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I’ve been on a wild ride of self awareness these days and I’ll admit, I’ve been loving it.  I’ve been taking the time to really get to know myself and everything that means.  I’ve been giving myself the permission I felt I needed to spend the time on myself.  But that’s an inspiring blog for another day! My point is…. I’ve been feeling selfish about not feeling selfish.  I’m sure you can relate.

So today was my little baby boy’s sixth birthday.  He’s been growing so quickly. Kindergarten.  They go in as closed little flower buds and come out as completely bloomed and beautiful open flowers.  I’ve been silently tracking things like his freckle count and the last time he needed me to pour his cereal.  Oh, and the number of times he comes into my bed in the middle of the night.  Every time I see his cute little buns scramble up the stairs to bed, I feel the weight of that number on my heart. I ask him almost every morning if he could please stop growing now. He always says no. I’ll ask again tomorrow.

The five of us were able to spend the evening together.  A typical week night.  Rush home from work.  Change clothes, drive off to middle child’s ball game.  But it’s little child’s birthday! so we celebrate by going out for supper first.  We rush a bit through our meal because we are flirting with being late for the game and middle child doesn’t want to have to sit the first inning.  As we grab the last few fries and put our coats on, I notice little child didn’t even have a sip of his orange juice, but he did eat his entire Caesar salad and his 3 chicken wings are in my purse. I take the time to love that moment. I lose nothing from that moment.

We watched the ball game and birthday boy snuggled on my knee under the warm blanket.  We shared sunflower seeds with dad and the big sister. He told me that his favorite part of the day was when I surprised him at school with cupcakes for his class.  When it began to rain, I held him closer and covered our heads with the blanket.  I leaned into him. I let my lungs breathe deeply and take in the essence of my little boy.  I kissed his chubby cheek.  I closed my eyes. I felt the light of love rush through my body.

The rain ended the game and chased us back to the car for a drive home.  We came upon a moose in the ditch and drove slowly beside it, windows rolled down, dad hollering funny things to make the kids laugh.  The big sister gets mad at him for hollering.  Middle one laughs hysterically.  Little one smiles and tells me in his little lisp, “It’th my birthday mooth”.  I look at the clouds rolling over us through the sunroof and point at it.  All the kids look.  “It feels like we’re flying in the clouds!”.  It sure does.

I haven’t taken much time to write about my adventures in momming lately as I’ve been  trying to focus on “myself”.  I had been trying to separate being a parent from finding self awareness.  I was convinced that it could only be found by being alone. Today I was reminded that it doesn’t always have to be separate.  There are teachers everywhere in our lives, and today my teacher turned 6.

Tomorrow morning when I ask him if he’s ready to stop growing yet, Ill already know the answer but I’ll ask anyway.  The difference is that I look forward to hearing “no!”  It’s ok.  He’s still my baby boy, he’s just growing.  Both are possible simultaneously. Today I learned to simultaneously enjoy what is while accepting that it can change.

I’m still a peanut butter mother, I’m just growing.

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The Positivity Project

Posted: March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

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I’ve been struggling, friends.

I’ve been struggling with a lot of things. Life things, love things, friend things, kid things, business things, house things, money things, healthcare things, political things…. A lot of things. Things were getting me down. I was finding myself scrolling though Facebook like a zombie, unconsciously (and consciously) comparing myself to other women, other moms, other business owners, other wives. I became increasingly disappointed in my own degrees of success and social acceptance, financial stability, fitness, and mothering. I felt helpless and angry whenever I read news reports and social disgust when I read ‘fake’ news reports. I noticed who “liked” my social media posts and who didn’t. Even worse, I was shocked to find myself really caring about who liked my posts and who didn’t. I would read inspirational quotes and passive aggressive quotes and sarcastic quotes and silently jump to conclusions about the people who posted them. In a disappointing display of self doubt, I actually began to question whether my EYEBROWS were good enough, for heaven’s sake! I, a woman who has given birth to and raised 3 kids, survived a divorce, and built a business was wondering if the shape of my facial hair made me feel like I was good enough or not. Things were getting out of hand. I was becoming the cliché social media-addicted adult, tagging people in memes in an attempt to connect with an inside joke. I was wasting evenings on the couch mindlessly refreshing my feed in hopes that something new might have magically arrived in the last 2 minutes to keep me distracted and doing that while sitting beside my husband who was often doing the same thing. I began zoning out my kids’ noise by getting lost in my phone and found myself taking dumb quizzes to find out what kind of sandwich I would be! Super important stuff. Meanwhile I was letting friendships and relationships and personally fulfilling things like reading and writing and artwork fall by the wayside. I was sad and emotionally depleted and didn’t understand why.

