Wedding Bells and Red Flags

14 years ago today, I put in on a gorgeous wedding dress and married the man who I thought would be with me until death. 14 years ago today, I said “I do” to future I wanted more than anything while pushing my intuition & needs away.

When I was packing my things up to move to Vancouver Island, I found a giant pile of old journals. I didn’t know what to do with them, so I opened each one up and read the pages of the last 30 years of my life. Some of the pages made me smile, some made me cringe, and a lot made me cry.

The things I said to myself broke my heart. I wrote that I was fat, ugly, unwanted, unloved, stupid, gross, sad, closed off, and I spent way too much time chasing after guys who simply weren’t interested or it was bad timing.

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The Art of Building Yourself Back Up

I left Edmonton with 16 Rubbermaid containers and 4 months later, I have a full furnished home on Vancouver Island. Crazy, right?

I left Edmonton with 16 rubbermaid containers, a suitcase, and two kids bicycles.


Looking back, I can hardly believe I managed to donate, give away, and sell everything in my 4 bedroom house within 7 weeks. It was one hell of a giant purge and I’ll be the first to admit that I spent hours upon hours crying and releasing as things moved onto their new homes.

I didn’t think I had a huge attachment to my things, it’s just stuff after all, but I had spent years and years collecting and caring for these things. Each piece had a memory attached and I had to grieve through a lot of it. There were receiving blankets that I wrapped my wee babies in like little burritos. There were books that brought me to other places and helped me escape when I needed it. There were CDs that shaped my youth, initiated a lot of dance parties, and were the background to so many amazing nights.

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Am I Living Your Worst Nightmare?

My worst nightmare (becoming a single mom) has become the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed and I don’t want to.

**Trigger warning – emotional abuse and loss**

When I was a teenager, I was a know-it-all. I clearly knew how life was supposed to be lived and judged people based on my super narrow view of the world. From abortion to marriage and divorce, I had opinions on it all. I had my life planned out – I’d meet the man of my dreams by 23, get married and have my first child by 30. We’d have a nice house that we owned and live in it until the kids moved out. We’d have super fun family vacations and a cabin by the water somewhere like my grandparents did when I was little. I’d never get divorced as marriage is forever.

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Hitting the Pause Button

When I had my daughters, I made sure I got out of the house every day. Even with a two-day-old baby, I was walking around a mall (with painkillers). Even after I asked my ex-husband for a separation, I went back to work the next morning. I need a busy intervention.

When I had my daughters, I made sure I got out of the house every day. Even with a two-day-old baby, I was walking around a mall (with painkillers). Even after I asked my ex-husband for a separation, I went back to work the next morning. 

It comes as no surprise that took 2 months to sell my house, give away and sell everything in my 4 bedroom home, plan my move, come to the Island for a week to solidify my place to live and get affairs in order, take the girls to all of their appointments – dentist, doctor, optometrist and go to my own appointments, get my legal affairs in order, clean my house, cancel everything and move everything else, get into a relationship with an ex and then end it, and drive 2 days to get to Cumberland. All while running a couple of businesses, looking after my two young daughters 24 days of the month, hanging out with friends, writing, and working out at least 3 days a week.

My pattern is go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go and then a huge crash and burn. I’ve done full months without sleeping more than 3 hours a night, which has broken me down to a point where I got pneumonia twice…in both lungs. Under extreme stress, I will also lose my appetite and get TMJ so bad that I wake up with mouthfuls of blood from clenching and grinding. 

I bet this is the point where you think I’m going to tell you that my move has made all of these patterns disappear and that I’m doing so well. That I’ve found the secret to slowing down and being in the moment. Turns out, even being in one of the most beautiful places on Earth hasn’t slowed me down.

I just hit my first 60 days on Vancouver Island and my list of things I’ve accomplished is just as long as the one I wrote above. Even in the first 5 weeks I put a bid in on my dream house and days later, it was approved and the conditions were taken off. I’ve also added 4 new marketing clients, made awesome friendships, found an amazing babysitter, seen live music, got an addiction to buy/sell and 24-hour bidding sites, explored 10 different parks in the area, volunteered for the Cumberland Forest Society, started a pottery class, kept up this blog, and drank a LOT of coffee. All while being a solo parent with two businesses.

I’m fucking tired. Legit.

