As promised, once a month, I am sharing one of the 7 Take Aways, on how to live life to the fullest, learn to grieve and support others and how to have “The Talk” about end of life, long before it arrive and diffuse the fear. This month I’m sharing Take Away #2:
It takes a village to support the ill, the caregiver, the dying,
the bereaved and each other.
Many times when someone is facing a crisis, a loss or challenge, we look to
the professionals to take over and think, “Thank goodness they’re here and the person
struggling is now in good hands.” While that may be true—we need hospice, palliative care, victim services, bereavement, counselors etc.—but we also need our village.
There are many moments/hours in the day that we need our friends, families,
neighbours and co-workers. We don’t only need professional help. When people
have addictions, chronic illness or are in the dying process (which can take months),
they may not even have that support. One thing I’ve done is to learn more
about my neighbours. Here’s a great story:
One of our neighbours had cancer, was going through treatment and was absolutely exhausted and so was his wife (that’s not the good part!). Their winter wood was
delivered, they were overwhelmed and didn’t have the energy to pile it.
Another neighbour sent out a text saying her family was going over on Saturday
morning to pile wood for this couple, and wondered if anyone would join them.
And you know, 25 people from around the neighbourhood—some who didn’t even
know this couple--just showed up! We piled all that wood in one hour. It’s such a
great story and meant so much to this couple. We were that village!
So my question is, and I’d love you to be more observant and more aware, do you know
what your neighbour might need, or a need in your community? If we all open our eyes
and our hearts will we suffer less, when grief arrives.
It takes a village to support the ill, the caregiver, the dying,
the bereaved and each other.
Julie Veitch and I just recorded our Hunter’s Bay Radio interview which was great, so fun.
We have been on a journey together for many years, but in the last three years of creating
new careers for our second act of life.
Yvonne: Now you’re embarking on a new part of your adventure and moving to British Columbia, joining your husband Brian who left in August. Muskoka has to say goodbye, although we can stay in touch virtually. (And I let her know, I will be visiting a lot!).
On the show, we shared this magnificent Inner Core Coaching, you founded. Tell people about that, because I’m pretty proud to share. You helped my tremendously, with my transformation, from nurse to author and speaker. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Julie: And what a treat it’s been and will continue to be. More than ½ my clients have never met me in person. But I have this really intimate relationship with them. We meet virtually and it’s trans formative. In fact, it’s very convenient not to need to get out of their pajamas
and be in the comfort of their own home. I’ve been supporting women in midlife mainly, who’ve created success externally, but yet still feel this sense of unsettledness and dissatisfaction on the inside and don’t know why. They want something more for their lives and in their lives. But there are often these long-lasting emotional blocks that are getting in their way. So we work to uncover those. And the freedom and joy that emerge is amazing; women leaving toxic relationships, stepping into their dreams, change their careers….
Yvonne: I had so many “Aha” moments that I thought, “Ok, hang on, I have to slow down, and I’m having several ‘aha’ moments at once!” Working with Julie has been extraordinary—life-changing—and I encourage everyone to reach out at www.innercorecoach.com. She is available for people all over the world and what a gift she is! I will be Skyping regularly
and we will be doing more podcasts together!
Julie: I want to say that Muskoka has been a huge catalyst for my evolution and my ability to morph my gifts into being able to sever on a broader scale. So I have a lot of gratitude for my time here and all the relationships. They will continue and grow in a new direction.
Yvonne: So on behalf of Muskoka, I wish Julie a wonderful journey out west where she will join her family! Hear our interview on HBR podcasts anytime!
As you may have guessed, it’s Halloween, 2017. My children, as always,
expected me to dress up. So I thought, “You know what? I’m going to do it!”
So I dug into the old costume box and found Thing 2.
I had a wonderful day! I went to the hospital fracture clinic (because I broke my toe,
but we’ll leave that story for another time), I hung out with the volunteers, I went to
Staples, then to our local health store, the Great Vine. Last stop was the library.
