Put the CAN in 2021

I’d say it’s safe to say most of us are glad to see the end of 2020 as 2021 is coming along fast. It’s important for us to realize that many of the things that might have added to despair in 2020 will not be going away for the New Year. We have all felt the weight or anxiety of 2020, especially though things we cannot control. In an aim to remain positive and promote better things for 2021, it’s crucial we understand we will not be able to control most of the things that hindered us throughout this year. Keep this in mind: You cannot control the virus, or new viruses that might come along. You cannot control death. You cannot control job loss, lay-offs and reduced hours. You cannot control the hate other people give. You cannot control other people’s responses and actions to the pandemic. You cannot control an economic crisis. You cannot control a lack of resources leading to greater issues. These things and so much more have allowed many of us to feel the weight of the world. These things most certainly will not disappear when the clock strikes midnight, sadly, they will be continued and carried forward. But I feel many people are viewing 2021 as just that, a version of 2020 to be continued. I’ve heard people say as long as the virus is present, the New Year will be just as bad. We really need not to have this type of thinking; positivity is what will keep us marching through 2021. That said, it’s important our focus be redirected to what we can do.

In 2021 …

We CAN choose to be kind (to ourselves and others)

We CAN choose healthier lifestyle options

We CAN better ourselves and our relationships

We CAN take up a new hobby

We CAN exercise more

We CAN be frugal, and save

We CAN improve our sex lives

We CAN educate ourselves

We CAN choose to keep in touch with family

We CAN choose to set realistic goals

We CAN spend hours outdoors

We CAN obtain basic mental health support

We CAN give ourselves a break from the media

We CAN give ourselves a break from other people

We CAN attempt to find new ways to socialize

We CAN choose positive words and actions

We CAN use this time to provide the most support, love and knowledge to our children

We CAN choose to a be a cushion supporting others

We CAN redirect our conversations away from from COVID-19

We CAN make safe choices

We CAN choose to indulge in books through print, audio or electronically

We CAN maximize family time at home

We CAN establish a routine

We CAN choose to break bad habits

We CAN limit screen-time at home

We CAN reconnect with faith, religion and spiritual practices

We CAN choose to ask for help

We CAN celebrate even the tiniest of achievements

We CAN make the most of each day


Support Local in 2021

Well, I most certainly did not continue with my ‘local gems’ bit prior to Christmas, as here we are December. 27th. I apologize as I was a bit rubbish carrying on with this. But I do want to say, I will highlight other ‘local gems’ in 2021; to be quite frank, Janurary and February are times of a more dire need. So, while people have supported local through holiday shopping, it is even more important we continue to support these places going into 2021, and throughout the year. So, please continue to support local this coming year.

Local Gem #1: The Soap Company of Nova Scotia

Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia is home to The Soap Company of Nova Scotia, offering natural soaps, shampoos, melts for warmers, shaving cream and much more! The peppermint collection of melts (pictured) is for sure a favourite of mine, the peppermint scent is strong, long-lasting, and calming. The Soap Company of Nova Scotia products are widely available across Nova Scotia, and through their online store! Visit their online store today to browse all their great-smelling products which are available to be shipped across Canada and the United States. https://soapnovascotia.com/

Happy Shopping!

Making Your Holidays a Local Affair

We should all make a goal to make all things ‘holiday’ locally sourced. From the gifts we give to ourselves and others, to the food we serve and eat – we should all make a greater effort to support local, independent, hardworking small businesses. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Many local and small businesses have been greatly affected by the pandemic; some businesses that rely on Summer or Christmas for seasonal revenue have had to explore different avenues for sustaining their business and income. 
  • Local small businesses are typically high quality, and somehow make us feel better, or they might taste better or look better, they seem to have this positive support local ‘vibe’. 
  • Exploring local businesses educates you on the level of sustainability your town, city or country could succeed if they really tried. It educates us; you will be surprised from books and resources, from fresh to frozen food, children’s toys to clothing, to fitness and wellness products – there is a large variety of everything you need right where you are! And even though there will always be international trading and imported goods, if we can do our part, and buy as much as we can from our own country, our own city and town, it goes a long way! 

These are just a few great reasons to support local!

From now until Christmas, I will be featuring some of my favourite local businesses, to promote their amazing service or product – but also to bring awareness to shopping local.

