Bring on the Sparkle

I have some HUGE news on a couple of fronts!  I am very excited to share it with you. One of my friends always tells me I don’t share my “sparkle” enough, so you’re in for a healthy dose this morning! 

  1. I’ll be presenting at PowHERtalks this Sunday October 2nd in Calgary.  I’m honoured to be the “closer”, the last speaker on the program.   The topic of my PowHERtalk is “Taking the Ick out of Politics”. I want to change the Political landscape in Canada by encouraging  more women to run for elected office and to follow my own vision of a more collaborative Canada at the highest levels of government. You can find more information at: PowHERtalks Calgary .  There are a limited amount of tickets still available of you’re free this Sunday!   Videos of the Calgary PowHERtalks will be available in a few weeks if you can’t make it this weekend.  I’ll share the transcript of my PowHERtalk after Sunday. 
  2. I am thrilled to announce I’ve received my license as a REALTOR(r) in BC!    I am working with the tremendous team of Royal LePage Sussex, based out of the Sechelt office.   It’s been an exciting and challenging time as I’ve worked through the course and exam.     And here I am!  

Thrilling times ahead, and this is only a piece of what’s going on.  Can’t wait to see what sparkles next.  😉 

All the best,


Consent Awareness 

Raising awareness about consent. Red light, green light at U of Calgary.

CBC’s Coverage of University of Calgary’s Consent Awareness Campaign

I’m happy a university took it upon themselves to hold an event of this scale to bring awareness to the definitions of two of the shortest words in the English language, the concepts of which are pretty definite.

If you detect a small amount of sarcasm,
I am saddened that IN 2016, we have to teach how NOT TO GET RAPED.

How NO means NO. Not maybe. Not later.

That CONSENT means the object of your amorous advances says YES and AGREES to allow you to touch them.

Do you want to go skydiving? No. Then I won’t drag you on to the plane, strap a parachute on you (or not) and throw you out.

Do you want to have tea? Yes. But I only want a bit, and I like it plain.

Would you like this sandwich? Yes.   Wait,  I’m not comfortable having  more than this half.  Stop trying to feed me more!

Consent means agreement to do something.  If the person changes their mind, consent is no longer valid.

It it crucial to educate what consent  IS in an era when misogynistic judges reward convicted rapists with paltry sentences so as to not “ruin their futures”.  There is little justice for perpetrators and even less reporting due to shame and fear of repercussions for victims.

It’s great to see initiatives like U of C’s to bring awareness to this issue, especially on a large scale, collaborative manner and involving new students.

But my heart still hurts and worries for my daughters’ safety in today’s world.

Are you an #EveryDayAllStar?

“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be” – Rita Pierson, from TED Education 2013
Ms. Pierson’s TED talk is geared for educators, but it’s applicable to all adults.  Every child needs a champion, a person who is their hero, everyday.
My daughter Carly has spent her summer working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area. Their campaign #EveryDayAllStar is focused on raising funds to support mentorship for children in need in the Calgary area. The power of connection is crucial for children to survive and thrive, and cannot always be found within their families.
Check out what they’re doing.  Donate if you can, or volunteer.   Not in the Calgary Area?   Find a Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in your community.   So many children need a safe adult they can connect with and help them to be their best.
Here’s a fun video to start your weekend  featuring the team from Big Brothers Big Sisters about their summer campaign.  (yes, there’s a cameo appearance of my girl)

Grad 2016 Speech for Pender Harbour

I had the great honour of addressing the 2016 graduating class of Pender Harbour Secondary School on June 28, 2016.   This class is one the smallest in recent years; TEN young adults received their certificates today.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

On behalf of the Board of Education, School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I am proud to bring greetings and congratulations to the Pender Harbour Grad Class of 2016.

When the school district launched our new strategic plan last year, it was titled “Excellence in All We Do”.

We focus on three main goal areas:

Our Staff Inspires – as a district, we are proud and grateful to have personnel throughout our that are dedicated to each student that walks through our doors.

We Embrace our Community – Public Education could not exist without the partnerships support and dedication to youth our community provides.   Thank you for your generosity in donating not only funds, but other resources and of yourselves.

But our most important goal:

Our Students Excel.  You are the reasons why we celebrate today, why we have schools, why we strive to continually do better.

The mission of our School District is to enable and inspire our students to realize their full potentials as knowledgable, confident and contributing citizens in the global community.  Being a parent of students at Pender allows me to learn more of each of you, your families, and me a glimpse in to the citizens you already are, and will continue to be.  As a class, from when you first started school, you have had an effect on my family.   You have been leaders, offered mentorship, friendship and challenges in academics and athletics to each one of my children.

