Thank You A Million Thank Yous

I have loved to write for as long as I can remember. While other little girls were reading books and playing dolls, I was copying words from storybooks and then adding my own illustrations.

Yea, I know it was plagiarism. Gimme a break, I was a kid!

As I transitioned from picture books to novels, I ceased the drawing of illustrations, because I realized can’t draw worth a shit.

I also realized I love the written word. I love how a word can be virtually, meaningless alone. Yet, when paired together with other words, well, suddenly there is magic.

Our choice of favorite authors often is decided by their ability to speak to our soul. Become acquainted with an author sends a zing to your spirit and you will find yourself running to the nearest bookstore to buy up all their writings. Only to run straight home and drink up their words, letting them warm your soul like hot cocoa on a cold, winter day!

A paragraph that touches your soul will cause your fingers to lustfully linger over the page, savouring them, in hopes the words will become deeply engrained and merge into your heart.

Words transport us to another place. Another dimension. Another version of time and space. Another version of ourselves.

Words create magic.

I have always wanted to create magic. To touch souls.

I have started writing several books over the past 20 years. All of different varieties. All eventually abandoned, left incomplete.

My last book was started two years ago. But this one was special. I just knew it. Yet it’s outcome has become the same as all the others, left abandoned and incomplete.

While prepping my last book, I read somewhere that in order to excel in writing you need to write every day. In an attempt to change the pattern. to indeed, finally, complete a book, I decided to write every day. I decided to blog.

I didn’t expect anyone to be, even partially, interested.
In fact, I imagined my words floating into the black hole that is the Internet. No one having seen them, they would eventually fizzle and fade away like the last firework of a Canada Day celebration.

My third post I ever posted, in April, was an article about my losing weight by reciting I Love Myself from bright, orange sticky notes penned with black, permanent marker.

That little beauty hit 3,300 views in three days!! THREE DAYS!!

And although it wasn’t viral, by any means, it was a hell of a lot more people than none!

I hit the brakes.
I shut down the blog.

Unworthiness hit me square in the chest.
And I went into hiding.

From under my blankie, hugging my pillow, I thought to myself, “Awe shit, no one was supposed to read it!”

Bahahaha

I know, right?! What blogger says that?

Six months later I reemerged from hiding. I had folded up my blanket and flatten down the static from my hair. I had embraced an “whoever reads it, reads it” mentality and I had moved forward.

Yet, here I sit again with tears. But this time, they are tears of gratitude.

The truth is I’m just a mom who wants to make it so her kids don’t hurt anymore because she loves them more than anything in this world.

A mom who doesn’t want her kids to have to learn how to rebuild their self esteem or self worth at 35, like I did. And instead learn to do it now.

A mom who wants to empower my kids within themselves by teaching self love and an inner self understanding of who they are and what they can become.

Yet, I’m still a mom who is perfectly imperfect.

A mom who is committed to being real and authentic. But I’m also a mom who is holding the space for others to be real and authentic too.

I invite you all:

Let’s grow, together
Let’s learn, together.
Let’s celebrate the good, together.
Let’s cry, together.

Let’s lift those who have lost their way!
TOGETHER.

And if that means, it all unfolds in the form of a blog, well then, it is what it is and here we are!!

Thank you for your support. Every comment, every like, every share. I appreciate it all.

We heard stories about homeschooling not being acceptable. That it was weird and unorthodox and people just wouldn’t understand. That, because of their misunderstanding, we would experience a large amount of negativity.

(Ironically, I had heard the same about being a Psychic Medium, yet I did that too)

On the contrary though, we have had nothing, but love!! We have been surrounded by positive thoughts, encouragement and love. And I thank you all.

There are not enough adjectives to properly acknowledge all the support and love we have received. From former teachers of the boys, to teachers we never had, to other parents, to strangers, to our closest friends. Thank you! I can feel the love and am sending it back to you.

My kids can feel it.

And my husband can feel it. Although, he’s sitting here wondering how he can possibly feel the love at all. But that’s a story for another day.

My mind is blown and I am beyond grateful you have all chose to be here.

Thank you for clicking on my “New Blog Post” alert every time it shows up on your Newsfeed!

I don’t know where this will take me, but I thank you for sharing in our journey! And sharing your own journey with me, along the way!

THANK YOU!

With tears of gratitude,

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Jeans Shopping: The Mission of Hell

Today was a HUGE day! An awestruck, are-you-shitting-me kinda day!

I started my day with dread, like I always do when I go about the mission of hell that has bestowed upon all of us as women.

I’m talking about jeans shopping.

Ooop – yep now you can feel the dread too!! Nice to have you with me!

I have needed new jeans since the end of spring, but had put it off because, well hell, it was shorts weather anyway — no reason to waste good money on clothes that will sit in my closet for months anyhow.

But now with the weather changing and winter on its way, the shopping trip could not be put off any longer.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you will have read the I Love Myself post from April. The post stating I had lost 30lbs.

(If you haven’t read the post, you can find it here. You may want to check it out as it was by far my most popular post to date. Go on, I’ll wait)

And I have continued to lose weight, since the post. But with summer and the kids and, ok fine I will be honest, me ignoring myself, I have not kept track of how much weight I have lost.

I march myself into Ricki’s and start the process. I used to be a Size 18.

Dang, I should get a prize just for publishing that alone.

But I know I have lost weight, however CLEARLY, I’m still in denial to what 30lbs of weight loss means. I inform the sales clerk, “I will try a Size 16”.

She looks me up and down and I assume she is thinking “Oh, honey keep dreaming!” So I take the jeans and stubbornly assure myself that come hell or high water I will FIT these damn pants. Just to prove her wrong. Who does she think she is anyway!? How rude!

I trudge to the fitting room, pull up the jeans, fastens the button and leave the room to see what the “tell me no lies” triple mirror has to say.

