I love looking at old pics, there are some great shots and reminds me of a time so carefree, being a kid with not a worry in the world. I remember this house, and those sweaters, great times. I think about all that my parents have done for me since this picture but most of all, the part that they played in making me who I am the influence they have had on my children. I feel blessed.
So ... I thought I would write a piece dedicated to my dear old dad or to the Afi of my kids. ( Afi is Icelandic for grandfather).
I want to thank you.
Without your voice we would never have learned the words to "Oh My Darlin' Clementine"
We would never have learned about the stars and constellations when star-gazing in the field at night.
(one of my faves)
We wouldn't know what a Red-Headed Wood-pecker was,
Or any of the other hundreds of birds you taught us about.
We wouldn't have heard you whistle the different bird calls or whistle a lovely tune.
(we never would have learned how to whistle)
We wouldn't have known what the different cattle or the different crops were as we drove along on our Sunday drives.
(Now I can tell me kids the difference between canola and oats)
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know how to Rake or haul hay,
haul wood or cut down trees.
(glad I don't have to any more)
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have learned about the lessons of caring about those less fortunate,
and why we always had strangers at our dinner table,
(because it was a nice thing to so)
We wouldn't know what it would mean to be accepting, non-judgmental and more importantly selfless.
We wouldn't have had the opportunity to understand with his guidance, the importance of integrity, truth and a kind word.
We wouldn't have understood the importance of the dollar, how much work it takes to make it.
We wouldn't have understood the meaning of what a father does to support his family.
We wouldn't have undedrstood the true meaning of hard work and perseverance.
We wouldn't know the difference between a catfish and a pickerel,
a hornet and a bee,
a chickadee and a swallow,
an education or none at all.
Now, if I would have listened a little more closely over the years, I realize in retrospect, that I could have saved myself a ton o'misery and bad choices. If I just had opened my ears. But as far as that goes, age helps us listen more closely, pay attention to those subtle clues. Let me just say that some of the things my dear old dad picked up on, may have been true.
I now have many stories that we laugh about today, mostly about the dating years, it was great fodder for bugging dad to be sure. Every guy my sister and I knew were afraid to drop us off at the door, my dad had a 'Thunderous Thor' reputation, half the time they dropped us off at the end of the driveway and drove off like a bat out of hell. Even if I had wanted to stay out later than my curfew, my friends were like, 'No Way, You're going home!' Recently when bugging him about one event or the other, perhaps about the 'one that got away', he said "Every dad wants to protect his daughters.' Who can argue with that? Truthfully, I wish he would have scared off a choice few more diligently, oh well, a daughter has to learn to fight her own fights too.
I love that my dad taught both me and my own children these same things and I know that I have touched on them in some of my other blogs but sometimes, it's important to say them again. My dad, worked really hard, cared for his family, survived the trials and tribulations of life, love and tragedy and he is amazing. I don't tell him enough. He loves his kids and his grandchildren, and is a wonderful husband. He cares about others in his community, his extended family and friends, he is loyal as the day is long. He wouldn't hurt a flee, but could tell us the scientific name for it. He is full of knowledge from books, from teaching, from life, and I feel grateful to have learned so much from this man.
He is the most humble man with a huge heart and I am so lucky that he is my dad.
Well so to speak ... it's more about being exposed, unleashed maybe. It's about being vulnerable so in a way naked.
Well … the one thing that you should know about me by now is that I don’t hide any truths from you. Like I said before, I think to be an authentic life coach, you have got to be real and show others that it’s empowering to speak your truth and put yourself out there. Maybe that’s what sets me apart from other coaches. I want my readers to be able to connect with me because what I’m talking about resonates with them, right to their core.
So … about being NAKED, I really do feel like I’m NAKED up here in front of you all, sharing all parts of my life, both good and some bad. It’s about learning, listening, taking pointers to improve your own life.
Naked … yes …
The M.O.B. Project is all about sharing vulnerability, exposing myself in a very personal way that many of you can relate with. I'm hoping we can go on this journey together and have a few laughs along the way, share some success and reach some goals. So ... figuratively ... if you want to get naked with me ... come on board The M.O.B Project.
