Thursday, September 28, 2017

With The Autumn Comes The Fall......


With the Autumn comes the fall, the fall in temperatures, the fall of leaves, and the descending length of daytime hours.

The familiar, early morning chill hits as you make your way across the newly fallen golden floor.

One season comes to an end, another begins, bringing with it, all kinds of possibilities.

A new season, a new chapter. Blank pages waiting to be filled with whatever adventures you deem worthy of the exercise.

With all that is happening around the world, both self-inflicted and at the hands of Mother Nature, it becomes even more blatantly clear that wasting time and energy on things that drain our joy is simply that, a waste.

Does that mean we never have to do things we don't like or make us feel uncomfortable? Of course not. Nobody loves scrubbing toilets or vacuuming juice soaked cheerios out the nooks and crannies of a car seat.

The joy sucking things to which I am referring are poisonous relationships, jobs that are a daily dread, toxic people who soak in negativity and create drama continually trying to pull you into the tub.

We all have rough patches in our relationships, that in and of itself does not make the relationship poisonous, I believe when there is poison, it eats away at who you really are, it can be subtle at first, go undetected, but, eventually will tear you down. A poisonous relationship will steal your shine, a healthy one will polish your star.

We all have bad days at work. But, if you are having to drag yourself to your job every single day, if the thought of going to work creates anxiety, headaches, and/or stomach issues on a continual basis, your job has officially qualified as a joy sucker. There is always another way to make a living. Life is way too short to do what you hate every day. Time to create a change.

We all have down days, but if you regularly hang out with a person or people who are constantly wrapped up in some kind of world-ending drama, where the word "hate" is used more than "the", that person may be toxic for you. Do you feel better or worse after spending time with them? On the flipside, be careful not to become a joy sucker, none of us want to be toxic.

Next chapter, new adventures, endless possibilities. Joy-sucker free, there is nothing to hold us back!


The past week included the Word on the Street Festival, an event dear to my heart. Not only does it lend an important voice to the literacy issues in our communities, it provides a great opportunity to meet people you may never otherwise meet. One such person, who particularly stands out, was a young man who moved to Canada about a month ago. He happened across the festival quite by accident, stopping by my booth. He's an aspiring writer who is frustrated by the hurdles his dyslexia puts in his path. When you are new to the country and English isn't your first language, trying to read and understand it would be challenging on its own, let alone when you throw dyslexia into the mix, adding in the desire to write, well, he's awesome. After answering a few questions, bouncing around a few ideas that might help him out, and some encouragement to do some exploring outside of the city limits, he bought a copy of "Once Broken" for "inspiration", shook my hand, and moved on.

Had I not been at the festival, I'd have missed meeting him.

A huge thanks to the countless volunteers, organizers, fellow participants, and all those who stopped by my booth to buy books, take photos, or just to say hi.

After a day working at the shop, the rest of the week was spent largely snotting, sweating, coughing, and generally phlegming up the place.

I think I've kicked it though, at least enough to be able to enjoy the upcoming days.....

Heading off to a two-day tradeshow in Unity tomorrow.....

Working shop.....

Get ready for Thanksgiving......



With this new season in mind, I'll leave you with this....

May the crispness in the breeze breathe life into your soul, renew your will, energize your spirit.
May you embrace the newness, the unknown, it's yours to do with what you will, don't fear it.

May you strip yourself down to your shine, then gather only what will boost the luster.
May any and all echoes of doubt dissipate, a fog lifting, the blue sky after a storm's bluster.

May you dance freely across the newly golden floor, bathe in the beauty, inhale the promise.
May you open yourself up, the pages are there for only you to fill, the future is flawless.


Until next time.......

Friday, September 22, 2017

Magic Baby Dragons.......

Over the past few weeks, Mother Nature has been on some sort of rampage. Hurricanes, record-breaking winds, rain, and earthquakes. The viciousness claiming lives, homes, and businesses, displaying her complete lack of mercy, exhibiting no discretion, making no exceptions for race, age, religion, or social status. An equal opportunity assassin.