Celebrating Black Music: Then & Now

The black community not only has always appreciated and produced good music, but they have brought forth many good hits with various rhythms and sounds. These tracks have carried a sense of soul and tradition from our ancestors, and have created chart toppers in funk, soul, pop, motown, gospel and numerous other genres. We have many proud and loud black musicans and vocalists, many that have passed on, many that are in their prime time right now, and others emerging. Music is a way to tell stories of trial, triumph and tradition, and this is part of the reason that music has always unified black communities and still does today. Please have a listen to the following tracks I selected, and I hope you enjoy these favourites of mine as much as I do. Also, please research the artists of these songs, and check out their other music, because what I’ve listed here is a very, very small percentage of black written and/or produced music. If you haven’t heard one of these songs, or most of them, well for goodness sake, go listen, it’ll do you good! Pictured is the stunning Mary J. Blige, the 2019 recipient of BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Takes Two to Tango – Ray Charles & Betty Carter

This duet is a lot of fun, though it wasn’t written by Ray or Betty, they did their own spin on it for their 1961 album, and succeeded quite well. Ray Charles has also performed this song with Aretha Franklin.



Sugar on the Floor – Etta James

I truly believe this is one of Etta James’ best songs, and it’s in the lyrics. If you listen to the words closely, it’s truly an emotional song that makes you feel. Kiki Dee is behind those lyrics and the original, but in my oppinion Etta James took those words and didn’t just perform them, she put magic to them.





Joy of the Lord – Tamela Mann (Pictured above)

This gospel song is upbeat, and one of Tamela’s best sounding tracks in my opinion. She and her husband David Mann stay closely connected in their relationship and to their faith; Tamela shows much of this through her music – ironically enough, the two play father and daughter in the hit Tyler Perry series, Meet the Browns.




Get Low – Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz

This is one of my favourite party songs to dance to! Many people probably don’t know Lil Jon came from a large family with parents both in top notch professions; his father was an engineer, and his mother was in the military. He is a self taught DJ, and he took a different path in life than probably what his family imagined, but he proved himself to be successful through releasing many top charting songs, and also being a grammy recipient. I also love the fact they used this song in a Sandra Bullock and Betty White movie (The proposal); that whole scene allowed me to adore these two brilliant actresses even more!




One Thing Right – Marshmello & Kane Brown

I write about this song to show the significant value of Kane Brown’s role to this song, from writing it, to singing it, and to marking a musical acomplishment to be able to colloborate with a DJ artist as famous as Marshmello. The Chattanooga, Tennessee born singer not only proudly represents bi-racial people like myself, but also helps in making a larger black presence in the country music industry. It’s rather apparent that the modern country music scene is not a place of music that happens to have many black artists, so this is all the more reason to appreciate artists such as Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, and many others who have decided to go that direction. Kane Brown is also strategically smart, as he is making some pop music and pop collaborations, as often at times that is where the money is and/or your voice is heard.




Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix

This is one of my most favourite songs, sung by the late master guitarist, Jimi Hendrix; though short, this song is brilliant. Jimi, believe it or not had Canadian ties; his father ‘Al’ Hendrix was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. This song also shows that Jimi had a huge interest in psychedelic rock, and was greatly influenced by many forms of American rock and blues.







Carribean Queen (No More Love on the Run) – Billy Ocean (pictured above)

Trinidadian-British artist Billy Ocean co-wrote this song, and then performed it with much gusto and funk, making this another great party song. His success in music, especially within the U.K is something the English communities of colour can most certainly be proud of.





Ladies Night – Kool & the Gang

Members of Kool & the Gang wrote this song together, and it has become one of the most popular party songs. Robert Bell is the man behind the (still existing) group, that of whom has touched on numerous musical styles throughout the years, funk, jazz, rock and pop.





My Girl – The Temptations

This all time favourite of mine was actually written by talented Smokey Robinson. He co-wrote this song with his ‘Miracles’ partner Ronald White, and then The Temptations recorded it for the Gordy Motown record label. This stunning hit was thought of, written by and performed by brilliant black men.





Be Without You – Mary J. Blige (title featured photo)

Mary J. Blige has been an inspiration to not just females of colour, but to all women, especially those facing barriers, pursuing arts, and those facing similar trials Mary J. went through within her life. Her life story is quite remarkable and one to look up for sure. And it is her faith, and strength that has brought her to where she is now, and her resilience is what makes her inspiring. And that is what landed her the BET Lifetime achievement award in 2019; this is a remarkably incredible acomplishment. This song of hers is one of my favourites, and is co-written by Mary J. herself. It is also black produced, by Bryan Michael Cox, a Black American record producer who has also made a large name for himself.





Stomp – Kirk Franklin (pictured above)

I absolutley love this song, and it never fails to get me moving, ‘makes me clap my hands, makes me want to dance’! Kirk Franklin truly has been a motivational icon in the gospel music industry/community. It was a very pleasant surprise to see his collaboration with Tori Kelly and For King & Country on the Global Goal Concert. There is also a remix version of this song, I enjoy both equally.






