The Strength of the Human Spirit

“The deeper the dark, the closer the dawn. However profound the suffering that envelops you, never forget the inner spark of hope and courage. Never lose the capacity to wait with patient enduring”

Daisaku Ikeda


This week I have seen the power and strength of the human spirit in so many woman who have come into my life.  After publishing the “Moving Past Shame”post, I wasn’t sure what would come of it.  Women started to share their pain, their stories, and their past with me.  I was asked a few times what made me post such a private event in my life and the answer is…I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I went to bed one night and as I was trying to sleep, the same thought kept going over and over in my mind…to share the experience.  I decided that if I woke up and still felt strongly that I should post about it, then I would.  I was shocked to feel the same way after I had a good night’s sleep. 

I am amazed at the strength of the human spirit.  To move forward in life through pain, and suffering, and make it to a place of acceptance and reverence for life and the human spirit is such a blessing. 

 There are many that have gone through far worse things than I have gone through, so I do hope you understand that I don’t pretend to know what true loss is.  I don’t. I can only draw from my own experiences and in doing so hope that something I have decided to share will help someone else move forward.  That has always been my goal whenever I hit the publish button on this blog.

These past few days since I published my last post, I have really struggled with the knowledge that there is no going back after you stand in the truth.  It’s out there.  There is something equally scary and freeing all at the same time within that knowledge.

I continue to believe that it’s important to  give back what you have been given in life and I’ve had the fortune of drawing support from some very strong and giving people.  Sometimes we forget how much power is within human connection and compassion.   How much power there is within a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a smile, or a hug.

Life is scary sometimes.  But live in the knowledge that no matter what stage you are going through, you are loved. You are cherished. You will get through it with the support and love from those around you.  And if you are standing beside someone that is struggling, live in the knowledge that you are making a difference in their life by giving your love and support.  Know that down the road when they are able to, they will remember your giving heart and give back to someone else that enters their life.  The cycle of human kindness, strength, and spirit is alive and well.  I thank God for that.

After that night at camp, I will always remember my friends and family standing by me.  One memory that is so clear to me was going to visit my friend Leanne at her home a few days after camp.  She was just going to bed, and her light was already off. I have this memory of opening the door to her room and as the light from the hall hit her, I could see she had been crying.  She was crying for me and all I was trying to deal with.  She didn’t have to say anything.  She just hugged me and cried.  I felt such compassion and love from her, so much so that this memory is as clear as day to me 18 years later.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this today, just got the urge to follow-up on my past blog post.  Thank you for the support.  I appreciate it.  As always, I’m here to give support to you as well! 



From my heart to yours,


Moving Past Shame

I am not a positive person by nature, but I try to be.  I have come from what can only be described as dark days, and having lived through those, I need to be positive.

My weight started climbing in high school.  I can pinpoint the time actually.  Although I had always been the bigger girl in school, I never really struggled with it until my mid-teens.

Looking back on the event that really traumatized me, I am not sure what you would call it.  Rape?  Taken advantage of?  I was a virgin, and was naive.  I was at bible camp, and me and a few friends went for a walk away from the camp to the public beach…something we shouldn’t have done  We met up with some boys (they were 19, we were 15) whom we had met earlier at the camp. The boys knew a couple people at the summer camp I was attending and had come earlier in the week to visit them (the boys were not part of the camp in any way).  They were quickly asked to leave when they started blaring ACDC’s “Money Talks” out of their truck window.  To this day, every time I hear that song, I’m taken back to that first meeting.

Long story short. That night I wandered away from camp down to the public beach I had my first drink, and it really only took 2 or 3 to get me wasted.  The guys were on that public beach and had a cooler full of drinks, music blasting, and welcomed us to sit with them.  The camp director after figuring out we were gone, came looking for us.  He saw that we had been drinking and asked the guys to drive us back to the camp. The camp director knew the guys somewhat, they were from his home town. To this day as a caretaker of children, that’s one thing that I don’t understand.  Why would he have asked him to drive us back to the camp?

We got into their truck, and rather than returning to camp, they stopped at a gravel pit to “party”.  The driver, we’ll call him A., asked me to go look for firewood with him.  Away from everyone else, he took advantage of me.  I didn’t even understand really what was going on. I was drunk, naive, and scared.  I remember mumbling “No, No, No” over and over again.  It was there in a gravel pit that I lost my innocence. His friend called out for him, and he told me to get up and get into the truck.  They dropped us off at the camp gates, and A. looked at me, asked me for my number, and then laughed and told us to get out of the truck.  We stumbled drunk back up the hill to the camp hall and I struggled to tell the camp nurse what had just happened, because truthfully I didn’t really understand what had happened.

