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Our Stories

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My Why

My Why

July 15 2021
During these years apart, Mom was properly diagnosed with Bi-Polar, OCD, PTSD and adult ADHD.  With therapy, she moved from being a victim of childhood trauma herself to becoming a survivor.  It was her tallest mountain to climb, but the one I’m most proud of.  
FATHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS

FATHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS

June 10 2021
I’ve put together some ideas for this year’s Father’s Day for you.  Whether you’re looking for a physical gift or an experience gift, here are some great options to check out for the Dad in your life!  
PRIDE MONTH 2021:  For my Uncle Shaun and Uncle Mike

PRIDE MONTH 2021: For my Uncle Shaun and Uncle Mike

June 3 2021
So as we celebrate PRIDE MONTH this June 2021, I will remember my Uncles and all those who have gone before them.  I will wrap arms around my loved ones and friends who identify themselves as LBGTQ2S+ now.  
The Benefits of Expressive Writing:  My Mom's Last Gift

The Benefits of Expressive Writing: My Mom's Last Gift

May 27 2021
When I became older, I realized I had used my journaling as a tool.  Yes, there were many plain ol’ venting entries – many, many actually – but as I grew older, there were also insights, questions, bigger-picture thoughts on how this all tied together for me.  
MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': THE WOMEN & CHILDREN'S SHELTER OF BARRIE

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': THE WOMEN & CHILDREN'S SHELTER OF BARRIE

May 4 2021
The agency consists of a 27-bed crisis shelter along with Outreach services onsite. Approximately 1,000 women and children are assisted by the agency annually. In addition to shelter, staff provide individual and group counselling, legal information and support, court support, information about violence against women, referrals to other community and social services, and public education in the community.
MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A':  LINK OF HEARTS

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': LINK OF HEARTS

April 29 2021
And so, LINK OF HEARTS was born, a small company that offers products designed to create a movement raising awareness for depression, other mental illnesses, and mental health. Every product directly impacts a person struggling in silence, by providing a message of hope and contributing to ongoing aid and support for those who need it. 
MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': PROVINCE OF CANADA

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': PROVINCE OF CANADA

April 27 2021
PROVINCE OF CANADA started with just a couple kids from Canada who met in Montreal circa 2005. Julie grew up in a small Québec town and Jeremy in southern Ontario. They shared a love for graphic design and quality textiles, and it wasn’t long after getting married that they decided to quit their jobs and launch a Canadian brand with the goal of manufacturing every product in Canada.
MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q & A': CHEEKBONE BEAUTY COSMETICS

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q & A': CHEEKBONE BEAUTY COSMETICS

April 22 2021

During Cheekbone’s infancy, Jenn endured a heavy personal loss with the suicide of her brother B.J. This loss, though difficult, has remained a driving force behind the desire to see CHEEKBONE BEAUTY succeed with its mission, to empower Indigenous youth. Based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, CHEEKBONE BEAUTY is known for creating high quality, cruelty-free beauty products such as liquid lipsticks and complexion products including contour and highlight palettes. 

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': JAC+JO

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': JAC+JO

April 20 2021

Today, Jaclyn and Joanna collaborate in design and business and focus on making original pieces that our generation will live in comfortably. "We focus on making our pieces clean, simple, and unique."  As sisters, Jac and Jo are each other's strongest source of inspiration. A portion of JAC+JO sales will be donated to women's interest groups and cancer research organizations.

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': OM MATTERS

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': OM MATTERS

April 15 2021
After Founder, Tambra, found the ability to start following her own feelings and intuition, this led her to discovering her own true passion:  helping others live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.  She created OM MATTERS to use yoga practices and philosophies to provide people with the tools and inspiration to create positive and lasting change in their lives. 
MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': YOU ARE COLLECTIVE

MENTAL WELLNESS BOX 'Q&A': YOU ARE COLLECTIVE

April 13 2021
Distinguishing YOU ARE COLLECTIVE as a social enterprise wasn’t even a question.  They knew they wanted to give back and they wanted to be able to give all the brain power and human hours they could.  They donate a minimum of 10% of each item purchased to their #1MillionCampaign, which distributes funds across many organizations to provide a variety of counselling and mental health services across Canada.  
Our Story behind our new project: THE MENTAL WELLNESS BOX