It’s time to re-pattern. I didn’t come here to get so sick I can’t enjoy this gorgeous place or time with my kids. I didn’t come here to move so fast I can’t breathe. I came here to start again. To be the phoenix coming out of ashes. To reinvent myself and to open my wings. I can’t do this at the pace I’m at and I’m scared of being forced to slow down with illness again.


It’s time to slow down and heal. To focus within and deal with the things I moved past because I had to. My ability to shove down my emotions and trauma in order to keep showing up and moving forward has served me well. In a lot of cases, it kept me alive. I’m so grateful for this but it’s not needed anymore. I’m fully capable of dealing with my emotions, being vulnerable and raw, and giving myself the space to move through things as I’m in them. It’s time to rely on my power and the beautiful space I can find through mindfulness and connection.


I’ve come to realize that things happen for me and not to me. I’m not the victim in my life anymore and I don’t need to shy away from the wisdom and strength this gives me. To honour this, I’m going to move through things in a less forceful way. I’m going to do what I want when I want to and not just because I’m scared of slowing down. I want to know what it’s like to wake up, keep my PJ’s on, and watch Netflix all day without guilt.

I’m giving myself a busy intervention. I’m going to stop myself each time I feel my old patterns coming up. I’m going to sleep when I want to and maybe even learn how to nap. I’m going to listen to my body and eat what I want, when I want to. I’m going to seek out a feeling of “lightness” and be fully open to experiences. I’m going to explore a life without force. I don’t even know what this looks like and I REALLY want to start planning and organizing it, but I need less on my “build the life I want” list (my renamed to-do list), not more.

Wish me luck!

Bravely Taking Jen Time Forward


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I Bought a House in Courtenay

Check out the amazing house I bought in Courtenay, BC on Vancouver Island. It is so perfect for me and my daughters. It’s even PURPLE!

I bought a house today. Well, the conditions of the sale came off today. HAPPY DAY!

I know people buy and sell houses every day but this purchase is way more than just a place to live. To me, this is real freedom.

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Crappy Day Wrapped In a Rainbow

Every have a super crappy day wrapped up in a rainbow? I have and it had to do with getting car insurance after moving from Alberta to BC.

Moving to BC has lots of moving parts. You have to get your car inspected (and approved) and then get your current registration, 2 pieces of primary ID, and the last 8 years of your car history report from your current insurance provider, then go to a broker to get your registration and insurance together, then surrender your plates and get new ones. Oh, and you have to do this within 30 days of moving here.

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Just Realized I’m Not Coming Back

I’m a little fish in a big pond. The girls and I are a happy trio but I’m missing adult interactions outside of placing my coffee order. Big moves are tough.

I just realized I’m not coming back to Edmonton. I’m sure this sounds odd but it’s true.

I know I was moving. I know I sold my house. I know my things have been lovingly rehoused. I know all of these this as I went through the motions for 6 months. Yet, deep down I felt like I was going back. Like this is all a dream and it’s time to get back to real life in Edmonton.

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Adventuring In Comox Valley – Week 2

It’s our second week in the Comox Valley and we’ve been doing lots of adventuring! Check out our reviews of Elk Falls, Cumberland Grind, Bibliotaco, and Dick’s.

I miss my own space and my stuff. I miss my old bed and the smell of my living room. I miss my electric fireplace and my art. I miss my coffee maker and bean grinder. I miss a lot of things right now but I’m also finding a new normal.

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Happy 4th Seperationiversary To Me

It’s been 4 years since I made the decision to end my abusive marriage and I’ve learned a lot since then about life, love, and following your dreams.

Four years ago, I made the decision to end my marriage. I was done with living on eggshells and the cycle of angry silence, fighting, and smiling through tears as I tried to keep everything together.

I was so damn scared. I was told every day that I couldn’t manage on my own, that I didn’t have support from family and that no man would ever want me. I was nothing more than an overweight woman who people just pretended to like. He broke me down in so many ways and I allowed it because that’s what I’ve seen love look like since I was a child.

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All the Feelings

Today I have all the feelings. Yes, all of them.

It’s been a week since we’ve been here in Cumberland and 9 days since we started this journey and I’m tired and I’m sad and I’m happy and I’m content and I’m anxious and I’m depressed and I’m…a giant run on sentence with poor grammar.

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