What fun, attending the Muskoka Pride Celebration in downtown Huntsville.
Michelle Emson, a dear friend, advocate and just a really great person was on stage
in her fabulous butterfly dress, sharing her message. I asked Michelle why this was an important celebration:
Prides everywhere are so important in order to raise visibility and awareness, and also to build community; to let people know, ‘hey, we’re just humans!’ And come on out and party with us, because we have fun!
I add: “Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun!”
Michelle: “Yes and there is a whole week of activities! So join in if you can,
and if not this year, this is an annual event in communities everything!"
Thank you, Michelle, for all that you do to help others have a voice, for supporting people everywhere so they know they are not along and to know it’s okay to be who they are. We all deserve the opportunity to be our authentic selves. We all deserve…
Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun! FOR EVERYONE!!!!!
*Michelle spends much of her time advocating for rights for people globally.
You can check out her website and see some of her amazing, tireless work and
even her documentaries here.
I had the honour of attending the Muskoka Seniors Gala, which was an incredible event;
over 170 people dressed in their finest plaid, great food, awesome music, fabulous decorations and prizes… the works. What were they celebrating?
People of all ages who give of their time to volunteer for seniors!
With laughter and activity all around us, I took a few minutes to chat with Donna Nairn,
one of the Directors and Barb Mooney, a long-time volunteer. I asked Donna why this was an important event and what the volunteers mean to the community:
Donna: “Muskoka Seniors has a small staff. The volunteers provide the service in the community. Without them, we couldn’t do the work that we do. With this event we celebrate and thank them for what they contribute.” What did they contribute?
*5,473 Meals served at Friendship Luncheons
*6,968 Units of transportation were provided
*4,695 Meals on Wheels delivered
*13,509 Telephone Calls – Friendly Visits
*89 Free Income Tax Returns e-filed
*20,434 hours of recorded volunteer service!!
This is incredible and also makes an important message very clear; anyone can contribute!
We don’t all have to carry the 10 pound bags of potatoes! You can make call or visit.
Barb adds, “That’s right. Just be there!”
I asked Barb why she loved being a volunteer. She shared: “Because I get to see the same people each month and they look forward to my visit. And I look forward to seeing them too!”
I have to add my two cents: “With volunteering, you get as much as you give, if not more!
It just makes you feel so great; just listening, just being present.” Barb enthusiastically
agrees with an “Absolutely!”
Donna shares that there are seniors helping seniors and young people helping seniors too. There is something for everyone.
Our volunteer programs have allowed people, particularly seniors, to have meaning and purpose in life by giving to each other, whatever “gifts” they may have.
Could you volunteer, a little time here and there?
You can make a difference!
We often visit our cousins and their four amazing daughters; six year old Elyse
and seven year old triplets, Giavanna, Brielle and Vivienne.
The girls and I talked about what might make someone sad, and that it can be uncomfortable
and how they could Just Show Up. Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: “Thanks for being here ladies. We were talking about some things that might make someone you love or care about sad. What could make someone sad?
Elyse: “When you trip and skin your knee.” (Yes, that hurts!)
Gia: “When you get stuck in a tree and you’re very very sad! (Or scared!)
Brielle: “When your dog dies.” (Or someone you love dies!)
Viv: “When you get stepped on.” (Embarrassed or hurt)
Me: “Good answers! So we can’t always fix things but maybe we can help people to feel better. What can we do?”
Girls: “Just Show Up!!”
Me: Right! How can we Just Show Up?
Elyse: “Like, if something breaks you can just replace it with the same thing but it’s new!”
(Sure, that’s a great idea… if you can!)
Gia: “You can read them a book to keep them calm, so they don’t get really really sad again!”
(I think that’s a wonderful idea! Read them a book to keep them calm and then
you’re spending time with them too. Wonderful!)
Brielle: “You can kiss them…giggle giggle! (You CAN kiss them and you can laugh with them. That’s another great idea, or hug too!)
Viv: “You could sing to them.” (Yes, that could make somebody feel better!)
Me: “So, we can’t fix it and somebody might still be sad, but you know what, all we need to do is three words…
Girls yell: “Just Show Up!”
That’s right. Thank you ladies.
