J is for Joelle

Monday, January 23

More Firsts: Today Is My Moms Birthday.

It's safe to say I have been off all morning. I'm annoyed by little things and have been physically uncomfortable, not exactly sure what to do to make that better.

Normally that's a pretty good indicator that I need to get something off my chest, and I know what it is today.

Today is Mom's Birthday. 

While I was getting ready for my meeting, I kept thinking about last year, and the days I got to spend with her to celebrate last years birthday, her last birthday.  Funny today is very similar weather wise as it was last year.

The day I arrived in chase (last year) my parents picked me up from the airport, and we had gone shopping at a second hand store and I found this umbrella. What an odd thing, but now It makes me think of her every time I look at it.

 We also went to the Big Box store (moms favourite place aside from Value Village). We went in looking for a birthday gift for Joey (her sister) their birthdays are only a few days apart, and my mom found a beautiful white winter jacket. It fit her so she knew it would be perfect for Joey. She also bought her a pair of workout pants and we picked up a few extra odds and ends.

On the drive back to the house mom said to me, "I think I'll keep the Jacket, I really like it. Joey can have it later."

I ignored that, but I knew what she meant.

For the day of moms birthday we spent the day with Aunty Joey and we went into Kamloops for a massage and spa day. It was so nice getting to have the entire drive with mom. We took the truck and I was driving. Mom and I talked the entire time and the child in me loved having my moms attention all to myself during that hour.

Kamloops is a tricky city if you're not familiar with it and to get to the spa we had to go down a steep hill. I am not super comfortable there and really not great with my parents truck, and half way down the hill to get to our appointment the truck stalled out and the steering wheel locked up.

I was terrified, and tried to not freak out to my mom. I had to do a quick lane change and muscle the wheel to the right to turn onto an off road so I could restart it. When I changed lanes and made an unexpected turn (we were following my aunt) my mom asked, a little concerned,  "whats going on?". I got us stopped and took a second to breath. My hands were shaking a little and I started nervous laughing that the truck stalled. My mom clearly had not noticed anything and with a big smile said "well done little girl."

Her praise feeds me even now. I could cry just thinking about her feeling safe with me.

After I got the truck restarted and we were back on our way, my mom informed me that one of her biggest regrets was that her and I never travelled together. Secretly it's one of mine as well. I always tried to keep my composure when I was around my mom when she was sick, I didn't feel like crying was ever helpful, so I just smiled and said "me too". To which she said, "well, when this is all done, you and I should go to Mexico next year", "A girls trip" and then she touched my hand and squeezed it.

There isn't much I want more right now.

When we got to the spa we parked and went into the Bulk Barn to get mom a snack of mixed nuts before our appointments. I know exactly which ones she got. Weird, I can still see them in my mind.

It was so lovely to laugh and talk. Spending the day with these two was wonderful. I cherish this memory so much.

After,  we went out to dinner and, as my mom always does, she would pay no attention to the fact it was her birthday too and she focused on her sister. We got her a little cake (that they shared) and we had a nice little dinner just the three of us.

She's wearing the Jacket she bought for Joey to Joeys birthday party!! This picture makes me laugh and cry at the same time. I have no fucking idea why she picked a Zero for the candle...her sick humour I guess.

I miss her and just wanted to make sure she knows I have thought about her all day today.

Love you mom.



I am so grateful I got to spend so much time with you last year.

I am grateful for pictures and how they make me feel.

I am grateful for getting to know you better, and having these moments to think about as I get older.

Thank you for reading this and thinking of my mom.

Thursday, January 19

The Days You Don't Win At Parenting

Today I forgot about my sons dentist appointment, seems innocent right?

Except the appointment I forgot was the one where Ethan gets his braces off.


So, no matter how bad your day was, how rough parenting was today, you were not the mom who forgot the day your kid has been waiting for, for the last 2 years.

Nope, today's parenting award goes to me.

There are some days I go to bed thinking "I have got this!"

And then days like today, where I wonder if the kids will ever talk to me again.


I am grateful for sleep and fresh starts

I am grateful Jones is safe traveling and having a nice time so far on his journey!

