In Heaven

Last week, at the age of fifty, one of our colleagues joined those in heaven. Coleen was the kind of person that lived fully, laughed freely and loved passionately.

In her last Facebook post, she shared that she had no regrets: she lived the life she wanted to live. As we guide our children through life and our students through their schooling, isn’t that the message we want to share? Follow your passion… Live life… Make the moments count.

So, as we tuck the little ones into bed or decorate the Christmas tree, as we sit down to dinner with family or as students come to school excited about their donations to our clothing drive, these are the moments to be treasured. Each day is truly a blessing.

Coleen, thank you for the gift of your friendship. Thank you for living your life as an example to us all. You will live on in the many lives you touched.

Snow, snow and more snow!

As I write this, the snow outside my window falls gently as if in a whisper. This is in stark contrast to the images I’ve seen of Buffalo during this past week. Snow, yes. A whisper, not quite. 7 feet actually – in three days. Parents stranded. Kids home alone. Roads closed. Cars buried. Roofs collapsing. Those in the area held in the grips of nature: wondering what’s to come. More snow… rain… melting… flooding? 

All else forced to stop. Travel. Work. School. Football. Hockey. Everything, really. It all came down to basic survival. Stay home. Stay safe.

And though we here in Alberta claim to know blizzards, the extreme nature of this storm is something we really cannot relate to. It is a storm unlike any we have experienced.

The situation seems a perfect writing prompt to use with students. By sharing pictures and stimulating a discussion, creative narratives would most certainly follow. Try it… I dare you!


Once again this week I was reminded of the power of words. Words used in relief, frustration and joy. Words used to hurt and discredit. Words used in forgiveness. Words used to empower.

I was also witness to a little one who is beginning to understand the relationship between the letters on a page and the words we read. Her excitement was evident: the gleam in her eyes spoke volumes. She has entered the world of the literate.

Words affect our every day: our relationships, our ability to function in society, even our moods. Words really do change worlds.

In Remembrance

Today is a day of remembrance. We remember, honour and pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives for our country. We remember all who have served our country in the name of freedom and justice. We also remember the many family members, who have not served themselves, but who have been impacted by the atrocities of war.

On this day, I also remember my father. Thirteen years ago this evening, we gathered for his prayer service. The Knights of Columbus paid tribute to him with an honour guard and given the day, we all wore poppies. It was a fitting sendoff to a man who was known as a peacekeeper – not in any official context but simply in the way he lived his life. He had the ability to bring people together, to respect the uniqueness of each individual and to approach all circumstances with compassion.

My brothers and I delivered the eulogy for our dad. Our final words were, “Rest well ye gentle and faithful servant. Your life’s work is done.”

We remember. Today and every day.

Goblins, Ghosts, Ghouls and … Elsa?!

From kindergarten to grade six, excitement pervaded our school on Friday. I saw everything from pirates to cheerleaders, superheroes to unicorns. But it seemed in every class, there were two or three Elsa’s! The Snow Queen from Frozen found her way into most classrooms – often as twins or triplets.

On this day, children have the opportunity to hide behind a mask, to take on a different persona, to ‘beg’ for candy: things that wouldn’t be acceptable any other day of the year. I spoke to one mom who said they love to ‘scare’ in their household. They go all out with costumes, decorations and pranks.

Some of my own treasured childhood memories involve Halloween traditions: using everything from boxes, paint and vacuum cleaner hoses to create costumes, watching “It’s the great pumpkin Charlie Brown”, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating and a traditional late night Halloween birthday party for a great aunt. Regardless of how much you and your family involve yourselves in Halloween, there is no doubt that this is a favourite day for most kids.

I leave the last words this week to the witches from Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.”