You have your bracelets to remind you to
Just Show Up for yourself first,
to Just Show Up for others and to share the message.
Here I am with my mom in her home. If you’ve read my book,
you know that my mom and I had that awkward conversation about end of life planning.
How did it start? “Hi mom, awkward conversation coming up. I want to talk about end of life planning". I did it and Geordie did (well, that’s another story), and it was so empowering.
As we aspire to help create a culture of change, I had to walk my talk.
We reflected on that conversation, then took it a step further:
Me: “I was relieved that you were open and receptive!”
Mom: “I was because I had thought about it for years but I really didn’t know how to even start having ‘The Talk". I had no idea how to open the subject up. So for me it was a great relief to get it all talked about and done; everyone knows my wishes and they are all written down.
Me: “We even went to the funeral home, talked about organ donation, wills… everything!
I felt a great sense of relief, even if it was emotional, facing mortality. But, when people say,
"I don’t want to talk about that stuff", if you’re in a crisis, facing end of life or you don’t
get the opportunity to talk…isn’t that so much worse?”
Mom: “I can’t imagine!”
Me: “You’ve also taken trinkets and put names down so that everyone has something of yours, and today we took it another step further!”
Mom: “Yes we did. I love to sing and write songs for my children and people I love.
So I took the song, "You’ve Got a Friend" and added my own verse, because that’s the
message I want to leave for everyone. So we just filmed it and it was very emotional.
I couldn’t believe it. It was great and I’m thrilled that it’s done.”
Me: “It will be played at your Celebration of Life and it’s a treasure—it truly is.
As strange as it seems that we’re having this conversation and doing these things, it’s a wonderful gift and I’m grateful that you’re willing to do it.
We can have a little cry, and I’m sure we will.”
I know you may not want to have ‘The Talk" but I have to tell you; it is empowering,
bonding, and is a gift. It will be part of your legacy.
Have you had “The Talk?”
Interviewing entertaining Jadyn and Tanner Heath
Yvonne: “So, tell us why you like having pet rats?”
Jadyn: “Well, some people can’t have dogs or cats cause they’re allergic or they just can’t take care of a big dog. So we have pet rats!”
Y: “Do you like having pet rats?”
Tanner: “Well, they’re really small so it’s nice. You can cuddle with them really easily.
J: “Bayo is being a snuggle bug right now, but they’re crazy sometimes!”
T: “They’re just really fun to play with. You just hold them…if I could get Hazel here..gotta find her…” (whoops! She is hiding!)
J: “The struggle is real!” (haha!)
T: “So this is Hazel. She will just chill on your shoulder and she is fine!”
J: “My pet rat is Bayo, who is a bit camera-shy, obviously. Their tails are a bit awkward.”
Y: “But they are clean, they’re cuddly and they’re smart! (and low maintenance and inexpensive!)
J: “They try to clean you!”
T: “There are a lot of people who are startled by the word, ‘rat!’ They think, ‘Ew, big sewer rats!’
J: “Here is my hand and this is the size of Bayo! She’s the size of my hand!”
T: “Oh yes, they’re vicious killers!”
Y: “So pets re wonderful friends, no matter what size they are! If a dog or a cat is too much, think about getting a rat, or two (they like company!). Again, would you recommend them as pets?”
T: “Yeah, for sure!”
J: “Or it could be any rodent like a hamster, guinea pig or gerbil… or rats! You could get birds, but kind of a mess; no offense!” (This girl is cracking me up!)
Pets are wonderful companions. Moral of the story?
If you can’t love the pet you want… maybe love a rat!
I am SO excited to finally share our I Just Showed Up campaign. Over the last
three years, people have shared amazing stories, and some hard stories too. What we
realized is when it comes to grief, crisis or loss, no matter what someone is facing,
the biggest problem is what I hear most often:
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.”
So we often avoid. But we can do better. We have created this wonderful movement,
this community where we can learn from each other and share stories.
I Just Showed Up teaches people of all ages how to
Just Show Up for themselves and others
so they are empowered and resilient when grief arrives.
Grief is something we cannot avoid. It shows up throughout life.
We have created the I Just Showed Up bracelet to:
*Wear as a reminder to
Just Show Up for yourself first.