I’ve known for awhile that I SHOULD unplug from social media but I was always also aware that as a business, I depend on it for at least 80% of my marketing. But it was starting to feel like a ball and chain. I’ve devoted tons of time and iPhone storage space to pictures of cupcakes and lunch specials and fancy meals. I was frequently getting sucked into a swiping wormhole when I was supposed to be finishing my bank reconciliations. After reading endless #bossbabe and #riseandgrind and #getitgirl posts I realized that feeling pressure to maintain perpetual career success was actually causing me to lose passion for my career. I felt as though I was constantly just treading water, barely keeping my head from going under and never gaining any ground. In a moment of clarity I recognized that I had replaced creativity and inspiration with fixation on sales and financial profit, or lack thereof. My creative outlet had been compromised. I was no longer blogging, something that gave me great joy, because I was afraid to offend any current, future, or former customers. Not to mention, I felt that to be a good business owner, I needed to be connected to my phone and digitally available to my customers at all times. Answering inbox messages at 11pm or cake questions on my Sunday afternoon with my kids became routine. My feathers became easily ruffled at anyone in the business who was doing things that I was doing, because I felt it as a threat to my livelihood. I was becoming jaded to the service industry and more and more often, I found myself avoiding customer interaction. Eventually, although I desperately wanted and needed higher sales, I began to dread the sound of the front door opening. The irony was not lost on me. I began feeling bitter and resentful about a life and a job I once loved, and I was looking for a place to lay blame. I was feeling exhausted by the seemingly endless effort it was taking just to keep my head above water, in every area of my life. I felt no more joy in the pursuit of business success. I felt angry that I had given so much to my business and worked so hard to find ways to be marketable but I was still sinking in quicksand, each bank statement the same as the next. I felt depressed, deflated, and defeated because after all that struggle and stress and emotional turmoil, my bottom line still struggled.

And that may not change….

However…

I’ve made a conscious shift in my vision for The Sweet Cup. The idea is both exciting for me and terrifying, but not equally. I am more excited than scared. I feel hopeful, refreshed, maybe a bit apprehensive, but I am relieved to have made a conscious choice to prioritize social connection and community over profits, and personal fulfillment above status of success. We still need to make money and provide a service, but in this moment in our journey as an evolving business we are making a social commitment to our customers, our community and our families and friends that Sweet Cup is stepping up to start a ripple of social change for the better. We want to be a hub of human connection. We want to do our part for the community and for each other. We want to encourage kindness and fun. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as the owner of a coffee shop, it’s that people crave human connection. I’ve seen so many customers come in day after day hoping for someone to talk to. I’ve also enjoyed the regular groups who come in together or meet, and I smile a little every time I hear their laughter and conversation from my perch in the kitchen. We need to connect with each other. We need to foster empathy, kindness, friendship, creativity, and acceptance. We all need to be surrounded by examples that we are all imperfect, we all have struggles, we all need to feel accepted, appreciated, and heard. We are all just trying to find joy. We are all the same in that way.

Our Sweet Cup Supper Club was the first seed of change. It gave me the ability to use my creativity to bring people in the community together in a concrete, face to face way. Now I feel we can do more. We can help create a positivity ripple that could have infinite effects. It may not be revolutionary and it will come in small steps, but any kind of positive change is the goal. We can’t change the big picture without picking up the paintbrush. We want people to connect. Empathize. Understand each other. Our goal will be helping our community connect in meaningful ways, big and small, and we hope you will help us make a change.

I still may tag my friends in memes and scroll through facebook occasionally, and you can bet we’ll be continuing our marketing online, because that is the reality that exists in business today. But we will also be using that platform to make the effort to connect, engage, and invest in our community and in our customers as fellow human beings. Our goal is face to face social connection and human interaction. Talking to each other. Learning from each other. Encouraging each other. Being a community. Business success should never come at the cost of personal fulfillment, and I am willing to take the risk that focusing on our customers and our community will only lead to positivity, regardless of financial profit. What the world needs now is just a tiny ripple, so let’s dip our toes in the water, friends. Let’s keep The Sweet Cup full… full of connection, interaction, and sharing. The coffee might cost ya, but the good vibes are free! We want to fill the cup of kindness every day, and we want your help. Let’s do this!

Please share this with the world if it has inspired you, and join us on our journey in The Positivity Project. You can check out our first project, The Sweet Cup Connection, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2021474411511448/

 

She’s still a little girl.

Posted: February 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

via She’s still a little girl.

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My daughter is 12.  She’ll soon be 13, but she’s still a little girl.

A little girl with a wise emotional intelligence and an aching need for affection.  A dreamy, head in the clouds creative soul with a balancing need for rules, order and organization.  She loves charts and spreadsheets and reading and youtube and snapstreaks and hip-hop dance.  A determined, stand-your-ground individual  with a quiet confidence that one tends to admire.