My sales lady appears, as I pivot and turn and tug at the jeans. Finally, I plead, “Please help me. Are these ok?”

She drops her head and says, “No sweetie.”

WHAT. A. BITCH!

I say sadly, “Oh. They are too tight, aren’t they?!”

She looks at me,and I swear, doves shoot out into the air. Woodland creatures dance around her feet and a tiny bluebird perches on her shoulder, as she smiles and says, “Ummm, no hon!! You need to go down atleast four sizes. MINIMUM!”

“Are you shitting me,” I reply, nearly moved to tears.

“Well, yah,” she says, matter of factly, “I honestly was very confused when you wanted a 16, but the customers always right, so I went with it!”

I’m not gonna lie. I totally high fived her. Right there in the store I bonded with my sales lady.

Today I bought four pairs of jeans. All of which are a Size 11. A size God-Damn 11!! I have not been in a Size 11 since, hell, I don’t even know when. Honestly, I cannot even remember buying an 11, like EVER! Surely it was before kids. But I don’t remember.

What a beautiful feeling. What a gorgeous day. The sun seems sunnier and the fun seems funnier today. And it’s all because of that beautiful number, 11!!

Now let’s back up one minute too. Because there is also a beautiful lesson here.

When the saleslady gave me a “look” after I stated my size. It was because she knew I wasn’t the size I was stating I was.

She did not give me the look because any of the negative reasons my weird, little brain conjured up. She seen me for me. The me that obviously I couldn’t see until three hours ago.

The me that clearly everyone else sees too. I learned today that I need to see that me.

I mastered how to love myself for the size that I was. No matter what the scale said. No matter what the jean size said.

But I guess now, I’m ready to move into seeing me. Seeing me without the flaws, that I still seem to see. I have learned to embrace the flaws. To accept the flaws and how they exist.

But perhaps I see flaws that don’t even exist anymore.

Which tells me what I need to work on next.

But for today, I’m going to celebrate the 11. And enjoy the feeling of surprise. And joy!

Happy Saturday Everyone.

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Homeschool Day 3 & 4: And The Tears They Did Fall

Since our decision to homeschool I have spent hours and months researching and reading and planning and pinning about homeschooling.

I have savagely collected every resource I could to teach me how to homeschool and what to expect during this journey.

And while I can confidently admit I have been better educated as a result, I can also say that some of the articles are flawed in one major way.

Most of these articles are composed by people who have dreamed about homeschooling since the conception of their child.

As they rubbed their swollen pregnancy bellies, they daydreamed about how they would one day created awe-inspiring science projects at their kitchen table.

We were not these people. I dreamt of how I would manage school buses and lunch boxes and school yard bullies and parent teacher interviews.

We have transitioned from public school to homeschooling.

We have emerged from the swirling, twirling tornado of non-marking indoor runners that is Public School and have been dropped unceremoniously down at our dining room table. Yes, my dear child, we are certainly not in Kansas anymore.

Through the hoards of articles I have become versed in the many scopes that is the world of homeschooling. Some pieces of information, seemingly, more beneficial than others:

I have learned:
1) To expect the first year to be the toughest
2) Each child has a learning style
3) There are resources which will work best in conjunction with my child’s above mentioned learning style.
4) Baking counts as math, or reading or home economics or just about anything else you are creative enough to pitch it as
5) There are people who sit in a field counting daisies and call it math or school
6). We will never be #5’s
7) Never say never
8) There are hours of videos on how to choose the proper daybook
9) There are people who actually watch the videos mentioned in #8
10) How to deal with those who do not agree with our homeschooling decision (although we haven’t run into any yet…but I’m ready should they show up)

But there is one major tidbit that no article mentioned. No author touched on the very topic to which our day spiralled towards today.

No one.

I feel like we embarked into complete, uncharted territory today.

Day 3 created tears for this mama. Every single subject for three days straight he hated. He complained about spelling. He complained about math and Language Arts.

Hell, at one point the little fart stain was, even, unimpressed by the selection of colours Crayola has manufactured.

I should have guessed the course the day way going to go when circle time proved to be a stretch — and all we did was sit and sang songs.

By 10:30 I was in full out sobs. Shoulder shaking, can’t even get up and compose myself in the bathroom, SOBS! It was on 10:30 and I had already broken down in tears.

Shit, let’s be honest, I started to cry even harder when I reminded myself — it’s also only Day 3! Oh, sweet hell!! Only 177 more days planned!

I thought he was being difficult in order to test the level of commitment required from him each day. I thought it was to see if I would send him back to school. I thought it was to see how much sass he could give me before my head popped off my damn body. But I thought wrong.

Day 4 I came to the table Standing in my Power. Promising to not waver on what needs to be done. To explain and encourage. To help him understand that no matter what he puts me through we, as a family, are committed to homeschooling.

Committed to him.

He fought the entire schedule. Again!!!

Starting off with large whining protests about starting at 9am instead of his self-proposed 10am start time, which had been declined.

He then carried the protests through the rest of the day until such a point as we only had two subjects left to complete.

During break time he started beating on his sister. C can be far from a model big brother. He can be bossy, overbearing and controlling. But he rarely hits anyone. (I say rarely because it has happened, but it’s not frequent, by any means)

I give him a time out and he breaks down. He takes a page from his mamas book yesterday and showcases shoulder shaking sobs. But ups the ante by adding hiccup weeping and loud snivels. This kid is a pro. I envy his level of commitment in the creation of a meltdown.

I gather him up and start asking him what’s wrong. And this is when I learned something no articles have taught me to date:

When you tell your kids they have to go to school – otherwise it’s against the law — rest assured, they hear you

Each morning last year as he cried with tummy aches and anxiety attacks he would beg to stay home. We would answer with our “as-good-as-any” response of “Sorry babe, it’s illegal if you don’t go to school.”

