High-five to say YES!! – for Vibrant Living


Plenty of press time is given for “learn to say NO!” Oh yes, that is a valuable tool for managing expectations and pressure; I try to practice it and coach clients to do likewise. But defaulting to an automatic NO response to everything can hold us back from discovering freedom, creativity, adventure – even some chaos can be exciting in its own way!

Let’s look at 5 ways to inspire and revive life by saying YES.

#1. Declare a courageous YES! to your dream. What is it – to play the drums, sketch a self-portrait, go backpack hiking, start a new business, take a solo road trip, drive a motorbike, speak at your photography club……?  When I was at the peak of my running game I wanted to do something “meaningful” using that passion. I was able to convince my runner-husband that we should do a fund-raiser and it had to be something “out there” to encourage people to donate! The end result was us running in an ultra-marathon in South Africa to raise funds for a mission/ friends in Mozambique. We didn’t have a definite plan or experience before we started (other than having logged many miles running!) but jumping in with a YES brought confidence, understanding and ‘figuring it out’ – and a whack of family and friends donated to help build a small clinic!  Say yes; take ownership of your dream!

#2. If you sense something missing in your life – take action! Whether it’s a literal change in location or a figurative move – say YES to push-through to realize your vision, your goals.  A friend (a dear sister-in-law) wanting to support her physical and spiritual health – in spite of a full life-and-work schedule – said yes to organizing a walk-and-talk group. This has opened a network of energized and active women receiving and sharing support: by connecting with and serving other busy women in her church-community. 

#3. Maybe you’ve been disappointed with stalled work projects, challenges in a relationship, frustrated by emotional eating habits , or a myriad of other obstacles. You feel broken. Say YES to your growth, healing and recovery. Pause, evaluate and connect: through nature walks, prayer, a spiritual director, inspirational reading, a rest. These life and spirit-giving resources can boost joy, hope and resilience. From my experience, a period of connecting with a counselor or coach can help you dig deeper on focus and clarity; a life-changer for personal, relational, or work reasons.


#4. Say YES to consistent work, allowing time : this clears the path for progress. Be okay with purposeful ‘long and steady’ movement towards a particular direction – your goal(s).  Fast-track methods don’t work to train for a marathon, keep 25 pounds off longterm, or rescript life after an empty nest!  Change is not going to happen overnight, let the pressure go; enjoy the beauty of the trip.

#5. Say YES to finding “the dance for your life“. Messages sent to the brain by negative, discouraging thoughts and attitudes influence choices and actions that can make you feel stuck, unhealthy and without purpose.  Neuro-scientific research supports that by changing our thoughts, we can “rewire our brain in the direction we were designed to go.” Author Dr. Caroline Leaf in Switch on Your Brain translates modern brain science into language we all can understand.  Based from a biblical perspective, her process for getting control over thoughts could “help your dance move to its authentic rhythm”!


Are you ready to say YES to your Vibrant Life?

It could be one of the “high-five” ways I’ve suggested, or something else.

I’d love to hear how it is going for you; remember if you want to talk directly, I’m available at ketoews@gmail.com or here.

love and gratitude,


(Affiliate Disclosure: I am a participate in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you click on my blog, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale.)

Finding Confidence and freedom in your food story


Food, glorious food. The poor workhouse lads in the movie Oliver were obsessed and fantasizing about their lack of food. I’m thankful to access more than I need in quantity and quality.  Yet managing food – essential for life – in a healthy way to energize the body, soul and mind is problematic for many of us.

Our food narratives are all different: hopefully your story isn’t a similar picture to Oliver; here is a short version of mine.

My food story is rooted on a farm –  with basic home-grown veggies, animal protein, and extras from the Co-op store. Besides being a great cook, Mom baked yummy desserts and treats – a love language for my Dad which was shared with us all. My food menu got more adventuresome for my own family; greater variety of veggies and ethnic recipes, but I continued the habit of baking and eating sweets. Sugar was my addiction until my late 40’s: I’m sure it contributed to my decades of migraine headaches. It is no longer ‘my best-worst friend’ – hurrah for freedom for the last 10 years!

After my children married, followed by the arrival of (wonderful) grandchildren, I had my first close-up introduction to allergies, food sensitivities, low-spectrum autism (story with a good ending!).The ‘light bulb’ turned on: one food guide does not fit everyone!

In my 50’s I received a diploma in holistic nutrition ; and along with training in cognitive, conscious coaching I learned tools to help myself as the seasons of my life changed, and to serve others who are stuck in a food story that’s not working!


In a diet-crazy world of “stop this, avoid that, follow this diet” I’ve connected with women of all ages, weight, or stages of life that are stuck with an attitude of food restrictions.

To be sure, I  guide clients and myself! using ‘rules’, i.e. choosing a diet of real food for health goals is a stronger support than processed food. But our goals and desires are individual – and within that, it is possible to expect to discover confidence in our relationship with food, where we are at now. Three things to identify:

  • what’s important to you now, and how will dietary choices matter within that
  • be aware of an emotional relationship  with food i.e. “I try to be good – then I crater, have a big sugar-fix and feel like a schmuck!” Eating sugar does NOT make you bad.
  • acknowledging, “I’m tired of being this size and feeling this way” and believing you can change!”

