Saturday, January 13, 2018

I Didn't Get Here By Accident!!!!!


On several different occasions, here, in midst of my ramblings, at schools, in responses to emails and notes, I've put forth my belief in the importance of obliterating comfort zones. I truly believe they are prisons existing under the pretense of safety.

Comfort zones are just that, comfortable. If we don't deviate, if we live within what makes us comfortable, within the convenient boxes that are all too welcoming, effortless, painless and uncomplicated, I believe we rob ourselves of what can be.

It's not easy. In fact, it's anything but easy.

It's been my experience that when you dare to step beyond the comfort, welcome the uneasiness, embrace the sweaty palms, and work through your disquieted heart, fantastic things await you on the other side.

In the spirit of destroying comfort zones, not only did I do a tv interview, but, now I'm sharing it on here. Both of these remain difficult for me, both make my palms sweat. To do the interview on camera is tough, bringing up all kinds of old ghost insecurities. To share it is another animal, altogether. To share it equals self-promotion, which is something that remains a real challenge. It requires squelching all of those little negative voices that like to creep in, telling you you aren't good enough, that you don't belong, that you have no business doing what you're doing.

I wish I could tell you that those negative little voices no longer exist, but, they do. However, I am, with time and practice, getting much better at telling them to shut the hell up, and bugger off.

I have to continue to remind myself that I deserve where I am. It didn't happen by accident. I am where I'm supposed to be, so of course I belong here.

I couldn't be here if I stayed within my comfort zone, not a chance.

Step outside, the elegant uneasiness and contorted self-perception are simply growing pains leading you to where you are supposed to go from here.


I would like to take a second and thank you all for your continued support, here, in buying my books and in person.

I'm so grateful for all of the incredible feedback, and look so forward to what the future holds.

Thank you for reading these ramblings each week. Readership has surpassed the 60000 mark, coming from 5 continents and a ton of different countries, some of which are unfamiliar, requiring a google search to find out exactly where they are. It continues to amaze me.

Thank you.


Until next time......

May you break free of your veiled cocoon, discover the strength of your uniquely beautiful wings, and fly.
May you find the courage to conquer the phantom whispers, snide and untrue, impeding access to your unfettered sky.

May you discover the freedom found in leaving the familiar, straying from your normal, walking in unfamiliar shoes.
May you uncover talents, unearth new favourites, pull the blanket back on what comes next, collide with your muse.

May you embrace the discomfort of living where new paths are commonly trodden, without a compass, without a map, without a concrete destination.
May you accept that you are the author of your story, write it, revel in it, for living by the opinions of others is but existing in pale imitation.


Until next week

Friday, January 5, 2018

Through The Sh*t And The Sunshine

Well, 2018 is underway, one week in and it's looking like it's going to be another busy, incredible year filled with new milestones, new undertakings, and new adventures.

We rang the new year in in style this year! We attended an event that included a delicious meal, (that I didn't have to cook) listening to a couple of talented comedians who made me laugh until my face hurt, and some dancing! The seating was intimate, and by that, I mean they had us crammed in pretty tight. Long tables, a lot of bodies. The kind of situation where you put off going to the bathroom because the path from seat to loo would involve about 200 choruses of  "excuse me."

But, because of the close seating situation, an opportunity presented itself to meet the people on either side of us. (They had couples seated facing each other)) On one side, it was party central, loud, excited, definitely ready to have a very good time. On the other, a young couple looking to bring in the new year in a more subdued manner, as they are a few months away from welcoming their first baby into the world.

Luckily we are equally comfortable with either approach, All in all, a fun night!

The days of 2018 are numbered, the first few have already flown by. How will you embrace each sunrise, each sunset? How will you weather the inevitable storms that are bound to be woven into the tapestry?

For me, I am going to do my best be open to every opportunity and welcome adventures as they present themselves. And also, to be equally as diligent in finding the upsides of the less than optimal situations that, no doubt, will come along. Sometimes it takes a bit of time and persistence to find them, but they're always there.

Now is the time to cut loose any anchors that are holding you back. Let go of past hurts, take the lessons from past mistakes, but let go of the shame. If you hurt anyone, sincerely apologize, truly do your best to make it right, then let go of the guilt.

