The last year has been filled with many ups and downs, and unexpected turns, from more restrictions, more postponed/cancelled shows to home schooling our children, working on new projects and enjoying our new home of Kelowna in British Columbia. Not what we expected, but God always has a plan!
Many of you don’t know that I was in a major car accident last September, but I’m working hard on recovering as quickly as possible, and I’m excited to see you guys out there on stage with Pavlo and the Calgary Civic Symphony on April 17! I hope you can join us, and if not then, on another stage, on another beautiful day.
You guys- WOW. I had the most wonderful two days away last weekend at Sparkling Hill Resort I’m so grateful that I had the chance to sneak in a break. Self care is so important, especially for busy moms trying to do it all! Burning the candles at both ends is easy to do… I saw a hilarious meme about how impossible it is to be present for the kids, your partner, do a great job at your career, entertain, keep up with all your friends… and yet, as much as I laughed, that is what I expect from myself. Crazy right? I might need a daily reminder.
So where is this place? What is this place? Sparkling Hill is one of the most amazing spas I have ever been to, and I’ve been to many around the globe! From the stunning premises created by the Swarovski family, they offer a range of wellness oasis amenities and services unprecedented in North America. Beautiful surroundings, farm to table dining philosophy and holistic spa treatments, Sparkling Hill also offers wellness programs on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and personal wellness.
As an often tired Mom, my goal for my own weekend away was to SLEEP for a full night, and not have to a million things in the morning, and just to catch up on a little rest- and wow, I got that and so much more! I was so inspired to make more time for self care in my daily routine and to take regular breaks which I tend to forget when I’m so darn busy- I usually wait until I crash, which, is NOT a good habit.
So my fellow Mamas, especially the ones writing asking how I get the energy to do it all, (and I don’t always!) here’s YOUR change to win your own weekend away! I am partnering with Sparkling Hill to give you guys the chance to win a 2 night introductory wellness package at this fabulous resort in beautiful British Columbia Canada, which includes the following:
* 2 nights’ accommodation
* Daily 3 course dinner per guest in Peak Fine Restaurant
* One wellness activity class per guest
* 20% off spa treatments at KurSpa*
* Daily complimentary à la carte breakfast
* Complimentary high speed Telus Wi-Fi
* Valet parking – one vehicle per room
* Heated outdoor infinity pool
* Indoor serenity pool and hot pool
* Kneipp Hydrotherapy
* Keiser equipped fitness studio
* Tea and serenity relaxation room
The First Federal Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada
Good morning friends.
Today I want to share a post written by my husband about this important day. I couldn’t have said it better:
Today we remember those who survived Canada’s Residential Schools, and we mourn those who did not survive. We support the uncovering and sharing of the truths, and honour the process of reconciliation here in Canada.
In 1983, I was 11 and was attending the 50th memorial dinner for the Holodomor, the Terror Famine endured by Ukrainians under Soviet rule in 1932-33. The image that has been etched in my memory since that day is a black and white image of a starving child I saw in the documentary film screened that night- ribs showing, belly distended from fluid, and the gaunt look, like someone who is fighting cancer. The suffering that was endured by this child and many, breaks my heart. I am sure that most would echo that sentiment.
There is nothing more unjust than the suffering of a child. The suffering of these children, and their families who lost them. The children that met their deaths in the residential schools were robbed of life and those that survived were robbed of their innocence and hope. These atrocities will be remembered, and we must be vigilant in teaching, and leading by example, that anything like this should not be repeated ever again. We must repair the damage. The truth must and will be told. Children are our future. Children are our greatest blessings and their innocence and hope must be protected. Today on National Truth and Reconciliation Day we are just starting that journey.
Our Indigenous community settled this land first. They paved the way for the rest of us to enjoy the amazing country that we live in, and they were used and abused. That is a Fact. That is the Truth.
This day especially strikes a cord in our family because our mission in our new podcast and blog with our family project Love Chaos Blessings, is to protect the LOVE that brought families together, give them tools to navigate the CHAOS of life and relish in the BLESSINGS that we enjoy as a family.
I am sure most parents would agree, children are the greatest blessing! The cuddles, the quirky personalities, the inspiration they are, how much they teach us and their zest for life are the just some of the many blessings our children really are.