If we desire a healthy, vibrant and purposeful life there are ways we can take action! As my life rhythms have changed, this is part of the current script of my food story:

  • I aim to eat real food, mostly vegetables and fruit, healthy protein (about half animal and half vegetable): primary focus on anti-inflammatory foods.
  • I’d be happy with granola (oats), yogurt and fruit every morning: I know-boring!
  • I need my morning coffee. I enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner.
  • Dark chocolate anything is a favourite and many days eat more nuts than I need
  • I’ve made good friends with my dehydrator, mostly to lighten my food load for backpack camping – which is crucial for maintaining this important love of my life!


Dehydrated strawberries, apples: sweet treat at whole new level! – Renee Tougas photo

To ‘make peace, find confidence‘ with anything is a challenge. Food is a big deal: not an option for living –  that’s why my vision to support women and their food story is so important to me.

Is your present food story working for you or is it time to re-script? You can reach me here ketoews@gmail.com or here – I’d love to connect and answer your questions.

love and gratitude,


Fitness in every stage of life

Two triggers motivated me to start running. One, I was tired of standing at races (impatient!) waiting for my husband to cross the finish line, and the other was while I was watching, I saw women in my age-zone at these races, and I determined, “I want to be strong and fit like that!”

We were both in our early forties. My husband was in a mid-life change, and good for him, he was ‘doing the work’, supporting his goals to lose weight (stop eating doughnuts!) and to get fit. For me activity started a kid – we didn’t have television so our entertainment was baseball, skating and riding bikes. Later when I had kids I made sure to walk and take gym classes because I did not want to gain weight! But by the forties, those two kids had grown up and moved out – more time for me! I had my picture of that ME – a fit and strong woman  and running was going to be my adventure to get there.

Making these fitness goals absolutely changed our lives. It happened for us that the timing and mutual inspiration was a good fit for us both and discovering our inner runners we jumped all-in. We:

  • did a lot of talking while logging a zillion running miles
  • gained confidence to set goals and worked SO diligently to reach them
  • encouraged others to join us in this sport so we could all go for coffee after
  • participated in many races, including with our daughter and family – such a thrill quite apparent in the photo below.

Other than the occasional injury??!! – we loved it all.

Now in my sixties I look at the photos and old running journals with nostalgia and yes, a wee bit of longing! When the emotions tempt me to get out and go for a run to repeat those feelings of freedom and the adrenaline high, I have to quickly flip on the mindset switch. I would be so bummed-out if joint pain or injuries sidelined me from living out the daily-ness of my longterm goals for  fitness and mobility!

Now staying fit is hiking with a backpack for a day or more ( hiking adventures here ), paddling my kayak, cycling the back roads, snowshoeing if the weather’s right, strength-training in the pool to help me do all of the above! Movement makes my heart sing  and so much of the energy for my fitness comes from being in nature – where I love to be! The decision my husband and I made to move cross-Canada in 2007 placed us into a totally new area of Canada – with so much beauty and to explore while staying fit!


keji kayak2017#32on Pesciwesk-Lake.

I’m very blessed my spouse also enjoys hiking and cycling. But although he’s my favourite (smile), he isn’t my sole fitness companion. The good thing is we’re okay with getting rejuvenated in our individual ways – for which I am SO thankful as I have no desire to go on motorbiking trips! I don’t mind the solitude of a paddle or hike through the woods, but through my connecting with other active women, I have great fun sharing a week-end backpacking hike (a first time experience for some!) or kayaking somewhere new. We learn together, and my circle of friendships and fitness companions gets bigger!


The view in my ‘crystal ball’ for the far future?

  • walks with grand-kids and their kids
  • paddle strokes even if they’re shorter
  • less gardening and more bush-whacking (which is more fun)

And for the present?

Stay connected to my fitness purpose: know what I want to do for physical activity and how that fits for longterm wellness.  Be safe, accept new challenges, be grateful.

Mindfully navigating social media


I am a big fan of Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Instagram, etc. – these tools have helped shape the landscapes of my personal and work lives into “substance and space”  I’m happy and comfortable with. Connecting with long-distance family and friends (without a two-to-five hour flight!); working with women anywhere in the world  reaching out to rescript their life; inspiration for discovery and growth for a vibrant inspired life. I love it all!

Yet, there are challenges in stearing our way through the attraction (addiction) and management of the whole digital arena. If you’re feeling caught ‘in the web’, I invite you to try the following tips to help shift from automatic reactive  responses, to practicing mindful actions . Let’s give it a go!

Healthy navigation tips for social media.   Stop. Look. Listen.  