I’m guessing most of you don’t know what a ‘Stoneboat’ is. It is a parenting tool used to build stamina, character and muscle on all unassuming children. Okay, not all children, maybe just farm children, maybe not even that, maybe just my dad’s children. There is many a kid over the last hundred years that had to go into the farm fields to pick rocks … long before mechanical rock pickers arrived on the scene. That being said, I don’t think there were too many kids doing it in my era. So ... I picked rocks and roots with my sis and occasionally some 'town' boys every summer. My dad realized after a couple of times that the two of us girls, could out pick the guys ten to one. He was wasting his hard earned money and my patience was wearing thin with dudes that couldn't keep up the pace. I drove the tractor, I pulled the stoneboat (it was an old car hood dragged behind the tractor, for those of you that didn't grow up on a farm) I chucked rocks and roots and I OUTWORKED the rest of them. Thus ... the self imposed title of 'The Stoneboat Queen'. I rocked it.
My dad’s dream was to own a farm, have animals and grow crops, just to be on the land … his own little piece of heaven. He worked hard, really hard, really, really, really hard. So much so, this year, in his 75 year, is the first time he has ever taken a summer off. Crazy, I say … just plain crazy. Crazy, but not in the way that you think. My dear ol’ dad grew up in a generation where you worked all the time. During the day he worked at his full time job as a principal and the minute he got off work until he fell into bed, he worked the farm.(During calving season, he was up every 2-3 hours to check on the expecting mama cows) There wasn’t any work life balance back then, it wasn’t a term anyone even knew about or had created for that matter. Men worked, and worked and worked. That’s why my dad can’t relax, he doesn’t know how.
We’ve been trying to get him to quit working summers for some time now, it’s quite a coo really that he has finally done so. Truth of the matter is the grandkids are getting to that age that they are growing up; it’s the perfect time to spend some time with family and yes hopefully have some fun and relax. This is important information so that you understand the importance of why I even mentioned the whole ‘Stoneboat’ thing. It’s about exposure to hard work, and what it teaches us.
Nowadays, I’m sure most people look at me and think I bet she doesn’t even want to get her nails dirty. Well, sometimes yes that’s true and nowadays, sometimes I don’t have to nor do I want to get my hands dirty. But … if I didn’t hold the title of yes, ‘The StoneBoat Queen’ , I wouldn’t know how to get my hands dirty.
So yes … I, Charis Johannson, was a rock picker, and a damn good one. I also was a post digger, cow wrangler, a wood hauler, field worker but most of all I was a daughter. My dad had a dream, my dad needed help to live the dream … and I was the oldest child … so I got the fun jobs, trust me when I say that I am not complaining in the least. Why was I picking rocks? My dear ol’ dad had cleared land in the back 40 as we called it and wanted to be able to work the land, grow a crop or two, try his hand at being a crop farmer as well as a cattle farmer. If you have never cleared land, especially bush land, you have no idea the work involved in preparing the land even to put in that first crop. When I think about it now, I don’t know how people that farm or my dad for that matter, managed to do it. The shear level of will and perseverance is unreal.
This blog post came into fruition as my son and I were driving out to my parents place last weekend and my son was asking about why the trees were in such odd clumps in the field, or in rows. I paused briefly when he asked, because I realized that as growing up on a farm, the answer was obvious, then … I realized that I raised a city kid. Nothing wrong with that of course but I realized all of the knowledge that he was missing just because he did grow up in the city. Don’t get me wrong there are things that he knows as a city kid that some country kids don’t. Just a different perspective on things. That’s when was appreciative of my upbringing. Not that I always haven’t been thankful. There is something rather special about growing up in the country and a small town. I believe that so much so, that when I found myself a single mom with two little ones, I went back to the country.
Why? I remembered the sense of community that I felt when I was young, everybody knows everyone. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes that’s a not so good thing. In this case, it was good. I knew a younger generation than myself and I knew the older generation as well. My grandparents friends, my parents friends, the store owners, the gas station owners, we knew everyone and everyone knew us. It is a sense of security and sense of community that you don’t get in the city. Really … just too many people in the city. (However, on the flip side, this is one of the reasons I moved back to the city, I wanted the privacy and the anonymity.)
Back to ‘The Stoneboat Queen ...
