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an obituary to my career.

Teacher.  Curriculum Consultant.  Curriculum Coordinator.

On Tuesday, January 9th, 2019 Lainie Beth Holmes finally hit submit on her resignation e-form.  The date of Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 was chosen as her last day. To some, the decision felt like a surprise. To Lainie, it was 10 years in the making.  

This is where it all started…

In 2002, Lainie Johnson proudly received her Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Education degree from Brock University.  She was a graduate of the concurrent education program and the first member of her family to graduate with a post-secondary degree.  

After graduation, Lainie was a supply teacher for a few months before accepting an LTO position at Plymouth Public School in the District School Board of Niagara.  She was the school librarian and art teacher; she also did prep coverage for kindergarten phys-ed and grade 5 drama. She was 21 years old

It was a busy year.  She taught during the day and did her Masters of Education degree in the evenings – driving to St. Catharines for night classes.

When her LTO position ended, she secured her first contract position at Gordon Public School with a grade 6/7 class.  She taught at Gordon P.S. for two years before she transferred to York Region District School Board.

In York Region, Lainie taught grade 8 at Reesor Park Public School.  After teaching at Reesor for five years, she accepted a position within the school board’s curriculum department as a mathematics consultant.

During her four years in the curriculum department, Lainie moved into three different roles.  She began as a mathematics consultant, then became an instructional design consultant with the Learning Design and Development team, and in her final position, was the Curriculum Coordinator of Digital Literacy.  

After the birth of her first child, Lainie went on maternity leave from the coordinator role and never returned (with the exception of a two week stint in December 2015).  She then walked out of the building and said out loud, goodbye.

Lainie leaves behind an amazing group of colleagues in the profession, many of whom she calls her friends. She describes them as caring, intelligent, and hardworking. They inspire her to keep learning and to stay curious. She’s so thankful to have met them.

In lieu of flowers or donations, Lainie is accepting emails and notes of encouragement. They can be sent to

For the story behind this very sterile and resume-like obituary, watch for Lainie’s Career Story (coming soon).  There’s a lot more to it.

the Lainie List.

this is Charlie. she’ll be two next week. she is rough and tumble
and has two bruises to show it.
  1. Mary Oliver, Pulitzer prize-winning poet, dies aged 83 | The Guardian
  2. Amber Rae on self sabotage
  3. This woman is unbelievable. Won brutal 430 km race in record time while making stops to pump milk for her baby daughter.
  4. Austin Kleon: You don’t have to be good.
  5. How to use gmail more effectively.
  6. airtable app.
  7. Brené Brown animated video on Empathy. good food for thought.
  8. The Road Back to You. Might be interesting if you’re into the enneagram.
  9. pinecone mug. very cute.
  10. aliedwards: Storytelling with Project Life.
  11. Grow Curious on kickstarter.
  12. the graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives.
  13. two new creative workshops coming up in February (facilitated by me!)

people need pruning too.

Did you know that winter is a good time for pruning trees?

They enter a state called dormancy and take a rest until the warm spring temperatures arrive. And for some trees, like fruit trees, major pruning work should only be done during the winter to maximize fruit production.

Okay, Lainie, but why the random tree pruning facts?

Maybe we could learn something from this too…

(The following information is from

1. Easier to Evaluate Tree Structure

After the leaves have dropped in fall, it’s easier to see the structure of your trees and, for a trained arborist, it’s easier to identify dead or dangerous branches. This lets us determine whether or not pruning is needed to keep your trees safe and looking their best.

Could our lives use a good evaluation during the quiet months of winter? What habits aren’t serving us? What could we let go of or delegate to release some weight?

2. Looks Better in Spring

Late winter is a great time to prune, contain or rejuvenate overgrown shrubs and trees as they’ll be able to recover quickly in spring with new growth. This will also minimize the amount of time you’ll spend looking at a plant that looks like a bunch of sticks after rejuvenation pruning.

Maybe we do our letting go closer to spring because we can feel the excitement of a new season on the brink. Warmer weather will inspire us to be active, to meet new people, and try new things.

3. Avoids Spreading Disease

Winter pruning can also avoid spreading some serious diseases that are active and spread easily during the spring and summer growing seasons, such as Dutch elm disease, oak wilt, cedar hawthorn rust and fire blight. During winter, the bacteria, fungi, parasites and insects that cause and/or spread disease are either dead or dormant, so diseases are less likely to be transmitted by pruning.