Today as I gathered him close and soothed him. He looked at me with his big, brown eyes filled with a mixture of confusion and fear and asked, “Are we going to get in trouble for homeschooling? Is it allowed?”

No article or pin or amount of research had prepared for this question. Most of the articles are written by parents who never sent their kids to public school, like EVER! They have barely a clue of the transition, and the lack of understanding this creates in a child.

Sure, I did the paperwork to register us and celebrated with him when we received our Approval Letter. But I never gave a second thought to the “illegal” aspect of this scenario. But he did.

My poor, little man truly believed we were doing something wrong. That we were pulling a fast one on our judisical system and it was only a matter of time before we would be found out.

Of course, I explained to him “We are safe.” That the government has approved our right to teach him anyway we, the parents, feel is best.

I explained to him that as long as we cover the subjects and he learns what he would in school that we have a right to learn in our Jammie’s and make pillow forts in the afternoon.

He adds “Then why does it feel weird.”

I then had to explain that sometimes we have to do what’s in our heart. And sometimes our hearts will tell us to do things differently than what everyone else is doing. And as long as it’s a good decision. A decision that doesn’t hurt anyone, we are allowed to make any decision we need for our hearts.

But, let’s be honest, I was Blown. A. Way! This little man had such a fear for the past four days that weighed on him so heavily that he couldn’t enjoy his day.

It had clouded him and confused him.

On Day One, I had had the same feelings. It does feel weird. The first day of school when only one kid was dropped off at the doors. When only one kid left our house that day. It felt weird. Damn right, it did. But it never occurred to me that he would feel the same way.

That being said, I’m 3__ years old and I have the ability to work through the emotions. I have friends to call and the ability to read and research and grow. He doesn’t have that ability when he doesn’t even understand completely how he’s feeling.

Add to that the fact that he thought we were going to “be in trouble” he would NOT open up to just anyone with this doozy.

So here’s my tip: If you are considering homeschooling and your child is making the transition from public school discuss with them the “weirdness” of it. That it will feel different.

That the first time the bus drives by your driveway, and you aren’t on it, you will feel like you are cheating at a test that no one else knows is going on.

And tell your child how it feels different for you too. Validate to them that you feel the weirdness.

And assure them that together you are going to figure through it.

As a result of the past four days I have formed the following conclusion:

The first portion of your homeschool journey is focused, very little, on academics, but instead on the emotional transition required from everyone in your household.

Not a lot of learning has happened so far. We have completed some subjects, yes!

But mostly we have been merging together emotionally. We have been learning about each other and bonding as a result.

We have been melting down to come back together and understand one another greater than ever before.

And I guess I have no other choice than to embrace this portion of the journey.

C is a brilliant kid. He truly is. And once we are righted emotionally and become strong in understanding one another, I am confident we will fly through the academics portion of our year!!

Until then I will drink coffee and wine and take deep, deep belly breathes and blast music. Anything to keep the vibration in our home humming higher than the emotionally chaos we have been falling into.

Thank you for sharing in our journey!

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I Hated My Beach Property – Until I Realized This:

My husband and I have owned a Beach Property for 17 years. It is a spacious lot filled with green grass and 50 year old poplar trees trim the back stretch. We have always only had a garage and a camper on this lot.

In the beginning of our marriage we would go out to our property every weekend. Back then it was swarming with fun people.

You all know the people I’m talking about. The ones who make you laugh until your sides hurt. Those laughs where you have tears streaming down your cheeks and you’re pretty confident you have an ab forming.

Ya, those types of laughs.

Those people who accept you for the sandy feet, make-up less, most tired, version of you.

The ones who stock your favorite drinks and throw on extra burgers just because you rounded the corner and plopped down on their deck.

We did crazy, fun stuff with them. Like getting fireworks.

Real fireworks.

The ones they use for the big fireworks shows in the city, because one of us had a contact.

The kind of fireworks that if not set up properly can blow the damn roof right off your cabin.

(Not that it happened, however, but only thanks to our husbands double checking the station we set up. It was a close one that we still die laughing about to this day)

Ya, those kind of fireworks.

The kind of people who have no judgement. Who are accepting. Who embrace you for you.

Who drink Vodka Fruit Punch Slush with you, out of an ice cream Paul, using broken styrofoam cups, on a Saturday MORNING!! And then meet back up with you in the early evening after you all have napped off your mistake.

Ya, those types of people.

Those people are the best types of people. And we had the privilege of being neighbours with them for several years until the day they decided to sell their place.

I spent my entire weekend there, every weekend for numerous years. So their deciding to sell was a difficult transition for me.

We all swore we would keep in touch, but that barely works out. Even though we all had the best of intentions.

I tried to replace the neighbours, but no one seemed to fit. It just wasn’t the same.

Our property has no phone. No other neighbours like these ones. Nothing. So unless you want to sit out in the sun at the cabana-less beach — you have a mighty lonely existence out there.

I tried to keep going to the beach. But it was never the same.

So I stopped going. My kids would go. My husband would go. But I would stay behind. Where I could find something to keep me busy.

Two weekends ago, I went to the beach. We packed and went for the entire weekend.

It was my first time going in over 10 years. My son, B, actually said to me on the way out “Mom, I don’t ever remember you coming out here. Thanks for coming with us!”

It made me sad. My kids love the beach. They love the freedom of being away from the city. The freedom of riding their bikes. They love marshmallows cooked by the fire. And late bedtimes and no curfew. And the chance to explore.

And I had a MAJOR ah-ha moment. If there is one thing 10 years away affords you, its perspective.

The truth is we went out that weekend, to prep our place to sell. Clean up a scrap pile of wood. Cut the Grass. Trim the trees and throw a big ol’ FOR SALE sign on that bad boy. I had finally convinced my husband to sell.