If I were Your Woman – Gladys Knight & The pips

It’s a hard toss up between this song and Midnight Train to Georgia when determining my favourite song by Gladys Knight & The Pips. I somehow decided to choose this 1970’s hit with lyrics so many women can relate to. One of the composers of this song is black artist and United Kingdom famed Gloria Jones.








Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd (pictured above)

While I really enjoy the 80’s vibe to the song Blinding Lights, this was the song I chose as it was rather life changing per say, for Abel Tesfaye, better known as his stage name, The Weeknd. This song went BIG, impacting what would be a large musical career ahead of him, allowing him to create more top hits, and also, collaborations with notable artists. Funny thing is, he has now become the ‘notable artist’ that others would dream of working with. He’s not only a young and successful black artist, he is an artist that has made the Ethiopian-Canadian community very proud.






Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

I couldn’t make this list without my girl Alicia, but seriously, do you know how hard it was to choose one Alicia song of so many great ones? Well, this particular song feels very woman-empowering to me, and to me this is one of the many traits I love about Alicia, she empowers and lifts up other women, and is a role model for young girls and women. She speaks up and out for communities of colour and is proud to be black and proud to be of mixed heritage. She is proud to be from New York, and carries confidence into all her many musical talents.





These Arms Of Mine – Otis Redding

Otis redding is one of the many greats of his time, with too many enjoyable songs to name, whether they are covers, Christmas covers, or original songs by him. This orginal R&B hit of his was recorded and released in 1962.







Sit This One Out – Solomon Burke (pictured above)

I love this song, along with Solomon’s more known hit Cry To Me. The difference is Cry To Me is a 1962 song, and this soul song was released in 2002. This song was released just eight years prior to the death of this very motivational preacher and singer, that of whom had a large impact on the music of soul and R&B, especially throughout the 1960’s.






Will You Be There? – Michael Jackson

This has to be one of the most beautiful and emotionally capturing songs sung by the legendary late Michael Jackson. Many may associate this song with the film Free Willy, however, Michael did release this as a single in 1993, and he wrote the song himself. That said, it became not only a part of the Free Willy film, but the main theme song. And Free Willy being such an emotional, powerful film surrounding controversial subjects to begin with allowed this song to piece all those emotions together into one beautiful masterpiece. Of Michael’s work, it is the longest – and most certainly one of the best!






WTF (Where They From) – Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott has always been creative in delivering a strong hip-hop presence, many moons ago and still today! This 2015 track of hers has a bit of a old-school hip-hop vibe, along with a strong ‘Missy’ personality presence, and that’s what I love about it. It’s a great dancing song, and super catchy, perhaps this is why it was featured on the pilot episode of the hit series Council of Dads!






Queen Of The Night – Whitney Houston (pictured below)

Here I am saving one of the greatest artists of all time for last, the late Whitney Houston. We all know Whitney, and it may be apparent this is not one of her most vocally strong or famously sung songs. That said, this song is a Whitney original, and was co-written by her with an incredible line-up of other black composers, consisting of: Babyface, Daryl Simmons and L.A Reid. This black produced AND performed song hit many points of achievement through peaking at it’s time when it released on American radio in 1993, and through being released as a part of the Bodyguard film soundtrack. Whitney Houston’s journey is for sure another life story to know if you don’t already.





Remember, these are just some of the many amazing songs and artists of the black music world, start your research as there are so many more greats!

Far from Silent

June. 2nd, 2020 was dubbed ‘Black out Tuesday’ as a part of the Black lives matter movement. I posted a black out picture to support this motive, but I would like to clarify something since I haven’t posted anything since. I do not want anyone mistaking my lack of posting since June. 2nd for being silenced – because that is not the case. Through other social media, I have been posting and sharing anti-racism posts, educational resources about indigenous and black history and present, posts that support the black lives matter movement and posts that disregard those saying all lives matter. A fire in me was most certainly ignited. I feel the need to be a part of this, and not just on the sidelines. All communities of colour have faced cultural and racial discrimination, and I really hope some day I live in a world where that is of the past, and not the present, and history is not repeating itself. Indigenous people of Canada have been silenced far too long; if you don’t even know half of the history of our indigenous communities in Canada, you have no idea the heartbreak that sits within them. Black people everywhere are held back because they’re black; they are held back from opportunity, equal access to services, equal treatment and respect. Despite all this hitting home for me, it’s important to note that part of my reason I speak of our indigenous brothers and sisters is because the level of brutality and force we saw on George Floyd is the level of hatred exercised toward our indigenous population. It is exercised by the Canadian government and Canadian people of power, such as police officers. They treat our indigenous brothers and sisters as scum to our Earth, and that’s how it’s been through history to present. So, Canada has a long way to go, especially in convincing our black, indigenous and communities of colour that they have our backs, and that it’s all okay. They have a long way to convincing us of that, and till then, we will not be silenced! 