When repeated momentous tragedies occur on such a huge scale it can be easy to get caught up in the statistics. How many billions of dollars in damage, the percentages of populations without power, infrastructure capabilities, or lack thereof, blah blah blah...

The people living in the thick of it must feel so lost.

Most of the problems the rest of us think we have seem like nothing, in comparison.

Our power was off the other day for about 5 hours.  Big Deal.

Had a couple of pretty challenging days at the shop. Big Deal.

Caught a nasty cold just in time for Word On The Street. Big Deal.

It makes it easier to put things into perspective when you allow yourself to take into consideration, all of the souls lost in the storm. When you think about it, most of our problems are not really actual problems, they are simply annoyances, inconveniences, nuisances, and disruptions.

As horrible as Mother Nature has been, she has now presented humankind with an opportunity.

World events have shown the devastation that we tend to inflict upon each other without hesitation. We rob, scam, bully, kill, finding new and more gruesome ways to terrorize each other each and every day. We are not shy about showing what we are capable of.

Now we have the opportunity to prove we are capable of so much more. Tragedy tends to breathe life into heroes of all shapes and sizes. Heroes aren't only the ones pulling people from twisted wreckage, they are organizing food drives, raising money, sending money, sending water, driving the trucks carrying the water, volunteering in shelters.....

Be a hero....

Maybe it's because there has been so much loss in recent weeks that the utter joy that emanates from our grandbabies seems to shine just that much brighter. They are oblivious to Hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. The only monsters are those created by Disney, their only tragedy, being made to eat their vegetables.

Laney, in the photos above, lives in a world where unicorns aren't only real, but it's completely logical that she could have one as a pet. She lives in a world where grasshoppers are really magic baby dragons. She lives where stuffed turtles can talk, goldfish can bite, and cutting her own hair is simply a fashion choice that made her look more beautiful.
When her Daddy can't seem to decide what he should take to work for lunch and asks her to decide, her world dictates the menu should consist of talkaroni, which, in laymen's terms, is Mac & Cheese, cheerios, and pudding.

My heart breaks at the innocence stolen by Mother Nature's wrath. I hope that someday, they can, once again, find their magic baby dragons.


Well folks, the past few days included a concert in the park, working the shop, putting finishing touches on posters, and doing my best to stave off a stupid cold.

The concert was fun, the shop was super-busy, the posters are complete, and the cold... well it kinda sucks, but it's nothing some doses of dayquil can't fix, or at least tamp down.

As for the upcoming days...

We will be at the Word On The Street Festival.......

Working the shop.....

Prep for the two day tradeshow coming up next weekend.........



That about does it for now...

Until next week....

May you never lose the ability to find magic in the simplest of things.
May you forever hold the courage to give even your boldest dreams wings.

May you always walk through life being true to who you genuinely are.
May you see the beauty and power in doing so, it will carry you far.

May you cultivate your kindness, nurture it, let it shine, let it lead you on your way.
May you celebrate every milestone, create beautiful memories to lift you when the dark comes to play.

May you never lose the ability to find magic in the simplest of things.
May you forever hold the courage to give even your boldest dreams wings.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Captain Underpants Dinner Party...Why Not?!


Well, this is what crafty type posters look like when a not-so-crafty type person and her hubby put them together. I have to say, I'm actually fairly impressed with us. There are those of you out there that have witnessed my ineptitude with the likes of a hot glue gun, a paint brush, or crayons, for that matter. Craft and fabric stores are on a very short list of places that can make me break out in a cold flop sweat, and it has nothing to do with the whole menopause thing.

It's like going to some exotic foreign land where you don't speak the language, and the landscape, although beautifully colourful, is filled with silken traps, pieces of glamorous puzzles without the completed pictures to use as a guide.

There are patterns, I suppose. Treasure maps written in some strange hieroglyphics, a code only to be deciphered by the magical people employed in these mystical, yet terrifying places. The magical people who know the actual names of all of the different thingamadoies, whatsamabobs and doomaflickies.

All of that being said, I think these posters will do the trick, their only job, attracting attention at trade shows. The beautiful faces of the #OnceBroken selfies, a sure-fire way to do just that.


