Saturday, October 1

Happy Birthday Joelle!

This year for your birthday I wanted you to know how much you are loved by some of your closet friends and how much you influence their lives. Each has written you a special message and some of their gratitude’s. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have gathering them for you. You have some very special friends around you who think a lot of you, and rightly so! You lift, support and serve them and never ask for anything in return. I am privileged to be able to say I am one of your friends.
Sam (AKA English Sam)

Joelle and I have been friends for about 24 years. Wow to say it like that really makes it sink in how old we are! Here are a few memories she and I share:

I remember when we were younger; we would come up with schemes to butter up Joelle's parents in the hopes that they would let her go on some outing with friends. Our method of persuasion was almost always through food. We made countless delicious cakes and mouth watering entrees...well; at least we thought they were impressive. Without fail if there was a big event coming up and we wanted to ensure a positive answer, we would get busy in the kitchen to make something irresistible and set the right mood before asking the big question. I don't think we were ever declined a request when a meal accompanied it. Joelle has definitely maintained her passion for good food and still uses it to win over many a heart.

Joelle and I spent many many hours, years in fact, playing basketball together. We would play with anyone willing to join us. My mom even remembers coming with us to our nearby school at night and watching us play 3-on-3 under the park lights. We often played against boys and loved proving that we were just as tough as they were. Basketball was like life. We experienced ups and downs, crushing defeats and thrilling wins, we were a family. We could anticipate each other's movements, relied on, trusted, and protected one another. The same bond still holds true today.

As many people know, Joelle is a phenomenal doula. I was lucky enough to have her with me for the birth of my second son, which was also my most difficult labour. Joelle is gifted. She has the ability to make those around her calm, confident, and to feel cared for, not just in child birth but also as a friend.

I am grateful for Joelle's ability to make me laugh till I cry. When Joelle's around, I know we'll have a great time.

I am grateful for the trusting friendship Joelle and I share. There is no judgement, only love and acceptance.

I am grateful Joelle and I have been able to maintain our friendship through these years. We really have had ups and downs, but through it all we accept each other for who we really are.


Jo and I met and bonded over family history.  She was looking for help finding her great grandfather in BC (I think) and I had a bunch of good references for her.  She invited me out to her place for supper, and I got to meet her household of boys, since Norah wasn't born yet.  We just talked a lot about so many other things: she's an EMT, I'm an RRT, and I just knew this was a gal that I could get along with so easily.  And it’s just been that way for about 5 or 6 years now.  We can not speak for a long time, and then just jump back into it like it’s a conversation that never ends.  I'm so glad to know her, and to stay caught up with her crazy life through her blog, and since we met over family history, I'm thrilled to be one of those people who know where Nora’s name came from. 
Happy Birthday Jo!!!
XO Leah

Joelle,   2 years ago I pulled up my big girl panties - I got that from you  (not the panties -  the saying) and made one of the biggest decisions of my life - I left my husband.  I left the huge 2500 SF house on the acreage west of Stony Plain; I left the triple car garage, the sprawling lawn,   the hot tub and the snowmobiles and bought a smaller 2 story house in town.  I packed up my kids and moved on my own.  It was a scary yet exciting part of my life and I had to idea what was in store for me - other than I know I made the best decision for me and my kids.   What I did not know is - that I would find such a good friend in my new neighbor.   You are in a big way what have made my transition to single motherhood much easier for me.   Knowing that Damien always has a place to go when I can't get home from work at 4:00 -   knowing there is always a place at your table for Damien when I also can't get home in time to feed him dinner.   Knowing your door is always open for me to pop by and vent/share my anger/frustration/anxiety/joys too and knowing you are always there for great conversation.   Thank you Joelle!!!!   Your friendship means more to me than you will know! 