To buy a place somewhere that had tons of people and tons of stuff to do. That had beaches and ice cream stores and organized activities for the kids.

And he had finally agreed.

We unload the truck and create our game plan. We dictate to one another all the things we need to accomplish this weekend to get rid of this place once and for all.

I decide to do the job of cutting the grass. I have NEVER cut the grass out there in 17 years. Not once!

During my grass cutting, I start to feel sad. I start to look around and see the potential that this space has. What could be with some TLC and time.

Then my mind drifts to why I didn’t like it there. If you would have asked me six months ago I would have said because there’s no one to hang out with there and nothing to do.

But as I worked the mower I came to a huge realization. The “ah-ha” moment if you will.

I came to realize I relied on my old neighbours. A lot. Not for food or drinks. Truthfully, we had plenty of both, but it was someone to keep me entertained.

Someone who made it so I didn’t have to be alone. Someone who kept me out of my head.

Ten years ago the programs I ran in my head were so loud. They were screaming in my mind constantly:

You’re not good enough
You’re a loser
No one will ever love you.
and more….

As I made the final round with the lawnmower that evening, I realized I no longer have the programs.

And without these programs I no longer seek people to keep me entertained.

Truth: Sometimes the programs sneak in and try to set up camp like they once did, but I know how to remove them. I now have all the tools I need to keep them from getting comfy and taking up space in my brain

I can finally be alone without breaking down or driving myself crazy! Well as alone as one can be with three kids, a husband and a dog. But I can sit and enjoy a book. Or sit in the quiet that is our lake property and just BE. Within the silence. Within the solice. But most importantly within ME!

In fact, I now embrace it all and look forward to it. Instead of trying to avoid it.

So often along our journey of healing we don’t always notice how far we’ve come. As I shut down my lawnmower that day I did a little happy dance and celebrated how far I have come. How much I have healed. And how much I have released.

We have now decided to keep the lake
property. To give the same TLC and attention to the property as I have given my soul for the past few years. And something beautiful will grow there. It will become a new space next year. Filled with love and memories, but also a newer version of me!

What healing milestone have you recently celebrated?

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What I Realized Today: Our First Day Of Homeschooling

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If you follow me on Facebook, it is not new news to you that we started our First Day of Homeschooling today.

I have had many requests today for updates on how we did — so here ya go!

This year we have our oldest, B, continuing with Public School in Grade 7. There was a lot of back and forth on what he wanted to choose, but in the end his friends and his “normal” won out. Honestly, I am sincerely fine with whatever his choice is as long as he is ok, emotionally, with whatever his choice may be.

That being said, this morning together as a family we set intentions towards what this year will bring for each of us. What we are going to require of ourselves and each other. Which creates the energy of how this year will go moving forward.

C had an incredibly difficult year with Public School last year, so the choice to Homeschool seemed like a no brainer to him.

We did a two week trial during summer vacation for him so he would know what homeschooling is and if it was something he felt he wanted. Indeed it was.

I had prepared our school year prior to the trial so he would see clearly how our day was going to go. I made sure to Create the trial days with materials that he would be using during his actual school year to ensure he received a proper preview of what to expect, as well as what was expected. He loved it. He said “yup, mom this is exactly what I need for me!” (πŸ˜‰He makes me giggle)

E is four years old. Technically old enough for pre-school, so we have implemented some pre-school activities for her. Only about an hour a day to work with her and teach her letters and numbers and how to cut and paste. Nothing too stressful. She was the most excited out of everyone, last night, to start school.

So that brings us to today…Day 1! Today greeted us with sniffles and sore throats for C! So I knew today was going to be more difficult — he’s tired and depending on Tylenol in order to smile.

But let’s back up for one second — I dropped off B at Public School this morning, as I have done for the past eight years. But this year was different! I was filled with emotions that I have never experienced before. Contradictory feelings that kind of make me laugh, even as I share them with you.

As he gets out of the truck this morning every fibre of me wants to grab him back and say “No! Stay! You’re making a mistake — you need to homeschool – just come home!” Instead I plaster my smile on and wish him a “Good day and good luck!”

Yet, as I drive by the doors to which I normally would drop C, a part of me screams silently “Shit, what have we done! He should go to school! What if I ruin him?!” I grip the steering wheel and talk myself through in my head just as C says, from the back seat “Wow, mama! I don’t have to do that drop off anymore! This is the best day ever!” Small victory for both of us!!

So this morning was a tough day. More of an emotional turmoil day than I would have ever thought. More difficult to stand in my power of the choices we have made as a family than I thought it would be. But we made it. With lots of Lego breaks (for the littles) and lots of deep breathes (for me), we made it.

We finished our school day at noon. Yes noon! We didn’t jump into anything too major today as I’m sure the public school system was the same. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself to pump out something major for the first few days. Just getting them to the table and acquainted with the routine is a major win for us for now.

After lunch we went to the Public Library to pick up our reading material for our Morning Circle Time and part of our Morning Work, which includes Read to Self/Someone.

Then I treated my kids to the new playground that just opened over the summer. It was barely packed, but still quite hopping with people as it was 32degrees today! Still low crowd numbers was another major win in my books.

It was truly such a weird experience to “play” today. It was like we were doing something wrong. I felt as though I was looking over my shoulder waiting to justify why my kids weren’t in school.

Then I realized something. Something so big that I had to share.

We all carry programs. A program is something we are taught to keep us safe. Some programs are taught to us through the advice of others. And these programs we never have to test out in order to know it’s a good program to have such as “Don’t lick a knife.”

While other programs are created from our past hurts or from the actions of others. Our bodies create these programs so we don’t get hurt again, such as “Don’t rely on anyone, except yourself”

As I sat today and watched them frolic through the water, I realized. Public School is just a program we are taught. We are taught that in order to be successful in life, you must sit in a classroom between 9:00 and 3:30. You must sit with children your age. We are taught that you will learn with this group of kids and you will be graded according to the specs and perimeters laid out by the school system.