We can, we must, ensure this never happens again, accept the truth, and repair the damage. What can you do? Read below.
“How do I voice my outrage, my dismay and my sorrow about the discovery that supports the stories told for decades by residential school survivors – there are bodies of Indigenous children laying in unmarked graves in the gardens and orchards of Canada’s residential schools?” But more importantly, I have been asking myself, “What can I ‘do’?”
It’s simply not enough for us non indigenous people to turn our social media profile pics orange. It’s simply not enough to leave our lights on in memory. It’s simply not enough to just feel uncomfortable for a little while. There are things we non-Indigenous people can do beyond small symbolic gestures to influence change, real change. If you, too, feel heartbroken over this, join me by doing some of the following. We owe it to ourselves and our children to improve our relationship with Indigenous people on both a societal and a personal level. We owe it to those indigenous people who survived and those kids who didn’t.
1. Write, call, or email your MP and demand that the federal government fund all five Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls To Action number 72-76. These are the Calls To Action that ensure Canada works with Indigenous communities to locate their missing loved ones and the unmarked burial places in a culturally informed way.
2. Sign the petition demanding a National Day of Mourning for the Lost Children of Residential School. Go here to do that: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-call-for-a-national-day-of-mourning-for-the-lost-children-of-residential-school
3. Put your money where your heart is. Support the organizations that make a difference to survivors and their relations. I have donated some money to each of the three organizations listed below. If you can afford to donate some too, any amount, I urge you to do so.
4. Lastly, and definitely most important, let’s get educated and teach our children the truth. For years I have taught my son the true history of Britain, France and Canada’s failed relationship with Indigenous people. It’s not the history I learned in Grade 8 Social Studies. The truth is the purpose of all government policies was and is to eradicate the “Problem of the Indian”. So to the best of my ability as a Settler, I tell my son what really happened and continues to happen to Indigenous people. I tell him about the broken promises, the military massacres, reserves and the Pass system, unfulfilled treaties, the 60’s Scoop, diseased blankets, eugenics, and the forced disenfranchisement and assimilation laid out in the Indian Act.
FREE University of Alberta – Indigenous Canada Course
University of Alberta Native Studies Department offers a FREE online course titled Indigenous Canada. It is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Go to https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada to sign up for this free online course.
We have spent a lot of time in the Okanagan, but since relocating here last year, we have really started to get to know this beautiful place intimately! Every city has its own charms and while our little ones definitely miss the Science Centre and the zoo in Calgary, there is SO much to explore here! Even with the Covid restrictions, we have managed to find safe and healthy outdoor activities for the kids and we’re so grateful for that!
You guys KNOW that I miss being on stages and meeting you all, but it’s been a great time for reflection, writing and some good family time in the outdoors. Friends, if you want to visit, let us know, we cannot wait to re-connect with you all.
Here are our absolute favourite things to do here to share with you!
Picking Fruit at Paynters Market in West Kelowna- check in with them what fruit is available at what stage of the season
Turtle Pond in Mission Creek Regional Park
Horse Riding- lots of great spots for kids to learn!
Janzen Garlic Acres- not only can you feed the animals, you can even learn how to pot a plant, take eggs from the chicken coup and buy some delicious veggies while you’re there.
H20 Fitness Centre- perfect for when you need some indoor fun.
Strawberry picking at Duggan Farms in Lake Country
Bertram Beach Park, our favourite beach just far enough away from the crowds, a beautiful leafy beach and playground!
If you’re planning on visiting, I hope you enjoy Kelowna as much as we have!
You guys!! I am SO excited to share that among the very exciting projects in the works that have come to life with the absence of my usual performances is a children’s book!
Some of you might recall the Gold Violin Show with my custom electric gold violin back in Sydney Australia…and at the time the book was in the works but came to a pause and I was so busy performing I didn’t pursue it. Thanks to the break over the past year with Covid putting a hold on so many things, we are planning to release this in 2022!
I’m excited to share that UK artist Pearl Bates who created this fab painting of yours truly way back at the time of the Gold Violin show, is creating the illustrations. Honestly guys, makes so much more sense to finish this book now I have my own children! I can’t wait to share more very soon! Sophie XO