2021 Graduate Campaign

As many of you know, last spring I created a series of lawn signs to help honour our 2020 graduates after receiving the devastating news that my daughter’s high school prom and graduation ceremony were both cancelled. 

The initiative quickly grew in abundance and at the end of 6 short weeks I had hand delivered somewhere in the ballpark of 700 signs to the front lawns (and porches) of so many deserving Graduates across the GTHA from Pre-K to Post-Graduate education. 

With the help of so many generous people in our amazing communities together we raised over $10,000 for Kids Help Phone which is why I have decided to launch my campaign again this spring. 

Our class of 2021 (including my other daughter who is just days away from earning her undergraduate degree in Communications) are all feeling the same disappointment, anger, loneliness, overwhelm and sadness as so many deserving graduates did just one year ago. 

I don’t need to tell you just how difficult this past year has been on our youth especially, many of whom are now struggling with debilitating anxiety and depression issues along with other mental health concerns due to the devastation and impact of the Pandemic. 

Our youth need to know that it’s okay to not be okay and that they are not alone which is why I have also decided this year to spread the wealth around by donating the proceeds to several youth mental health initiatives instead of just the one I did last year as the need to support our youth mental health programs is so much greater than ever before. 

I look forward to brightening up our neighborhoods soon.

#graduationday #grads #classof2021 #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #lawnsigns #2021grads #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #payitforward #strongertogether

A Quick Rant: A Fairer, Healthier World, My Ass

Today is World Health Day. Its campaign has become a day of recognition around the Globe since 1948 and was first created by the World Health Organization (WHO), a name that has become increasingly more and more familiar to all of us since the Pandemic started. 

This year’s campaign is focused on building a “fairer, healthier world” for everyone but living in Canada right now it doesn’t feel fair at all.

The vaccine rollout in Ontario (and Canada) has been a complete and utter disaster (imo) and I can’t believe that I am actually about to say this after what we have all witnessed over the past year in the United States but I am beyond envious of all my friends and family living south of the border right now as I witness the success of how their vaccines are being rolled out (and Israel, well they deserve a fricken gold star!). 

Earlier this morning both Rich and I were able to book appointments to get vaccinated simply because the Government has now deemed our postal code a “hot spot” along with several others in our region which has afforded us and anyone else in these select few areas who are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old to do so as well. 

I’m not gonna lie, once we both received our confirmation emails with our appointment times set in place I became super emotional (surprise, surprise there were actual tears) that this was actually about to happen.

I am beyond grateful to be given this opportunity and I feel that it is my duty to get vaccinated when my time comes in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19; but I’m angry all at the same time.

I’m angry that teachers and admin staff have not been prioritized to receive a vaccination first or the factory workers, grocery store clerks, wait staff in restaurants, construction workers, immune compromised individuals, those in more marginalized communities, the 20 something year olds who have been blamed most for spreading the virus and everyone else who works in an essential service and CANNOT work from home.

I just hope that soon enough all Canadians (and many other parts of the world) can celebrate World  Health Day together by actually building a fairer, healthier (and more united) world to live in.

Ok, Rant over

#worldhealthday #vaccinations #vaccinerollout #ohcanada  #ourgovernmenthasfailedus #weallmatter #anotherlockdown #covidfatigue #staysafe #covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic #wearamask #overwhelm #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate @fordnationdougford @justinpjtrudeau @celliottability @slecce

The Corona Silver Linings Anthology

I am so excited to finally receive my very own copy today of the book I was so honoured to be published in a few months ago.

It’s a compilation of stories, poems and images from individuals around the world.

“The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” captures real life experiences, raw emotions, meaningful issues and life lessons that we have all been challenged by or have had to face in one way or another during this past year while looking for those silver linings.

“The Lifewrite Project” is a non-profit initiative which publishes anthologies “encouraging people to tap into their power to write and share their unique stories” while collaborating with different charities related to the topic at hand and raising funds for many initiatives in the process.

The proceeds from this book are being donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.

Check out their website for details on any of their upcoming projects. After all there’s an inner writer somewhere inside of us all just waiting to share our own unique story with the world.

#thecoronasilverliningsanthology #thelifewriteproject #author #writer #blogger #advocate #wheredidmommyssmilego #youareenough #silverlinings #grads #covid19 #coronavirus #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters #kidshelpphone #lawnsigns #initiative #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #amazondotcom

My Silver Linings Playbook Of 2020

In case you didn’t get the memo, 2020 has been a pretty rough year for all of us in some way or another. For myself, this year started off with a great big bang and it honestly feels as though it never lets up. Infact, just days ago Rich and I found ourselves taking note of this after facing several new challenges of late which have only added on to the many recurring and verifiably overwhelming obstacles we have already been facing this year; all of which seem likely to follow us right into the new year.  

