Create Anyway

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It still amazes me that he didn’t think he could draw.  My Papa Butler, the artist of the family, knew he had a talent for painting, but drawing was a different story.  As my Grama shuffled through the things she thought I’d like to see before I moved across the country, it stopped me dead in my tracks when I saw it.  Among the pocket sized picture book of black and white snapshots of the town they grew up in, yellowed newspaper clippings from the 50’s, and 3 photo telescope keychains that when held up displayed my Papa proudly taking a golf swing, was a gorgeous portrait of my Grama that my Papa had drawn with pencil.

“He didn’t think he was any good at drawing, so he didn’t do it very often,” she said as she flipped through more clippings of their lifetime together.  As I looked at her, I couldn’t help but wonder if these memories brought her back to a different time.  A time when he was still here.  The talent was staring up at me from the table and got me thinking about how we treat ourselves when we create.  Why must we be so sure? How does the self-doubt begin and eventually take over?  It’s almost as if self-doubt comes along for the ride as soon as it hears the word: create.

I’ve been quiet on this space for quite some time.  Only really making noise with big news to share or small updates.  I’m here today to come clean about a few things.  Since deciding to write this book, I’ve had good days and bad days.  On the good days I feel excited and proud and happy to share.  On the bad days, I just can’t seem to quiet the voices that play on repeat in my mind.

“You’re not a writer. Who are you kidding?

What makes you think your story is worthy of a book?

You’ll never pull this off!”

Mean. Mean. Mean.  I know!

Once I’m able to step back and recognize what’s going on, I begin to realize that fear and doubt are fueled by the fire of creativity.  In the past week or so I’ve been trying to access compassion to introduce the two.  I can almost see it now.  Compassion meet Fear.  Fear meet Compassion.  Now converse.

I know for a fact that it’s not just in the creative world that we experience this.  Fear and self-doubt show up every single day for all of us.  Let’s take a lesson from Papa B today.  Do your best & create anyway.  You never know who will see your creation and be inspired to act.

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We made our way West

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On a Tuesday in November we decided to move west.  I can’t say I was very surprised that our lives were leading us there.  I always had the feeling the mountains were calling to me.  Seasons passed and the time eventually came to pack our lives into boxes and begin our trek west.  It hit me somewhere in the middle of Saskatchewan last week just how lucky we were to have spent the past 10 months in the cute little house by the water.

As we packed our final things into the car that day and took one last walk through of the house, we hugged side by side and took in the sight of the empty space.  In that moment I felt full.  I was filled to the brim with gratitude and nostalgia and felt that familiar wave of bittersweetness that happens with these kind of moves.  Gone were the days of the gorgeous lake sunsets, or the echoing voice of the final boarding call for the ferry.  That cute little house with a view held us through our first year of marriage.  We moved in in the fall – my favourite season of the year, we endured the longest winter since the 70′s, and enjoyed its brilliance turning from the sweetness of spring to a highly anticipated summer.

I have a tendency to fall in love with places and this one takes the cake.  Not that it was better than the house that I grew up in, or my very own apartment in the city, it’s just that I had my new husband with me for this one.  There were we’s and ours plastered on the walls that made this place different. It made this place home.

As we made our way west, we stopped for ball games in the states, jammed to tunes through the prairies and were left speechless with the first glimpse of the Rockies.  Those boxes arrived a few days ago and it finally sunk in that we just moved across the country.  Change isn’t always easy, but it sure is an adventure.

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Dear Grama

When journeys collide


Dear Grama,

I was on a mission that day that not even the rain could disrupt. As I made my way to Westminster Bridge to recreate this photo of you, I remember thinking about the beauty of perspective.  Not only was I grateful to have found this photograph of you in front of this very spot decades earlier, but to be there giggling to myself as the wind blew my umbrella inside out, left me in awe.  How did I get here? Who’s crazy idea was this?  I actually made this happen?

Looking back at this photo now, over a year later, makes me realize that anything is possible.  The incredibly unpredictable journeys that brought you to this bridge, then brought me to this bridge, then gave me the urge to dig up this photograph to have another look are more connected than I ever knew possible.  The layers and years in constant dance with one another creating beauty and rhythm with every step.

I am writing to tell you that in 4 months time, I will hold the first draft of my book in these tiny little hands of mine.  The book that will be laced with both of our fingerprints, decades apart.  I don’t want to do this alone.  I can’t do this alone.  This is why I am telling you.

With a granddaughters love & admiration,

Carly xoxo


To every “LIKE”


Since this journey began, my head has been filled with shoulds. I should write. I should blog. I should tweet. I should network. I should learn how to get more followers. And the list goes on.  I was surprised when the greatest lesson I would take away from this journey hadn’t shown up on any lists – the importance of human connection.

Though I spent most of my days connected to the world, through facebook, instagram, twitter, email, texting, letters and just about every other form of technology, I felt a deep loneliness. It didn’t matter how many virtual connections I had received that day, what I longed for the most was physical touch, someone’s presence, or a conversation – live in real time.