I am grateful for your generosity

I am grateful for your gentle heart

I am grateful for your friendship

I am grateful Damien gets along so well with all of your children

I am grateful for limes


The best story I can think of my great friend Joelle has to be the very first day that I met her. I was going to be meeting her for the first time later that day, showered, dressed, and looking presentable, as I wanted to make a good first impression. Joelle however, had other ideas. She had decided that she would like to have a shower and needed someone to watch the kids and she definitely wasn't ready to wait the couple of hours it would have taken for Dawson or I to wake up and get ready. So, she opened the door to the bedroom, which lightly woke me from my slumber, Dawson however did not stir. She walked right over to me, as I pulled the covers up to my shoulders, and plopped little 2 month old Gabrielle into my arms and said “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m going to take a shower.” And off she went. I was slightly stunned for a couple moments, but knew that if Joelle already trusted me with her baby, we were destined to be great friends. Still the most unique first meeting I have ever had.
I love you so much Joelle. You are such an inspiration, and have truly helped me in so many ways along my path. You are beautiful, kind, unique and hilarious. Take today to celebrate you, celebrate the person that you have already become. Remember to live each day in the moment but set your goals high. Always honour your truth and do what makes you happy. Surrender to this life, embrace it and celebrate it. Feel the fear and do it anyway ;-)

I am grateful for my journey in this life. I am especially grateful to have amazing friends, Joelle being one of them, who constantly supports and nourishes my soul.


Joelle and I have known each other for years but our friendship solidified when we were in Grade 9 and were both selected as youth ambassadors to the "very prestigious" Encounters with Canada program in Ottawa. There we met and interacted with high school students from all over the country and in turn became great friends ourselves. Our friendship continued through high school as we ran in the same circles. She played volleyball, I tried to play volleyball. She played basketball, I was basketball and we went to some of the same tournaments together. Always having a blast.

The thing that sticks out was our times at the cafe shop Divine Indulgence. She was supposed to be a barrista and I was just hanging around. Looking back at what I know now of sound business practices she probably should have been fired for letting me make the drinks, and eating the merchandise. But she had a way with people - still does - that allowed her to get away with certain things and people loved her for it. Such as my Chem 20 grade in high school where she would con me into skipping the entire semester and spend time with her chilling and hanging out. I hold her personally responsible for my attaining a 32% in that class.

She was one of my best friends in high school and still is today. I want to wish her happy birthday and strength for the upcoming year. She will always have a friend in my wife and I.

Sam C

Joelle and I have this special connection that her and I will forever share since we were little girls. I have lots of memories I have shared with Joelle, some of which are good and some are which not so good! But I want to share one fond fond memory I have of Joelle and I. It was in high school Joelle and I along with some other really great gals where on the senior varsity volleyball team, and let me share that I was not on the team for my volleyball talent, I was on it for.........well........ for fun I guess!!! I spent a lot of time on the bench and a lot of time making the girls laugh, one particular time I was on the bench and Joelle was there with me, Joelle and I were laughing so hard (Joelle almost laughing so hard she was on the floor) and the coach was SO MAD at us for laughing and well for probably out right mad we were having fun, the more upset the coach got the more Joelle and I laughed. The next time out, the other girls playing had asked what the heck we were laughing at and we could not even answer them. It was one of those things that you had to be there but I hope Joelle can get a little laugh out of this!! And let me add one more volleyball comment, what about the time I hit it (the ball) off my head Joelle??? LOL

Joelle, as there is distance between us, I have learned so much from you over the years we have known each other, I admire your will, your honesty, your strength and even your weaknesses!! Have a wonderful birthday!!

I am grateful for my Vegas trip I'm preparing for in the next week.
I am grateful for English Sam asking me to be a part of this awesome birthday idea for Joelle!!

Happy birthday my dear!