Life fucking sucks right now in more ways than you can possibly imagine and in more ways than I’m willing to share publically at the moment. But as mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting as this year has been, today I am going to focus on the “Silver Linings” that have come about while being smacked in the face by so much adversity in 2020.

As I mentioned in a recent Blog (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/noone-knows-what-the-future-holds-valuable-lessons-learned-from-2020) this year has taught us many valuable lessons and given us many teachable moments as well and many of these lessons and moments have given us opportunities to create a silver lining during the Pandemic too.

For starters the Pandemic gave me the push to get out and start walking almost every single day and explore my surroundings more than ever before. It also gave me the incentive to go on probably double, if not triple the amount of hikes than all the previous years combined and for a good 8 months I walked between 5 and 12 km almost every single day since the original lockdown began in mid March until about a month ago when the weather began to change. I don’t do winter very well!

Another silver lining and great accomplishment for me this year was when I decided to create my “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign Initiative back in April to celebrate our very deserving 2020 Graduates and give many, many families and friends a way to honour them as well. And thanks to the incredible generosity of so many of those friends and families in the GTHA I never could have imagined that I would also have successfully raised over $10k for Kids Help Phone at the same time. It was definitely a very proud moment for me in my lifetime. 

It also led to several other accomplishments as well, like the opportunity to share my story to many platforms and with many amazing non profit organizations as well and one such piece of my writing was recently published in a new book called “The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” where others just like myself from all over the world got to share some of their stories, experiences and life lessons during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The book was just released a few days ago and is now available for sale on Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/Corona-Silver-Linings-Anthology/dp/149583090X/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pl_foot_top?ie=UTF8&fbclid=IwAR15369DXWJcmlYdbEVKpLtl1S6frObLa2cwQIJbhQ4IeRItDONNABJe2y8

And finally, 2020 has also given me the opportunity to spend actual quality time with my kids, something that as many of us know all too well becomes more and more challenging as they get older.

We have watched many movies together, taken several hikes together and engaged in many valuable dinnertime conversations together too. My kids have been great teachers for me this year and have taught me a thing or two about the true meaning of resilience.

What has been one of the silver linings in your life this year or one of the best things to have happened to you or for you this past year?

#silverlinings #2020 #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #selfcare #happynewyear #soulsearching #spiritualhealing

Giving Tuesday

Today is “Giving Tuesday” which has become a recognized day of giving all across the Globe. It takes place on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and is a day for people to give back and/or volunteer for their favourite causes and Non-Profits.

“Giving Tuesday” is also the official kick-off to the holiday season, better known as the “Season of Giving”.

December is about making human connections and bringing good will and simple joy to others, however this December is sadly going to look and feel a whole lot different than in years past for much of the world.

So as we begin this final stretch of 2020 today (yay!) let’s all start by spreading as much hope and kindness as is humanly possible to others during the month ahead, and of course don’t forget to keep some of it for yourself as well. Remember that “no act of kindness is ever too small”.

http://www.givingtuesday.ca

#givingtuesday #spreadkindness #givehopetoothers #youareenough #selfcare #selflove #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #FU2020

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime, but it does not stop there as it can affect people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders and sexual orientations.

Domestic violence is also a much broader epidemic than just that of physical abuse as it could likely include several other forms of abuse as well such as sexual, psychological and emotional. 

Since the start of the Pandemic, domestic violence has become a Pandemic within a Pandemic once the stay-at-home-orders came into effect and with a big surge in job loss, unemployment, economic instability, childcare instability, housing instability and travel restrictions it has made it more and more difficult for many victims who have been confined to their homes with their abusers to safely connect with the necessary services or outside help including reporting to authorities. 

Many victims are staying out of fear or because they feel trapped, both of which have been very likely scenerios even long before the Pandemic began. 

Although there are many signs that someone is being abused, they are not always as visible to outsiders, especially with so many of the current living circumstances for victims right now. 

It can also be very difficult to clearly see signs of abuse because most perpetrators learn the art of manipulation and control over their victim’s mind and emotions. 

Signs of Abuse:
-Bullying, threatening or controlling tactics 
-Controlling your money
-Cutting you off from your family and friends 
-Physical or sexual abuse

(Footnote: WebMD)

Keep an eye out for these signs if you think a loved one is a victim of domestic violence: 

-Excuses for injuries
-Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident
-Constantly checking in with their partner
-Never having money on hand
-Overly worried about pleasing their partner
-Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason
-Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises 

(Footnote: WebMD)

Lastly, if your gut is telling you that a friend or loved one may be a victim of domestic violence say something! Listen, ask questions and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, never judge another person’s situation or a decision that someone else may make unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Empower them instead to give them the courage they may need to become stronger and more confident. 