I wouldn’t be who I am today without winning that title. Why? I’m not afraid to tackle anything at all. Maybe that’s where my “No Fear” attitude comes from, and thanks the universe for that. AND … my experience as ‘The Stoneboat Queen’ taught me that I CAN do it. I don’t have to wait for anyone else to help me, it’s given me independence. My title extends to learning about how the pump worked at the farm for the cows and how we needed to keep it warm in the winter so that it didn’t freeze up. I learned how to fence; I learned how to inoculate cattle (although I was just the pusher of the board that kept the cattle in place. I’m telling you… it was a little intimidating when a 1500lb animal is barreling through the shoot because they are terrified and have to pen them in so my dad could give them their injection.) Do I need to know how to do any of those things in my life now? No. But it’s what it taught me about learning new things and just DOING them. No fear.
I learnt that I had strength. Mental and physical strength and I was proud of that. In those days, girls didn’t talk about having muscles and being strong. These days, my strength is inner strength and my biggest muscle is my brain. I wish I still had the physical strength, and that’s about to change. I loved that feeling. I was proud of the work I was able to do with my dad. He might not have thought so at the time with all the griping and complaining of a teenager but I did enjoy it. AND … it was time with my dad. I learned to drive the tractors, the trucks, I learned to listen to an engine to hear what was wrong; I learned how to kick start and engine when the choke wasn’t working. I picked eggs, I watched as the slaughtered beef for meat for the family, and watched as cows, cats, and dogs birthed. He showed me how things worked mechanically and always said, “Charis, you can do this.” I learned about spark plugs, I learned about crops and I learned about septic fields and painting, caulking, and gardening you name it, I had exposure to it. I learned how to swear … lol.
I have told my dad many times over the years that I am so thankful that I spent that time learning all of those things from him. I wouldn’t have been able to survive as a single parent, having to constantly fix and maintain things on my own. The great thing about this is that I have passed on some of these things to my kids. Not enough though, now that I’m thinking about it. I haven’t been able to show them the intricacies of driving a tractor or fencing, but I have instilled in them, that they can do any of it, all of it and not to be afraid to try or to learn. So … I took my youngest son out the backyard and we pruned trees, I explained to him how and why, then I let him do it. AND … he loved it. He was mortified when we cut the live branches off, but I was able to explain to him why it helped the tree grow and how it strengthened the branches that are left. He didn’t understand why we were trimming up the trees until we were done, and he literally sat back and said … “Wow, it looks SO much better!” He didn’t complain once in helping me, but then again, my approach was different … I made it fun instead of being a chore. I also let him shoot baskets every 20 minutes or so to keep him engaged. I want him to grow up being knowledgeable and independent; I want him to be able to feel the gratification of accomplishment in doing things for himself. I also want him to enjoy being outside and in nature even if it’s as small as our own trees in our own backyard. It’s important that we give our kids these life skills, because they sure as hell don’t teach it in school. He cuts the grass now and loves that it’s HIS thing. He wasn’t so impressed the first time when I was “teaching” how I liked the grass to be cut. (I am very particular about the grass, I have to admit) I made him cut the backyard three times over, very patiently explained that the edge of the wheel has to be on the inside of the last cut row so that you don’t leave lines of uncut grass between swaths. My parents taught me that. And … trust me when I say that he will remember that lesson forever as he was none to impressed redoing the grass three times.
So … to my dad that taught me how to work hard, have no fear and to persevere.
To my children … I hope that I have taught you enough to be independent and strong.
To myself … I am still the most rockin’ STONEBOAT QUEEN and I’m damn proud of it.
Girls Night. Boys Night. So terribly important in the big scheme things and the cause of much happiness and bonding as well as many arguments amongst couples. Nights with your friend pals only means that you have healthy relationships. I never understand when some people as couples don't let their spouse or partner enjoy this. If it's brought upon by insecurities, past disappointments, trust issues, dependency issues, that might be saying more about your and your relationship than that you just don't want your S.O. (significant other) hanging out with their buds. That's an entirely different blog post. However, the point is, it's important to have friend time, whether you rare single or in a relationship. It's important to have others to bounce your thoughts off as well as just having a few laughs. As you have heard me say before, laughs are so important. I'm lucky in that I have different groups of friends, all with different interests, my pals are usually a source of feel good, un-altering support. We all need that. Did I mention positive? I have removed anyone with negativity in their life, right out of mine. Life is hard enough without having a negative Ned or Nelly bringing you down.
I'm lucky enough to be having a gal pal weekend, and am so looking forward to relaxing, working and drinking some lovely cocktails. The best part of it is ... I am now surrounding myself with those positive hard working soul mates in my business life as well. First and foremost because I want to be a shining example of support and pay it forward. That post will be out this week. So ... my gal pal and I will be working together as well, we will be drinking our coffee with Baileys and strategizing about our business opportunities. ( You will learn more about this as well, can't give it all to you at once!)