  • Do you tell yourself “I can’t stop myself from clicking in and travelling down FB trails – some that no longer even  fit my interests or stage in life!”, or feel disgusted after “wasting hours” watching another webinar or YouTube just because someone shared it with you? If you’re ready to acknowledge face-on, this is not what I want visualize yourself carrying to the curb any guilt and shame about it. We all struggle…and we move ahead.
  • Changing/making/breaking habits IS work: Gretchen Rubin, author and expert on habits (referral link) has great recommendations based on your personality. Going cold turkey or making small steps – if your desire is to gain control in this area, my suggestions are write down three reasons why you want to better manage social media, followed by three things what you will do instead during the time you’ve given back to yourself. Why not include something fun; something that feeds your well?!
  • Whether you follow a conscious pattern, or an erratic hopping and jumping from one site to another – regularly pause. Pay attention to how you’re physically feeling – holding your breath, getting anxious, feeling a need to justify your actions?  Wait a few seconds before deciding whether or not to click the next link.


  • It’s impossible not to like some of those LOL quips (laughter is better than medicine) and enjoy the photos of the people you love celebrating birthdays a province away! But some of the other stuff warrants a closer look, i.e. “is this post presenting encouragement to believe in myself and the path I’ve chosen to reach my goals”, “does following this site or message align with my values”, “do I really want to opt in with a comment”?
  • Be aware of the clock. Instagram’s photos might flood you with creativity and joy – that’s awesome! Some of that happiness might dissipate, however, if a deadline isn’t met, or the day is stressed-out later with playing catch-up. Easy tip: set the timer!


  • Are you energized – or drained – by the latest news clip added to your internal real estate (yikes!)? Will precious emotional, mental energy be wasted wondering how your comments are received after clicking SEND? Oh, this one can be tricky, I regularly need this listen up reminder!
  • We can’t hide from all the harsh realities of life and the pain of our world. But maintaining awareness of how much content, and especially what kind, can protect your heart, mind and spirit.
  • Tune in to messages flashing “social media overload”! Life will go on if you unplug; true friends will remain your friends.
  • We get to choose the essence and energy of our messages; we can listen to, follow our hearts and bless social media with hope, healing and love. Let’s do it!

I have loved connecting with you here….and I do welcome your comments how you navigate, manage social media: do you often un-plug, is it a love-hate relationship?

See you again soon, probably through social media (smile)! And remember, I’m available at ketoews@gmail.com or here.

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(Affiliate Disclosure: I am a participate in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you click on my blog, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale.)

Journey of the heart


“Your world can depend upon the small beating in your heart.” The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

In May, 2007 my husband and I, in our fifties, moved from our home in Alberta to Nova Scotia. The why for our cross-Canada move is a story bigger than this blog: but importantly – though it was triggered by my husband’s desire –  moving was a mutual agreement, both of us willing to walk into this unknown journey. After our moving truck arrived, my husband helped position the household belongings in our house, then returned West for the next five months to complete work projects and wrap up our construction company.

I didn’t know a soul in my new community; after jammed-full weeks of packing, meeting with friends and families for last good-bye’s, driving for several days – I honestly felt relieved and excited to have a blank day-timer!

But really, what was I going to do with my time – how do I start building a new life after  fifty-plus years of living in the same community?

I was fortunate to be without pressure to find a job, and the way it played out me being temporarily “single”, I had the freedom to arrange my own time. I settled into the rural subdivision that was now home; drove around my new province; took care of our extensive yard; attended local fund-raising salmon suppers (this was new to me – met our dentist at one of these); I engaged with people!!

Not being aware of it I was giving myself permission to listen to my heart: in nature discovering the joys of hoisting a backpack for an overnight hike; meeting, traveling and staying with *strangers* at running events; exploring beaches, small communities or Halifax, the province’s capital. I was positioning myself with curiosity pointed outward and in –  ignited by a “why not?” attitude.

After getting my bearings, I trained for a diploma in natural nutrition which provided tools for consulting people in holistic health – facilitating my passion to help people not stay stuck in poor health due to dietary, lifestyle and mindset choices. A new dream.

Step by step I rescripted my life, energized by that small beating in my heart: I believe a central part of God’s design, helping me renew purpose for the next stage of my life.

The real story of our lives is written from the journey of our heart. C.S. Lewis termed the heart’s secret signature as “..here at last is the thing I was made for…”. For me, the huge move in location activated awareness of my heart’s small and quiet beating, connecting from the who and what I had been, to listening to the longings of my heart.

Was this reframing easy, everything simply adjusting? Not at all. We didn’t move because of unhappy or dysfunctional relationships; I’m still dealing with the unjust irony that, since moving, my four siblings now live within minutes of each other! And missing poignant touchstones of family get-togethers, Friday breakfasts with my sister.

My rescripting is in progress – that process is different for each of us, but life brings changes to us all.

Maybe you haven’t made a major move, but it could be a career shift; or (early) retirement; perhaps a divorce, or a death; children leaving home; illness of a spouse or partner. You want a purposeful, challenging life- but you don’t know what to do.

It takes time and work. I believe the circumstances and the courage of the heart affect how vibrant rescripting will flow and take shape. But it can. If you are stuck, please reach out, ketoews@gmail.com, for guidance, inspiration and encouragement.


(top photo credits to my daughter, Renee Tougas)