Endless Possibilities



Today is full of endless possibilities.  Never give up. Never give in. The world is full of opportunities. Live in the possible TODAY. BE YOURSELF Be the possible. Love every minute of life and the possibilities within the moments.

Live with NO regrets only of what is possible.

Make things happen.

If life knocks YOU down, pick yourself UP. Look for the possibilities.

Live really live. Breathe.

Live your LIFE the way YOU want to as if everything is possible.

You are in control of your own life. You choose which path you will take and the possibilities are the ones you choose for yourself. Live LOVE Laugh. Always have HOPE and believe in the possible.

Hope is essential.

Smiling is always more attractive than frowning when you think of all that is possible.

The smallest good deed is always better than the grandest good intention.

Do what you LOVE and be with the ones you love


Life is full of endless possibilities.

Leadership and Youth


I was privileged to attend the Born 2 Lead  B2L Conference in Calgary this week thanks to the generosity of Ildi Wiley with students from Bishop Carroll High School.

Why do we still need to empower young women? There are so many reasons. I will highlight a few.

According to the Parkland Institute , (Catalyst A think tank )

In Alberta

  • 8% of women sit on boards (the national average is 14%)
  • it will take 228 years to close the gender gap
  • in 1976, the wage gap was 62%,in 2015 it is 63%
  • women make up 2/3 of all part-time workers

In the New Soft War on Women Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett highlights several reasons why we need to empower woman , including an Indiana University study that says over a lifetime of work women with a bachelors degree will earn a third less ( some 700,000) less than a man with the same degree. Do we need to empower young  women?

Yes indeed we do! We need to have mentorship and role modelling  for young people . Our young women need to know that they can rise up and take on leadership roles.

The Born 2 Lead conference is one way young women can begin to find these mentorship opportunities. Young women can look forward to another conference next year as this year was the first in Calgary.

Here is a peek at some of the conference:

Lessons young women need to know …

  • No matter what your start in life doesn’t mean it has to be your finish YOU CAN LEAD
  • There are women all around you that care about you and your wellbeing
  • In order to act like a leader think like a leader , say yes to something that you would usually say no to because you were afraid of failing.
  • What anyone says about you good or bad doesn’t matter Barb Stegemann
  • No one can take your joy from you ever Barb Stegemann
  • Emotional capital is worth more than anything Barb Stegemann
  • Viktor Frankl’s book Man Search for Meaning is loved by many women including me. Young people need to read this book.
  • Think about what you want to be one year , two years , three years from now . How will you get there?
  • Technological skills do matter to the business world
  • Digital Citizenship is important and a message given at this conference. Yes, I was so happy to see them mention just how important it is when getting and keeping a job! See more here.
  • When young women go into the workforce they should understand what a good linked in profile looks like
  • Young women need to build their employability traits through networking, service learning, volunteering and work experience
  • You have to be your own champion. It is ok to share your strengths with others
  • Never under estimate your ability to be resilient to rise above the nay sayers


“Each of us carries within a secret yearning-a yearning that as time and life march on, often becomes a secret sorrow. That yearning will be different for each of us; it is the most deep longed for expression of self. Only to the degree that each of us are able to bring forth our own heart’s core will our lives be fulfilled, truly worthwhile.”

Lighting the Torch The Kinder Method of Life Planning 2006 George Kinder and  Susan Galvan

I wish for ever young woman and actually every youth I work with that they are able to bring forth their own heart’s core and live a fulfilled life.

So young women know that you are Born to Lead. Rise up and do it! I know you can.

ETMOOC is Alive and Well … A Challenge for all Etmooc’ers


Hello #etmooc ers. It has been almost three years since we began our journey together and I cannot express my gratitude effectively for the help you have provided me over the past three years.

Suffice it to say for now I am a better educator and person because of all the help and support you have given to me.

The real reason for this post is to mobilize you to connect, reconnect and share others great work to the hashtag #etmooc in anticipation of our three year anniversary of this amazing PLN and network of people.

photo         CC pic by @catherinecronin

So here is my challenge to all of you.

  • Find five people that were in #etmooc
  • Share some of their wisdom over the next two months, some great post they wrote or something they have posted to twitter that you like
  • Share their posts to the #etmooc hashtag.

Here is an example:

There is some astounding , inspiring work that #etmooc ‘ers have done and some of it can be traced back to what they learned in #etmooc.

So go ahead and start celebrating others and you might even add a comment or two ( smile inserted here ).

We look forward to connecting with you as we prepare for our third year anniversary. See you soon.

Thanks for being you and doing what you do to help others.

Of course if you need to add a smile to your face watch …

It’s OK To Go With the Flow

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I’ve been thinking about flow a lot lately. Maybe it comes with getting older. I like to be in the flow state more often these days.

According to Milhaly Csikszentmilhalyi, in his national bestseller flow, a joyful life is an individual creation one that cannot be copied from a recipe. I have always worked at creating a joyful life. My version of one to be sure and I want to instill in my students that they can create a joyful life as well (their version of one). I want to focus on their strengths so that they too can find what brings them flow.

