Snow People and Other Fun

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by
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I’d like to say a word about playing. It is a universally healthful thing to do. My friend Leslie, who is a brilliant artist and beautiful human being, sent me the following photos from her day of winter fun. Leslie’s children have grown and flown the nest, but that did not stop her from playing in the snow. I for one am going to take a page from her book this week and make sure to make time for frivolity.

To enjoy more of Leslie’s creative work, visit her site at:

Good Mama Sue & The 3 Bears

Posted on: February 24th, 2012 by

My life as a mother is pretty easy right now. My children are grown and pursuing their independent interests. They still live at home but less and less are they needing my help with much of anything at all. We are developing different ways of relating – having lots of fun, but spending great amounts of time not being together.

This past week, I went on a two day retreat to The 3 Bears Bed and Breakfast in the country, to celebrate my my friend’s 60th birthday. While I was there, completely removed from my normal domestic routine, I found myself realizing how unusual it is for me (even now) to focus on my own needs, before first considering  those of my girls.

This is a necessary habit we parents form when our children are infants. For a time, our baby’s needs simply must come before anything else. But most of us hang on to the habit long after it is really necessary and get further and further away from asking ourselves what we need or want or desire. Rather, we throw ourselves into accommodating our children’s needs, sometimes to the point of living vicariously through their successes and achievements.

That could be the reason why some parents take it so hard when their children grow up and take a different path than they had hoped for them. – But I digress.

If we, parents, can learn to take time for ourselves on a regular basis – time with friends (or even alone) to refresh and renew our energy – we have more to give our children when we are with them, and more of ourselves left intact, when our children no longer need our constant care.

By the way… if you live in southern Ontario, I highly recommend a get-away to The (Amazing) 3 Bears Bed and Breakfast near Elora and Fergus. . You will sleep well, you will eat well…it’ll be juuusssttt right!


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Simply, Light

Posted on: February 20th, 2012 by
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I’m grateful today for light, seeping and surprising and bursting it’s way into my winter.

Light, in the form of time with my daughters: laughing, skating, cooking. Sharing enthusiasms for differing interests – sometimes teasing each other about the same – religious philosophy, video game characters, fictional romances.

Light, in the rays of the unusually present sun, inspiring hope in a heart, in a city, that is often times grey at this season of the year.

Light, in the beaming smile of a new baby, who is moving (with her parents) into the suite upstairs. Her’s is the happiest of all light. She is at the beginning. She is loved and safe. She has everything to believe in and nothing to fear.

And if we look to the sun, and our children, and the faces of babies, we too have everything to believe in and nothing to fear.

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Matters of the Heart

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by
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I was watching a program this morning about debt reduction. A young couple had found themselves living beyond their financial limits and they had called an expert for help. After the initial assessment of their situation, many tasks had been required of them, in order that they might return their circumstances to a balanced state.

When it came time for their financial adviser to check in with their progress, she was surprised to find that they had not chosen to increase their family income by finding another job between them.

Asked to account for their decision, the young mother (holding  her eight-month-old baby on her lap) explained. It was not worth it to her to work at an office all day, pay a day care to look after her child, and have almost nothing to show for it in the in end.

What she wasn’t saying, but I could see in her eyes, was that, for her, this was not about money. This was about the deficit to her heart that would occur, if she were away from her baby all day, in exchange for a few measly dollars.The adviser went on to argue the economics of the situation but this mother quietly stood her ground.

I felt a kinship with the young woman and wanted to reach through the screen and give her a hug. I wanted to reassure her, on this day, that if she followed her heart, she could do both: take care of her baby and help the family finances.

In the end she did not take an office job. She invested a small amount of time (six months) into certifying for a job that allowed her to set her own hours, and generate income, without putting her child into full time care.

The heart knows.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

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On Collecting Burdens

Posted on: January 26th, 2012 by
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All the wisdom this week points to burdens.
Don’t collect them.
Don’t go looking for them.
Don’t even give them the time of day.
Enough will accumulate without your effort or attention.
Deal with those swiftly and without grudge.
Get back to joy as soon as you are able.
Be vigilant in this regard.
Your over all wellness depends upon it.

(The wellness of your children depends upon it too.)


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Thank-you! Thank-you! ( First posted July 8, 2009)

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 by

Has the universe ever thrown you a surprise? I mean right out of the blue, something wonderful you did not expect, or look for, or ask for, or even know you wanted?

Well, one of my surprises walked around the corner on the sidewalk in front of my house sometime last fall and as I caught sight of her out of the corner of my eye I never dreamed how important she would become to me.

I was coming out of my house one morning to take my girls to school. She, as I said, happened to be rounding the corner just at that moment. She appeared to be about eighty years or so and moved with a careful series of small steps.

As is my want with strangers, I looked her directly in the eyes, smiled and said “Good morning.” Her response was nothing short of delightful. A huge grin spread across her face; she placed her hands together in a prayer-like posture, bowed repeatedly in my direction and said over and over again. “Thank-you! Thank-you!”

I smiled and tried some words in response, then hurried my kids into the car lest we be late for the all important school bell. As we drove off I watched the older woman wave and smile and wave and smile and wave and smile, til she was no longer visible in the review mirror, and I thought to myself, “Cool.”

The next morning (about the same time I suppose), somewhere around 8:15, I walked out my front door and there she was again rounding the corner at the very same spot. She seemed just as surprised as I was that we had met again and we had a virtual repeat of the previous days events; me saying “Hello”, her bowing and smiling and saying “Thank-you! Thank-you!”