After figuring out what had happened, the nurse thought it best that I sleep away from my friends in the “sick room”.  No taking me to a hospital, no calling the police, no talking about it further.  I was left to sit alone in a room trying to figure out what had happened in my young, naive, and still intoxicated mind.

After returning home from camp, I was left to explain to my parents that I was no longer a virgin.  There was so much shame involved, that I decided to go to a Christian boarding school away in Saskatchewan. My parents supported my decision as they knew I didn’t want to face a life of hushed whispers in the halls of my high school.  From there I made a series of bad decisions, and cared little about my future.  I really am thankful I graduated.  Thankful for my friends, family, and teachers who helped me along the way.

A few other equally major life changing events followed in the years soon after.  None of which I care to share because it doesn’t really matter. I am not defined by my past, but I am stronger because of it.  To me, the event at bible camp was the catalyst that started the quest for trying to find myself again.

It took me until I was 28 years old to figure out that I needed to find my way again.  I had to grow up before I was ready to.  The only regret was that I didn’t get to make that decision for myself.  I didn’t get to decide when I was ready.

I only share this with you today, because I know how many of us have suffered tragedy in our lives.  We have lived through pain that we want to stuff down with something…whatever your drug of choice may be.  Mine just happened to be food.

Coming from a very negative space, I find positivity so refreshing. I can’t go back to those dark days.  I won’t.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t deal with the ghosts of your past, it just means that you rise above it.  You cope and heal from within, you share, you grow, you appreciate all you have in life.

I have so much in life to be thankful for.  All of which I wouldn’t have if my path didn’t lead the way it did in life.

So, I am sharing this with you because I am thankful for where I am..right now.  I am thankful for all the people who have come into my life, through photography, through my community, and through this blog.

Maybe sharing this isn’t wise because it changes how people may perceive me…perhaps like a victim; However,  I am choosing (most recently) not to attach shame to my past.  I am so sick of feeling shame over events that were out of my control. You grow the most through adversity.  I am thankful for that.

If you are reading this and identify with these words, feel free to send me a comment. I appreciate the comments and support that have come through this blog, and as always I am here to support you as well.  It is my hope that we can come together and support, motivate, and inspire one another: all in the quest for living the best life possible. One filled with pride, joy, and fulfillment because life is so good.  🙂

From my heart to yours,

Finding Your Passion in Life

Quite a few years ago, when filling out a form for school, there was a blank for “Your Interests”.  I stared at it blankly, and then thought “oh crap, I have no interests”.   I never really realized that I had little interests outside of normal day-to-day responsibilities.  My mission after that point was to find something to fill in that blank. 

It’s tough to make time for yourself when life is so busy with all the things one has to do, but it’s important.  For me living a healthy lifestyle is about balance, and living life with purpose and passion.   Do you know what your passion is?  It’s that special something that you can get lost in and lose track of time when you are doing it.  It feeds the mind and soul. 

So often we leave our needs last over our loved one’s needs.  As a Mom it’s important to put my kids first, but why is there guilt attached to doing something for myself once and awhile?  A good mom is a happy mom.  I realize this even more so as my kids grow up and responsibilities mount.  

For me, this was a big part in why I gained the extra weight.  There was an emptiness within myself that I couldn’t fill.  When I found photography, I found something that was so fulfilling, and rewarding.  Photography absolutely is food for my soul.

The other side of losing the weight, was finding the balance between being obsessed with the number that popped up on the scale, rather than enjoying the journey and being content with my progress.  I still battle with this daily, and although it keeps me from being complacent with my health, I have to remember it’s the journey and not the destination.  Because guess what? I realized you never really feel finished. 

So I was reminded today, and through out this thanksgiving week-end to remember that my goal is to love the life I’m living and to make my choices honouring that goal.  It’s not about being a certain size or number on the scale, it’s about finding your passions, goals, and treating yourself with respect and honour.  Your choices will just naturally take the best path for you if you are striving to treat yourself well. 

Even the smallest things can turn your day around.  A good talk with a close friend, your favourite music blasting through out your house, a walk or run in the park (don’t forget to enjoy the scenery), a nice long hot bath with candles, a hug from those you love most…all have the power to bring joy to your heart.  Take in those little moments and enjoy them.  Really enjoy them.

It’s not selfish to find your passion in life.  It’s necessary.  You are not defined by your role in your day-to-day life.  You have the power within yourself to etch out the best life possible even when life deals you a horrible hand.  Find that special something that brings happiness to your heart and run with it.  Set out manageable and attainable goals that you can reach, and enjoy the pride that comes along with that. 

Life is too short to live in a cloud of uncertainty…always waiting for circumstances to change so you can really live it.  Live it now.  Feel pride, joy, and fulfillment now.  Don’t wait. 

