New beginnings

Summer is drawing to a close in NL. There’s a chill in the air that inevitably starts after the date of the annual regatta races. They were cancelled this year due to covid.

2020 has really been unexpected, to say the least. It has brought a host of changes and challenges to my life and continues to do so. I know so many people are dealing with an awful lot at this time. In all of the changes, I have experienced more joy even in the darkness. I am always laughing. It feels amazing. I have done a lot of work on my health in the past few years and it’s paying off. I understand my energy and have the tools and resources to live a life that doesn’t include anxiety. I have learned to observe and make conscious responses instead of subconscious reactions. It is very powerful. I was paralyzed with anxiety and stress for a long time. It all happened so slowly that I didn’t recognize it until it was so far gone. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and I was not using my voice. Paralyzed. I believe it nearly killed me but all of my experiences have also brought me back to life.

Small changes over a long time has been working for me. I shifted my focus to growth instead of just healing and getting healed. Does that make sense? It’s a continuous, lifelong process. The more you heal, the more you grow and the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn. More healing. More growth. On and on. It’s a fascinating journey.

In the midst of a global pandemic, my husband and I decided to go our separate ways. We spent nearly 20 years together, had some pretty incredible experiences all over the world and, most importantly, brought our two beautiful daughters into this world. All divinely timed 😀 There are exciting times ahead for both Glenn and I and a new chapter of coparenting begins. ❤️❤️❤️

With that said, we have decided to sell our home on Berteau Ave. So many wonderful memories in this house but it’s time for a new start. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing home in the east end, let them know 64 Berteau will be on the market by the end of the weekend. It’s a pretty remarkable property that is incredible for entertaining but one of my favourite spots is in the hammock in the backyard. Haha

Happy Friday Friends.

Lots of love,

Michelle

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Remembering Mr. John Bonia

26 years ago I graduated from high school. Music was my life and I had a really special relationship with my music teacher, Mr. John Bonia. Just weeks before my high school graduation, John was killed in a motorcycle accident.

I spent a lot of time in the music room during my three years at Prince of Wales Collegiate and Mr Bonia and I always shared a special connection. He taught me a lot about music and we laughed a lot. He even had me playing the timpani in the band one year. He was desperate but knew I’d give it a go. I had to drop out before MusicFest that year because I was terrible and hated going band rehearsal. It was so loud! (I don’t know how you do it, Katie Sullivan! Seriously. You’re a superstar) He didn’t fight my decision to quit. 🤣🤣🤣

The November before he died, he asked me to sing a song he had written at the school Remembrance Day assembly. It was called Crossroads. Although he never came out and said it, I knew it was the story of his battle with alcohol. He played piano for me and I sang. It was emotional because I knew he was being so vulnerable sharing it.

At his funeral, I also sang his song; his words and music. As an 18 year old, I thought I understood. But now as a 44 year old, I hold an entirely different perspective. He was 41 when he died. I am singing Crossroads all the time now and practicing it on piano. (Big shout out to my sweet and talented nephew, Matthew Hardy, for his keen aural skills to help me figure out all the chords. ❤️) I am going to record it and share it in the future but the thing is that my piano skills are rusty and my piano is soooooo out of tune it doesn’t help the situation AT ALL. I am going to get Joe from Pianowise in to tune it asap but for now, I’d like to share a snippet of his lyrics. I do promise to record it and share when the time is right.

This is the last verse and chorus of Crossroads by John Bonia.

I’ve searched for my spirit. I feel hurt and I feel pain. I pray that you’ll help me. I’m not playing a game. Let’s join hands be together. Take one step at a time. Take our strength from each other. Feel that freedom inside.

So hear me now. I’m trying to live just one day. One day at a time. I want to free myself. To move one step closer to being. To being alive. Yes alone I stand. I’m here at the crossroads again. Which way will I turn now? I can’t go back cause I know what will happen and then. I’ll tear out my heart and soul.

It’s a really powerful tune and I look forward to sharing it with you. For my music peeps, it’s in e minor but it ends on an E major chord. 😃❤️

That was one part of John Bonia’s story. He was also a father, husband, friend, teacher, songwriter, he played SOUL music and was a motorcycle enthusiast….the list goes on. I invite you to share your memories of him and look forward to it.