But she’s still a little girl.

I crept into her room tonight, as she was fast asleep.  She’s always been a heavy sleeper… except until she was two and I would have sold my right ovary for a full night’s sleep.  But here she is, like an angel.  The glow of her hologram horse light in the dark room falls on her pale skin.  Her dark eyebrows are furrowed and her tiny little lips are just slightly parted.  Her hair is splayed out over the pillow, wild and crazy.  She’s a sleeping beauty.  My sleeping beauty. I often wonder for how much longer, but then I shake my head and confidently remind myself:

No, she’s still a little girl.

I can remember so many little flashes of her life, my life with her.  Some memories are only jarred by photos, or by finding an old blanket in a closet.  I remember her birth day.  She was the first grand daughter for my parents.  She was my first baby.  She was a nightmare for the next 10 months but that first day, when her 6 lb weight lay on my chest, I thought she was perfect. So tiny and perfect.  We would joke that we were so lucky not to have a relentlessly crying baby like the parents in the other room. I knew I didn’t know what the hell I was doing but I was ready for the challenge.  After all, I had made it through the delivery and as far as I was concerned, that meant I could do anything.

After that, her babyhood was a blur of bouncing, rocking, crying (her too).  She was colicky and I was tired and emotionally bankrupt.  But I loved her so much.  There were still plenty of baby giggles and hide and seek, pretty dresses and jiffy marker messes. She was special from the start.

My facebook memories seem flooded with pictures of her chubby little beautiful face and ski-jump nose and big brown eyes. She was so cute.  Now, she’s more beautiful than cute.  Her eyes look for the knowledge in things and fill easily to the brim with tears.  I begrudgingly taught her how to shave her legs last week after putting her off for almost a year.

But tonight, she’s still a little girl.

Tonight I can sit on her bed in the dark and watch how her little girl chests rises and falls beneath her blanket with each breath.  I soak in the glory that she still asks me at bedtime, “Lay with me, please? Just for a little bit?”.  I can sit in the stillness and listen to the memory of her colicky cries, I can smile at the thought of her singing along to her favorite country song.  There are hints around the room of her evolution into adulthood.  Her laptop, her closet-turned- Slimeatory business, her skilled and creative drawings on the walls.  A training bra on the floor of the closet. I could start to imagine what she’s going to look like as a teenager, as a young woman.  I might think about how long it might be until she starts hating everything I say.  I may find myself wondering what kind of mother she’ll be someday.

But not tonight.  She’s still a little girl.

Who’s in Your Hive?

Posted: July 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

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There’s this town I live in. Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Find it on a map. Mark it with a big x, or a heart, or a red pushpin, whatever.  Someday, I want you to bring your daughters here and tell them, “Honey, this is where the strong women are.”

I own a business on Main Street of this town.  Our population is about 3000 people… Pretty small! Northeast Saskatchewan small town for ya, yep.  But there is something spectacular going on here. It’s been a secret for far too long. This town, known for its canola crops, honey production, and huge Bee statue is also home to a hive full of killer Queen Bees.

This town has an unprecedented network of strong, hardworking women busting ass everyday. On Main Street alone, there are at least 14 businesses that are OWNED and operated by women. Not to mention the many females employed at these and other business. These are women who also have families and small children, who not only have sports and activities and school events to participate in but also volunteer their time to community events and programs.  These women are warriors.  But why do they do it? For their families, for their businesses, for their communities, for themselves. They do it for the money! Go get those dollar bills, ladies! They do it for the feeling of personal accomplishment! They do it for inner fulfillment and a creative outlet!  They do it because they can!

The natural question to ask is, How Do They Do It? Well, they do it with a smile, with God-given perseverance and often, with other responsibilities and obligations tugging at them from all angles.  They get up everyday and work hard.  If they’re sick, they work. If they’re tired, they work. If they’re sad, mad, or discouraged, they still work.  They wake up and get their families ready for the day, and then they take on their own day full of challenges, setbacks, annoyances and frustrations, sprinkled with just enough small triumphs and laughs to keep them coming back the next day. But here’s the real secret to the success of these incredible women…

The Hive.

This hive is absolutely BUZZING with Queen Bees focused on production and armed with beautiful stripes and sharp stingers.  It’s a community of its own; a complicated, interconnected support system of women of all ages and skill sets, motivated and driven by an inner strength that a lot of people don’t understand. But these women get it. They get each other. They support newly opened businesses. They advertise for each other and collaborate together.  They buy from each other and sell to each other. They encourage each other through hard times and celebrate with each other when business is good. They share ideas and suggestions. It’s a beautiful thing.

So I had this idea. We need to celebrate the working woman. The inner strength of women who do for others, day after day after day. Women who know what it takes, and do whatever it takes, to be successful. I rallied the Hive.