What isn’t healthy for you? It might be habits, your mindset, relationships… How does it spread into other areas of your life? How might you remove it or reshape it to allow for new and healthy growth?

4. More Efficient

If the ground freezes in winter, heavy equipment can be brought in without damaging your landscape, resulting in lower costs, faster work and better outcomes. This is especially true for large pruning jobs and tree removals.

What equipment do you need to bring in, to get the job done? Equipment might include personal learning you need to do, support, resources, etc.

5. Less Stress on Trees

Winter pruning doesn’t stimulate new growth that can be killed by cold weather, damaging and disfiguring the tree (this is why fall pruning isn’t generally a good idea). Plus, research shows that pruning before buds break in spring leads to “optimum wound closure”, letting trees heal from pruning cuts before warmer weather brings out destructive insects and pathogens.

What wound(s) need healing? How has it changed your structure? How might you begin the process of new growth?

6. Prevents Winter Damage

Damaged, dead or dying trees can be dangerous in winter, particularly when we get significant amounts of ice or snow. Dormant pruning makes them safer and can also rejuvenate weaker trees by removing dead and diseased wood.

How might you be dangerous to yourself or those around you? (dangerous is a pretty intense word. Think of it more as, how might you negatively impact yourself and others).

“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest — thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.”

– Beau Taplin

This piece of writing was inspired by an arborist truck parked outside of our house at 8 a.m. this morning. As I sat with the kids at the window, watching the branches fall to the ground, I wondered to myself, I wonder what the health benefits are for the tree? I bet it’s true for people too.

the graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives.

by the Strumbellas

The window looked out to the lake
The walls smelled of a 100 years of hard days
The windsurfer stayed in my mind
Watching them surf as the hours passed by
Who would have thought I’d be hoping to get back now
Who would have thought I’d be hoping to get back no

We walked in the night past the pines
The graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives
We walked in the night past the pines
And every day I still go back to that time

The library smelled of old books
A closet was filled with the things that we took
The roads were all covered in stone
We wear our bare feet when we made our way home
And who would have thought I’d be hoping to get back now
Who would have thought I’d be hoping to get back no

We walked in the night past the pines
The graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives
We walked in the night past the pines
And every day I still go back to that time

My brother looked out to the city and he smiled
My brother looked out to the city and he smile

We walked in the night past the pines
The graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives
We walked in the night past the pines
And every day I still go back to that time
And every day I still go back to that time


Windsurfers lyrics © Domino Publishing Co. Ltd., Domino Publishing Company Usa, Isabel Ritchie Music, S. WARD LTD., DGJJ INC., JONATHAN HEMBREY MUSIC, UNGUARDED MOMENT PUBLISHING, HOME STATE PUBLISHING, JEREMY DRURY MUSIC INC.

The graveyard told stories of everyone’s lives…

This line reminded me of another – in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. We are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I think it was her that also talked about cemeteries being the most valuable land because they are filled with dreams left unfulfilled.

It all makes me think about the number of stories that go to the grave. And how important it is for us to write them down.

the Lainie List

she needs to go to sleep with all three of her babies. and get tucked in.
  1. The Spiritual Child. a book recommended by a friend.
  2. Whiskey In A Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, Book by Reese Witherspoon
  3. Love the Get to Work Book products like: Do Good Work (print) and motivational cards
  4. Austin Kleon and guardian spirits for his notebooks
  5. Dead little tree free library is the most creative I’ve seen
  6. Far From the Tree. Loved this on Netflix.
  7. Stretch cording
  8. the best field guides. keeping this idea for later.
  9. Meet the woman who creates dolls like me for children with disabilities. heartwarming.
  10. The Confessions Game

the story of Joy.

Tucked in my wallet I have: a ticket stub for a movie. a dime. and a picture of Gram and I.

I kept them to remember how I felt that night, so I would have the courage to keep going.

I was eight or nine months pregnant with Thatcher. Mom and Dad were in Toronto visiting; it must have been during Christmas holidays. I didn’t want to fly home that winter because I was worried that I might go into labour early (they live 4 – 5 hours away from a major city centre with a hospital).