“Psychology must be concerned with human strength as with weakness”  says Seligman. I would say we definitely need to look at our young people’s strengths and help them discover their hidden strengths so that they can be more free to enter into states of flow. As Martin Seligman says we should be interested in building the best things in life as we are in repairing the worst. “We need to be concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling and with nurturing high talent as we are with healing pathology.”  Below you can take a deeper look at what he has to say.

I find that too many people focus on the disease model of the past. Some describe students as their disorder instead of looking at all their strengths. I still hear words being said when describing students that don’t look at the whole person. Language matters and we need to take the lead when it comes to describing , healing and helping students.

I believe we need to find our own flow states so we can help students find theirs. I love what Csiksezentmihalyi says,

” contrary to what we usually believe, the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times – although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” .

During flow you can’t feel anything , time stops. That is what happens to me when my mind is being stretched . That is the way I feel when I create. Creating for me is therapeutic. It is healing , it is magical. I love that my mind goes to this space and that is freeing.

I can achieve this through artistic endeavours ( a newfound passion in the last three years), by playing lacrosse and by doing what I love to do … helping. I often find joy in the process of everyday living , but through creating I have found the flow state like never before. Sometimes 15 hours feels like 5 minutes.

In chapter 5 of Martin Seligman’s Flourish he makes a poignant point . If you ask any of us what we want for our children it is not things like achievement, success and  literacy at the top of the list. It is more important things like happiness, love, balance. More to do with the well-being of the child. Yes, we all want our young people to achieve, but we also want them to thrive and be well.That’s why School Counsellors are so important. We do what we love to do and help students to achieve while looking at the whole young person. We help teach students to be well.

We can also help students to find a flow state , to be grateful and to recognize that it is their beliefs about adversity , not the adversity itself that leads to their feelings of worthlessness etc.

So for today I say get your flow on … and go with the flow  …

Please Help Me …


“Please Help Me”
Please come into my life –
but don’t try to take over.
Please help me think-
but don’t try to think for me.
Please help me to find a better way –
but don’t expect me to do it your way.
Please help me – even if I’m wrong
Help me to stand again –
but don’t carry me.
Please help me to move forward again
even if we move forward in different directions.
And – last of all –
If you can’t help me to be what I want to be,
then please don’t hurt me by trying to make me
what you expect me to be.
~ Bud Hadfield

Bud Hadfield  was the founder of the multimillion-dollar Kwik Kopy printing. He  failed at nine business ventures before he found success at his first printing shop.

As a School Counsellor I think this is a powerful message that we all need to heed when it comes to the young people we serve.

Living Life With Gratitude

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul”

Rabbi Kushner

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picture by Laura Cormier CB, Nova Scotia

Many days scurry through life with a million things I think I need to do, but sometimes life takes hold and tells me to slow down.

I have had many things happen in my life that have forced me to slow down, reflect and pay attention to the moment.

  • Two of my close friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, Today they are doing great. Some of my closest friends and mentors have passed away as a result of breast cancer. My doctor who I adored lost her fight to breast cancer.
  • In 1999 I had my own scare with breast cancer that turned out to be non life threatening  fibroadenoma.
  • My friends husband passed away because of brain cancer.
  • Two of our friends and colleagues lost their children under the age of 30 to tragic vehicle accidents. One was our mechanic.
  • My accountant and his wife a dear counselling friend ( who got me my job in private practice) died suddenly within a short span of each other.
  • A close relative died by suicide.
  • Students who I adored have passed away from suicide much too young. Students I have worked with have died way too young and left me deeply saddened.
  • Family members and friends have been diagnosed with cancer. My old roommate lost her fight after battling cancer twice.
  • My principal and friend who I laughed with every day for five years was killed suddenly and tragically.
  • My first love died at too young of an age.
  • I have relatives with the dreaded disease of Alzheimers.
  • I have had many friends who have lost parents and family members.
  • I was diagnosed with keratoconus (a progressive eye disease).

There is more , but you get the idea. Many of us have experienced similar challenges and losses , yet we recognize that there is so much to be grateful for. We know we need to live each day as fully as we can because really one never knows what is around the corner.

In my experience, people are never more real or uninhibited than when they or a loved one are seriously ill or near death. I know that is true for me. Losing people I have deeply cared about and for has stopped me in my tracks. Made me reflect on life and death and what is really important.

Sometimes we feel like we have very important things to do with a very important job. We get caught up in the small things that happen and what is expected of us, but what really matters in life is not the things, the job, the title, the day to day little things that can eat at us. They are all small stuff and really of no significance.

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People matter most

Not money, not assets, not things … certainly not stuff

Friends, family, relationships our connections

What really matters in life is the health of the relationships we have with the people we love. Tell those people that you love them. I try to do this as often as possible and if you are reading this and I haven’t told you lately remembe I do love you and are grateful you are in my life.