Unfettered, there is nothing stopping you from taking flight. Take it.


Until next time, I'll leave you with this wish..................

May you reach for the brass ring, only to find it's but a link in a chain of good fortune.
May every opportunity bear fruit, ripe and juicy, sweet and satisfying, each brought to a fulfilling fruition.

May you readily find the upsides, no matter how deeply they seem to be buried.
May you reach out for help if needed, the more the shoulders, less the weight carried.

May you look at the days ahead with excited anticipation, embracing the beautiful unknown.
May you look back, accept what was, both the shit and the sunshine, feeling blessed in how you've grown.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!!!!!!!

Yup, it's that time of year! The time when parts of our province are actually colder than the North and South Poles! When boiling water turns instantly to mist, exposed skin freezes in a matter of a couple of minutes, and it hurts to breathe without using your scarf as a filtre.

Although this gives ample reason to stay indoors, play board games and watch movies, it's pretty hazardous to those who have to travel or work outside. 

It must also be a shock to those neighbours who are spending their first ever winter in this type of climate. I've never lived anywhere else, and it's tough, I can't imagine what it must feel like, if, last winter, you were residing in a much warmer part of the world.

Might be a good time to go through closets, put our hands on heavy winter coats we no longer wear, find an appropriate charity and make some room!

A New Year stretches before us, full of surprises, adventures awesome things, and, very likely, some, not so awesome things. I look forward to the ride!

Now, some New Year's Resolutions...........

Dear 2018 I hereby promise the following

1. I will absolutely not be opening for Kenye West in Madison Square Garden.

2. I, most definitely will be partaking in some grown-up beverages and some form of chocolate.

3. I will refrain from running marathons.......on my hands.

4. I will absolutely be attending book-related events, meeting new people, and having a blast.

5. I will not be participating in any conga lines in the South of France.

6. I will continue down an avenue that involves the Toronto Film School.

7. I will not be learning to parkour, using Manhattan rooftops as my playground.

8. I will most certainly be singing some karaoke somewhere, at some time, more than once.

9. I will not ride pajama wearing zebras in tornadoes or hurricanes.

10. I will be working on my next Children's book, and other projects.

I vow to do my very best to stick to these resolutions.


Well, Christmas was fast, furious, fantastic, and, of course, included at least one sicky. In this case two. One grandbaby and one Son-in-law were down for the count. It wouldn't be Christmas without at least one fever and a few chills! Once medication and some naps were added to the mix, a relatively good time was still able to be had.

Now, on to the New Year! I can't, nor would I want to, greet a New Year without a look back a few years. This year, it will be 28. New Year's Day, 1990 we welcomed our third daughter to our growing family. A firecracker, for sure, and the red hair to prove it, but, also a kind, generous, warm, loving, loyal person. But, never mistake her kindness for weakness. That, my friends, would be a mistake.

As you welcome the new year, take a moment to reflect, wish 2017 a fond farewell, then, turn and give 2018 a big ol' smooch!

Looking forward to see what 2018 has in store!


See you next year! Until then........

May you ring in the new year full of hope, full of laughter, toasting to all great things to come.
May your fond farewell to the past be filled with gratitude for what was, and wasn't, for need the bad with the good to create a complete sum.

May you walk into the new year a kinder, more patient, happier version of yourself.
May you do this, even without the snitching threat of that crazy elf on a shelf.

May this new year bring you everything that makes your heart sing and your soul smile.
May you greet this new chapter with grace, remembering all good things come, but sometimes, you just have to wait a while.


Happy New Year!     

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holidays!


Well, the waiting and prepping is drawing to a close as the Holidays are here!

For a lot of us, it's a time for family celebrations, get-togethers, fun, and laughter, as it should be.

For some, it's anything but a happy holiday.

It might be the first holiday after the loss of a loved one, a break-up, loss of a job or an illness. There is no getting around the fact that this isn't going to be a jolly time of year for some.

For those walking your way through this tough time, reach out, there is no need to walk alone, hold dear the memories, let the tears cleanse your soul, but know that, if you feel it, it's okay to smile.