I asked these women to do something brave and daring.  I asked them to pose for a series of Pinup style photoshoots with the theme “The Evolution of The Female Boss”.  Pinup!! Whoa you should have heard the hive buzzing!!  The idea behind this concept is to highlight the strength of women in the business community and to celebrate the inner beauty of the strong women who make the wheels of this community turn. Without faltering, most of them readily and instantly accepted the challenge. These Bees are making a pinup calendar, and have generously agreed to donate all calendar sales to our local women’s shelter, the NEOSS House of Hope in Melfort, SK.

I couldn’t be more proud of my hive.

Stay tuned! You can bet I will be sharing some honey!

 

 

 

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Ahhh, summer. What comes to mind when you hear those words? Hot lazy beach days? Ice cold beers? Melting ice cream and happy, care free children? Me too!

And also, skin. Tons of skin. Shorts, tank tops, bathing suits. All the things I fear, because I am a woman who happens to have insecurities about my body. Isn’t that crazy? The idea that in spite of all of those wonderful things to look forward to about summertime, one of the foremost thoughts on my mind is how I’m going to look in my shorts?

I know this isn’t a new revelation. There have been many blogs and articles written, tears shed and conversations over wine about woman’s  love/hate relationship with summertime and body image.  Women have been hating and hiding their bodies for a long time. I feel like there is a major push/pull relationship between the Body Acceptance movement and the Health and Fitness platform. Like really, what is the message we should be getting? Should we be happy with our bodies the way they are, or should we be working our asses off to make it better, whatever that means?  I feel it everyday in my own life. I wake up in the morning and instantly start thinking about my weight. I set my alarm early with the hope that I’ll wake up ready and willing to fit in some kind of “work out” and then hit snooze because frankly I’d rather sleep. I finally get up and begin my day already with the seed of defeat planted in my mind because I’ve already lost the first battle.  As I shower, I glance at my belly and think about how it would be smaller if I could actually get out of bed to exercise in the morning.  I make a cup of coffee and head upstairs to get dressed. Will I find something to wear today that fits and looks half decent?  Some days the thoughts are more derogatory than others, but recently after a bit of a weight gain, the thoughts have been decidedly more negative.  Not much in my closet still fits like it used to.  The tight fit of my clothes remind me what a failure I’ve been at trying to eat healthier and get in shape.  So generally I wake up everyday and start preparing for the day by telling myself how crappy I look and what a failure I am because of it. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Soooooo, in the interest of trying to make a change in my life, I decided to try and look at this problem from another angle.  I do like to exercise and I know I feel better when I do it, but I also sometimes would rather sit on the couch and watch the Jays game and drink a beer. So there has to be some kind of happy medium in between the relentless tug of war between accepting my body and trying to make it better. I know I can’t lose my spare tire overnight. But you know what I can lose? My shitty attitude.

I made a decision. Last year, I dreaded hot summer days and prayed for rain. I suffered through an entire summer with only one ugly pair of shorts that fit because I refused to go and buy a bigger pair. I wasn’t going to give in! I was going to lose that weight and get back into my fashionable clothes and they will fit me like they should! If I buy bigger shorts, where’s the motivation to lose the weight? Well guess what? One year later, I didn’t buy bigger shorts AND I didn’t lose the weight. The only thing I accomplished with that genius game plan was a definite feeling of failure and a closet full of dusty, out of style clothes. I decided that this year would be different. I went shopping.

I bought clothes that fit. They fit my bigger body. I bought a bigger size of shorts. I expected to feel like a failure again. I expected defeat, self disgust. Sadness.

You know what I actually felt?

Comfortable. My shorts fit. I looked fine. My waistband didn’t dig into my skin. My shorts didn’t crawl up my arse. They fit, and they felt good.  The next time I went to get dressed in the morning I knew I would have something to wear that looked good, and kept my skin cool on a hot day. Whether I was taking a walk to the park with my kids on a hot day, or sitting on the couch with a beer cheering on the Jays, I was comfortable. In my shorts. In my skin. I went to the lake and walked around in short shorts and nobody stared at me and pointed and laughed. You know why? Because nobody cares! They care about their melting ice cream, their cold beers, and their happy, carefree children. They actually don’t care about my thighs!

I haven’t gotten rid of my old clothes. I’m human, I still have hope! I might keep hitting that snooze button, I might get my act together. Who knows! But in the meantime, I’m going to welcome the sunshine this summer. I will enjoy the ice cream, and the pool with my kids, and the warm summer breeze on my legs and bare arms. And the ice-cold beer. Bring on the beer!

Taking Care of Business

Posted: June 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hi, it’s me. It’s been 3 years since my last confession. I used to blog. I used to stay at home with my kids and make some cakes for money on the side. I used to have time to work out a…

Source: Taking Care of Business