Be the best version of you.
*Wear because you
Just Show Up for someone.
You can make a difference.
*Give to someone because they
Just Showed Up for you.
To say thanks.
These bracelets are a great reminder and a conversation starter. You can get yours here,
on our website and they are available in stores too!
So please, join the I Just Showed Up Community by following on Facebook and Twitter!
We want to hear your stories. Follow our blogs/ vlogs and learn to live life to the fullest.
Together we can create a culture of change and learn to be empowered and
resilient when grief arrives!
I had the honour of attending an event at Fairvern Nursing Home in Huntsville
a couple of weeks ago. Many passionate people worked hard and created the Legacy Youth/Elder Project. Stories shared and unlikely friendships formed.
Here is Kimberley and Christine to tell you a bit about it:
Christine: Today we celebrated story-tellers, telling their stories for writers, who were grade 11 students from Huntsville High School. They wrote what they heard, not necessarily a biography, but the snippets of stories, of truths, of life lessons.
Kimberley: It has been a great time, pairing the seniors with the students to bring them together, to break down the barriers that separate the generations and just open up relationships. It breaks down pre-conceived ideas of what young people today are or
what older people are, and just open up and see that we are all the same inside.
We have hopes and dreams. We might have grey hair or be in a wheelchair but
a lot of the stories are just incredible. It’s been amazing to see the students interacting
with the seniors. What has come out of this has touched the lives of the students,
the teachers, the seniors, their families, the staff and us!
Christine: The whole idea was to give people a taste of what Legacy Writing Partners does, which is behind this project. We pair writers with storytellers who may not have the ability or capacity to tell/write that story. That’s the whole purpose. We have witnessed the magic over the last few months, and gathered today to celebrate that magic!
I applaud everyone involved in this incredible and worthwhile project.
I’d love to see this happen in every high school and in every nursing home.
Our elders have so much to teach us! Thank you.
For more information about the project please visit:
Do you have, or know someone who has a story to tell?
I’m going to give you some unsolicited advice; if it’s broke… fix it!
Seven or so years ago, I started having pain in my right hip and right knee, an IT band issue; the ligament that runs down the outside of your thigh. I went to physio for a while, which
was helpful but didn’t continue going or doing my exercises at home.
I opted for something, I think perhaps, a lot of us choose to do; I ignored my injury and
wished that it would go away (I was just too busy for this!). And I did for quite a while.
Then, I could no longer lie on my right side while sleeping and my knee ached all the time.
But, I still hoped it would magically get better.
So all these years later, imagine…it’s worse! Big surprise, right!! I’ve gone back to
physio and the first question was, “Yvonne...Did you do your physio last time?”
“Uh…yeah…for a while!” Now it’s going to take longer to get better.
Why do we do these things to ourselves??
I do not know, but that is my true confession. I knew what I needed to do, I ignored it
and it got worse. So I will now say to you: PLEASE. I know you are busy, I know you don’t
have time. But do not ignore things that need to be fixed; whether is mental, physical, emotional, spiritual or even financial. Don’t ignore the issues and hope they will go away.
They won’t and they might get much worse, like my IT band!
So I’m off to do my physio. I have my awesome yoga mat and my fun pants on.
And I will keep going until it is better, and not ignore any injury again.
Have you ever done anything this silly? If so,
I’d love you to share so that I know I’m not the only one!
And remember, if it’s broke…fix it!
I am so excited and honoured to be sitting here with Elyse Saunders who has
written the most beautiful song entitled, RISE. I am in LOVE with this song.
My throat was sore from singing it at the top of my lungs so many times.
Elyse shares the inspirational story behind the song:
I had heard about Jessica Phoenix and her story. So I got together with a couple of
writers (Daryl Scott and Kyle Renton) and we wanted to share her message. It’s unique;
not a lot of songs are written about real-life people. We heard how she was a two-time Olympian (Canadian Equestrian Team) and a 4 time Pan-Am medalist. Then she had a
bad accident and doctors said she was not going to be able to compete. But Jessica said,
“NO! I’m making it happen!” And she came back to defend her title and won the silver for Team Canada. How amazing is that!