I am grateful for "I'm sorry"


Wednesday, January 11

Repairing My Damaged Relationship With Rock Climbing

Christmas vacation was so nice. Two weeks with the kids, relaxing around the house. Sleeping in and watching movies because it was so cold outside. It was perfect! 

One of the days, the older boys and I decided to go do something and after a few exchanges back and fourth of ideas that seemed fun, we settle on indoor climbing. 

I am not gonna lie, I was not super excited at first. In a few months it will be the anniversary of the night I fell and broke my leg indoor climbing. When we were driving to the rock gym, the boys were chatting back and forth and I just kept saying to myself "it's okay to be scared, just don't ruin it for the boys."

This will be their first time really climbing and I wanted them to feel safe and not hindered by my fear, and just as I thought, they took to it like naturals. 

Me on the other hand, I had to go slowly. I wasn't too sure how it would all go, but in the end, it actually felt nice being there again. The boys and I plan to return soon. I think next time I might actually get on the wall too.

I spent most of the drive home lost in thought about everything that happened after that night all those years ago. I kept thinking how much my life changed after my climbing accident and how so much of that shitty moment in my life, brought with it some of the greatest things I could have ever imagined.

First and possibly the biggest thing, my blog. After falling and being unable to walk for weeks on end, the suggestion of starting a blog to write my stories from my time as an EMT and to share my experience of the recovery was a god sent, it kept my mind busy and gave me some semblance of purpose when I couldn't even go to the bathroom alone.

The blog has been a blessing and a curse at times. I have had readers judge me based on things I have written, from commenting hurtful thing about me leaving the mormon church, to recently being told I am an unfit parent because of how upset I was (and talked to my doctor about Ativan) after my friend was killed and 4 months later my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Thank god readers and ignorance like that is few and far between.

As horrible as it is when people think they can use my blog against me which might deter others from continuing with it, my blog is the major reason I got the job at 102.3 NOW! radio. So, like everything, you need to take the bad with the good.

This blog has been my sanity for years, it has helped me meet and connect with others going through similar things in their lives, and has been a constant opportunity for me to tell my story to my kids and maybe one day, grandchildren. I am also proud to say this blog has inspired two other blogs (that I know of), and the idea that people feel free to share thoughts and ideas because I was, that's a damn good feeling.

Going back to the rock climbing gym was such a nice reminder that things don't hurt forever. No matter how painful and awful things are and how you sometimes get lost in the moment and can't imagine it ever ending, before you know it 7 years goes by and you actually can feel grateful for the pain and the realignment life takes after.

It was a good day.



I am grateful for music and the time machine it is and the power it has to remind me of past joys.

I am grateful for healed hurts, broken things repairing themselves, even if not perfectly, enough to carry on.

I am grateful that car air fresheners are strong enough to mask the small of dog vomit in my car.

Sunday, January 1

Ethan Turns 15

Ethan turned 15 this week. He towers over me and sometimes when I need to run outside to take the dog for a bathroom break, I use his shoes because they are so big I can keep my slipper socks on and still fit his shoes. Actually they are still too big, but they work. 

Every year I ask the same question, when did this tiny little boy

Turn into this giant almost man?

What an incredible honour it has been getting to watch you grow up to be this lovely young man. 

Happy Birthday Ethan, 

Love always 



I am grateful for the time I have spent with my kids over the years. 

Thursday, December 29

Monovering Life Without My Mom And New Beliefs.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with people they love, or like....or at least at a bare  minimum,  tolerate without feeling violent.

It was a lovely day here. It's our third blendy family Christmas together and as the self appointed Christmas Captain I would say it was executed perfectly.

To be clear, my definition of executed perfectly means
1) We didn't run out of booze and a nice buzz was felt most of the day.
2) I only cried once thinking about mom.
3) Kids Didn't fight.
4) Dog didn't poop in the house.
5) No Food was burnt.

It was nice.Trying to make sure children remember the importance of the day, trying to make sure everyone has happy memories of the time we spend together. The importance of that is with me 24/7 now. It's one constant thought I appreciate having.