I've been giving myself a bit of a news break for the past few days, feeling a little bogged down by the bad news overload as of late. I do feel it's important to keep abreast with what is going on in the world, but I find if I don't give myself permission to step away from all of it now and again, it can get to be a bit much.

So, for these few days, I tried to focus on happy things.

One guaranteed way to bring a smile to your face is to listen to an adorable three-year-old little girl sing "Let it Go" pausing, of course, to go through the painstaking motions of creating, in her mind's eye, the ice fortress that she has seen come to life on screen countless times.

Another is to host a "Captain Underpants" dinner party...I highly recommend it, especially if the guest list includes people the ages of 9,5,3 and 1.

Yet another, is to watch a tiny person, with barely a five-word vocabulary walk the room telling stories with the elaborate hand gestures and passionate inflection worthy of only the finest stage actors.

In a day or two, I'll be ready to, once again, face the news the world has to offer. but for now, Captain Underpants it is!


Well the past few days, along with Captain Underpants, came time spent at our nephew's wedding, doing our best to make sure everybody went home with their feet tired from dancing.

The shop is, as always, and gratefully, very busy.....

Rehearsal for the Park Concert tomorrow..........

Crafting posters.............

As for the upcoming days........

Concert in the park tomorrow.....................

Working the shop..............

Prepping for Wor On The Street..............


Well, that about does it for now....

With happy news in mind.......

May you be serenaded by a toddler, building imaginary castles in the sky.
May you listen to nonsensical stories never questioning why.

May you suspend belief long enough to let superheroes save the world.
May you find the magic in a romantic dance, perfectly swayed, perfectly twirled.

May you find something silly to watch, allow it to make you giggle like you did when you were small.
May you give yourself permission to step back from the fray, take a beat, have a ball.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Taking Steps......

Ahhhhhh, back to school.........

From the tearful first days of preschool, to the last first days of high school, and every stage of school in between, it's important to mark it. All of it.

Whether you choose to do so with photos, a special breakfast, or by simply taking a beat, a breath, a moment, to let it sink in. Don't let these days pass as 'just another day.'

Every grade represents a new chapter, a new adventure, a new challenge.

The first day of preschool is a big one. This is your child's first taste of the structure and discipline of a school atmosphere. This first experience plays a big part in setting the tone for how your little one feels about school for the long haul. Making it positive is pretty important. For the little ones, it may be a bit overwhelming, but mostly, incredibly exciting! Taking steps.

Allow them to begin to make little decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, especially if it's your first one, it can be tough. It's a big milestone. Your baby is taking their first real step into the world where you can't fully protect them. It's scary, rough, but necessary.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day.

For kids in the younger grades, the challenges, and adventures can feel a bit intimidating. They are no longer the little cute kids in school, teachers begin to expect more. More independence, more responsibility, more maturity. The material gets more challenging, requiring more thought, more depth, more time. With every success their confidence grows, with every setback, so does their character. They are getting better at navigating the world, learning how to handle different personalities and situations. Taking steps.

Allow them to make more meaningful decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, this can be difficult, as they have to begin looking at their little one through a different lens. It can be a tough thing, to not over-help.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day.

Junior high school. A tumultuous time of peer influences, pubescent drama, growth spurts, both physical and emotional. They feel a greater need for independence but can be intimidated by that same independence. Other than when they are toddlers, I believe this to be the time wherein children have to absorb the most information. Everything, including their own bodies, becomes weird and foreign. Their relationships with their parents, siblings, and friends are shifting gears at, what feels like, the speed of light. They can feel overwhelmed by what they can perceive to be an ever growing list of expectations. They are beginning to have to make real choices about how they want to be in the world, what kind of adult they want to become. Taking steps.

Allow them to make bigger, more important decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, it can be tricky waters to navigate. They need you, but, basically, don't want to admit it. They generally aren't as eager to share with you everything that is going on in their lives. You will have to listen harder. Nurture the independence in the most positive way possible, but don't forget you are the parent. They still need parents. Yes, they will mutter nasty things about you under their breath and to their friends. That's okay, it just means you're doing your job.