Our Story behind our new project: THE MENTAL WELLNESS BOX

April 7 2021
I look towards the companies who do things differently, who create opportunities for themselves, who support those around them and in their community as they continue on their journey, who do their best each day to keep doing what they are doing.  And I celebrate them and support them. 
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 7

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 7

March 17 2021
You have to believe you can learn from the past, before you can change the future.  Hello how’s life going?  How’s where-ever you are?  Well, things here are tense, very tense.  Last night Mom talked to me, alone, and told me that it hurt her that I thought she was an alcoholic. 
Growing Up Too Fast

Growing Up Too Fast

February 11 2021
I was literally begging my Dad to allow me to stay.  Another one of my Aunt’s had offered to take me in.  I had options and there was zero part of me that wanted to keep living with Mom in the US.  I was beyond done.  I craved stability, I craved normalcy, I craved supportive extended family, I craved a home without fear.   
Mom's Journal, Entry 4

Mom's Journal, Entry 4

January 7 2021
One just does the best they can with what they have.  My girls are so very important to me and will always continue to be – most all of my decisions since the day you were born have been to the betterment of my children. 
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 5

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 5

December 16 2020
But we were already starting to resent whatever was in those God-damn tin foil balls and empty bottles.  Whatever it was, it felt like she was under their spell.  We felt abandoned even though she was physically here.  Even at these young ages, we were learning to stealthily manoeuvre our days around her erratic and unpredictable behaviour. 
Kate's Journal, Entry 5

Kate's Journal, Entry 5

December 10 2020
The plan was to live with Dad in Toronto, Ontario, and do a final year of high school. I had graduated from high school in Arizona, however I was two credits shy from being able to apply to college. I had decided I would take the year, get some additional credits, work, and just figure out my life.
Kate's Journal, Entry 4

Kate's Journal, Entry 4

November 26 2020
I quickly joined the sports teams as I had always done at my three high schools previously.  This was a way to make fast friends and here was no different. I also got a job at a local restaurant that many of my teammates worked at. Weekends were now super fun - we would work, go to parties, and play in sports tournaments.  Sports are a much bigger deal in the US, so on team buses, both the girls and guys teams traveled together. I felt like I was dreaming – but I could never truly enjoy it.  I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and did it ever with a huge BANG!!
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 4

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 4

November 19 2020
Within a week, after a few ideas were mulled over and attempts for quick fixes were exhausted, Kate and I were saying goodbye at a Greyhound bus station in town.  To maximize our belongings now being shipped back to Missouri with us, we were given a trunk.  It was also a lot easier to ship on the bus.  We were being sent back to live with friends of our Stepfather’s.  They had three young kids so we could be helpful to them while they let us stay there to finish off our grade 7 and grade 10 - at the same school we just left… having told them we were moving west…. Hmmmmm.  
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 3

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 3

November 4 2020
Unfortunately this happiness didn’t last long and my parents relationship failed once again.  It may have had something to do with an American gentleman my Mom met at work, but I’m not certain.  All I knew was our lives were changing again, and in a much bigger way this time.  
Mom's Journal, Entry 3

Mom's Journal, Entry 3

October 28 2020

I have a horrible sense of loss for who I have been and where I have been.  It is really difficult, to give up the high flights of mind and mood, because of necessary medications, even though the depressions that inevitably follow can be devastating.  Manic-depression illness often contributes a great deal of energy, fire, enthusiasm, and imagination to the people and world around them.

Teresa's Journal, Entry 3

Teresa's Journal, Entry 3

October 21 2020

If you were to design a patchwork quilt of your life, each square representing something significant or special, what would it look like? What would it entail? What moments mattered enough to make it onto your quilt?

I have to tell you, my quilt would be huge, way bigger than anything that would fit on any bed. It would be colourful, and vibrant, and would represent a conglomeration of memories and moments that have formed the uniquely complex and equally simple being that I am.