The most profound aspects of my journey were the people I met.  On a parkbench, in a library, at a cafe and even on the ship on my voyage home, I noticed the connection between people and what good old fashioned connection has to go up against in this time: cell phone notifications, cameras, texts, selfie photo ops.  I couldn’t help but wonder if we are losing the ability to truly connect with one another anymore.

I’ll never forget the moment in a Starbucks when all I could have ever wished for was someone to sit across from me and share a story or engage in meaningful conversation when I noticed two girls sitting beside me.  Mid conversation one of them took out her phone and took a selfie with her mocha frocca latte frappiccino – cutting her friend off completely, to show her instagram and facebook friends what she was up to. It rocked me.  It didn’t make sense. We have things so backwards it hurts my soul, my heart and my ego when I actually think about the amount of times I’ve done it, too.

Of course I see the perks of it all.  We keep in touch in this now very small world because of it all.  I know instantly what someone is doing in Costa Rica.  I follow a Japanese Hedgehog on Instagram for goodness sake.  But something is happening and our world needs a shift.  My generation is feeling it and the generations after us need to be educated on it.  We need to put our phones away and connect with our grandparents – our elders.  There is a whole generation of people who lived through the world wars that are dying.  I am guilty of it, too.  My grandfather lives 2 minutes from me and I only go for visits every so often. He tells stories.  I need to hear his stories and record them.  There is an urgency about this that needs to be addressed.  Yes there is a place for technology, smartphones and facebook – but I want to stand for connection in its truest form – in real time – with those around you who you love the most.

Our wedding video going viral has made me feel it even deeper.  I have received lovely messages from people near and far.  From Cape Breton to Australia and England to my hometown of Leamington.  People are so sweet and the likes, shares and followers truly do mean a lot.  The truth is, my wish for everyone is that to every “like” there is a hug, a conversation, a touch, a look…in real time, with those around you who mean the most to you.  With those who if you were given one month to live, you would turn down all the computers and hug, soak their soul into your heart forever, talk about the big stuff, the life altering lessons that make you say: right, THAT is what matters most in life.

We are born to connect and there will be a shift.  I can feel it.  I want to be a leader for that shift.  So here I am making a commitment to you.  This week I will visit my papa, I will take in a sunset while resisting the urge to document it, and I will leave my phone at home the next time I go for a coffee date.

What will you do?




Good Morning America called

10 things I’ve learned the second time ‘round a media blitz.

Thanks to our viral video shared in the last post.

 1.    Breathe.

Sunday night I was flat on the floor and my heart rate was as if I had ran a marathon.  Let’s just say that I made my mom’s birthday…uh…memorable.  I was officially overwhelmed by the 100,000+ views.

2.    AVOID the comment section when feeling overwhelmed

There are some very lovely people out there sending us well wishes.  Some are even saying our love has brought them to tears.  What is also true is that there are some people out there who have opinions or make assumptions about stuff they don’t even know about. We truly are blown away with the amount of people taking the time to respond and truly appreciate that.  Something I’ve learned through all of this is that you must try, try, try to remember 3 good to every bad.

3.    Focus on the positive

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to scream from the rooftops that “I chose my own dress!” I could go crazy sifting through the many inaccurate articles online, but that’s not very positive.  The positive is that some people are actually reaching out to me wanting to interview us.  That’s pretty darn cool. This has also been a wonderful chance for Adam & I to relive our wedding day ALL over again.  It really is quite special.

4.    Thank you, and YES I’d love to be interviewed

These things happen really fast – especially with the pace of the internet, so when people contact you for an interview – say YES and make it happen.  Anyone who has reached out to us has been kind, sweet and genuinely happy for us.  The second I started getting calls, my heart rate slowed down to a somewhat normal pace, so that I could actually explain myself, which leads me to my next point.

5.    Use your voice

Once I started getting tweets, messages and calls, I was able to use my voice and tell my story. And this is what lifesletter is all about…having the courage to tell my story and encourage YOU, yes YOU, to own your story and write your life’s letter – no matter how scary that may be.

6.    Love  your support system.

Both online and offline.  Truthfully, press or no press, all that matters is that I am married to a wonderful man, we have the most incredible family and friends and their support and loving words mean the world to us.

7.    Be Grateful. 

Any press is good press, right? I’m writing a book and hope to share my story with the world.  If anything, this is putting my name out there, giving me experience with media and making my skin a little thicker.  This is all part of the journey.

8.    Get your hair done. 

It just makes you feel good!

9.    Dare Greatly

I’ve been struggling lately to share my truth and own my story – hence a silent blog for a while.  I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown and her latest book is based on this quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doers or deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” I’m ready to enter the arena again, folks.  Get out of my comfort zone, embrace the fear, and show up.

10. Breathe

And be sure to take it all in.  It’s not every day that Good Morning America calls.  Enjoy the rush.

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That’s right folks, our wedding video has had over 80,000 views in only a few days.  It’s a pretty surreal feeling even 7 months later.  It sure has been an exciting week reliving the magic of our surprise wedding day all over again – not to mention getting my butt into gear…back into the blogosphere.  Thanks again to Steve Shilson of Straylight Films for capturing our day so beautifully.  More to come soon…stay tuned.