Wherever I went I said, “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!” and tried to make people smile.
And it worked… well most of the time. Sometimes I just got a weird look,
and that made ME smile!
That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? Making people smile!
So, if I can do this at age 52 with a broken toe, you can too.
Maybe you can dress up next year? But in the meantime…
Any chance you get, make people smile each and every day of the year!
*Most of the magic in my life has happened when my life is shattered.
*You become real when the shine wears off of life.
*Grieving with another human being is one of the most holy places to be.
*We avoid pain, but sometimes pain and grief is the place to be with people.
It’s the realest place we can be.
*I spend some time allowing my heart to be broken open for someone else.
That’s how we end up feeling connected.
*When a friend is grieving, all we have to do is be present.
If we just accepted our presence as a gift instead of always trying to find the
right thing to say, people would feel more capable of grieving with each other.
*That’s where the wisdom is born—when everything falls apart.
*You have to let everything fall apart before you find out what’s indestructible about you.
Thank you Glennon Doyle Melton for sharing your wisdom.
Lately, there has been so many serious things going on.
And people often feel you either have to feel sadness or joy; it has to be one
or the other. We can’t have both at the same time.
I’m here to tell you that when life is serious, people are grieving or facing life’s challenges,
we should bring humour into it when we can. Why? Because it’s already serious enough!
So I’m going to dare you today, to share one of your most embarrassing moments with me. Because it you can’t laugh at yourself—you’re taking life too seriously!
I've had many situations to choose from. But this is the most embarrassing moment
that I could think of. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this before. Here it goes:
It was several years ago when Geordie and I were dating; a time when I really wanted to impress his parents… especially his mom. We were at the Hidden Valley Beach in Huntsville.
I had gotten dressed in a very big hurry, threw my bathing suit on and left.
Geordie’s mom arrived at the beach and was walking toward me. I was lying in a lawn
chair in my bathing suit. Suddenly, my friend looked over and said, “Are you wearing your underwear???” They were the same colour as my bathing suit, so I thought—when I was rushing—that I had put my suit on. My mother-in-law was close so there was nothing I
could do but lie there and hope and pray that she would not notice….that I was indeed in
my underwear! I told my friend not to say a word and to please get me a towel ASAP!!
To this day, I have no idea if Nancy, my lovely mother-in-law, realized and wondered.
Wow… I felt so hot and I know I was beet red! That was embarrassing!!
So…I dare you to share an embarrassing story so that we can all have a good laugh.
Because sometime life to too much and we go through hard stuff. We need a break.
And if we can’t laugh at each other, we are taking ourselves too seriously! So let’s hear it...
What was your most embarrassing moment???
I’ve decided that once a month I will share one of my 7 Take Aways.
These are what I share in my presentations, as an audio download, webinar (coming soon)
and they are written in my book, Love Your Life to Death.
They are the culmination of what I learned in 27 years of nursing as well as in the last few
years hearing many people’s stories. I believe they are essential, if we want 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.
Take Away #1: The best time to talk about, plan and prepare for grief is when we are young and healthy. The next best time is… Now!!
We are expert procrastinators! People often say, “Why should I talk about grief when
things are going well in my life?” Why? The truth is that grief can arrive at any time.
And grief isn’t just about end of life; it’s divorce, diagnosis, job loss… anything that
causes sadness or misery in our lives.
But if we talk about, plan and prepare long before we are facing grief, at least we can
create a soft landing for ourselves; in life, grief and end of life. I’ve planned my life well, knowing that there is no plan that is perfect and that change is the only constant.
At least I have a direction.
I’ve also planned my end of life and so has Geordie (my better half!).
My extended family has as well. It was such a relief for most of us. We felt empowered
(and yes, emotional). We has great conversations and sorted out things that would
have been horrible to figure out in a crisis.
It is each and every one of our responsibility to plan our life and our end of life.