And speaking of memories….I have been wanting to do this for a while and have finally started the process to establish the John Bonia Memorial Scholarship at Memorial University’s School of Music. It will be awarded to a student studying saxophone (or any woodwind major if there isn’t an eligible saxophone candidate) with an expressed interest in jazz. It is especially timely as the School of Music is starting a minor in Jazz Studies program this coming September. How cool is that! I do love it when a plan comes together.

I have personally committed to funding the scholarship at $1000 a year for three years so it can be awarded immediately. Over the next three years, my plan (when all this covid stuff is over enough) is to organize an event where there will be an abundance of music (!) and bring together the PWC community and family/friends of John to celebrate him and raise money to donate to the scholarship fund. Let’s grow it to a level where it can be endowed and paid out in perpetuity. At the University’s current payout rate, $56,000 will support a student at $2000 every year….forever….and it will continue to grow over time. The John Bonia Memorial Scholarship. I am delighted to be able to start this scholarship fund and celebrate John and his legacy.

The photo below hangs on the wall in the School of Music where I graduated from in 1999. Not in percussion. I was a voice major.😃 I snapped this pic quickly as I was walking by last July and sent it to John’s son, Andrew. I had connected with him a few months earlier to ask if he had the recording of John singing his song. Thankfully he had a copy as the tape John gave me in 1993 was lost in a fire at my parent’s house many years earlier. I had no idea that it had been John’s birthday only a couple days before. Just look at the smirk on his face in the painting. His spirit was captured perfectly. I can’t recall the artist’s name but I am going to find out and update.

I visited John’s grave last week and played the recording of him singing Crossroads from my car speakers and I belted it out sitting on the grass. It was a beautiful visit. I know he was smiling down on me.

I look forward to this evolving. Connecting with and bringing together those who loved and admired John. Please reach out to me if you’re interested in getting involved. It’s gonna be fun and I think we all need a little more fun!

Please take care and stay safe peeps. It’s a crazy ole time in the history.

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

❤️❤️❤️

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We Don’t Wanna Go Home

Good morning from sunny St. John’s. That may change in 5 minutes but right now it is sunny.

What a weird and surreal time we are living in in history. Covid-19 has shut down the globe. I have not posted anything since we started working from home weeks ago. For the most part, I feel very hopeful. That this will be a time to reset, prioritize and see everyone as equals on this planet that we need to treat with more love. There needs to be more love! There is also such a heaviness as I know how many people are struggling and scared. Small businesses are getting decimated and people losing loved ones cannot even mourn together. Even the logistics of working and schooling from home can be stressful for families. It is a lot but we will get through this. I am sending out as much love and peace as I can muster to you all.

I am also thankful that I still have a job during this and am able to work from home but man, I do miss my coworkers. They are an amazing group of people and I miss their faces. Zoom just isn’t the same but it’ll do for now. Our team has been nominating a different person each day to choose a song of the day and email the group for a bit of fun. Yesterday was my day to choose one and considering we are all at home I had to choose Alan Doyle’s We Don’t Wanna Go Home. It always makes me smile and seriously, I’d pay 50 bucks to get elbowed on a crowded dance floor right about now. Here’s the video link – have a listen and a dance….it’ll brighten your day.

Julia and Georgia painted the front window of our house to brighten the place up.
Google classroom on the go. Georgia loved seeing her friends.


The sun is still shining.

I am thankful for the daily snuggles while I work and the fact that I can now wear yoga pants to work. Silver linings 🙂

Just wanted to touch base and send out some love.

Take care and enjoy the day.

Until next time.

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

xo

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February 12, 2020

Today I turn 44 years old. Every day I wake up, put my feet on the floor, stretch my arms up in the air and say thank you, thank you, thank you out loud! I started this habit a while ago now and I tell ya, it changes everything.

Today was no different than any other day but I feel like I am bursting with gratitude. Grateful for my health, the growth in my life, the peace and joy I feel as I move through my day after years of high functioning anxiety, how Julia and Georgia have grown into incredible humans, my morning meditation practice, the healers that have helped me on my journey and of course, the circle of souls that love and support me and my family. Most importantly, I have another day to experience it all. It’s almost too much.

I had some wonderful help blowing out my candles tonight at my parents house. My wish was one to send out as much love, joy, peace and comfort as possible to all of you – wherever you are in the world. If you’re struggling, keep reaching out to the people around you and remember that you’re not alone. Sometimes saying what’s in your head out loud lightens the load. Keep shining your light even on the darkest days. Life is meant to be joyful. 😀

I’m grateful for another birthday. Here’s to 44 more!