Now let me be clear: As I stated before, I still have a son in public school. I have no problem with it. He is surrounded by a fantastic school and this school has always been more than wonderful to us. We , also, experienced outstanding support last year with C and his anxiety.

And so Public School works! For my oldest son!

But it doesn’t work for C.

That being said, I am confident he will be fine with our homeschooling curriculum. I have spent HOURS, literally, on his curriculum. I have spent months researching resources in order for him to have the very best of what’s available to him. We have also been blessed beyond our wildest dreams, with people who are assisting in making this a great year for him. AND I am committed to making this work.

Public School is the social norm aka The Program we have all been taught. But it’s also not the only way to learn. It’s not the only way to be successful. I am confident C will learn this year. In the most unorthodox way, he will learn. And we will be ok.

We are schooling differently than I ever thought I would. But he will learn. He will learn his subjects by noon each day. And then he will learn at the park, at the pool, or wherever our afternoons lead us. And I will do it all without looking over my shoulder. And we will be fine. We will stand in our power and stand in our choice. For C and for us all

Thanks for sharing in our journey!

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The Participation Ribbon: Don’t Worry Kids Know The Difference

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I was never particularly good at sports. In fact, I never excelled at athletics of any kind. I was clumsy and didn’t possess much rhythm.

Trust me, I tried to play volleyball or floor hockey, but my fear of getting hurt far outweighed my desire to crush a ball or wrestle my way into the fight for the puck.

Anyone who has ever taken a floor hockey stick to the knuckles or the shins knows the pain. It stays in your brain forever.

Each year, as an entire school we competed in Track and Field Day. An entire day dedicated to high jump, long jump, 100m sprints, relay races and other sports.

I never placed in the top three. Never was I adorned with the coveted red or white or blue ribbon showcasing to my small social nucleus that I was the Top Three in any given sport throughout that day.

I received a participation ribbon. I can’t recall what colour it was for two reasons.

1) I didn’t want the damn ribbon. It was a beacon, shining bright pinned to my track suit (yep, we actually wore track suits) declaring to everyone, “Sorry folks, I didn’t quite make it again”

2) I never saved a single participation ribbon. Not one. Because the value of such a ribbon was worthless.

So?? What’s my point???

Memes like this …..is my point!!

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I have been out of school for 20 years. We have been giving out participation ribbons since I was in school.

And to the point I made above….we all knew the damn difference between winners and participaters.

We didn’t need anyone to tell us we didn’t do enough or that we didn’t win. We knew. Just like kids today know!!!

It didn’t fog our vision and make us think we deserved anything more. We knew we wanted to win the red, white or blue. And we knew what to do to get it.

In Grade 8, I discovered I could run, not fast, but far. I excelled at 3,000m and 5,000m. Upon my discovery of these events, I finally began to receive the red, white and blue ribbons. I worked hard to win those ribbons. I ran practically nightly in order to be able to run it without dying lol. Oh and guess what…the participation ribbons still didn’t mean anything.

Someone said to me once, “Allowing them a participation ribbon does not prepare them for life. There are no participation ribbons in real life!”

Ugh, shit, give me a break!

There isn’t a Santa Claus and Easter Bunny or, even particularly nice people in real life. But we let our kids all believe the contrary until they decide they are old enough to know different.

There are, unfortunately, murders and rapes and kidnappings and ugly in this world. Does it mean I’m going to plop my child down in front of CNN, you know … just to get them prepared for the real world. Absolutely not!

In my opinion, a participation ribbon isn’t making them self righteous little bastards.

Its teaching them, instead, that if you show up and complete a task people will notice and you will get a small satisfaction from that. The very same satisfaction you get from putting in a day’s work.

But, just like in real life, if you want to feel the rush of being the best– that’s available too — but you will need to create a goal and go for it!

Let’s not forget, it’s our job as their parents, their teachers, or their mentors to pat them on the back. To fill their little buckets of self worth so full, so when they get into the “real world” — the world that can be completely unfair and unforgiving — we have built them up enough to be strong in who they are. So they have self worth and self acceptance — so the real world doesn’t break them apart within a few short years of leaving your home of love and nurturing.

If a participation ribbon does that for my child., then by all means, pin it on him!!

But of course, this only my opinion from a girl who received partipcation ribbons and as a result was ill-equipped for the real world!! (100% snark intended)

Ps – I will leave my spanking opinions to myself (for now).

What’s your thoughts? Do you think a participation creates self righteous kids?? Why or why not?

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Never Apologize For Saying: I Love You

The way others view us and the who we actually are can often be very different.

If you ask the people who have met me who I am they will say “She’s a super funny, happy-go-lucky type
of person who will tell you (or anyone) how she feels about something (or anything)”

And although there is truth in their observation — there are also a lot of things I don’t say. But most always, these “things” are my personal emotions.

People are often amazed when I cry or am scared or struggle.

I actually had a friend/client adorably equate me to Mary Poppins “seemingly perfect in every way”.

Which made me snort with laughter.

I have clearly done a brilliant job of holding myself together and creating a personality using the traits I want others to see me as.

And I think many of us have done this as well. We do it to keep safe. We do it incase people don’t understand us.

But I have also come to realize how much work it can be to hold your emotions. And how sometimes our emotions jump out at the most inappropriate times…..

I was set to take the stage at a huge tradeshow here in Regina. This tradeshow would become the largest audience I would ever stand in front of. The attendance for this show surpassed any numbers I had ever been able to pull in myself.

I was slated to do a live mediumship show. And let me be brutally honest when I say I was literally shitting my pants over it for MONTHS prior.