Here’s something to think about:
*Do you have coping skills and strategies that will help you navigate through grief?
*Do you have beliefs about life and death?
*What else could you do to talk about, plan and prepare for before long before
it arrives and diffuse the fear?
Take Away #1: The best time to talk about, plan and prepare for grief is when we are young and healthy. The next best time is… Now!!
I just interviewed Jenny Cressman for my radio show. I initially had booked Jenny to talk about “Just Showing Up” locally and globally, and now there has been mass destruction from one hurricane after the other in many areas.
Jenny spent many years with the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group - who help women and children in crisis. Now she spends much of her time in Cuba, enjoying and helping the locals year after year. I asked Jenny about her new adventure:
Jenny: “Yes, I “Just Showed Up” in Cuba! That led to a new life for me. Now my focus in on traveling to and writing about Cuba. I just finished a novel, fictional but based on the resort I will be taking people to, on October 25th, 2017 (and a couple of times a year!).
Yvonne: “I love that many in your groups bring an extra suitcase full of necessities to leave for the locals, because they are in need year round.
Jenny: We’ve been able to take 2000 pounds of clothes and supplies. We’ve also brought 85 bikes; great means of transportation that make such a difference. The buses are very limited.
Yvonne: Although your area did not get hit directly by the hurricanes like many other areas, there is always flooding there. We often think “I can’t give thousands of dollars”, so we don’t do anything. Then we feel helpless and bad, and try not to see what is happening in other parts of the world. But the truth is…
Jenny: On average, Cubans make $20 per month! And some things, like a fridge or a stove can cost as much as they do here.
Yvonne: So…if we’re thinking we don’t have extra money, but we could donate $5.00…that’s a week’s ages!!! That was my “aha” moment!!
*Jenny, you are continuously helping in Cuba and are a champion for the Dubois Charitable Foundation, which is sending disaster relief aid containers to Cuba.
There is so much we can do. One of my favorite sayings: Heroes do not always wear capes.
*James Solecki does work in Turks and Caicos and has started a Hurricane relief fund.
He also donates to KIVA with every new Integra contract. To learn more click here
* I have donated some money, and I’ve donated a lot of time and clothing locally (and part of proceeds of book sales). Now I have put together a small bag of clothes and toothpaste for Jenny. I asked my son Tanner if he has some nice t-shirts he no longer wore (he grew about 6 inches this year!). He gave me 5 shirts!
Jenny, Thank you for what you do, for Just Showing Up! and sharing your hero story!
We all can make a difference. It is better to do something than to do nothing.
Just Show Up. You never know where it will lead!
I listened to my inner voice. I vacated my comfort zone and I am following my dream,
fueled by my passion. And I am creating a life I love!
But like most of us, I have unwanted visitors; doubt, fear, anxiety and worry.
Every now and then, I allow these dream "stealers" to take over my joy,
my optimism, my purpose.
I catch myself, then I reach out for support, I read something motivational or I spend
time in nature. And then someone sends me a video that helps to lift me up again. Thank you, Mrs. Kujala, for sharing with me AND for sharing with my children and your class!
Here is that video.
Watch it whenever those unwanted visitors appear and ask yourself:
Do I have the courage to grab the dream that picked me?
Video by: Prince Ea
Hi everyone! We are here in Picton, ON and it is September 16th, 2017.
We are here for a family wedding; Cousin Sam just married his lovely bride Jessica.
It is a beautiful place and a spectacular day!
It also happens to be the 2nd anniversary of the launch of my book, Love Your Life to Death.
I am wearing my launch dress too! We have had a beautiful day and we are
celebrating so many things!
Our 14th wedding anniversary is also in a few days, on September 20th.
Fun fact: Sam and his twin brother Luke were at our wedding when they were the
same age as our twins. Jadyn and Tanner!
I am just thrilled with the tremendous positive feedback we have received from you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who have supported us,
read and shared my book.