#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #empower #signsofdomesticviolence #youareenough #youarenotalone #noshame #startaconversation #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #speakyourtruth #advocate #courageous

The LifeWrite Project

Back in mid July I submitted a piece of writing to a non profit organization called “The LifeWrite Project” which is situated in the States. They were looking for a collaborative compilation of stories to be published in an upcoming new book titled “The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” which will be released sometime in December.

After a very difficult few days I’ve been having it was a really nice way to end the week by receiving an email this afternoon that my story will be published as part of the collection as well as in a digital version. 

They were looking for stories that give messages of hope and kindness, inspiration and strength and “silver linings” of light and positively we may have found during the darkness of the Pandemic to be compiled as a thought-capsule of this historic time in all of our lives.  

My story I wrote was about my “Class of 2020” Graduation Lawn Signs Initiative which as most of you know by now honoured our 2020 Graduates and raised over $10,000 for Kids Help Phone as well.

The proceeds from this book will be donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.

#lifewriteproject #thecoronasilverliningsanthology #youareenough #authoragain #graduationday #2020grads #silverlinings #mentalhealth 

The Positive Side Of A Selfie

Taking a selfie these days seems to be one of the biggest growing phenomenons since the creation of the Smartphone itself and statistics show that women between the ages of 16 and 25 are spending (on average) five hours per week taking them. 

Although the average age for taking selfies may be women between 16 and 25 years old, they are certainly not alone. Selfies have become a form of self-expression and a great way to present one”self” to the world, no matter what your age or gender is. 

We choose to take selfies most often for a feeling of instant gratification, to make personal connections with others, to boost our self-esteem, to gain positive feedback and to express one’s own creativity. 

Over the last many years I have shied away from having my picture taken as much as humanly possible (I much prefer to be the photographer if you haven’t noticed!), so the thought of me taking a selfie is like next to nil!

But today is one of those very rare occasions where I decided to try and step outside my comfort zone (way out) and try for even just one moment to feel the “positive side of a selfie” and embrace what the world sees in me in order to show you my new sweatshirt I made.

The words I chose to use are a deep and meaningful reminder to me as I continue to try and fight this battle and it’s a true expression of hope to the many women everywhere who are also struggling on their own journey right now or who have fought their way through one; whether it be physical or mental.

I created this shirt in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week and I chose the colour pink in honour of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

#selfies #prettyinpink #breastcancerawarenessmonth #mentalillnessawarenessweek #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocateforchange #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation

More Than Skin Deep

Thank you Hannah for giving me the most meaningful and symbolic gift tonight and for making it feel truly extra special by sharing in this moment with me.

As most of you know, the words “You Are Enough” have become my personal mantra throughout most of my journey. It’s a positive affirmation that motivates and inspires myself and others to be who you are; on purpose and with purpose. It’s a gentle reminder to us all that “You Are Enough” just as you are, even when a broken wing may make it difficult to fly sometimes.  

Many people only see a tattoo as being skin deep but for me the significance of our tattoo (and my first tattoo I got 4 years ago 😉 goes much much deeper. 

The words “You Are Enough” are now permanently etched in our skin (and are expressed through my own handwriting) and will always and forever be a valuable and visible persuasion for both Hannah and myself as well as anyone else seeing it who may need a soft-spoken and kindhearted reminder somedays that “You Are Enough” because you are already you! 

#youareenough #morethanskindeep #selfexpression #tattoos #motherdaughter #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone @piranhatattoo

Dear Teachers, Educators, Parents and Children:

***Grab a tissue before you watch*** 

Listen closely to the real “experts” tell us how they are feeling right now as they prepare to head back to the classroom (either virtually or in person).  Listen closely to the real “experts” talk about their fears of the unknown ahead and their growing uncertainty of the future. And listen very closely as they send a genuine, sincere and incredibly powerful message to our teachers about how important they are to them and just how much of an impact our educators can make on a child’s health and wellbeing. 

These “experts” of all ages, races and ethnicities are speaking with truth and honesty from their heart on behalf of youth everywhere to let teachers know how truly missed and respected they are and how much their guidance and support keeps them feeling hopeful both in the classroom and beyond. Thank you to our teachers for giving our children a safe and inclusive place to turn.

Don’t forget to grab your tissue first; you’ve been warned!

#schoolmentalhealthontario #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #kindness #goteachers #staysafe #youvegotthis #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #kindnessmatters 

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