Make sure they know you want to listen to the stories about their day. Be sure to ask, every day.

The last first. This is the beginning of the bridge year. The bridge between childhood and adulthood. They, at this point, should be making the majority of the decisions affecting their life, taking your input into consideration in making those decisions. They've had practice, they've been making choices and decisions all along with increasing importance, accepting whatever consequence their decision lead to. They feel they are ready to be a grown up, that they know everything they need to know, often feeling that they know way more than their parents do. They still need you. Taking steps.

For the parents, the teaching of life skills during this year becomes much more important. The little chores and responsibilities they've had and done, the cleaning of their rooms, putting away toys, cutting grass, making their own lunches, doing dishes, having a bank account, have all lead to things they need to learn during their bridge year. They need to learn how to cook at least one full, nutritious meal, how to, and the importance of, paying your bills on time, how to do their laundry, and do it well. They need to learn the importance of being a good roommate, chances are they will need one at some point after they leave home. They still need you.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day, for this is the final year that you are likely to have that opportunity. You will miss it.


Well folks, it has been another crazy busy week at the shop, with some mobile jobs and grandbaby snuggles thrown into the mix. It's awesome!

It's been so busy, in fact, that I haven't had a chance to get the posters made for the upcoming trade shows!

Hopefully in the upcoming week.

Speaking of which....

We are off to play a for our nephew's wedding this weekend!!!!!!

It will be another busy one at the shop.....


Rehearse for the concert at the park we are doing on the 17th!


With back to school in mind, I'll leave you with this wish......

May you get through these hectic first days, finding your new routine, your new groove.
May nothing get forgotten, books, lunches, jackets, backpacks, may it all make it to the school.

May the excitement of a new year be carried throughout, never losing its shine.
May you know this is highly unlikely, that's why there are school breaks....and wine.

May you keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfect, no matter how perfect others' lives may seem.
May you find your own 'perfect' with your perfectly flawed crew, your perfectly amazing team.


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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Little things...Precious Memories...

The heartache that has literally flooded many parts of the world over the past week has been gut-wrenching. The loss of life, the loss of ways of life, the loss of livelihoods, all of the utterly complete devastation has been horrible.

The people lucky enough to escape with their lives now live in limbo, unsure if they will have homes to go to when the worst is over. Some live in countries where governmental help is highly unlikely and will be on their own to rebuild.

It will be a long, tedious, back breaking, heart-heavy road to anything that remotely resembles recovery. My heart goes out to them.

When Mother Nature throws this kind of a temper tantrum, it is definitely humbling.

As humans, we get complacent. We consider ourselves the top of the food chain, believing we "own" parcels of the planet, enforcing borders that we invent. One swift kick in the butt from Mama Nature shows us just how powerless we are.

In the wake of all of the destruction, I, for one, felt the need for grandbaby time. A couple of phone calls later, a grandbaby sleepover did commence!

Some pizza, a visit to our local theatre to see the Emoji movie, a living room nest, some sleep, a bacon, egg and pancake brunch, some skateboard skill demonstrations, and bit of ladybug snuggling rounded out a pretty fun time. Little things. Precious memories.

My hopes of hopes is that on the other side of this devastation, those touched by these terrible storms can someday, in the to too distant future, get back to their own little things.


The past week has been another very busy one at the missed fishing trips!!!

As for the upcoming days.....

Tomorrow.... a day of laundry and football

A fast and furious week at the shop....

Put the finishing touches on music for a wedding on the weekend.....


Well, that about does it for now, until next time......

May the subsiding waters allow the healing to begin.
May you find a moment to take a breath to celebrate your incredible strength within.

May you celebrate your heroes, a title each soul has truly earned.
May you continue to reach out and watch out for your neighbour, stay concerned.

May we all remember the images of strength, generosity, and bravery as the nightmares fade.
May we continue to shine a light on the best of humanity, no need for tragedy as contrast, no need to keep kindness in the shade.

Until next time......