The amount of tears I shed could have alleviated the stress of anyone dealing against a national water shortage!

The big day had arrived. I had done my hair, my make up and chose my outfit. The rest of my job was to stand on stage and let spirit take over.

No easy task.

As you can tell from what I said above I like to control. Control my feelings and control how others see me. So for a controller to stand on stage and let 100 GHOSTS take over — well, I was SHITTING my pants again.

I am pacing next to the stage stairs, taking “deep, cleansing breathes” that aren’t actually doing a damn thing to calm my nerves.

As the emcee is introducing me, a lady meets my eye. A lady who I have known most of my life, but hardly ever see. We say hi, but I’m also trying to listen to when the emcee’s introduction ceases and I will be cued to step on stage.

So when my long time friend steps forward to begin our “catch up” chat I am, unfortunately, forced to cut her short and blurt out “I’m sorry — I’m going on in 2 seconds. I have to go”

She is incredibly gracious and understanding and says “Ohmigosh, no problem. Good luck!”

And I say “Thank you, I love you!”

Now, what I meant by that phrase was I love you for understanding. But instead I had just said “I love you!”

And soooo…. for over three weeks I berate myself for being weird.

Who says that — I would think to myself — to someone you haven’t seen in over 15 years. Who just blurts out I love you to a near stranger like that?!!??

Weeks later, she updated her Facebook status and so she appears on my feed. And I start thinking again about how weird I was during our brief meet up. So I decide. This has to stop. I need to apologize to her.

I write a private message:

Hey! So your name rolled across my Facebook and I’m remind….at ________ (tradeshow) I said I love you.

Lmao! Is it just me or did this seem creepy. Bahaha

I mean I’m sure you’re very loveable! But I was completely distracted and terrified to take the stage and meant I love you for understanding and letting me go….lol

Phew. Ok. That was bothering me and didn’t want you to think I was some kinda weirdo.πŸ˜‰

And then she responsed with THIS:

Oh Lana, never ever worry about saying I love you to me. Or any one for that matter.

I did not think at all that it was creepy or weird. Lol
It’s a kind gesture that more people should acknowledge and appreciate. I never thought anything more of it. 😊
So in saying all this, I love you too 😘
I hope you and your family are doing well. Maybe one day we can meet and have a nice visit.
Take care!

WOW!! Through my tears I formulated an adequate thank you response.

But the truth is her response affected me so profoundly over the past two years.

How many times have you stopped yourself from sharing how you feel or accidentally blurted out something that embarrassed you?

I know I had done it a million times. In my marriage. In my friendships. With my own family. I keep myself under control.

Never wanting to appear weird. Never wanting someone to be able to say “She’s too touchy feely for me”. Too clingy. Too much. Too weird.

But most importantly, and here’s the truth — never wanting to get hurt.

We see it so often in new relationship. We’ve heard of the person who has broken off a relationship because their new partner has blurted out “I love you” too soon.

We’ve seen poor Tom Cruise get ripped apart in the media for shouting his love for Katie Holmes from the rooftops (ok ok, from Oprahs couch). We all read the headlines that followed; wondering if he was high or just too deep in Scientology all because he has professed such a love so vocally!

Really?!!? This is our society. A place where professing our love is deemed as weird or unprofessional.

Let us all, together, commit to never apologizing for saying I Love You. Never apologize for sharing your feelings. Never apologize for feeling something so deeply that you can’t help, but blurt it out.

Ride this emotion. Ride the feeling. And enjoy the rush.

I can feel someone who is reading this thinking, “But what if they don’t feel the same? What if they don’t love me back!”

Then thank them for not wasting your time. And move on. If they don’t love you back — they aren’t your person. I know right now you can’t imagine a life without them, but one day you will look back and understand it was never what you thought it to be.

Dont worry! There are plenty of people who will love you back. They will appreciate you for you. Don’t waste your time on those who don’t.

We only get so many days on this earth and I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend my time with those who love me back, than those who do not!!

Share your favorite “I Love You” story in the comments below!

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Twelve Types of Parents You See At Dance

I am a self proclaimed people watcher. Perhaps it’s because of my work as a Psychic and therefore, my ability to read nearly anyone, all the while appearing perfectly “normal.”

Or perhaps it’s because people are downright fascinating.

I’ve come to realize that every crowd can be divided into groups. Each crowd has the same “types” of people.

If you watch. If you sit quietly and just take it all in, you begin to see the same dynamic over and over.

Within crowds, we all find ourselves within the others present. Our tribe. The people who we resonate with. Those who we understand.

This weekend was E’s first dance class of the season. And our first dance class ever!

All us parents dutifully sat shoulder to shoulder politely waiting for our little darlings to complete their 45 minute initiation into the world of dance.

Once E is no longer visible on the big screen provided, I start to look around.

What a riveting group of people seated around me.
So just for a giggle, I divided them into types, in my mind.

And I thought I would share them with you:

1) The Purse Protector
This poor soul is convinced she has something magnificent in her purse that we all would want; her purse is the envy of us all and it’s only a matter of time before someone snatches it.
As a result, she clutches her purse tightly to her chest, for the entire 45 minutes of wait time.
She also either complete avoids eye contact. OR will glare at anyone who is a suspected Purse Snatcher.
Sometimes, if she senses she can trust the crowd, she will place her purse on the seat beside her. Thereby, taking away an available spot for another human!

2) The Posse
aka The Click
aka The Cool Kids
This is the “in crowd”. Usually consists of no less than five moms. All their daughters dance and their sons play soccer, TOGETHER. And on weekends, they drink wine and host dinner parties while their husbands drink in the garage, TOGETHER.
They can be found huddled in the corner together sharing coffee and laughing loudly; paying no attention to their dancing child on the TV screens provided.
When their child emerges from the class, one will state “That was fast” and all will agree!