Excerpt from 'Constantly Bouncing Back:  Getting Used to 'New Normals'

Excerpt from 'Constantly Bouncing Back: Getting Used to 'New Normals'

October 15 2020
I say ‘Hi Mom and Dad’ as I pass an oversized wall hung picture of my parents.  Clearly taken in the seventies - they are young, Mom is laughing, and my Dad has his tongue stuck out.  I love this picture of them.  With this space, I am in the next phase of launching my business, “Marnie & Michael”, an artisan shop meets mental health initiative. My Mom was undiagnosed and untreated with mental illness until her early fifties.  She became a Mother at seventeen-years old, so our entire life has been affected by her mental health struggles.  This is my way of ‘paying it forward’.
Letter to Mom, Love Jen

Letter to Mom, Love Jen

October 8 2020
I’m just so sad.  I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me and I can’t catch my breath.  I don’t understand how the world can just keep moving and go along each day, like nothing has happened.  Because for me time has just taken on a fundamental shift.  The notion of it being so precious has never been so profound.
Mom’s Journal, Entry 2

Mom’s Journal, Entry 2

October 7 2020
All I ever wanted was for the pain from the past to stop interfering with my life and my happiness in the present.  I did not forget and never will forget what happened to me.  I did not and never will condone my abusers actions. The injury or injustice was real - it really happened and it had a real impact on my life.
Kate's Journal, Entry 3

Kate's Journal, Entry 3

October 1 2020
Bipolar Disorder is a serious mental illness. People with bipolar disorder habitually exhibit extreme, intense, and disturbing emotional states known as mood episodes. Extreme happiness or excitement (mania) and melancholy (depression) are typical symptoms of mood episodes. Fear and paranoia are also symptoms of this disease, and my Mother experienced chronic episodes of paranoia, the worst coming when I was seventeen years old.
Teresa's Journal, Entry 2

Teresa's Journal, Entry 2

September 24 2020
My mom doesn’t look her normal self though. She is wearing a surgical mask and disposable latex gloves. (Fast forward to the pandemic of 2020 and this registers as normal, commonplace even.) But remember, it’s 2005. It’s the middle of a mall. There is no pandemic, no coronavirus. There’s no global normalization of the use of PPE. None of the sort. But there’s my Mom, seemingly oblivious to the many looks and stares from people around her.
Kate's Journal, Entry 2

Kate's Journal, Entry 2

September 17 2020
It is common knowledge that the cause for some adults who suffer mental illness can be traced back to adversity experienced early in life, like childhood sexual trauma. It is also a known fact that when someone experiences such a traumatic event they are most likely to respond in one of two ways, by harming themselves or harming others, either way the abuse cycle continues. This is my mothers and my story.
Mom's Journal, Entry 1

Mom's Journal, Entry 1

September 10 2020
I have no idea how I managed to pass as normal, except that I made huge efforts to cover up the despair and pain.  It seemed beyond my control to avoid terrible wounds to both my mind and heart.  It never occurred to me that I was ill; my brain just didn’t put it in those terms. It feels/felt sometimes like my mind was a witches’ brew of neurotransmitters. 
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 2

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 2

August 27 2020
Since Mom became a parent, she had moved ten times before landing in Westport, where her parents had moved for retirement.  I was six when we moved here.  In Westport, we moved six more times in the five years we lived there.  These moves were all triggered by a new boyfriend, leaving said new boyfriend, moving in with our Grandparents in between these moves, and the obvious one, the money situation.  Mom was very good at spinning this to us ‘as a big adventure’.
Kate's Journal, Entry 1

Kate's Journal, Entry 1

August 20 2020
Our life stories are significant. Our stories speak to the passage we have taken to get us to where we are at this very moment. Our stories are footprints on our soul, forever there, never forgotten. My story has many intervals some are burdened with pain and sorrow and others are bursting with joy and peace. Before I begin to tell you my story, I need to begin at the end.

On July 24, 2017, at the age of 63, we lost my mom after a very short battle with cancer, I was 45 years old.

Teresa's Journal, Entry 1

Teresa's Journal, Entry 1

July 30 2020
If I’d only known then, what I know now…famous last words, right? And yet, so true in so many cases. But would I have done anything differently? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I’m a firm believer that all of my experiences have helped shape who I am today, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I do believe knowledge is power and that my feelings towards my Mom would have been so different growing up if I was coming to the table with knowledge and understanding. 
Jennifer's Journal, Entry 1

Jennifer's Journal, Entry 1

July 13 2020

Mom was trying to make her way to the apartment door to say goodbye.  Murray and I had come home for the weekend to get a visit in.  I am pretty worried about Teresa right now.  As the youngest, she is the only one left.