Strong woman. Brave heart.

Twelve and a half years ago, she had open heart surgery to replace a leaky valve in her heart. The diagnosis had come as a surprise a couple of years before.

It was a congenital defect that was only then, in her early fifties, starting to take its toll.

They performed the surgery. She recovered well.

Until the valve started to deteriorate — as they’d told her it would when it was inserted.

More tests. More waiting. More anxiety until her heart doctor told her that she was a good candidate for a TAVI replacement — a valve which could be inserted via arthroscopic surgery. Much less invasive. Much quicker recovery period.


On Friday morning last week, my eldest daughter and I accompanied my sister, Anne, to her appointment with her heart surgeon. It was an unexpected appointment — she was on the waiting list and because he’d hurt his finger, the doctor wasn’t doing surgery, so she got in sooner than expected. I happened to be in Vancouver for the weekend, perfect timing to be there.

I didn’t know much about her heart condition and the consequences of open heart surgery until we sat in that doctor’s office and the doctor shared the pros and cons of both options.

It wasn’t an easy decision.

But my sister sat there, took in all the information he provided and made what had to be one of the most challenging decisions of her life.

To not opt for the less invasive surgery at this time and go with the full open heart valve replacement.

I’m not sure I could have done what my sister did. But there she sat, her written out sheet of questions in front of her, her hands quivering slightly as she pressed the doctor for more clarification, more information.

And then, as I remembered her doing when we were children together and she would set her mind to something — she sat up straight, nodded her head slightly up and down, looked him straight in the eye and said, “That’s it then. My decision is made.”

Believe me, once my sister says those two phrases, there’s no changing her mind. She is all in.

I was/am in awe of her courage, her strength and her capacity to stand in her fear and still make a tough decision, regardless of an easier route, though not as straightforward in the long term, laying right next to the path.

I think I might have caved. I think I might have put off to tomorrow what I didn’t want to face today.

Not my sister.

Yes, she’s scared — she knows what open heart surgery entails.

Yes, she’s disappointed — it would have been nice to chose the easier option.

But it doesn’t matter.

She knows what is best for her body today, and is willing to do the ‘hard’ to have her heart beat strongly for longer than the TAVI would have allowed.

As my daughter and I sat on either side of her we both were gifted the opportunity to see one woman’s strength shining in the face of adversity.

She may not be able to see the future, but my sister sure can see clearly today.


Daily Intention: October 27 — Speak Kindly

He is smiling at me. His nose crinkled, eyes sparkling, toothy grin inviting.

He is 8 months old and is seated on his father’s lap beside me on the flight to Vancouver. It takes him about a nanosecond to capture my heart and the hearts of everyone around him.

“He’s going to win a lot of hearts,” his father proudly says to me as we chat about his son. “This is our test flight,” he says. “We’re visiting my brother in Vancouver and then, if the little one flies well, next year we’ll visit my wife’s brother on the east coast.”

I don’t think there’ll be an issue with flying. His son is enchanting and as cute and adorable as they come. He’s not bothered by changes in air pressure, the noise or being confined on his father’s lap.

“Looks like he’ll be gentle with every heart he captures,” I say as his son reaches over and gently touches the flower on my shirt.

“I’ll teach him how to be,” the father says.

I believe him.

Hearts are delicate spaces that need our tender loving care.

Let’s all be gentle with the hearts around us today. Let’s all take good care of one another and teach each other how to be kind, gentle and loving with our hearts.


Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash


Daily Intention: Oct 26 — Collective Brokenness

It can be hard and frightening some days to look at the collective brokenness in our world and tell yourself, “I can make a difference.”

The issues seem so large. So inexplicable. Vast.

And we appear or feel so small in their shadow.

We cannot give up hope. We cannot give into despair or the ennui of doing nothing.

Every little action counts. As Mother Teresa said,

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

And in every ripple there is the possibility of awakening another to the power they have to cast a stone too.

At Tales from the Backroad, photographer Mary Hone shares stunning photos of the Wild Horses she loves to visit and asks, What is the future of our wild horses? They are at risk, an endangered species because man wants their land, and the horses have no voice.

Take a moment to visit and see what Mary is doing as her part to create a healing ripple of change.


In Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, he talks about the need for all of us to play our part in saving this beautiful planet. His Climate Change meditation is worth the read.

Daily Intention: Oct 25 — Live this day.

My eldest daughter and I have been working on our presentation for Circles of Hope.

It is hard, this going back into memory to dredge through the sands of time, seeking the moments we want to share.

There was so much hurt. Pain. Grief. Loss. Sorrow.

It can be tempting to stay there. To lose myself in the darkness of what was then as I travel those dank corridors where I lost myself in the throes of searching for my happily-ever-after.

And I remind myself…

That was then.

This is now.

In the now, my life is a beautiful tapestry of love and meaning, purpose and intention. Friends and family. Gatherings and walks with Beaumont in the autumn evening witnessing the sun’s beautiful departure.

In the now, there is only Love.

It is in the love I choose to live. It is in this moment, right now, I find myself quietly awakening to another day filled with possibility, hope, joy, laughter, friendship, Love.

I choose today.

I choose to cherish this moment right now, because in this moment when I choose to live my best life, I do not need to fear the past will repeat itself or worry about tomorrow’s limitations. In the now, I am free to revel in the beauty and wonder of being exactly where I am, how I am right now.

Such a blessed day!



Daily Intention: October 24 — take care of the earth

In small and big ways we can each do our part to take care of this planet which is our home.

I drive my car to work every day.

For several years I rode the C-train but with our new routines, I need to come home most days at noon to let Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle, out. I need my car. To do my part, I walk everywhere I can to meetings and will make a point of car-pooling with someone else if we’re going to the same place.

I eat meat and while I toy with vegetarianism, it’s not my choice.

What I do to play my part is to buy only ethically raised, local meats so that my footprint is kept as small as possible. Some may argue that’s not enough, but I like the idea of supporting our local ranchers and farmers. It’s my enough.

I take my own bags to the grocery store.

I recycle everything I possibly can and with our new Green Bin system, composting is a joy!

I purposefully try to buy products with minimal packaging or recycled papers.

I plant flowers every summer to attract bees and butterflies.

There are so many things each of us can do to take care of our world. What are some of the things you do?

Daily Intention: October 23 — There is no failure

I awoke at 3:45 with C.C. He had a 6:30am flight to LA and had to leave the house by 4:15.

After he left, I dosed off and on and finally fell back to sleep around my normal waking hour.

Ugh!  That means I awoke later than normal and have to write short. There’s one thing I can’t shorten though — Beaumont’s walk in the morning. Normally, C.C. does this one as well as a mid-day break for the pooch and I do the long walk after work at the big park. This week, I’ll be in charge of all of it, or at least until I catch my flight to Vancouver on Thursday afternoon.

C.C. organized his trip to return Thursday night, so Beaumont will be well cared for, but it will be a busy week.

And in all that busyness, I often make the mistake of not taking time for me.

My morning meditation time is vital. Five minutes is better than none, yet often, in my all or nothing thinking, I tell myself ‘well that’s not enough’, so I skip it entirely.

The mistake in skipping it entirely is that when I start my day without time in the quiet, my day is not as peaceful as it can be.

I am learning from my mistakes.

I gave myself the gift of five minutes of meditative silence even though I wanted more.

I gave myself 15 minutes to write here, even though my all or nothing thinking says I need way more.

It’s okay.

The gift is, there’s no failure in sleeping in when I breathe into whatever time I have and make each moment count and add value to my day.

What about you? Do you learn and grow through your mistakes?