3) The Socialite
She seemingly floats around the room to greet everyone she knows.
And she surely knows everyone.
She is mistaken for the studio owner or hostess (or whomever runs the event she’s currently at) but she is actually not affiliated in any way.
She will eventually make herself comfy seated in The Posse/Click.

4) The New Mom
She has guilted herself into registering her child for dance. She is clearly exhausted judging from her sweatpants, slept in pony tail and bags under her eyes.
She is convinced that if her child misses this, it will surely result in family therapy sessions for her in the teenage years. So she pushes herself to the very brink of her existence.
She will also have another child on her hip and stains on her shirt. (Child on her hip will be dressed in a sleeper and sporting major bed head)
This woman needs a friend. This woman needs coffee. Oh hell, this woman would weep for both. Smile at her.
Encourage her.
Support her.

5) The Pro at Being a Mom
She rolls in with a state of the art stroller housing two tiny babies, while hoisting an infant on her hip, a coffee, a dance bag and a toddler trailing behind her.
She is dressed in brand name clothes, tasteful makeup, perfectly placed hair and manicured nails.
The only reason you don’t throat punch her type of perfection is because she has spit up on the shoulder of her shirt and her toddler has decided to throw a full tantrum and you can tell she’s close to tears. Who wouldn’t be. This woman is a god damn super hero! The only reason she’s not wearing her cape is, clearly, because one of her kids barfed on it.

6) The Soft Talker Mom
This mom delivers all messages to her children laced with nouns like “Darling,” “Sweetie,” and I’m pretty sure I even heard “My little pigeon poop”. But all are carried out in just over a whisper. This Mom is also prone to frequent eyelash fluttering and nose dabs.
These types of moms make us question if our own children would respond better if we lowered our vocal octave.
Maybe they would pay attention.
Then we quickly decide, “Nah, they would never take us serious.”

7) The Deer In the Headlights Dad
Self explanatory: The Dad who has been elected, by his wife, to take his child to dance for, very obviously, the first time.
They can be found smushed up against the wall doing their best impression of a chameleon.
Often you will see DITH Dad “saved” by The Socialite. The Socialite will have never met the husband, but absolutely knows the mom (his wife) and the child.
The Socialite will place DITH Dad’s child in line and fix her shoes.
DITH Dad will look relieved.
BONUS: May sometimes appear as Wife is on Holidays Dad. The major tell tale characteristic of a WIOH Dad is the dancer will usually be dressed in an inside out bodysuit with tights OVER (not under) said body suit. In addition to the wardrobe malfunction, all other traits remain the same.

8) The Ultimate Snack Mom
This mom’s purse is the size of Costco and equally as stocked. She will continue to pull out Pintrest perfect snacks for her and brood for the entire 45 minute wait.
I forecast that Snack Mom will become part of the Posse before long.

9) The Former Dancer
She sits with poise and straight posture, her head held high and toes pointed.
She was on her way to the Olympics until she blew out her knee in practice and her dreams shattered.
She has a daughter now, who she hopes will carry on her dream.
She sits glued to the big screen as her “Mini Me” learns to tap while holding a scarf.
The Posse talks about her. But it’s only because she’s so damn elegant and well, they wish!

10) The Organized Mom
She comes armed with snacks, toys, iPads, crayons, colouring books, sand toys, blankets, games, playdoh, a puppy, a generator, a DustBuster and who the hell knows what else.
While her purse size rivals Ultimate Snack Mom, her snacks do not.
She is more than happy to encourage her children to “share” with EVERY other kid in the entire studio, much to her own kids dissatisfaction.

11) The Unorganized Mom
May be confused with The New Mom, but make no mistake these two are completely different.
She comes BOLTING through the doors ten minutes AFTER class has started only to ask her child, “Where are your dance shoes.”
She leaves her child inside while she runs back out to retrieve missing shoes from the back seat.
She returns, this time puffing, to drop her child into class.
She then hands the infant in her arms the car keys to chew on because she forgot the diaper bag, with his toys and bottle and diapers, at home.
She stares longingly at Organized Mom’s toy set up and spends the 45 minutes working up the courage to ask if her child can play too.
She also, silently prays that he doesn’t shit himself while they wait.

12) The Newbie
Her chaos started when she made this mistake of waiting until the week BEFORE dance class to get her child’s outfit. She had no idea how popular dance class is.
She shopped armed with the outfit list provided by the studio. And followed it to the letter. But the trauma from the last minute shopping trip still haunts her.
She follows all the rules of the studio ie: removing all shoes at the door and having her child’s hair in a ponytail or bun as was suggested in the pre-class email.
She is secretly annoyed with anyone who thinks they are above such rules and allows their child to wear different outfits than stated or *gasp* pigtails. How dare they?
She spends her time people watching and trying to figure out what types of people she is now surrounded by.

Guess which one I am!!Although, I honestly feel like I have been many of them one time or another. In one group or another.

Which one are you?

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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Why My Husband and I Need To Have A Chat

A few weeks ago my husband takes the kids out to run some errands with him. He somehow gets convinced to purchase the hilariously, funny “pile of poop” emoji pillow for the kids.

(Contrary to my first belief — it is NOT a sweet little
swirl of chocolate ice cream. It is indeed a pile of poop lol)

My kids are estatic! They burst through the door holding the “prize poop pile” high above their heads and E states proudly “Look Mama, Daddy bought us a SHIT HEAD!”

I laugh. Loudly! And say, “Umm I don’t think you should be calling it that?!!”

All the kids together inform me, “Dad said we can as long as we are only talking about the shit head”

Ohhhhh kaaaayyyy!!

Two short days later, I take E grocery shopping and just on the other side of the check out stand is a HUGE basket of shit head pillows.

E can hardly contain her excitement as she shouts from the seat of the cart “Mama, look at all the shit heads in this place!”

