentlessness of their pursuit but I wasn’t completely terrified, rather I felt a sense of just giving in and giving up.

When I woke, the dream felt heavy and ominous. I am, after all, a woman who looks for signs in everything.

Hundreds of little blackbirds trying to attack me… How can that be good?

This dream came after several days of holidays with Dan’s family. We all reunited in Waterton over the Canada Day long weekend and then drove together to Montana, where Dan’s brother and his wife have a holiday house.

Life has been simpler and more relaxed this week…..big dinners, sleep-ins, family walks and games, swims,

all surrounded by the gorgeous bounties of summer,

seasonal fruits and berries, wildflowers in full bloom, and warm days and evenings.

Last night, however, my summer reverie was violently disturbed when George crashed his head into a signpost while playing tag with his cousins after dinner.

It was, ironically, the loveliest of evenings. We had just finished a wonderful meal celebrating Dan’s parents’ anniversary and were all meandering through the park.

Suddenly, though, I found myself cradling my sweet crying boy in my arms, panicking inwardly about how severely he had been hurt. He seemed to recover but at 2am Dan and I made the decision to go into emergency as George had started vomiting.

12 hours later we still had not slept and had made yet another trip to emergency to have it finally determined that George had in fact suffered a mild concussion but would be okay.

These are the very worst kinds of hours as a mother.

They are the long hours when I try to hard to appear brave and calm, but am terrified.

These are the long hours when I talk to my mom in my mind non-stop, asking for support and strength.

These are the long hours when I know for sure that nothing matters more to me in the world than the health and well-being of these precious beings, our children.

Hundreds of blackbirds swarming…..perils dive-bombing me from every direction and I am so so desperately and completely powerless and vulnerable.

On a family hike earlier this week a few of us were talking about how it’s not usually the dangers that we work to protect ourselves from that end up being the problem. At the outset of the hike we were alerted by a warning that bears had been hanging out in the area,

but our most dangerous moment was when we all sat down to rest for a few minutes beside a hill and inadvertently triggered a mini avalanche of rocks.

And on the day of George’s head injury we had taken the kids to the skateboard park in the morning and watched them repeatedly zoom down ramps of steep cement,


It was a sign on the sidewalk that evening that ended up changing our course.

Driving to the hospital this afternoon, however, I made my peace with it all…the kind of peace that I have to make over and over and over,

because my gentle covenant with this life is constantly forgotten,

I am not in control. I surrender. It is too hard to hold so tightly onto my fears and anxiety and panic. I just can’t do it.

I cannot stop this swarm, nor can I predict which one will end up scarring me and unfolding more pain or more of life’s dark bits.

However, beyond and higher is the vast blue sky, billowing clouds, the sun,

a safety and trust and a broader perspective that I have to believe is sustainable and true and real,


All is well. All will be well.

Our Canada

What a joy it was again to celebrate Canada Day in Waterton. The bike parade in the morning was an absolute delight,

a spectacle of kindness, laughter, joy, innocence and fun,

with the Rockies sparkling in the background.

Our Canada. My goodness we are blessed.


Canada Day Bike Parade at Waterton Lakes National Park

 Bear grass

Oh yes, and speaking of wildflowers…. the stunning beautiful bear grass is in bloom, a flower I get so excited about.


‘you belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere you feel free’  Tom Petty