This time, however, I approached her and shook her hand and introduced myself. I asked for her name in return. It was then I realized she could not understand a thing that I was saying and her total English vocabulary consisted of her two words of gratitude. But her smile was as big a crescent moon and I felt so uplifted by her joy. Again, I had to get the kids to school so I said goodbye; she said thanked me and we waved as far as we could still see each other.

As the weeks went on, so did our growing connection. If I wasn’t out the door when she came around the corner she would slow her steps even more and sometimes, through my window, I would see her walking back the other direction just to kill time till I appeared. Then our greeting ritual, which now included a big hug, would commence and finish all within about 45 seconds, but the feeling of warmth, lasted well into the day.

Fall and then winter worn on and we had some pretty intense snowfall. I didn’t see “my lady” every day but enough times during the week to keep our friendship growing. On the days when she didn’t show up I assumed she was not taking chances with the icy conditions. Occasionally I would see her go by through my window but I would be inside in my pajamas because the girls were finding their own way to school.

Then, sometime in the spring, I realized that I hadn’t seen my friend for several days in a row. Those days turned into a couple of weeks and a sadness began to form like a dull ache in my heart. I couldn’t let myself think the worst but I carried the fear that I might never see her again.

One day in May, I opened my blinds at around 9:15 am. and there she was shuffling along the sidewalk in front of my house looking at the window with a worried expression on her face. At the moment our eyes met you would have thought the sun rose in an instant. We both started bouncing with excitement and I ran to the door, crossed the lawn and gave her a big hug. “Thank you thank you ” was all she could say. I told her that I was so glad to see her and that I had missed her and that she was looking well. I know she didn’t understand my words but she knew what I was saying, because she was saying the same things back to me.

When we finally let the moment go and I was back inside, having waved to her through my window till she stopped turning around to look for me, I realized that she must have altered her walking schedule as a result of the time change in the spring. She was walking at the same time her body was used to walking regardless of what the clock said.

I still see my friend very often and I still don’t know her name, but our connection brings me warmth and joy every single time. I love living in this city where people from all over the world come to find a place to call home. My friend and I are just two of those people and for bringing her into my life I would like to say to the universe, “Thank-you. Thank-you.”
Posted by susan at 5:46 AM 0 comments


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Praise and Parties (First Posted Sept 2009)

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by
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In Praise of Optimism & After the Millwood Party
I’m all for it – radical, raging, relentless, optimism!
It’s the new fashion in my closet.
I recommend its easy flow and attractive colors
Go ahead; try it on.
Dance, dance, dance. Sing with gusto.
Drink in the night sky and laugh at yourself.
Look people in the eye and hear what they are saying.
They want to be known, as do you.
Exchange ideas, share compassion.
Do these things because you can.
You are still alive,
so while you can, experience your life.
You have nothing to lose.


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Listen to Your Baby

Posted on: January 1st, 2012 by
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“Maybe because I never saw myself as “figured out” by the time I started to have children, I always assumed that they had as much to teach me as I had to teach them. When our first daughter (Hannah) was born I knew she was physically dependent upon my care, but I thought of her as evolutionarily more advanced and believed that if I nurtured her lovingly, she would bring something unique to the world that I could not offer. So, from day one, I looked upon Hannah as an equal, someone to be respected and certainly someone who knew herself better than I ever could.

As a result, I paid attention to what Hannah was “telling” me about herself, and as much as I could, I facilitated her own internal wisdom. In other words, I just got out of her way and let her live her life. Oh, I nursed her and changed her and sang to her and cuddled her, but I also saw myself in service to her in a bigger way, like I was her guide but it was her adventure. I was someone who had been given the privilege of helping her discover her unfolding life and charged with keeping her physically, emotionally, and spiritually safe as she grew, while recognizing that it was, in the end, her life to live .

Was I perfect at this? No. I often slipped into the mode of trying to control the situation, but the times when I did not resist Hannah’s natural way of being in the world, I found that life was easier. I had more energy for myself and for her, and it felt like I was developing integrity in my relationship to this wonderful little person.”

  Excerpt: Chapter 4 (“Baby Knows Best”) of How to Treat Your Toddlers so Your Teenagers Will Talk to You

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Poetic License

Posted on: December 29th, 2011 by
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I am grateful today for poetic license and a new word coined by Hannah.

In response to me telling her that our cat Phoenix had been sitting comfortably beside me watching me write she remarked,”She’s keeping you comphany.”, and then laughed as I laughed along with her.


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“Let’s Talk About Self-Love”

Posted on: December 11th, 2011 by • Sticky
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002Are you a parent, feeling lost or hopeless in your role?
Are you a child feeling misunderstood or un-seen by adults?
Are you a teen or young adult struggling to clarify your direction?
Is anyone in your family in crisis or transition and in need of some compassionate guidance?
I can help. I am a certified coach practitioner with a particular interest in supporting the wellness of families, but I welcome anyone who might benefit from some encouragement and a safe place to share. My work is based on my long-held belief that the practice of self-love is the foundation for all healing, growth and forward movement.

Whether you are at a time of deep despair and need someone to hear your story, or you are at a point in your life where you are ready to take action and would like help sorting out the details, I offer a listening ear and practical strategies as I companion you through your temporary life challenges. My approach is open, non-judgmental, loving and joyful.

Appointments can happen in person, on the phone or through email correspondence. For more information please:
Email: or
Call: 204-730-4102