Being an independent, rising country artist, I can totally relate to her message. The lyrics came from the heart for me as well. Jessica heard the song, fell in love with it and is so excited about it too! It has been released on radio across Canada.
So please REQUEST and SHARE!!
This is a very inspiring and powerful song. It should be in everyone’s self-care toolbox
(from my book, pg. 95. A self-care toolbox is full of items that can help move you through
grief or hard times and inspire you!). You can listen to this song and it can be helpful no matter what you are facing in life.
This song is "For anyone who has been faced with an overwhelming challenge and has
found it within themselves to RISE above!" Sometimes we need reminders and boosts
of inspiration and this song gives it to you! I think it should be the theme song for
Olympians, for kids in school… for everyone! It’s our new theme song.
I want Elyse to come on the road with us!
Thank you, Elyse Saunders for writing this beautiful song and thank you Jessica Phoenix for the will to overcome adversity and inspire the creation of this song.
Like a powerful phoenix, it’s your time to RISE!
RISE Lyrics Here
I am so in love with everything I am doing; living my purpose and my passion
with Love Your Life to Death and the I Just Showed Up campaign (more on that another time!). But what I’ve realized—as many of us do—with children (and even without), laundry, dusting, meals, it’s never-ending. And being an author, speaker, TV host…
doing all of these things, sometimes my brain feels like it’s going to short-circuit.
Sometimes I’m up late at night and always up early in the morning with never-ending ideas.
My mind spins like a top (I know those who know me are not surprised!).
So today, I’ve decided to forget about the laundry, forget about everything I have to do,
ignore the long list. Today, I’m going to play hooky from my life, just for a couple of hours.
I’m so excited and feel like a little kid who is doing something they shouldn’t be doing
and nervous about getting caught.
It’s the middle of the day, in the middle of the week and yep…lots to do… but I need a break.
So I am going to sit her and watch a movie. That’s right! I have an array to choose from.
I might watch something funny like Mrs. Doubtfire or Dan in Real Life or of course my all-time favorite Patch. I may watch others that make me laugh and cry like The Bucket List
or P.S. I Love You. I haven’t quite decided. But I have snacks, drinks and comfies. I am ready.
Two hours for me, before the kids come home from school. I’ve decided that every now
and again I’m going to play hooky from my life. I will be here watching my movie and
having some snacks. I would love to hear what you would do, and encourage you to do it
every now and again. You deserve a break too. So tell me…
When Was The Last Time You Played Hooky?
Today is a very special day for me; this will be my 50th blog and vlog. We started one year ago in May 2016. I feel really proud that we’ve shared our authentic, unedited stories and sometimes our messy selves as we navigate through life, grief and end of life.
It has helped me a great deal, to share with you and receive your emails and comments.
I hope it’s helped you too. I am so grateful as most of this stuff is easier said than done, isn’t it? But if we can learn from and support each other, we can heal and even find joy again.
I have to confess there’s been so many times when we were filming and there’s noise, bugs
and malfunctions; hilarious when I look back. But I have truly enjoyed sharing with you.
I would love to hear about any vlogs that were helpful or anything else you’d like me
to talk about. I’m learning as I go along too!
Thank you for being a part of the Love Your Life to Death community.
And may you always find a way to love your life!
More than you can imagine! I attended two events where our local Community Living
shared their vision and mission. Over 250 people attended the first event and we heard
an autistic boy play the guitar with a very special man singing. He took the time to care
and teach. The second event was a “Celebrating Inclusion Tour.” It was a chance to hear
from the staff, volunteers and stories of people’s lives being changed with the right medical help, being accepted as part of their community, working, contributing and having purpose.
It was hard to not cry out loud as I heard Brenda’s story of being segregated for years
and not being able to see, hear or walk because her medical needs were ignored. Her life changed when she received the right help. Brenda is in this video! She is now walking,
hearing, talking and loving her life as a contributing member or our community.
Sheldon spent years in isolation, loneliness and despair. He now has friends,
an apartment, a job and happiness—all because of the help he receives.
Community Living is a social justice movement. People are seen as people first
and are accepted for who they are and appreciated for the unique gifts, abilities
and talents that each bring. Community Living Huntsville is opening doors for all people
to live, work and play in our community. Attend a tour and be a part of something special.