Christmas's are a new focus for me now without the religious tones. When other are "keeping christ in christmas" that doesn't apply to us anymore. So trying to figure out what it is about for us now is our newest family project.

I have really been reflecting on what my personal beliefs are now. After leaving the mormon church 5 years ago and feeling a massive relief doing so, I have had to figure out what I now think about certain things. What do I believe happens after death? Is there more, and if there is, what is it all about? Some new beliefs and thoughts have been easier to adjust: A white guy born in Israel to a virgin who had 12 friends with very english names isn't a difficult one for me to adjust. Christmas is about family and time together. Easy, Next!

Other believes are proving to be a tad more challenging. Like death.

I know what the mormon church taught me. After I die, if I was a "good woman" I would be one of an infinite number of wives to some "worthy" man (yes you read that correctly 1 man...loads of women) and make spirit children forever populating the world the man is now god over.. OMFG no. NO NO NO, birthing children is not all I am good for. In this life or the next. COME ON!!!

Once upon a time I was ok with this because it kept me safely tucked away not exploring my talents (unless those talents were singing of sewing) and kept me as far away from my money, thoughts and independence as possible.
BLAH BLAH BLAH... No. no more.

I no longer find comfort in that and it's taken me a while to get over things that happened while being mormon. Things I saw and knew about. How I didn't have a relationship with my family because of my moronism. How ok the church was with me not being close to my family because "they were my family".

Ooh the irony. Sad sad irony.

When you leave a religion, your world gets turned upside down. You need to refigure everything you have allowed yourself to be taught. So this year, that's what I am going to do.

I have been talking to a councillor for a few years now, Cara. She has helped me sort past things and helped me through this new relationship with Jason. Now I need something more.

I hired myself a life coach. Her name is Shawna. I decided I needed direction (moving forward). Changing my internal dialog and figuring out this next chapter of my life without the guidance of a mother and being told what to think by a church with their own agenda governed by men.
I see how much I need woman in my life now more than ever.

I didn't realize that before. I really wish I had.

There will be no diet resolutions this year, just new things added to my bucket list. Experiences I long to have before my time is up. Priority will be given to experiences over things. Learning from other women I respect will be my focus.

I'm looking forward to 2017.



I am grateful for coffee.

I am grateful for sleep.

I am grateful for jeans that still fit after a solid week of eating!

Sunday, December 11

Advent Day 9-10 & 11: Julie Jones Caesar Salad Dressing

My mom made the best Caesar Salad Dressing!

We all loved moms salad dressing and would beg for it if it wasn't on the menue.  My Christmas gift for you is moms recipe.

1 cup Mayo/mayonnaise (whatever you call it)

2 TBS mustard (you want the end dressing to be the colour of soft butter yellow)

3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce

Garlic fresh... A LOT ( 4-5 cloves)

Black Pepper

2 TBS Lemon Juice

Put Bacon bits on the salad and use croutons too.

You want this to be smack your face off strong, if it burns your tongue from the garlic... you have made this successfully!

While doing day to day shopping and getting ready for the holidays I am noticing more and more things that were in my parents house for Christmas.

Quality Street were my moms favourite chocolates.

My mom always made sure we had these in our stockings every year.

Also for years before my parents moved to BC, my moms closest friends would exchange Christmas baking and DEAR GOD it was good. Sandra always made a cereal mix and Reta made squares and cookies.

After mom passed Jones gave me moms winter jacket and in the pockets were these...

Moms blue daffodil mittens from her Cancer Run For The Cure.

Mom would go for a walk every day after dinner. She would carry a plastic bag and collect pop cans she found while on her walk and bring them home to recycle/get money. She was such a freak about recycling she would even make Jones pull over while driving if she saw pop cans on the side of the road.

Funny the memories a simple pair of mittens can bring back.


Today I asked the kids to do the gratitude's.


I am grateful for eggos.

I am grateful for food.

I am grateful Milo.


I am grateful for family.

I am grateful for Milo.

I am grateful for my girl friend.


I am grateful for Mom.

I am grateful for Grace.

I am grateful for Milo.


I am grateful for good tasting food.

I am grateful for sleep.

I am grateful for puns.