The camaraderie and leadership shown to the younger students at Pender Harbour, including and encouraging them to do their best is a great legacy for your class.    Your grade 12 year has been an interesting one with the complete change in class structure.   The change in structure has allowed for X Blocks, enabling students broader choice for electives, finding and following their passions.

Thank you for welcoming this new structure and being leaders for your peers not only at this school and district but across BC.  This model is being watched, adopted and adapted across the province.

From your first day at school

To this day, this minute, this second

Knowledge and skills have been learned, you’ve used many a tool

Your courage has grown, you are a force to be reckoned

You have learned to take a chance

Tried gold, welding, hiking

Spent time with seniors in Latin Dance

Gained confidence to try any subject of your liking

iPad users from way back

Technology helped you your grade nine math

(selfies, Instagram and the release of Snapchat)

Have all been part of your educational path.

Beyond your classrooms,

Many a teacher’s lecture

Your mind blooms

The ideas that conjecture.

Your journey to this point

Has been full of grades, teachers, friends

the accolades today will hereby anoint

the significance of where your K to 12 ends.

You’ve been heroes here at PHSS

Leaders with capes unfurled

We celebrate you and your future success

Now go on, put your mark on the world.


The Subtleties (and subtitles) of Sexism 

I stumbled across the following post a few days ago: (comments a woman hears over her lifetime that a man never will)

and it reminded me a similar marketing campaign from Always (R) – you may have seen this already – “Like A Girl”

The phrases are prevalent in every day speech – throw, run, hit ‘like a girl’; when are you going to find a nice man and settle down?; how many children are you going to have….but only when it comes to women.   When was the last time a man was asked if he was going to stay at home with the baby, take his wife’s name, start a family?

We do this to our children – female and male – from birth. Preschool, “she likes you, you have a girlfriend”, to the soccer field “you’re running like a bunch of little girls” to career “women don’t belong in politics, law, etc” or “a real man isn’t a hairdresser, pastry chef, decorator, etc”.  A male relative of mine once commented to me “women shouldn’t be police officers because it ruins families having men and women in close quarters.”  I was a bit dumbfounded, and responded back with his logic  – “Why are men in police work?  Doesn’t it ruin families?”

Why do we genderize our daily commentary to each other, especially to our children? Focusing on gender as a qualifier for ability, aptitude or competence is outdated and detrimental to our society.


I am the mother of three young women and I hope I am raising them to be strong, healthy human beings, capable to accomplish great things and to be the strongest, brightest people they can be.    

It is 2016.  As we mark this International Womens Day, give thought to how you speak to the next generation, to each other.  Let’s not continue to spread these subtleties of sexism.

I’ll end with this talk from TEDwomen, delivered by Liza Donnelly : Drawing upon Humor for change.

Share-There Launches on the Sunshine Coast

January 22, 2016, marked the official launch of Share-There, a ride-sharing social enterprise.  The concept comes from Sean and Michelle Morton (pictured in photo below).

Share-There was created to address some of the transportation woes on the Sunshine Coast, as well as add in the social benefits of the carpool in an electronic age.

Two great added features of the site are the event calendar and ticketing app.   You can add your event to the event calendar and sell tickets through the Share-There Website, similar to other event ticketing sites such as    Check out  Event and Ticket Information for the easy-to-use directions.

The mission statement of Share-There says it all:

“We aim to reduce single occupancy vehicle use and build a stronger local community and economy.”

It is estimated 80-90% of the vehicles travelling between Sechelt and Gibsons each day only have ONE occupant.   This is counterintuitive to the reputation we strive for : a more connected, environmentally conscious community.

Sunshine Coast – now’s it your turn.  Sign up for Share-There and stop driving by yourself!

share there

Congratulations again to Michelle and Sean!



“Learning Spaces” Facilities Consultations in SD46

School District 46 (Sunshine Coast) wants to hear from our community!

We are embarking on a series of community consolations over this week and next to hear about what YOU have to say about our facilities and how they can best support our students and larger community.

Here’s the Consultation schedule:

Gibsons Area                       Where: Gibsons Elementary School (Library)
                                                         783 School Road, Gibsons, BC
When:  Monday, January 25 from 4-6 pm

Sechelt Area                        Where: Chatelech Secondary School (Foyer)

                                                         5904 Cowrie Street, Sechelt, BC
When:  Tuesday, January 26 from 4-6 pm

Pender Harbour Area           Where: Pender Harbour Secondary (Library)

                                                          13639 Sunshine Coast Highway, Madeira Park, BC
When:  Monday, February 1 from 4-6 pm

Register at:

Hope to see you there!