You can make a difference. www.clhuntsville.ca
It’s not okay for anyone to fall through the cracks! Do they have inclusion tours in your area? Stop by to say hello! From the bottom of my heart, I thank every staff member, volunteer, those who donate (yep… $$ helps change lives too!) and care. Thank you Cathy, Michelle, Brenda, Sheldon and Tish... for being the change you want to see in the world!
We all have value. We all matter.
I just love when people say, “Oh you’re so thin, you’re lucky, you must have good genes!” REALLY?? Maybe I have some good genes, but I also have the cellulite gene.
Cellulite loves to live on my thighs and saddlebags (you know, like triangle hips!).
Luck has nothing to do with it!
I made a commitment to myself. As I encourage everyone to live life to the fullest,
an important part of that is great self-care. I get up 4-6 mornings a week, around
5:00 or 5:30, and work out. When I’m really kooky it’s 4:30! Do you think I always
want to get up? No! But it’s non-negotiable! I tell myself that I want to want to work out,
then I just do it. It is not an option, because I want to be strong and fit and I want to feel
well and it’s the only way. Why do we think our bodies should work well even if we do
not take good care of them? There are no returns. Some bodies work better than others.
But they all need exercise!
If you have no time to get moving for 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week, then I suggest you
re-evaluate. You have value and you matter. You deserve even more time for good self-care, but certainly at least that. Can you get up earlier? Go to bed earlier or watch less TV?
Can you watch your kids at their events for a short time, then go for a walk instead
of sitting for an hour? Easier said than done? Yep, most of this is. But you’re worth it!
Can’t afford to work out? Well, all of our equipment was purchased second hand or on sale. And walking is free! So we can’t use that excuse!
I do what I need to do to be healthy and active. Of course, I am not perfect,
but I keep working at it because…
I have value, I matter and I deserve good self-care. And so do you!
So don’t just think about it, get movin’!
I have received the most extraordinary gifts, and I just had to share the story with you.
A wonderful woman who lives in Russia, named Tatiana met the Howell family in Sochi in 2014, when Dara was competing in the Olympics (and of course won the Gold in slopestyle!).
Tatiana spent some time with the Howells and even got a Canadian flag from Dara’s grandmother, Jackie. She loved the Canadians (of course) and cheered for Dara.
She later started following Love Your Life to Death and would often comment
and I would reply. She mentioned that she wanted to send me something and I said,
“sure”, never really expecting anything to arrive.
Well… a couple of days ago, I received a big box in the mail, sent from Russia with love.
You wouldn’t believe all of the goodies; beautiful pictures from the Olympics and
Paralympics, Russian dolls, towels, maps, an apron (for Geordie!!), a great red t-shirt
with Russia, Sochi 2014. And it doesn’t stop there; she sent two long-sleeved, awesomely colourful shirts that were worn by the Olympic volunteers. Can you believe all of this??!!
I was blown away! There’s also a bag of stuff to be delivered to the Howell Family!
Tatiana, thank you/Спасибо from the bottom of my heart, for believing in my message
and for your beautiful gifts. We will treasure them always.
It’s mid-April here in Muskoka, and I am in my front yard shoveling snow. That’s right.
It is melting, but I can’t wait to get to my little garden and get my hands into the earth.
If I don’t remove the hard snow, it might be May before I can do that!
When I hear people complain about the weather—and boy do people ever love to do that--
I think, why bother? I smile to myself and read what my favorite t-shirt says,
“NO REALLY that’s very interesting. PLEASE…GO ON.” Haha. The weather is going to be whatever the weather is going to be. I refuse to complain about it. We can’t change it,
but we can change our attitude about it (or move south!) I love this quote;
“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing"- Ranulf Fiennes.
When Spring arrives and people talk about how brown, sandy and gloomy it is, I must disagree. I see geese arriving, squirrels and chipmunks running about, birds singing,
water flowing, snow melting and warmth in the sun. The buds are slowly starting to
wake up and I am excited with anticipation. New beginnings.