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

xo

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Snowmageddon2020

I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and we’ve been experiencing some wild blizzard conditions for the past 5 days. When I say wild, I mean 70cm of snow fell in 24 hours. The city is paralyzed and has been in a state of emergency since Friday.

Thankfully, we had it pretty easy as we didn’t lose power or have a crisis that required emergency assistance. Ambulances couldn’t get around the city and everyone working in hospitals and care facilities literally worked for days on end as their colleagues simply couldn’t get to work to relieve them. I have so much respect and gratitude for everyone who has worked through this storm to keep us all safe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

But in true Newfoundland style, there have been so many funny stories come out of this crisis. People are getting out of their houses and talking to their neighbours. Having fires and spontaneous parties.

I love this clip by Mark Critch. He sums it up best and is a really funny man!

https://fbwat.ch/1CHirDprZewV8fjz

Schools are closed until next Monday so we are hunkering down for a few more days. My girls are so bored they are actually playing together. Haha.

This made me laugh today! Thanks Leslie Ann 🙂 xo

Here are a few shots from the past few days. Georgia asked if she could get a couple cans of Vienna sausages, even thought they are “only cabin food”. Yep…cabin food and state of emergency food :-).

Stay warm and safe! Don’t forget to check on the people around you! Some people are out of power and running low on supplies.

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

xo

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My Riverhead Retreat

We are heading into 2020! Can you even believe it? I really can’t but I’m getting ready to dive in. It’s been a big year of healing and growth for me in so many ways. Some of you know that I attended a yoga service retreat in September at the Tashirat orphanage in Mexico. It was one of the most beautiful and life changing experiences of my life. We spent our days in meditation, sound baths, practicing kundalini yoga, qi gong, hiking mountains in mystical Tepoztlán and spending time with the children and volunteer parents at the Tashirat orphanage.

These children live in homes with 1 or 2 parents and 6-8 siblings. They go to school there and work together as a family in all endeavours. They are also unadoptable in the traditional Mexican adoption system because of severe physical and mental challenges. Daily yoga practice and food is used as their medicine to heal. They come to Tepoztlán taking handfuls of medicine and end up healthy and taking none; living and thriving well past predicted life expectancies. It’s amazing to watch this miracle occur. I have met children all over the world and these kids were the happiest and most joyful I have ever met. It fills me up to just remember it. It is a special place and so very inspiring.

Since returning home from that mystical experience, it has been a really busy Fall and I recognized that I needed some silence and space to revisit the teachings I learned and experienced in Mexico; some time to write and practice yoga and meditate……and sleep. I slept for 14 hours last night! I am blessed with beautiful friends who offered their home for me to do just that. I packed up my incense and yoga mat and headed to my Riverhead Retreat for a few days and it is where I am now.

I am reflecting and setting some goals for 2020. As with everyone, life is busy and I need balance in order to experience joy in every moment. That means prioritizing time, scheduling, some delegating and saying no to some things. I am getting better at setting boundaries and recognizing what is not serving me.

I also need to strengthen my immune system. It has been chugging along but I know it is weak. Since I had cancer, I get sick so much easier. I mean, I use to be an elementary music teacher. My immune system was super strong! But in the past two years, I have had strep throat 3 times and gotten a stomach bug 4 or 5 times. It just feels like I’m always getting sick. One of my goals is to use my diet to strengthen my immune system. Just like the kids at the orphanage. My acupuncturist is getting me some information on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) food combinations and I am going to go alcohol free for (at least) 90 days starting Jan 4. I have never really done that so now is a good time. My body still has healing to do and this winter is all about resting, restoring and strengthening. I see lots of soup and tea in my future and I can’t wait.

This photo is in Point la Hay, St Mary’s Bay. This past summer I was swimming here and walking barefoot in the grass. I can’t do that today but it is still magical.

And this is my headspace for 2020. Fuck Cancer! (Sorry for the language Mom but it is fitting)

Here’s to continued healing for us all!

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

xo

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Oh the progress…

Hello friends,

I hope you are having an amazing week and shining that beautiful light of yours. November has been a bit of a crazy month and December has started much the same. I am looking forward to having some time off during the holiday season to rest. I’m tired but I am so content.