Ughhhhh

I bleakly look at the strangers in line and try to assure them she’s NOT talking about them.

Ughhh!! My husband and I will be having a chat!!

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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6 Things I Would Tell My 27 Year Old Self

It is said ….
With age comes wisdom
Hind sight is 20/20
Live and Learn

Sometimes I look back on my life and am in awe. In awe that I have lived to tell the story. In awe that I could be this strong.

This is not to be taken in a boastful way either. This is pure and genuine amazement on my part.

I endured a childhood of abuse. The physical abuse was present, but far less favored to the use of emotionally abusive tactics.

Physical abuse would leave evidence — emotional abuse did not.

I left my childhood home midway through my 12th Grade Year. Got a job, moved in with a family who gave me a room and I paid rent to them until I graduated. Upon graduation, I came to the realization that my high school boyfriend was not a good fit. Although abuse was not present, jealousy and possessiveness were equally a toxic pill to swallow.

A year later I would meet my husband. We would later get married, have three kids and I would spend no less than 10 years fighting my abusive childhood demons.

The number of times I considered ending it. The number of hours I spent in traditional counselling. The number of years I spent gulping down anti-depressants. All of these numbers are staggering. But I did it. I. DID. IT.

I think that’s the most amazing part of a personal healing journey is — you do it. No one can do it for you. No one can wish better for you. No one can do more for you. The only person who can change your life is you.

At 27 years old, my life was probably at its worst. I had completed hours of traditional therapy. Had jumped through every hoop they asked me to. Ate the pills. Did it all, but damn it if I didn’t feel any better.

Our oldest son was 4. And he was what kept me on this earth. My husband could find another wife, but I could’ve only imagined what the loss of a mother would do to my son – so I held on.

(Ps — my husband has never agreed with the “I will find another wife statement)

In the most difficult times there are a few things I wish I knew. And although I know the struggle is what brought me to the place I am in today — some of these tidbits would have saved me a lot of tears. A lot of pain.

1). Your mother was wrong — about everything
You will never get an answer as to why she never felt you were worthy of love. You will never know how she could hurt a child each day and seemingly convince herself “I’m doing better than I had — so that’s enough”

But please know you will never turn out like her. Even if you aren’t paying attention. You still won’t accidentally abuse your children. You just won’t.

Also — know you are worthy of love. You’re funny and a huge smart ass. Which, despite what she told you, is actually a great asset to have within this crazy, sometimes upside down, world.

You are a great mother who is patient and kind. Kids have a way of pushing you, but you still will never hurt them. So sit back and beathe.

Oh and someone will love you. He will love more fiercely that you could ever imagine love to be. She was wrong about that too!

2) Ditch the Traditional Counselling. Swear off the religion. Move straight to “Intuitive Counselling”

(This little nugget right here would have saved me 10 years of tears and faking my way through life)

Through a spiritual life coach you will learn how to release the old programs your mom created in your head. Releasing the “you’re stupid” “you’re ugly” “you’re a loser” “no one will ever love you” will make room for you to become the person you want to become.

3). You aren’t actually tired because of lack of sleep. You are tired because you hate your life and don’t know how to change it

You keep telling yourself that you’re tired. But, in truth, you don’t have the slightest clue how to fix your life. Which, admittedly, is quite exhausting. You have done counselling. You have ate the pills

You’ve made life Changes as frequently as possible. Thinking happiness will lie over the next hill. You’ve changed jobs, changed vehicles. Hell you even tried 100% cotton, granny underwear thinking it was the uncomfortable underwear choices.

Discouragingly none of these changes brought happiness. Why??

Because happiness is inside you.

Start loving you. Start taking care of you. Honouring you. Admiring you. Enjoy you. Be the truest version of you. And anyone who doesn’t get it, doesn’t matter!

4). Accept love.

From your husband. From your kids. From your friends. From your family. But most importantly from YOURSELF.

The person (your own mom) who is “supposed to” love you — atleast that’s what society teaches us — couldn’t love you to society standards. And that’s a tough lesson, kiddo.

But this fact does not mean you are unloveable. SHE could not love. This has no relevance in your future relationships unless you chose to carry it forward.

Someone will love you. They will trust you with their heart and their soul. They will love you when you are unlovable.

This is not a trick. This is real love. Accept it. Embrace it. Trust it

Don’t spent 10 years “testing” the love to see if it will hold. Don’t spend years with a wall built so damn tall around you that you have to hit bottom to begin tearing it down.

5). Stop saying “I don’t care”

Because you’re lying. You do care. You care so damn much that it hurts. There’s nothing wrong with caring.

In fact, it still hurts the same when the hurt comes. Just because you’ve braced yourself by shouting “I don’t care” doesn’t make it true.

Honestly, you will probably hurt twice as much when it hits because you will now be filled with hurt AND self resentment.

You will become so pissed off at yourself for somehow letting yourself fall for it and start caring. You will think and rethink about exactly WHEN you started caring. When the truth is, you always cared. You cared right away. You don’t do anything that you don’t care about.

You are trying to trick yourself — to trick your mind — into thinking you didn’t care. But the truth is, your heart always cared. Because that’s how you were built. Embrace it.

Oh and the hurts only hurts for a little while. But the self resentment is much more difficult to dissolve. Stay out of the self resentment trap.

6). Some people will understand you. Some will not. Neither is any of your business

You’re loud. You are big. You will rarely enter a party without the entire room knowing. You will be the person people talk about when you leave.

Some will talk about you because you made them laugh or made them feel more than they have in a long time.

Some will talk about you because you were too much for them.

Neither is any of your business. Your job is to be you.

AND Never ever dim your light to make someone else more comfortable.

Oh yeah, and you will get “shushed” a lot in your life. Don’t listen. Just use it as an opportunity to know you have arrived at the party.
What would you tell yourself???

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