We have been friends for over 20 years, but I knew of her before. I went to the country kids school and she went to the town school. I knew of her because my mom taught at her school and had sometimes told stories about this “Joelle” who, in elementary was a strong young woman who was a force to be reckoned with! I don’t remember what stories my mom told, but I remember lots of laughter and tears. In grade 7 we became friends and for this, I am truly grateful!
I have fond memories of hours spent with Joelle, talking. You are and always have been a great listener. Looking back, you often gave sound advice and shared your experiences with me. I learned and shared many life lessons with you and it makes me laugh now…but I recall a few times where you said, “I told you so!” What I appreciate most about you Joelle is your honesty and ‘get to the point’ no-nonsense way you go about so many things. Your mantra off “pulling up the big girl panties” served me well in our teen years.

Did you know – She is a fighter and very good one! When push comes to shove, literally…Joelle has it in the bag. I recall an altercation that occurred in junior high, and let’s just say Joelle was victorious. This also translates to the Joelle on the basketball court. She is vicious and you are always thankful when she is on your team :o) She has a beautiful voice. I remember singing Beauty and the Beast over and over and many thousands of miles singing in the Jarvis van. She was the “go-to” support person when we in grade 9….I mean this literally. She would be called out of class to deal with other students who were having peer issues!! I know for a fact that some of the teachers loved when this would happen, because problems would be resolved when Joelle was done speaking with the kids (there may have possibly been some ultimatums…or threats… if she was taken out of class again, but whatever she said and did, it always worked!) She introduced me to books that I never knew existed and love to this day. One of my favorite books of all time was given to me by Joelle :o) She has always been beautiful. I know she has posted about her own demons with this, however, I have always seen her as one of the most beautiful people I have ever known…inside and out!
You are a good woman J. I love you and your friendship. I love that no matter the distance or time, we can pick up where we left off. I love that you are an open book and please know that when you share your thoughts and experiences, we are all gaining!

Happy birthday friend! I am a lucky girl to have you in my life.
I am grateful for my children who bring me joy that I never imagined possible.

I am grateful for 5 hours of solid sleep.

I am grateful for birthdays. They make me happy.

Dearest Joelle,
Over the last few days I have been thinking tons about you and have had so much fun going down memory lane thinking about growing up in Strathmore together.

            I think one of my favorite memories includes some of our favorite things; music, dancing, adoring fans and being at the centre of attention. Remember...? It was when we were in elementary school. We, (you, me and Amy) would bring out the gettoblaster, plug it in to the side of the school and dance! We had great tunes to dance to from artists like Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, MC Hammer, and Vanilla Ice. I remember kids circling around us as we perfected our awesome dance moves, they would cheer and clap... (Ok maybe that part is just in my head). But every lunch recess we were out there dancing and it's still one of my favorite memories!

            Some of my other memories include, trading boy friends, dumping those boyfriends for each other, watching Oprah, playing bloody mary, going to Calgary 88's games, chinese firedrills and yelling 'cheemo' out the van window. Basketball... lots and lots of basketball!

            As we have gotten older and have the pleasure of raising our kids in the same town some of my most treasured memories include, two of the best water births, our weekend in 'Italy', staying up all hours of the night chatting, long walks, peddicures and smokey eyes, hunny they just keep coming!

            So although I have many, many more memories I will cut it short and spare you and others the sappy stuff. ;)

            Happy birthday my dear friend! For old time sake let us plug in the gettoblaster and dance to Ice Ice Baby! See if maybe we can get the neighbours to start cheering for us.

Love your friend,

I am grateful for good memories that keep me smiling and good friends who are still a part of my life.


As Joelle is my big sister she has always been a bit of an authority on many things. This is what a five year age difference does with a brother and sister. Being that she was a free baby sitter for our parents I got to tag along with her and friends ALOT. This in retrospect hugely shaped not only my childhood but to this day these things are with me.

One of her boyfriends was in skateboard posse and guess who had to sit and watch these terrible skateboarders roll around behind the water tower. Needless to say I love to skateboard.

Joelle also loves music and further more loves to dance to said music. Her and her girlfriends would practice the dance moves showcased in Madonna and Paula Abduel music videos. Guess who else had to learn these moves... boom you guessed it, this boy has some moves.