My #powHERtalk – #HoldyourHeart

Today was the second instalment in a six-city series of powHERtalks, an event that aims to connect and empower women in different Canadian communities.   You can find more information at

I was one of the speakers at today’s event in Sechelt.   Here is the transcript of my powHERtalk; I’ll share the video when it is available.   Thanks Charlene sanJenko and team for an amazing event!  Let the momentum continue…


How often do you hold your heart?

Holding your heart.

To take the time to acknowledge its beats, its rhythm..

But it’s more.

Take the time to acknowledge the stress and daily grind of life that you put it through.

Take a moment.   Right now.

Put your hand on your chest, feel it. This muscle that serves you, without fail, every moment.

Close your eyes,.. breathe out. breathe in.

Stretch your shoulders back to open your chest…

The gentle beat as it pumps your life through your body.

Breathe out your stress, breathe in your calm.

I had this amazing experience as I was winding my through a divorce and custody battle with my ex-husband.

I had a massage. 
The moment the therapist set her hands on me, she sucked in her breath and said, you have a heart knot.

A heart knot? What do you mean?

A heart knot. It’s very tight. You’ve been through some trauma. If you’re open to it, I’ll hold your heart at the end of your massage and see if we can loosen it.

At this point, I had an image from Grey’s Anatomy pop in to my head, of the surgeons massaging a heart that was on its last beats.

Ok, I agreed, game for what this might entail.

At the end of our hour together, as I was lying on my back, she cupped her hand over my chest, above my heart, and positioned her other hand under my back, just below my heart. 
She gently rocked my body from side to side, telling me to focus on my breathing.

After a couple of minutes, what I can only describe as a bubble drifted up from my chest and popped near the base of my throat and a few tears drifted from the corners of my eyes.

Wow, I said.   Was that it?

That was a bit. She said.   You’ve got a long ways to go.

And we don’t have the time today.

Since that day almost eight years ago, I have observed my body’s reactions to events, to people, to what I hold in.

When I feel the stress of work, of my personal demands on my body; of all the other ways I’ve let the external forces become internal battles, and manifest them physically.   During my separation, I got quite ill – tonsillitis and bronchitis that took two different sets of antibiotics and a week worth of sleep to combat.

After an incredibly busy summer at the Resort, I broke my ankle at work, forcing me to not only slow down, BUT ask for help from others, a difficult thing for a single independent mom to do.

My weight – the reaction to being sad, angry, bored, which then leads to these extra pounds that become an emotional layer to shield me from getting too close, which then makes me sad angry bored;

The act of holding my heart, reminds me to calm down, to let go and feel the power that serves me.

This story of holding my heart has become more poignant for me this past week, through Remembrance Day and the stories of the Soldiers of Suicide, soldiers that return from wars and police action physically unscathed, yet with their own demons that won’t subside, and of a crisis hitting very close to home with a friend whom is suffering an internal battle within their own mind.

How can we hold the hearts of others, to help them before it becomes too late, before they succumb?

Is it being kind when we don’t need to be right? Or simply using the knowledge that we don’t know what is going on, and simply offer help or being there for them.

My theme word this year is authenticity. (I turned 40 this year, and finally feel like I am coming in to my own. )

In sharing who I am, how I hurt, how I hurt myself, challenging me to be who I am without fear.

I have always been the master of the brave face, of “everything is fine” – the one that everyone thinks has it all together.

I don’t.

I have been the teen with suicidal thoughts, binge drinking my way through high school..

The mom with the ‘baby blues’, at home with her beautiful babies, yet feeling so isolated, friendless and alone…

the overextended woman who volunteers for everyone, everything because she is trying to fill in her time to not have to deal with the inadequacy and disappointment she feels within herself for not doing more, for not being better as a mom, a wife, a friend, an employee.

These disapprovals with myself have hurt my heart over the years, causing me to get to a place where my chest is always tight, heart tightly wound a thick knot of shame.

Through the constant check-in with my breathing (always out first, then in) and a hand on my heart reminds me there is a power me that is strong.

I have a dear friend that I adore, but this person can drive me crazy. Challenges me, my way of thinking, pushes me out of my comfort zone..

One particular day after one of our visits over coffee, I was a bit wound up so I sat on the beach and looked down to find a heart-shaped rock.   Gripping it in fingers, rolling over and over in my palms, I felt a bubble of laughter lift from my throat, and a calm descend.

This is now become my talisman – a reminder to hold my heart even with those I love most.

So, I have three asks–

1 – hold your heart, by yourself if you can stretch that way, or with a loved one.

2 – Share the message– Through kindness, Donate a blanket, clothing food to someone in need; buy a coffee for the person behind you; LISTEN to a friend… kind words, thoughts and action can make a world of difference.

3 – go for a walk in a special place and find your own heart rock as a reminder to be kind to yourself, to your heart.