This photo came up in my feed yesterday. It was four years ago. It made me feel physically sick. I’m the one on the far right holding the huge plate of Nanaimo bars. Blah I remembered vividly having that photo taken and how much I wanted to bolt. The girl in that photo is sad and anxiety stricken. She is unhealthy and not living her best life or honouring her light. I don’t live there anymore and man….it feels fantastic. Shit got real after that Christmas (too many Nanaimo bars. Haha) and I made some serious changes to my life style. That was two years before I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I just knew something wasn’t right! I have 60+ pounds gone(!) but it is not just about the weight. I feel so much lighter in every aspect of my life.

This was me last night at the Merry and Bright festival at the MUN Botanical gardens. This magical, feel good event is a perfect start to the holiday season! If you have an evening free and are lucky enough to score some tickets, you should definitely take it in.

This girl is happy and healthy. She honours her feelings, her beauty and her light. My chakras are freaking amazing. hehe I’ve been working really hard and it’s paying off 😁.

I just wanted to share. Sometimes the victories get lost in day to day and I feel like celebrating. Thanks to all my warriors who are helping me on my journey. So much love and light to you all.

Until next time.

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

❤️❤️❤️

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Happy December 3!

It’s hard to believe it is December all ready. This year flew by with lightening speed. On this day last year, I was having surgery to remove my ovaries. Not a difficult surgery but leading up to it was difficult mentally for me and it was definitely the lowest point in my life. I felt so old and broken. I had had such a traumatizing experience during my mastectomy surgery 11 months earlier when I ended up in ICU on life support due to an allergic reaction. So I was pretty scared I wasn’t going to make it through. Anyway, I did make it through, using every tool possible, with a new lease on life and a sense of gratitude that is larger than I could ever dream. It has been a tremendous year of healing and growth for me and I am stoked for 2020.

I saw this today and I felt proud. Proud of how I’ve learned to embrace the darkness with the light and how I am trying my best to handle it all with grace and love.

You never know what people are dealing with on a daily basis. Be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time.

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

❤️❤️❤️

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Good results!

I just wanted to pop in here today and share some good news! I had a mammogram the other day and I found out this afternoon that it is all clear! I felt like it was all good but I’ve been wrong before 🤪. What a relief to have it over with for another year.

Here’s to healthy boob(s)!

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

xo

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My Tiber River Naturals story and save the date (Nov. 2nd)

Hello friends,

It’s a beautiful one here in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador today and Election Day all over Canada. I hope you’re enjoying it wherever in the world you are at the moment.

One of the major positive changes I have made on my self care journey (HEALTHCARE really!) is switching to using as many natural products in my home and on my body as possible and work towards having a toxic free a home. After some research, in March of 2018, I found the Tiber River Naturals company out of Winnipeg, Manitoba and quickly became a Tiber River consultant. Once I started exploring the wonderful world of Tiber River Naturals, I instantly fell in love with the products and since feel in love with the two female entrepreneurs who own the company. Their story is another whole blog post I’ll share in the future. The entire team is inspiring.

At the same time as joining the Tiber River team, I also started a new full time day job and was still healing from breast cancer so I didn’t have a lot of extra time. Because of this, I have not done much selling of the products, with the exception of to close friends and family, and have done way more buying for product testing 😉. Now I am healthier than ever and settling into my daytime career so I want to dedicate some time to my side hustle, Tiber River Naturals. I have also taken over my dining room and it is now the Tiber River room. I plan to place a couple orders a month and hold events in my home so people can drop in and try the products for themselves.

My website is http://www.tiberriver.ca/msa .Would love for you to check it out. There are product lines for your home, body, face, baby, man in your life, pet in your life, essential oils, hair, nails, bath….all of it!! I just love the products and the peace of mind it gives me knowing they are safe for myself and my family. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

AND please Save the date – Nov. 2, 2019 from 10:00-4:00 for a vendor event at my home. I will have many of the Tiber River products available to try as well as stain glass work by Tracie Boland of Boland Studios. Her art is incredible and she is designing 3 different Mummer nightlights to add to her product line. I can’t wait to see them.

I have a couple more vendors TBD….stay tuned.

Come over and do some shopping or just drop in for a chat. We’d love to see you…..there may even be some mulled wine around.

Until next time!

Only joy, only love,

Michelle

❤️❤️❤️

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