Just keep Loving Your Life to Death! :)
I interviewed my friend, Saree Sasson, for my Hunter’s Bay Radio Show
(which will be shared on my website!). Saree is an amazing young lady who is sharing
her story of a downward spiral into the frightening and dangerous world of anorexia.
She shares her wisdom so that others can be supported and maybe not go down that road!
Y: Saree, what is your most important message to people going down the road of anorexia and to the people around them?
Saree: The biggest thing is that it’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed. You don’t have to be worried that you are doing to be judged (even if you are, that’s their problem!). It’s life, it happens. But you need to get help or you need to help that person. Don’t worry about what people are going to think. It’s just being there, being there for yourself. Like you said, just showing up!
There are so many people that push it under the rug.
They don’t want to talk about it or get involved.
They don’t want the pressure or to have to worry.
Y: “I don’t know what to do! I know what to say! It’s awkward, I can’t fix it!
“That stops a lot of people. I say,“Then find somebody who can. And show up anyway!” Reach out, even if your friend is going to be mad at you. When your mom was trying to
talk to you, you were angry because you didn’t want to look at your own issue. But Too Bad!!
Saree: She saved my life! If she hadn’t been that way with me, I probably wouldn’t be here today. So… even though it sucked at the time and I hated her, well, I loved her too but…
Y: You hated what was happening, being confronted!
Saree: Yes, but again, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t be able to share my story. And that’s the message…you gotta say something! And now I know that I need to be there for myself as well.
Y: Absolutely! Show up for yourself first! And if you didn’t in the past, or you didn’t show up for someone else, forgive yourself and do better next time! And you keep showing up for yourself, and you are quite fabulous. Not perfect, we don’t want perfection!
Thank you for sharing your story, Saree, I have no doubt you will be helping more people than you’ll ever know. And good luck in New Zealand where you will be going to school. I think I should visit to see how you are doing. And yes, I will bring you lots of maple syrup!
If you see something, say something. Just Show up!
Here I was, once again, at Camp Can-Aqua where Geordie and his sister Lindsey
were campers then counselors for over ten years each. They talked about camp
SO MUCH I thought, “What on earth is so special about this camp?” So I became the
camp nurse for five years. Geordie and I were known as “The Doctors.”
And I found out how truly magical summer camp is.
Each year, when I come back I am reminded of the important things in life.
It is extraordinary to see kids of all ages and cultures, where no one cares if you’re a jock,
a nerd, your sexual orientation or how much money you have. Everyone just wants
to build relationships, be out in nature and have good clean fun. You learn leadership
skills, although a lot of the time you are not even aware of it, amazing life lessons
and reminders of what you can be.
To see these kids grieving because they are saying goodbye to each other tugs at my heart. They have had the greatest summer ever. They’re in their socks and sandals and messy hair,
just enjoying being together and forming lifelong friendships.
What is important? It’s what’s in your heart. We all want and deserve the same things; acceptance, respect and happiness. I thank Camp Can-Aqua for giving my children this amazing opportunity, where they feel all of this and so much more. This was Jadyn and Tanner’s 7th summer. It wasn’t easy to convince them to come home.
Thank you to all summer camps everywhere for teaching children
what can be—acceptance, friendships regardless of differences
and good clean fun!
Julie and I hiked up and sat at the top of our mountain (well, more like a big hill,
but it’s our mountain!) at Hidden Valley. We have climbed this mountain more times
than we can count, for years. We would talk, envision, dream and we wanted more--
more for ourselves, for our families, for our friends… for our lives.
The two of us have encouraged and supported each other to climb our mountains
and we each took our leap of faith. I left my nursing career and Julie left a 17 year career coaching. Julie says, “I left last year and have not looked back!” We are celebrating!
We are creating the change we want to see in the world. I’ve written my book,
I am speaking and doing all kinds of wonderful things (that’s right!). Julie is working
one on one with clients, facilitating workshops and creating presentations on
mindfulness. Working through removing emotional blocks with people so that they
can climb their mountain!!