I am going to invest my energy in those people … because they are worth it, they are important and they matter most.

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If you have shared a laugh with me … I am grateful

If you have shared a meal with me … I am grateful

If you have taught me something … I am grateful

If you have had a cup of tea with me … I am grateful

If you have graced me with your time and presence … I am grateful

If you have helped me in any way … I am truly grateful

I am grateful for each new day I am alive and if I get to connect with you all the more grateful I am.

So … be grateful

Grateful that you don’t already have everything you desire

If you did , what would there to be to look forward to

Grateful that you don’t know something

It provides an opportunity to learn something new

Grateful for the difficult times

During these times you are often transformed and grow

Grateful for your limitations

They provide opportunity for improvements

Grateful for each new challenge

They build strength and character

Grateful for your troubles as they can become your blessings

Grateful for failures

They teach us way more than our successes

I am truly grateful I have had a career that I continue to love and am surrounded by people who lift me up and make me a better person.

YOU are what really matters to me and always will. I am truly living life with gratitude.

Coping Skills Just 4 You for Teens Ideas from A-Z

When it comes to coping it really does matter what you have to cope with: Check out my haiku deck on coping skills here: How You Cope depends On What You Have To Cope With. Understanding how stress impacts you can help you cope. Below you will find some strategies that may help you . Use the strategies that work best for you.

ABC’s Coping Skills for Teens:

A: Attitude: Your attitude matters.

Allow yourself extra time to get up in the morning and get to places. Being 15 to 20 minutes early can reduce your stress level.

Allow 10-15 minutes a day for YOU time. Time to wind down, time to reflect, time to let go of your worries,

B: Books : A book on the topic you are trying to cope with can help. Beliefs- what you think matters. Challenge your thoughts about the topic that stresses you.: Be positive! Books can be healing!

Be a person who can say NO and not feel guilty. It is OK to say no to things that are not healthy and things you really don’t want to do. It’s also ok to give yourself a break and say no to something.

Be a person who knows how to wait, read a book online or have a book with you that you can devour while you have to wait somewhere. It not only makes the time go faster, but it is a wonderful way to pass the time.

Breathe just Breathe

Brain: Your brain is amazing. Click here to find out what you should know about your brain.

C: Caring and compassion make a difference: Helping others helps you to focus on others, not on your own problems. Volunteer with other students with special needs. You will not only feel better , you will make a difference.

Care about yourself. Write a positive message to yourself on a mirror with an erasable marker. Write a positive note to yourself on a card and carry it around in your wallet.

D: Decide to reach out and ask for help if you need it. Reaching out is a strength not a weekness.Your School Counsellors are there to help.

E: Express your feelings . Feelings are neither write or wrong. It’s what you do with them that matters. If you hurt yourself or someone else then that needs to be changed. So write down your feelings.Tell someone how you feel. Draw your feelings in an Art journal. Find some great ideas for Art Journalling on pinterest.

Exercise is always helpful. You might only need to exercise 7 mins. each day. You can do it! Find an app that helps you exercise.

F: Focus on your strengths

Find great strategies. There are so many coping strategies. You need to find one that works. Brainstorm a list of 20 that work for YOU.

Failing Does Not Mean You Are A Failure

If YOU Have Never Failed You Have Never Lived

G: Give yourself a break. Try these brain breaks:

H: Hope . It is so important to maintain a hopeful perspective.

I : Invite others to help you : Kids Help Phone, another adult, find someone who can really help you.

J: Just be yourself.

K: Kindness is always a good thing . Do a Random Acts of Kindness for someone else today.

L: Listen to music . It soothes the soul.

M: Mindfulness matters. Focus on your breath. Here are some tips for teens.

N: Naming game : 54321 .   54321 Coping Technique and I would add an extra 1 One thing you are grateful for. 543211.

O: Open your mind to new ideas strategies.

Overcome Obstacles

Check out these tips for overcoming obstacles here

P: Positive self talk matters. make sure you are speakig to yourself the way you would speak to your best friend.

Q: Quite your mind. Be still!

R: Relax:

Remember there is more to you than…

S: Strategies : Sleep matters so take care of yours. Some tips here.

T: Toxic stress is not good for you. Get rid of it. Train your brain to go to a safe place. Your safe place might be a beach, a room that you like to go to. Your space is unique. Find one that works for you.

Trust: that your negative feelings will not last forever. Develop positive connections with people that heal and help not hurt and harm.

U: Understanding your coping skills matters.

V: Visualize what you want.

Virtual bubble wrap enjoy click here.

W: Watch a funny show to get your mind off all the serious stuff.

X: eXtra special. That’s the way you need to treat yourself. So start today.

Y: YOU MATTER . Remember this always.

Z: A-Z another list. Please share your coping skills and strategies Thanks for adding your ideas below.


The Smallest Good Deed is Better Than The Grandest Good Intention