Self Isolation Day 15-33: Images of Mothers

Today, on Mother’s Day, I want to share with you pictures and words about the women we all should be celebrating today … and everyday. Please note that I am not the artist of any of the pictures or paintings in this post, and I am including the artists’ names right here, thank you. Artists/Sources: Mary Cassatt, Orange County Register, Christian Krohg, Konstantin Razumov, Sarah Job, CafeMom, Eva Gonzales, Justin Taylor, Kerolos Safwat, Today’s Parent, Tristen Jenni Sanderson, Kaite Gliddon, Brittany Luby’s ‘Encounter’, Marcello Castellani, Prekladateľský Blog, The Boston Globe, Simon Silva, Michael Dudash, Sally Bartos, Miriel Smith, Umberto Boccioni, Mai Trung Thu.

On Mother’s Day, we should be celebrating …


Biological mothers, that of whom carefully and wonderfully grew a human inside of them,


Foster mothers who grow a love and bond for a child only to see that child go,


Godmothers and Guardian moms who love a child like their own, and care for that child when life presents difficult circumstances,


Single/Solo moms by choice or by circumstance,

dp-481943-30Mother-in-laws who do their very best to welcome their child’s spouse into the family, and maintain some sort of relationship for their child’s sake,

Mother and daughter

Stepmoms who put forth the utmost dedication and love for their partner’s children,

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Moms of the future who will raise children in 5, 25, or 50 years in an unpredictable, rapidly changing world,


Animal mothers who strive to foster good lives and good health for animals,


Grieving mothers who have lost a child at 12 weeks gestation, five months gestation, thirteen years, or fifty – loss is loss, and all these moms deserve to grieve.


Moms of special needs children who put forth an incredible energy and instant love for their child’s well-being,


The live in nannies who are many times more motherly figures to the child than their own mother,


Mothers expecting by pregnancy or otherwise,


Women missing their own mothers, grandmothers and mother figures in heaven,


Adoptive mothers who have found children to love, but most of all, to strive to give the best life to,


Grieving mothers who live in the unbeknownst, moms of children snatched in India, and moms of daughters that are the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada, they need to grieve.


Incarcerated mothers,


Child advocates that fight for the best life for each and every child that crosses their path, 


Women who choose not to be mothers, for whatever reason, and still feel a deep void,


Mothers who are sick and unwell, 


Mothers who are working the frontlines and cannot see their children, any mother unable to hold their child,

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Surrogate mothers who give hope to families yet never get to raise the baby they grew inside of them,


Aunts who put all their maternal energy and force into love for their neices and nephews,


New moms who are uncertain and scared, new moms going through maternal mental health struggles,


Women trying to concieve, longing to be a mom,


Grandmothers, who are simply that – grand, as they continue to be the glue within families.

Self-Isolation Day 3 – 14: Sad Times

These are indeed sad times for a place I am so glad to call home. For something so dangerous and reckless to happen in the midst of Nova Scotia’s people battling Covid-19 is brutal; it has left many of us in misery, wondering why this would happen. And now we are dealing with the aftermath: pictures, grieving those lost, property loss, body recoveries and so many questions left unanswered. Here is a statement I made on my facebook page, which sums up most of my concerns. I ask that you keep my home province, our people and the families of those lost in your thoughts and prayers. Please send all your love to Nova Scotia, thank you!