Every season has its “wonderfulness.” Enjoy it. And if you still have snow in April,
put on your t-shirt, your boots, get your shovel out and remember…
Little miracles are everywhere, if you choose to find them.
Suzanne Witt-Foley is another contributor to newly-released book, Anxiety Warrior, a wonderful speaker and a woman on a mission; teaching mental health first aid! She shared:
Mental health first aid is a two day course anyone can take.
In a word, it’s about connection; learning how to support one another, to be there,
to connect and not be afraid when people are struggling with mental health issues.
If we talk about these things before we are facing them, we can empower ourselves.
We can do better! Suzanne shared a great and humbling story in Anxiety Warrior;
one that we could all learn from:
5 years ago, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican, to support people who lived in dire poverty. I thought I needed to prepare myself for what I was going to see; despair, hopelessness, mental health issues and addictions.
What I saw what quite shocking, quite the opposite. What I saw was love, hope, connection and people caring for one another. That culture protected them from mental health issues and other health issues. It helped me to recognize the power of connection.
Amazing! There’s a lot to learn from this story.
Mental health first aid, something we should all empower ourselves with.
Never underestimate the power of Connection!
Easier said than done? Yep, most of this stuff is!
But it is certainly something worth striving for, something to look at and take a step in the right direction. We have created a culture of consumerism, high debt and living above our means… but, that means we can “uncreate” it too!
In writing the book, Anxiety Warrior, Elke Scholz understood how finances cause anxiety to so many people. She invited Ryan Brown and Julie Bissonette to shed a little light on the subject. I met with Ryan and this is what he shared:
I help people get out of debt. One problem in our industry is people don’t know
where to turn for help. There’s a lot of marketing out there—so you have to be careful. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of transparency as to who is working for who and how everyone is getting paid. We have our clients’ best interest in mind when considering
future goals. So get help… but do your research first! When people finally make the call, sometimes after years, they sit down and unload!
What can financial anxiety cause? Destruction of marriages/relationships, serious health challenges, failed businesses… Ryan has seen it all.
We can do better. We can create a culture of change, starting right in our world, in our house. Watch the documentary Happy…the most content and joyful people in the world are those who live in community, often have few belongings and their happiness has very little to do with the pursuit of money or how much is actually in their account.
A few tips from the chapter Financial Anxiety in the book Anxiety Warrior:
Is the pursuit of money causing me anxiety or happiness…
Something to think about!
Introducing Anxiety Warrior contributing author Bari McFarland.
Meet the delightful Bari McFarland, a contributing author in Elke Scholz’ new book,
Anxiety Warrior. Like me, Bari took a leap of faith and left her long-time career and
found her new purpose.
After reading the life-changing book, The Passion Test, Bari left the stress
and anxiety of her government job and became a Passion Test Facilitator and Life Coach.
She found her formula for living a passionate life and helps others to do the same. She shares:
When it comes to anxiety, it is often the fear of the unknown or what could
happen in the future. I help people get out of their head and into their heart and
connect them with what really matters to them, what is most important and their passion.
There is a 3-step formula: INTENTION. ATTENTION. NO TENSION.
This is the formula used to bring what you want into your life.
Bari’s insightful chapter and daily affirmations will inspire many and
just may help you find your passion too!
INTENTION. ATTENTION. NO TENSION.
Elke Scholz has many talents and gifts to share; therapist, speaker, artist, author of
Loving your Life and so much more. She has now taken her personal and professional experience and written a new empowering book, Anxiety Warrior.
With five contributing authors who share different perspectives, this book is for everyone.
You will learn coping skills and strategies to deal with anxiety, whether it is ongoing in
your life, or whenever it shows up! Elke shares;
Anxiety is a part of our lives. There are different types, layers and intensities.
I give a scale of 0-10. It helps to know where you are in your body. Your “2” will be
different from my “2”. But just knowing where that slippery slope is to that yucky feeling where you don’t want to go is important. Anxiety is an opportunity; it’s telling us something.
We should listen to our anxiety, not fear it.
*For those fortunate enough to be able to attend, don’t miss Elke’s book launch
and learning symposium on Sunday April 9th, 2017 at the Bracebridge Sportsplex.
See her website below for details and to pre-order your copy of Anxiety Warrior!