I've decided to share a blog piece about hanging out, having some awesome bonding time and getting your Ryan fix. I'm going to add a few choice blog pieces I did several years ago, I still enjoy reading them, and I get a kick about how things change. This one did get a ton of exposure at the time I wrote it ... and it forever encapsulated a moment in time in our lives that was really fantastic.
There were a few movies that she wanted me to see that I just haven't had the time, or the inclination to see and she said that we were finally going to make a point of it.
Friday night consisted of The Easy A and He's Just Not That Into You. I laughed my ass off... Truthfully I had never really noticed Emma Stone prior to The Help (which she rocked) but man...I love her... she really is hilarious. The other one...He's Just Not That Into You (I'm pretty sure that I have the title screwed up, but you KNOW which one I'm talking about) OMG for lack of a better terminology. Again...LMFAO. My fave was the psycho clingy chic...I know chics like her AND I KNOW GUYS JUST LIKE THAT. Let's face it, when it comes to relationships, we all are scrambling ALL the time. What works one time, doesn't work the next, and so on and so on. The part about the movie that resonated the most was the underlying fact that everyone shares that two degrees of separation...I don't even think it's six anymore... and that's scary. Truthfully, I can't even get on a plane, or end up in some distance land without running into someone who knows someone who is connected to the VERY small town I grew up in...and at it's best had 800 people in it. Bottom line... don't shit on your own front step. Its true, remember it. On the same note...be careful where you whip for bathing suit top off (thinking that you're liberating yourself in a tropical paradise 6 hours away in the middle f the Caribbean ocean because you will KNOW NO ONE...) you just might run into a couple that knows your parents from back home and they knew you growing up. At my age, should I care, no, but its hard getting past the...they know as that kid, still shocking...more for them than me. I digress.
Okay so back to movie night. Let's hit Movie night number two. After a day of watching play off basketball games for the "Slice" (the youngest of the bio-units) and having to listen to the incessant drivel of the Ex Husband (whom from this point forward I will refer to as FB) while the ex boyfriend (who is still extremely hot) sits between us and they chat...my daughter and I were ready for a bottle of wine and some giggles. We invited one of my many daughters ( the pseudo adopted girlfriends of my daughter) over to join us, Miss J.
1. a bottle of wine each ( now each trying a different Moscato...our new thing)
2. attire: yoga pants, grub gear
3. blankets, pillows
4. sushi: we had already fulfilled the sushi requirement
5. chips and Mama ChaCha's most excellent HIP CHIP DIP
Now the girls were already swooning as RYAN GOSLING3333 was appearing in a starring role in Crazy Stupid Love, the movie they wanted me to see. I was going on and on and on about how He just didn't do it for me, just didn't find him as attractive and dreamy as they did. (Could be because he is WAY to young for this old chic to even be admitting someone his age is hot) They were not only astounded by this, but horrified. I stuck to my guns.
the brown shoes appeared....
He took his shirt off.
I just can't even speak. They laughed as they both knew just at what moment, I would have to cave...yes that was it.
After that everything he wore, everything he did and said...well just had new meaning...seriously...did you see his abs?????? That's just criminal. The girls wiped the drool off my chin, giggled and said MANY times over the course of the movie...WE TOLD YOU SO! Even Steve baby looked hot in that movie. Seriously, it was the haircut, the clothes, the attitude. Like I always say...take pride in yourself, don't let yourself be frumpy... you're not doing yourself or anyone else any favors...don't kid yourself. Again Emma Stone was hilarious...did I mention I love her...she is really talented that kid.
Afterwards, the girls and I finished off the wine and chatted about boys. ALL of our boys. Yes, I'm fortunate enough to be in the loop with all my daughters, bio-unit or adopted, and we get the chance to talk about all of that stuff. I can only hope to pass on some Charis Wisdom that hopefully will alleviate some of the mistakes, mishaps, heartbreak but as well enjoy some of the experience, knowledge, adventures that this old chic has had. It's a great thing. I've been very thankful over the years to be the token "cool mom". Thanks kids.
Bio-unit or not. :)
Well....here is a picture of my eyes....this is a key component of this story and the visual you will need to understand this story and my pain ... teehee. I'm only re-posting this blog piece that I wrote several years ago because I was telling it to someone that had noticed my eyes ... well ... were different colors. She laughed hysterically, I hope you do too!