And a little later in life she found religion, this is foreign to our household and not totally understood to our family. This is putting it mildly. She showed me that despite having very little support she will follow what she hold true in her heart. As a young teen this was an epoch thing to witness.

These are just a few very abbreviated examples of just how influential our girl Joelle was and continues to be. She is a great athlete, an amazing mother and my big sister.

Joelle on your special day know that you are in the thoughts and hearts of all your friends and family.

Jo I am grateful for having a strong and beautiful sister to laugh at and with. For your valuable advise and never ending support.

Happy BIRTHDAY sister I love you!


She’s alright............(is that ok Sam?)

Although we have only known each other for just over a year, what a year it has been!! I have so many stories and funny times that we have shared I could write a book. We have been on road trips, camping, summer vacation, had many nights out, gone to concerts, sports events and even just done the day to day things; baking, laundry, cleaning, shopping, kids field trips and showers.... hang on, let me explain about the showers, for a time we had a water problem and Joelle was kind enough to let us shower at her house :)
The day we met was not a good day for Joelle. Let me make it clear, it was not because she met me. We had both taken out kids to a mum’s group at the park, but nobody else showed up. I had only been in the country a few weeks and never met Joelle before. So we both sat next to each other on a bench and did not talk for about 1/2 an hour. The reason this is strange, is that anyone who knows Joelle knows that she constantly talks to people. Anybody in fact, friends, shop assistants, random people in the streets, anybody!! So much so that the first few weeks I knew her I kept asking "So how do you know them?" and she would say "I don't" I soon stopped asking. Anyway then my ride came to pick me up and introduced me to Joelle we started chatting and within minutes I felt like we had know each other for years. Joelle is one of those people who can make you feel so comfortable you can talk to her about anything and know she won't judge you.

Our first conversation (as have many others after that) was about food. Joelle and I both have a love of good food. Are we friends because we eat or do we eat because we are friends? Who knows, but it has been a pleasure finding new recipes and places to eat with you.
Anyways, she invited me and my kids back to her house for lunch. There we talked about shopping, clothing, underwear, weather, travelling, music, work, children, movies, books; yes I think we pretty much covered everything!
After that day we began texting and let's just say Joelle had to change her phone plan after the first bill.

I literally could write all day about things we have done together and what a wonderful support and friend she is to me and my family. I hope I can always be the same for her.

Joelle I am grateful you are my SS and we are SLG!

I hope you have a wonderful Birthday and I'm really looking forward to our first England and Italy trip!!!


Anonymous said...

What a perfectly perfect way to wish someone a happy birthday! Well done all of you! Although I myself have never met the lovely and talented Joelle I would like to extend a wish for big bright and beautiful things for this woman that is an example of honesty open-ness and above all (imo) courage.
Happy Birthday dear girl, Enjoy what is 'your' day and indulge in the option of amnesia from the roller coaster for a day.

I am grateful that I know I am good at being with myself
I am grateful that the people that I invite into my life are worthy
I am grateful for my family and good fortune!


D said...

Hmmm… I didn’t get a chance to participate in advance (maybe being the first ex-husband no longer rates as a close friend??) but Joelle and I have been a part of each other’s lives for thirteen years and I have a unique perspective on and deep love for her.

Others have spoken of Joelle’s humor and wit (and done so wonderfully); I would like to touch on that twisted sister of comedy – sarcasm. Joelle is a master of quick wit and sarcasm; funny as hell, quick on her feet and I love hearing her laugh.

Over the years I have seen Joelle serve others tirelessly, selflessly and truly. She has this incredible gift that allows her to ‘know’ when others (often not even close friends) are in need of assistance and exactly what she can do to help. I am grateful for all the times that she served me, especially those times when I wasn’t self aware enough to recognize my own need.

I am and forever will be grateful for her friendship and love. I look forward to seeing her victories over the coming years. I can think of no better person, mother and comedian than J.

Happy Birthday.

Love, D