Self Isolation Day 1 & 2: Motion Picture Comfort

My self isolation period has been reset, and I am back to square one. Unfortunately, I had to go on a supply run. While it felt good to go for a drive, get out of the house and feel the breeze in my hair, I remained anxious from point A to B, and back. I should have taken a picture of myself to share, I wore quite the get-up. I had a springy bright orange scarf tied around my hair and head, and a white industrial mask over that, and my glasses over that. I was very nervous. I attempted to avoid this outing, and all couriers for grocery delivery were overwhelmed and unavailable. My face felt hot in the mask; my arms were covered in a white knit sweater I had under my red coat. I took deep breaths to calm myself before exiting my vehicle. I watched people abiding by the rules, and distancing themselves, following the arrows, waiting to enter an aisle, and respecting the space of others. But in the same moments, I had an unruly teenager brush up against me, I watched people trying to enter aisles backwards, and individuals become disgruntled from waiting in line, all to get liquor! I felt overwhelmed, and quite impulsive, I spent more money than I should have, in hopes that I don’t have to face any of that again anytime soon. I bought fruit and wine, cheese, brioche, condiments – you name it! My cashier explained to me that he had just returned from a seizure clinic, and that is why he had a mask on. He felt the need to convey to each person why he wore a mask. He has at-risk family members at home, so he is protecting them, but he is also protecting the public by wearing a mask. I spotted two women working on merchandising in the aisles, and they seemed rather concerned if any public member would approach the aisle they were in. It all…rather broke my heart. It’s so bloody depressing to see the media, and the realness of this virus and its impact around the globe. We all have watched I am Legend, Children of Men or The Walking Dead, but we never are quite prepared for when our world is faced with that level of chaos…such as now. And it seems to hit you harder when you go out into your community, and notice…the damage. If you’re from a small cove or town, or from a Maritime province of hardworking people, and a whole lot of good – you’ll understand the misery. 

Please pray for our front-line workers, and pray for the small town heroes keeping a bit of peace in a time where peace seems nearly impossible. And for goodness sake, please stay home if you are not one of these people, and if it is not essential. I will be relying on my grocery delivery service, and food boxes to avoid going out at all.

I am refraining from going out because I don’t want to be a part of the problem, and I don’t want to put myself or my family at risk. But it goes so much deeper than that. 

I am not going out because it is sad to see the streets I grew up on empty. Prior to the pandemic, ten or fifteen cars lined up meant traffic, but now there’s not even one car. I am not going out to see my favourite local businesses dark and closed up – as their owners sit at home stressed about a recession. I am saddened by this, as there’s a spot I live nearby where I’ve seen so many businesses come and go, like a revolving door. And finally, we had some mo-jo, things seemed to be ticking at the right pace, for the city, the community and its people and the business owners – and then this happened. I am not going out because I’ll see the long, undefined line of people lined up to get their alcohol fix. I am a Maritimer, I know we love our drink. But it’s sad, because it reminds me of all the mental health issues that are worsening or developing during this time. I think of my students I work with, and I just pray they are okay. I see the street I drive down for a while to get to my school, and that makes me miss routine, work, and the children. COVID-19 will impact each place different, and it doesn’t make one force of impact any worse than another. But just as it hits an overpopulated, polluted city hard, it’s hitting my beloved little peninsula just as hard. While it’s a sad time for everyone, I feel an extra sadness in my heart for Atlantic Canadians right now because everything in me is rooted in my Maritime blood. 

So, that was a rather long way of explaining why I am staying home, but I hope it’s suffice. And I just ask that you all working from home like myself, or those of you laid off work adhere to the isolation recommendations/rules. 

On a brighter note, I wanted to recommend some excellent films I’ve been watching the last couple weeks – and films that have brought me a great deal of laughter and/or comfort. 

First up is, An Uncommon Grace. This is a Super Channel/Heart & Home feature, and it is a wholesome, romantic, interesting Amish film that explores Amish-English relations. It presents realistic views of Amish culture, and Amish-English dealings, and it has a great ending!

Love on Iceland is my next recommendation. If you know me well, you will know of my great admiration for Iceland, the gorgeous island it is and the people that inhabit it. I love Icelandic horses, they are a stunning breed and good listeners. My horse I rode in Iceland, Glampi, might have set the bar quite high because he was super cute, and extremely cooperative. My fascination with Icelandic culture has for sure deepened within my travels; I’ve come to learn facts about Iceland that make it quite appealing to me, such as they have more writers per capita than any other place; literacy and books continue to be a large part of Icelandic life! This movie is captivating for someone like myself that is into all things Iceland, however it does also play out a very romantic plot – it’s worth a try!

Lastly, I highly recommend a movie called The Healer, it is superb! I may be a bit biased, and overly excitable about this film because guess what?! It was filmed in Nova Scotia, Lunenberg to be exact! Being from the East Coast, there is no word to describe how awesome it is to watch a movie knowing it was made here. And it’s even cooler to know Jo Karev/Wilson from Grey’s walked the streets I have! British/American actress Camillia Luddington came to Nova Scotia to make this excellent film, and plays a veterinarian. I would greatly spoil the movie if I said even one thing about this funny, and heart-warming film, so you just have to find it on Canadian Netflix or elsewhere and watch it yourself! Enjoy!




Please feel free to share movies and television programs that have been comforting you during this time, be well and stay safe!

Written and published Thursday, April 09, 2020.