My whole life, people will stop and gaze at me....get this really weird look on their face and say:
"Hey...did you know that you have two different color eyes?"
No shit batman.
I like it, don't get me wrong...I like to be unique...this makes me unique. Occasionally, however, there is a story that rises above all the rest, this particular story happened when I was the ripe old age of eighteen. Just at the time where boys still made me blush, any sort of notice made me self conscious and as much as I wanted to stand out in the crowd, I was okay not getting called out of it at the same time.
Working in the campground office on May long weekend....the line up of cars is around the bend....the office (4x10) standing room only space for customers has 30 people all squeezed in trying to get their camping permits. I'm busy working away, whipping off permits and just happen to look up at my next customer. He's very handsome, probably around 24, and looks right at me...well right into my eyes.....
he tilts his head a bit to the right....
then a bit to the left....
gets the "weird" look on his face....
"MAN YOU LOOK JUST LIKE MY DOG!!!!!'
Well... 30 people gasped, held their communal breath, I gasped in horror, turned a bright shade of scarlet, felt the vomit rise to my throat....OMG did he really just say that out loud????
He realized right at that moment what he had said ... started laughing, apologized profusely and said, "No, no, no .... I didn't mean it that way! I mean I have a Husky...my dog...and he has two different colored eyes too!"
The entire place bust out into uproarious laughter....even I had to laugh. I don't know who was more embarrassed that day, me or the poor guy. I've had many a chuckle over that story over the years....
Photograph by Ian McCausland Photography
Beauty doesn't have to be intimidating!
Having done makeup for 15 years and 13 of them being in people's home, I have seen a lot and learned a lot. Working heavily in the wedding industry, I have definitely seen a rise in interest of freelance makeup services. Even as "getting your makeup done" has become more popular, and as we see more and more shops like Sephora popping up everywhere, it doesn't always help break it down for the average Canadian simply looking to buy a new lipstick.
Easy for some of us, that are product junkies, However that is NOT commonly the case. I would say 75% of the brides that I trial own one old mascara and maybe a jar of Carmex. And the thought of approaching a "makeup artist" in the cosmetic department can be intimidating for most. Buying a few staple pieces is crucial and does not have to be expensive. But getting their and knowing where to start is half the battle.
"What do I spend my money on?"
"Where do I start looking?"
"I want to run to Starbucks and never look back"
I strongly recommend a store like Shoppers Drug Mart, the Beauty Advisors are hired with experience, and they themselves are all ages, shapes and sizes... They are like you! Another bonus to shopping in an environment like Shoppers is that you have all price points to chose from. So, spend little on your new mascara (Cover Girl will always reign the master of Mascara) but maybe have them test shades on you for a high end concealer, a product that is new to you and a user friendly product is key. And the colour matching, how can you buy a new foundation without a tester? Please, don't EVER do that.
A brown eyeliner, bronzer, blush and few new lip products ( cause we all know there are a MILLION different types, gloss, chubby pencil, matte, cream, veil, stick, wand, stain and on and on and on) and you can leave with your wonderful little white shopping bag and feel like a million bucks and feeling like you didn't spend that.... And spritz yourself with the latest trending fragrance on the way out... 'Cause dammit you deserve to feel and look your very best! I'm tired of hearing that your kids don't allow you to have time for makeup in the morning, (mascara takes 3 minutes, and if it's taking longer you need to buy a different mascara)
Or you work at a hospital with babies and they don't look or care, or your partner doesn't like makeup, it's not about them, and it's not about over doing it, it's about you feeling and being amazing! You can make time for anything you need to if its important enough. I'm not saying you should wear it everyday and change your whole morning routine, I'm just saying we are women, strong, and confident and juggling a million things on the daily, and a little blush goes a long way! Embrace your inner beauty, and be beautiful. There is not any better feeling than a bride tearing up when she looks in the mirror, cause she feels like a gorgeous version of herself... And I love my job all over again.
"I want to show as many women as I can reach, not only how to be beautiful, But how to stay beautiful" - Estéee Lauder
Lifestyle blog, detailing life experiences, coaching tips, how-to's with lifestyle product recommendations and reviews. Health, beauty, travel, home and family!
Let me not be judged by what I have and have not accomplished but by the remarkable children I have raised. Mother, Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, Designer, Artist.
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