From my thankful heart to yours,



With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s a good time to look at life with a thankful heart.  There is so much in life to be thankful for.  So, as is tradition with my family before diving into a turkey coma, I’m going to take a moment and just be thankful.

I am thankful for my 3 kids.  They truly are food for my soul.  Through times of frustration and days that are overwhelming, they still look up at me with puppy dog eyes and tell me I’m the best Mom ever.

I am thankful for my husband who continues to make me laugh through all of life’s ups and downs.  He also lets me read at night while he tries to fall asleep even though my bedside light is annoyingly bright and his is so dim you couldn’t possibly read a book (I bought the wrong wattage of bulb at IKEA).  He stands behind me even when he knows I’m at fault.  He loves me just the way I am.  He lets me talk his ear off even though I can see him trying to watch the hockey game through the corner of his eye.

I’m so thankful for my large funny family.  Both Jamie’s side of the family, and my side of the family are just good, funny, and kind people.  You can’t pick your family, but if I could I would pick them all.   I am thankful I have two beautiful Moms: my own Mom and my Mother-in-law who is just like a Mom to me.  And I am fortunate to have two incredible Dads too: my own Dad and my Father-in-law (who I was scared of at first, but I can’t imagine why as he’s such a kind-hearted soul).

I am so thankful for my friends.  They ground me and are there to share in not only life’s successes, but also life’s failures and they do so with their kind & funny (border line sarcastic) words over a cup of coffee or a cocktail. 🙂

I am thankful for this new lease on life that I’ve found.   Life just is a whole lot brighter when lived with passion and purpose.

I am thankful for my camera.  I love photography so much and I’m thankful that photography has brought so many amazing people into my life.  I get to capture love, there isn’t anything better than that.

So happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?

Thankfully yours,


Confessions of a Busy Mom

There is no guilt quite like Mom guilt.   That nagging guilt that creeps in after the kids are tucked into bed, and the days events run over in the mind.

I find as I look around at all the other Moms lined up taking their kids to school in the morning,  they appear to have it all together.  They make the job of Mom look effortless.  I return home to my dish-filled sink, mound of laundry, and crumb laden floor fresh from the morning’s rushed breakfast and wonder how come I can’t get it together?  Do other Mom’s rush to find clean socks in the morning or want to lock themselves in the closet with a glass of wine when the kids start round 3 of whining and fighting?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Having said this, I have much appreciated the many women that have come into my life with the refreshing breath of honesty and have laid it all out there.  Their life is as hectic as mine, and they feel the same Mom-defeat as I do.

My wish is this: That we as women would stop masking the struggles and frustrations that come with being a Mom and let go of the expectation of being a Supermom of sorts.  That we would share our struggles with other women so we all know we aren’t alone in the mighty quest of being a good Mom.

The idea of Supermom is such an unreachable standard.  You do the very best that you can do.   Guilt serves no purpose.  I may not be a perfect Mom, but my kids are loved deeply.  They feel safe and loved and that’s all I can ask for.

This post comes on the heels of defeat. I got to thinking about how many of us are not only striving to be a certain size and shape (cookie-cutter body) but also striving to be a Mom that can handle anything and do so with grace while wearing the perfect butt jeans and a kick-ass pair of heels (well, no heels for me…I have weak ankles).

So, here is my confession.  My name is Christine and I have 3 kids.

I have a mound of laundry and although I tackle a load or two a day, it never goes away.

I have had my vacuum cleaner out for two weeks.  I vacuum a couple rooms here and there, and then I put it in a new location in my house.

If you come over to my house in the morning around getting-ready-for-school time, you may think my house has been ransacked or robbed, but if you come over at 3 p.m. balance is restored somewhat.

I have a stack of boxes in my basement that I’ve moved three times but I have no idea what treasures are in them, but I can’t bring myself to go through them as I’m sure they hold sentimental items.

I can’t quite seem to have all 3 of my kids on the same hair cut rotation, so one of them always looks more refined given the hair cut schedule.

I eat my lunch at 2 pm everyday because it’s an hour I can have to myself while Tessa has quiet time and the boys are still at school.

I would be a much better friend if I did all the things I want to do for my friends, but I lose the time and my intentions often don’t materialize.  If you are my friend, I’ve made you buns and a casserole in my mind several times.

I dance in my kitchen when I’m sad.  I always feel better after.

I have yet to take fall pictures of my own kids, but I’ve taken many fall sessions for others.  Kids I will corner you yet!

I think my husband knows how much I appreciate him, but I forget to tell him.  But I think it a lot.  Blog stalker are you there? 😉

Roll call to all busy moms, share a confession with a friend today or share one here!  There’s no such thing as a Supermom. We are all Moms: loving our kids and trying out best.