Love and Fear….and a Baby Ben Update!

My good friend Leslie is a life coach and I have had the pleasure of doing some work with her. One of the most profound lessons I have learned from her was that at the most fundamental level in any given moment and in any situation I can respond with only 2 things – fear or love. That’s it. Underneath all of our wild and crazy emotions, thoughts, decisions and reactions…..just those 2 simple choices.

oprah quote

I can make my decisions as a parent based on fear (oh my gosh my 12-year old son is texting his girlfriend – I have to read all of his texts and ban that freakin’ ipod!) or based on love (I trust my son and respect his privacy and we can maintain a mutually respectful relationship if I give him some independence and he shows me he can handle it). I can make changes in my life based on fear (I have got to sign up for more exercise classes and work harder because I’m not skinny enough and I’m going to have to squeeze myself into a bathing suit soon) or based on love (this body gave me 3 beautiful children and I am going to embrace my curves and exercise doing things I enjoy to improve my overall health and wellbeing). And I can move forward in the world focusing on the fear (war, crime, poverty, hatred) or the love (philanthropy, compassion, charity, family, laughter).

I know, I know it’s easier said then done. And I’m certainly not going through life with rose-colored glasses on (or a bikini for that matter) thinking that bad things will never happen. But here’s the thing – there is a ton of negativity and fear-mongering coming at us all the time. And we have a choice to make: do we believe that life is scary and frightening or loving and supportive? Will we constantly focus on the stuff that scares the hell out of us or redirect ourselves to face the positive things that are also right in front of us waiting to be acknowledged?

fear and love 1

Bottom line– you cannot love and fear at the same time. These two states of being cannot exist in the same space. You have to let go of one or the other. So for me, that means I purposely set my intention to come at things from a loving perspective as often as possible. I offer up green smoothies in the morning as an energizing and healthy way to start the day vs a dreaded mandatory drink to keep my family from getting sick. I keep open lines of communication with my children and I am willing to admit my mistakes vs always telling them what to do and acting invulnerable. I workout to feel strong, flexible and powerful vs frantically chasing a warped ideal of the perfect skinny body. I offer my time and energy to help and volunteer when I can vs sitting at home and bemoaning the state of the world. And at the end of the day, even though I thoroughly muck things up on a regular basis, I just keep reminding myself to come back to a loving place.

AND speaking of LOVE – I have some of the most wonderful and amazing news to share. Back in February, I posted an article on my friends Bill and Susie and their baby boy Ben who was born at just 24 weeks gestation and 1 pound. Well guess who finally came home this past Monday?! Weighing in just over 7 pounds, after 125 days in the NICU, Benjamin Finley is enjoying life from the comfort of his own crib surrounded by his parents and big brother Liam. I am sure there were many, many fearful moments for this family, but every communication they sent out over the past 4+ months was focused on the love they felt for this beautiful little fighter and the love and support they received from doctors, nurses, family and friends. Congratulations on the next step forward in your journey Coy family- you are an inspiration. Welcome home baby Ben!

baby ben 2baby ben 3baby ben 4


Looking at Vulnerability

The most interesting thing for me so far about starting this blog is how many women have reached out to connect with me regarding my very first post “I’m Gonna Look.” I think I struck a chord when I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable about my own personal struggles with my aging and changing body.

Let’s face it – as women there is a ton of pressure that we put on ourselves and on others to be the perfect woman, wife and mom. The one who can hold down an amazing and fulfilling job, make gourmet meals, raise the most amazing children, have a blissful marriage, spend the right amount of time with friends and family, make an enviable salary, have the skinny and toned body, and on and on and on.

Trust me, I struggle with all of these things too and I often allow myself to fall victim to the fruitless pursuit of perfectionism. But I sometimes wonder what is at the root of all of this craziness. What do you think would happen if we all gave ourselves permission to be more real and honest and vulnerable?

Indulge me and take a quiet 20 minutes to yourself this weekend and watch this amazing TedX talk by researcher Brene Brown. She has spent years delving into heart of vulnerability and human connection and her findings are amazing. I have probably watched it 10 times over the past few months and I learn something new each time. It’s funny, touching and might just nudge us all in the direction of letting ourselves become more vulnerable and ultimately feeling more joy and peace.

Have a great weekend!

(email subscribers – you might have to go to the online blog to view –

Love, Gratitude, Guest Posting and Granola

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!


I hope your day is filled with  homemade Valentine’s cards, tons of hugs and kisses, dozens of roses, lots of chocolate and perhaps even some champagne to celebrate this day of love.

As a special Valentine’s treat for me – my very good friends over at the Parenting Network invited me to do a guest post for their blog and they have put it up today. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to combine two of my passions – family and food. Thank you Beverley and Doone!

You can read my guest post  here to find out how I use their principle of LRC (Love, Respect, Confidence) around meal times at my house and also get my yummy recipe for Vanilla Cinnamon Granola. You might also want to check out some of the courses offered by the Parenting Network – their live classes for those who live in the Toronto area and teleseminars and audio learning series for those farther afield.

Happy Valentine’s and here’s wishing you and your family lots of love today!

Baby Ben

I can always tell when my husband is on the phone with his friend and colleague Bill. The snickering, chuckling and hysterical laughter always give them away. No one in Mark’s life makes him crack up more than Bill and he revels in their incessant off-colour email and texting banter pretty much on a daily basis.

Being in the same industry, they often travel together and I can’t even tell you the number of “Bill and Mark” stories that I’ve had to endure over the years. In other words – they are a really bad influence on each other and really good buddies at the same time.

Although he can be a bit of a goofball (in the most charming and loveable kind of way), Bill had the good sense to marry the lovely Susie in 2008. In addition to being beautiful, Susie is also a fast friend – the girlfriend who always has an extra copy of People magazine to share, is the first to initiate a good conversation over a glass of wine and is ever willing to share her style secrets since she is always effortlessly dressed in the most current fashion trends.

A couple of years ago, Bill and Susie welcomed their son Liam at 32 weeks. He was a tiny little guy but a real fighter and after a lot of care and love he’s a thriving toddler today with a cute smile and a sweet personality.

Just last week Susie gave birth to their second baby boy and Liam’s little brother Benjamin Finley at only 24 weeks gestational age. He weighed just 1 pound and 1 ounce and was 11 inches long. He is currently being cared for in the NICU at the Cleveland Clinic and is a little fighter just like his big brother but he has a long road ahead of him. As you can imagine its a very difficult time for this beautiful family so if you have a spare moment over coming days- perhaps you would send along some positive vibes, loving energy or a prayer for wee little Ben, his mom and dad and Liam. Maybe we can start a wave of love coming from Burlington and beyond…every little bit helps.

baby ben 2

Someday I’m sure I’ll be telling Liam and little Ben about some of the crazy things his dad and Mark have done together. Or maybe they will have their own adventures with our two boys and another generation of tom-foolery, hysterical laughter and friendship will begin.

baby ben 1

Our thoughts are with you Bill, Susie, Liam and Ben and we are sending tons of love your way. Keep fighting baby Ben!