Let's all take a beat amongst the hustle and bustle and use that minute to be kind, patient, and willing to do that little bit extra.

Maybe it's a leaving a bigger tip, handing out gift cards to strangers in the street, making the overworked staff at your local store smile, maybe it's simply reaching out to someone you know could use a friend.

Whatever it is for you, don't hesitate, kindness is never a mistake.


Well folks, the week of Christmas concerts has passed. The kids are so freakin' adorable!

The teachers take such care to come up with creative ways for the little ones to celebrate. Thank you, teachers! You do an incredible job!

A bit short and sweet this week, as I still have some cookies to make, bake and decorate, and other little things to do before everybody comes home. It will be awesome to have everybody under one roof again, even if only for a short while.


Happy Holidays!

May the spirit of the season run rich and deep through your home, steeping you in joy.
May you cherish the glowing faces of the little ones, let the magic in, enjoy.

May you, if this is the first without, reach out, take care, know you are not alone.
May you find the courage to do so, we are here, a heartbeat away, you needn't do this on your own.

May you be surrounded by laughter, good food, and those you hold most dear.
May you find you simply can't contain your joy, and share your Holiday cheer.

Until next time.......

Saturday, December 16, 2017

For Santa: Cookies, Milk and........Motrin?!


So, there is this challenge making its way around facebook. It involves taking, for 7 consecutive days, one black and white photo of your life that includes neither people nor explanations.

My sister was challenged, and, in turn, challenged me.

The above photos tell the story of my week.

If you would have tried to tell me, in December of 2007, that in December 2017, I would have a week in which I would do some work on my 8th book, do a "bit" of laundry, wrap up gifts without stress, tape an interview for a talk show, road trip, visit my sister, do a presentation for some fantastic grade 10,11,and 12 students for career day, and end the week with the 15th tradeshow of the year selling and signing the 7 books I had written.... I would have told you that you were completely delusional and should likely seek medical attention.

What I've learned.... That turning challenges into opportunities, refusing to fit in any box and obliterating the existence of comfort zones leads to some pretty great places, as long as your willingness to work hard matches your willingness to dream.

It's been another "pinch myself" kind of week.


So with Christmas only a little over a week away, inevitably, if you have little ones, discussions about Santa become fairly frequent.

One such discussion that I know of went a little something like this.....

Mom:  So what do you think we should leave out for Santa this year?

4-year-old:  Milk and Cookies!

5-year-old: And carrots for the reindeer!

Mom: That sounds pretty good.

5-year-old: And maybe some coffee....

Mom: Coffee? Why do you think he would like coffee?

5-year-old: He might need the caffeine to keep him from getting sleepy, so yeah, coffee.

Mom: Okay, I guess we can do coffee.

After a bit of thought.....

5-year-old: aaaand maybe some Motrin.

Mom: Motrin?! Why Motrin?

5-year-old: In case he's not feeling good. The medicine will make him feel better so he can finish taking the gifts to everybody.

Mom: You know you just might be right. Motrin it is.


Even though the past week has been pretty amazing, I look forward to what is coming up......

Christmas concerts starring grandbabies aplenty...........

Work the shop..........

A day of errands........................

Finish off the #ChristmasBaking.......


Have a cookie decorating day with said grandbabies!!!!!!!


Well, that about does it for now...

With some bright-eyed students in mind, I'll leave you with this wish.....

May you see your dreams as tangible things, they are not made of mist.
May you see that the more you put into them, the more solid they become, persist.

May you understand that the only thing that stands between where you are and where you want to be is your willingness to work.
May you understand that curves, hardships, and setbacks are simply part of the journey, making you stronger, making you wiser, a priceless, prickly perk.

May you find yourself, someday, living a dream far beyond what your imagination is able to now, today, even recognize.
May you see that with passion, determination, persistence, adaptability, your limits live on the other side of the universal skies.


Until next time.....

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Heartbeat's Length.......


Whenever I hear the eerie shrill of an ambulance's siren scream through the air, I can't help but think of the lives that will change because of it.