“Elke, thank you for all that you do to empower so many!"
We can all be Anxiety Warriors, and live our lives to the fullest!
Every few months I reflect back on what I’ve shared and the lessons I’ve learned.
My hope is that you have found value in these stories and perhaps one might resonate now.
Here are a few highlights from September to December, 2016;
Reason, Season, Lifetime.
Those we love are not always in our lives forever. We can choose to be grateful for the time they were and carry them in our hearts forever. And they will be there for a lifetime.
Sexy After Sixty—and In All Decades! with Sue Kelly
“Sexy is about attitude!” It is about not letting your spirit get old!
Don’t be afraid to shine… at every age!!
Don’t Compare…Just Cut Your Own Grass!
Stop worrying about what others have or what others are doing. Weed your garden, use the best soil and TLC. You just never know what will grow. Be the best version of you!
Stop, Breathe, Be Here Now. with Julie Veitch.
Looking outside ourselves for the answers is never sustainable. Lasting success is really an internal job. Overwhelmed? Stressed? Stop, Breathe, Be Here Now.
Lessons from a Lifetime of Care Giving- with Donna Thomson
I could not look after the people I love all by myself. And that didn’t mean I did not
love them. The other big lesson was just to accept human frailty.
The people I’m caring for… I couldn’t fix them and that it was OK to be who they were.
It’s possible to have a good life AND be a long-term caregiver.
Avoid Making Crisis-Driven Decisions. with Maureen Partridge
Figuring things out in the last hour… it’s too stressful and it’s crisis-driven!
It would be really lovely to have all the details in place so that people can just be sad, tell stories and enjoy memories rather than trying to crack codes and figure out what
people would have wanted.
The Story of my Friend Chuck, with Andrew Macleod
Planning our life and end of life is a gift we can give our loved ones. Chuck did just that. Thanks to his life well lived, and his end well planned, we all continue to smile at the memories and the love he gave us. Nothing was left unattended.
He was an example to all of us to live life to its fullest, even in those final days.
He maintained that we need to make the tasks of those we leave behind as easy as possible, so that they have time to reflect on the good memories rather than worry about the details of tidying up. He was an inspiration to us all.
May these stories inspire you to live life to the fullest,
learn to grieve and support others and to have “The Talk” about
end of life…long before it arrives and diffuse the fear!
Have A Great Week Everyone!
Today is International Women’s Day and I am joined by my daughter Jadyn.
This day is a reminder of how incredibly fortunate we are, to live in a country where we are free to be our weird quirky selves and to follow our dreams. I know there are still many imperfections in our culture, but today I choose to celebrate and be grateful.
Thank you to my daughter Jadyn who knows no prejudice and understands respect for all.
Thank you to every woman who has supported me, celebrated my wins along the way and has been there for me in my darkest messy times and continued to love me through it all.
Thank you to every person in the world who is willing to be a voice for change,
knowing that every man, woman and child have value and rights…just because.
Is there a woman in your life you could thank today?
Someone you could reach out to who is struggling and
let them know they are not alone?
Could you make a difference?
I spent the afternoon with Tanner’s class one wonderful afternoon, volunteering.
They were doing a cooking elective and needed help with prepping and guiding the children.
It was just so fun. We made fajitas, salsa, guacamole, and a great apple dumpling dessert.
I realized in that moment how important volunteers are to schools (and so many other places). The teacher, Ms. Aitken, said that volunteers make a huge difference
and many activities could not be done without them! She shared;
You don’t have to have a child attending the school. All you need is a police check, which can be arranged through the school. So many things require volunteers; electives, art programs and sports. You don’t even have to know how to do the activity. Sometimes we just need another adult! (like when I was cooking and didn’t know what I was doing!)
We always need people to read with children. Many need a little more attention and
the value of one on one reading cannot be over-expressed! You can even just
come to the library and stock books!
We need to stay connected in our communities. I have to say I felt really great being there, I spent some time with Tanner, his friends and his teacher and I even had a great meal!
Bonus! Geordie volunteered to go skiing with Jadyn and a bus load of children.
Let’s see…I cooked, he skied… wait a minute!!!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to re-connect as adults missing their grandchildren or maybe just helping children who could use some extra attention?