Julie: The thing about a mountain, is that it’s one step at a time. And that’s what
we’ve done! That’s all that people have the capacity to do, is take one step in front of
the other and take whatever right action is in front of them.
Me: You don’t have to know how to get to the very top, you just have to do the next step,
then the next step and you know what? You might be surprised halfway up, and you
go in another direction and you’re going to a different place.
Right now we are both climbing the summit of our mountains and I am saying to
everybody…Look out for us, because we are doing some stuff!!
Don’t be afraid to climb your mountain at any age.
You just might surprise yourself (like we did!).
To learn more about Julie and her work visit:
I thought it was going to be a nice sunny day.
I didn’t really look at the weather, but it changes anyway. Apparently it is teeming rain!
I was a little disappointed at first, I’m not going to lie! But then decided to go with
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!”
So, I’ve got my lovely rain boots, my rain gear and I’m going for a really nice long walk
and I’m going to play in some puddles and probably get soaked. I’m going to make it
a really good day, despite the weather.
Life is unpredictable. Prepare for anything.
The weather is certainly unpredictable and sometimes Mother Nature does have a little
bit of a temper, doesn’t she?! I’m going to enjoy the weather, no matter what.
I hope you have a really great day, rain or shine! So remember…There’s no bad weather,
only inappropriate clothing!
Do you have a story about having fun in the rain?
I’d love to hear it!
Geordie and I realized that we never celebrate our successes,
well not as much as we should! We work long hours and we love what we do.
But we don’t take the time to really celebrate all that we’ve accomplished.
So tonight, we had “date night” our kids are away in *upstate NY, we became tourists
and went all the way to Bracebridge to El Pueblito, the Mexican Restaurant and had
the most amazing time. With wonderful food, great decor, atmosphere and fabulous
Spanish music playing in the background, we toasted and said,
“We are doing so many wonderful things! Good for us!”
I encourage you, each and every day to take the time to say, “Well done!” to yourself,
your team, your family… whoever! Celebrate successes, big and small. We need to
give ourselves more credit and be proud of ourselves! Enjoy!
Celebrate your fabulous self!
In 2014, when I started Love Your Life to Death I had no idea what I was doing!
So I reached out to people who were creating a culture of change around death
and diffusing the fear. One of those people was Jon Underwood, who started the Death Café movement in 2011. I thought to myself, “What the heck is a Death Café?
So I read up on it, was intrigued and realized, it was amazing!
A Death Café is a group directed discussion about death, with no agenda, objectives
or themes. They are also respectful and inclusive. The purpose is to increase awareness
of death with a view on making the most of our finite lives. And eat cake too!
Jon gave up his job and he gave his heart and soul and was so passionate starting this movement. There have now been Death Cafes in over 50 countries and more than 10,000 people have gathered to discuss death so they could live their lives fully. I’ve hosted a few Death Cafes myself and they were incredible with inspiring and empowering conversations.
So it is with a heavy heart, I share that Jon Underwood died in June 2017 at the age of 44.
I was stunned and shed many tears. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and two young children. The Death Café legacy will live on forever and continue to help so many people.
I take this opportunity to say thank you to Jon, for starting this incredible movement.
My book, Love Your Life to Death is a resource on the Death Café website.
I am proudly going to donate $5.00 per book ordered from this site/my website,
to help the Death Café movement carry on. They have also started a fundraiser for his family.
Jon left his job and used his savings to bring this to the world. This is a great way to give back.
I’m going to do my part. I encourage everyone to check out the website and even to host
your own Death Café. It’s just a conversation with coffee, tea and cake!
Thank you, Jon Underwood, for your selfless gift. I send love to your family, friends
and following. I promise to continue to do everything I can to bring death out of the
darkness and into our conversations and to diffuse the fear.
You have left a legacy of love and I will be forever grateful.
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?
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.