Lives change in a heartbeat. Any time of year, under any circumstance it can be heartbreaking. During this time of year, when there is such a focus on family get-togethers, Christmas magic, and fun, that heartbreak is multiplied. When it involves a child, it's impossible to fathom the depths of the sorrow reached.

Growing up in a rural community you know everyone, attend school with everyone from miles around. This creates a great sense of extended family. People look out for and care for each other.

When tragedy strikes, the wagons circle, and the flow of love and support begins.

Such a tragedy struck my hometown this past week when the young son of a former schoolmate passed away.

The soul-eviscerating, heart-crushing grief that must strike when this happens is unfathomable. The question does not become, How does a person heal from this? The immediate question has to be, How do I keep breathing? How do I survive this? How do we survive this?

To the family, my heart aches for you, my heart breaks for you.

Although the gift of your son was given to you for but a heartbeat's length, his shine will remain with you in every heartbeat to come.


Let's not take for granted that tomorrow is guaranteed, that we have all the time in the world to patch up relationships, straighten out misunderstandings, heal old wounds.

Say the 'I love you', the 'I forgive you' the 'I'm sorry', or just silently let crap go, if that's what you need to do.

The words left unsaid can often be the loudest and hardest to shake.


With a certain family in mind, I'll leave you with this wish.....

May you, as the noise settles, and silence echoes where his voice once rang, find strength, find courage.
May you find your breath, a way to put one foot in front of the other, to fight the invincible cocooning urge.

May you, in time, once again find peace, and some semblance joy, for other littles need to feel you smile, even though you may feel like a liar.
May you see that they are learning from you what it means to grieve, how to survive the pain, how to walk through this fire.

May you lean on those who surround you, and know the rest of us carry you in our prayers.
May you, as time inevitably passes, when the edges of grief are less cutting, find that smiles come more readily than tears.

Until next time.......................

Friday, December 1, 2017

May Your Goodbyes Be Sweet......


It is, once again, with a heavy heart that I am writing this week's ramblings.

When you come from a large family, as I do, there are a ton of things to celebrate. Lots of milestones, weddings, pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, lots of reasons to send each other congratulations. Unfortunately, the flipside of that is losing people. A lot of people. 

Luckily, because of the sheer volume of people involved, none of us go through these losses alone. 

Not so long ago, we lost Uncle Mike the junior "Bookend" of the 14 siblings created by my Mom's Mom and Dad. Yesterday evening, we lost the senior "Bookend", Uncle Norbert. 

This was an uncle who fathered a string of 7 daughters, was the first to tear up listening to a beautiful choir, was always ready for a laugh and was one of the best huggers I have ever known.

The bookends. More than twenty years separated their births, their departures, but a blink between them. 

Five brothers now keeping a watchful eye, and no doubt sharing a rum or two in the process. 

Knowing Uncle Norbert's love of life, I feel he would want us not to dwell too long in sorrow, but raise a glass in his honour, and smile, holding the best of memories dear.

Sadly, Uncle Norbert's passing was not the only one felt by our family, this week. Earlier in the week, the father of three of our nephews lost his battle with a very serious illness. A hardworking man, not yet 65, left behind the broken hearts of many loved ones. 

Losing loved ones is likely the toughest thing we have to live through, as humans. The love and connection that lifts us and makes us thrive, is also what makes saying goodbye so difficult. 

So worth it.


Besides receiving hard news, the past few days were filled with a bit of work at the shop, some gift wrapping, Christmas baking, marking calendars for grandbaby Christmas concerts and the completion of Snowmanpalooza!

The upcoming week will include a bum around day with my hubby, working shop, more baking, more wrapping, and doing my best to fix up a 4year-old"s self-inflicted haircut. (before Christmas concert), and spend some time with a fabulously big family sharing memories 


Until next time, with loved ones in mind........

May your goodbyes be sweet, filled only with the most beautiful memories to help you through.
May you carry each other beyond the grief, lifting, consoling, lightening the load with all you do.

May you understand that although time may not heal all wounds, it does help them change, even fade.
May you give yourself permission to take that time, then, once again walk in the sun, away from the shade. 


Until next week.....