Living Life to the Fullest; connection, giving back, purpose.
Why not volunteer? Something to think about!
I’ve been reflecting on the last couple of months in my small community
and while taping my latest eight interviews for my Roger’s TV series. I have listened to amazing and inspiring stories, but I have also heard about painful journeys and big grief as people have struggled to find their authentic selves and new meaning in theirs lives.
Recently, there have been several deaths, people I knew and cared about; some anticipated, some not. Our community is grieving. We are grieving our cat Smokie too!
As I aspire to empower people (and myself) to navigate through life, grief and death,
I have to remember to take good care of myself as I grieve too. If I want to “Just Show Up”
for others, I have to keep in mind; “Show Up for Yourself First.”
I dig into my self-care toolbox and fix my heart with memories and also have a good cry.
Next is remembering my Post, and holding onto it.
Your Post; That internal or permanent something you can
always turn to—no matter what—in times of despair.
Is it your religion, spirituality, meditation, yoga, art, music, singing, nature?
Whatever it is, it’s always there for you.
My Post is nature. So today, I am going for a snowshoe with Geordie and Tanner.
Out on the trail is where I feel revived, connected and rejuvenated. It feeds my heart and soul.
So in times of grief, or whatever you may be going through…
Find Your Post, and Hold Onto It.
What is your Post?
“What on earth is a Death Café?” I’ve been asked that question more than once.
The answer from the website is simple:
At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea
and discuss death. Our objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a
view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. A Death Cafe is
a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes.
It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.
On January 25th, 2017, Haliburton Ontario hosted their first Death Café at a wonderful place called “Baked and Battered.” Do people want to talk about death? Are they curious? I think so, because over 36 people showed up and it was standing room only. Who knew! I believe that many people want or need to talk, they just don’t know where to go.
Louise told me after that she got a lot out of it. She shared her personal story with me:
It’s a conversation that’s hard to have for a variety of reasons. We lost our daughter suddenly. I hugged her at 11:30 pm and by 6:30 am she had died. And you are just not
ready for that. My grandchildren saw her and experienced the 911 people coming and everything. We had to learn to talk about it quickly and we still do.
But even with having gone through this, we haven’t figured things out with our other daughter. So that was an ‘aha moment’ for me today.
I said to Louise: “I applaud you for being here and for bringing the conversation
into your family and now you will take the next step.”
My mission is to bring death out of the darkness, into our conversations and to empower
one another. It’s no wonder I love the Death Café concept and I am grateful to
Jon Underwood for creating this international movement. Have a look at the website.
Would you like to have these conversations? Would you like to host your own Death Café?
The only way to diffuse our fear and not be scared to death of death
is to have “The Talk” and just keep talking!!
In November I shared that our cat Smokie was behaving differently and losing weight.
I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling that things were changing and I let the kids know.
Smokie seemed ok after that, so we just carried on. I just didn’t know how sick she really was,
and I certainly didn’t know that she was going to die on Monday February 6th, 2017.
Jadyn and Tanner called me from the basement in a panic and said something was wrong with Smokie. They carried her upstairs. She couldn’t move her legs and she was breathing fast.
I had that helpless feeling and wanted to run to the vet with her, but I knew, took a deep breath and waited. We snuggled on the couch and right before our eyes she was dying.
She was almost 16. There would be no drastic measures to save her life. We just had to be present. Geordie was at work, so Jadyn, Tanner and I took turns holding her and pet her continuously and told her how much we loved her.
We cried the whole time. Her body made strange movements and sounds. It was uncomfortable and unnerving but we stayed right there with Smokie. We held her and loved her for five hours, until she took her last breath. We kept holding her, not wanted to let go.
It was so hard, but I know that loving her so much all her life and right to the very
end of her life, will help our hearts to heal.
“Thank you, Smokie, for all the love you gave to each and every one of us, for not leaving our sides when we were sad, for the morning snuggles, for always wanted to be near, for loving us unconditionally for 16 years. We really loved you back and miss you already.
You were a part of this family and a really great cat!”
"My name is Yvonne Heath. I am a wife, mother to three amazing children and a nurse since 1988.