With my parents at home with Tate (who was 1 at the time), we decided to duck out and see a movie. We hadn’t gone in over a year. We went to see Joy. We knew little about it and thought we might be able to stay awake long enough to see the whole thing.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie is based on the true story of Joy Mangano. A very successful entrepreneur who owns over 100 patents for various inventions and is known for her work on the Home Shopping Network.

Joy was a single mom who had a creative and inventive mind. As a kid, she loved coming up with ideas and making them come to life through paper and prototypes. Joy’s biggest cheerleader and supporter in life was her grandma, Mimi. They had such a close relationship. Mimi often told her that she was destined for great things.

In the movie, Joy invents a new mop. She knows that she has a great idea and has to overcome many obstacles to become successful. And in the middle of it all, her grandma dies.

Now picture me. 8 or 9 months pregnant, with my big round belly, sitting in the middle of a movie theatre. It’s been just over a year since my Grandma Lainie died. At this point, I still can’t talk about her without crying. Now I’m watching someone on screen lose their grandma, their biggest cheerleader in life. It hit too close to home.

You know that feeling when your throat constricts and burns when you try not to cry? You hold your breath, just trying to keep it together. That was me. I knew that if I started, it would become a sob. A messy, loud sob in the middle of a movie theatre.

I missed my Gram. I grew up with a woman who made me feel like I could do anything. And she would want me to be happy. She would want me to go for it.

Why was I still in a job that I didn’t enjoy? Why did I keep pushing myself to live a life that wasn’t me?

I was done.

When I walked out of the theatre that night, I told myself that I would do my own thing. I decided that my career as an educator was over. I didn’t know what I would do, but life was too short. I would figure it out and she would want me to.

That was in 2015.

Today is January 15, 2019. It’s officially my last day of work. Last week I submitted my resignation.

It was as easy as an e-form and picking out my last date. An entire career ended with a few blanks to fill in and a quick phone call. Such a weird way to end such a big part of my life.

I worked so hard to become a teacher. I have two degrees and my Masters in Education. I did my Masters degree while teaching. Teach during the day and then classes and assignments at night.

I became a curriculum consultant for a school board – facilitating learning for teachers and principals. I have my qualifications to be an elementary school principal if I wanted to. I knew it wasn’t for me, but I was interested in learning more about leadership.

I have a math specialist. I taught the Math Specialist Additional Qualification course for the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario for two years.

I chose to leave a job with an incredible pension. benefits. and job security.

And it’s scary. Who leaves a career like that?

Apparently me.

I was afraid to tell my parents. I didn’t want to upset them or for them to worry about me. Even this morning I was picturing them having to explain to others what I’m up to these days. I don’t want them to feel embarrassed having to tell people what I’ve done.

And there are days where I’m worried that I won’t figure it out and that I might put our family in a difficult situation financially.

And yet I know that I need to pursue something different.

I want our kids to grow up seeing a mom who loves what she does. I want them to be brave enough to do work that is meaningful to them and not worry about the expectations or views of others. And I want them to have a mom who is happy.

For the first time in my life, I am unemployed. I’ve had my own paycheck since I was 12 years old. This is new territory for me.

And this decision wasn’t made lightly. I’ve sat in on webinars about my pension. We have a rental property. I have been making and selling things for a year now. I host workshops and have lots of other ideas I want to explore. I know we’ll be fine.

It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve known since 2009 that I needed to do something different. I can read it in my notebooks…

And I am so thankful for Eric. My husband is my biggest supporter and the one who has helped me feel brave enough to do it. You’re an educated person, Lainie. You will figure it out. We’ll be fine. I love him.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do, but I’ll get there (which is so not me). I’ve always had my life mapped out with career goals and expected milestones. School. Job. Marriage. Children. I wanted to make my family proud of my accomplishments. And I feel like I’m starting over. I am trying to picture this all as one big adventure.

I am writing a book that I want to publish. I have two publishers in mind. The book launch in already planned in my head. I have 419 pages sitting in Google docs and a clear bin in our bedroom that I call My Book. I keep tucking pieces inside.

I want to create e-courses and do workshops. I want to create things that will make a difference in other people’s lives. It probably sounds cheesy and I’m okay with that. I want to do good and I feel like I can finally start.

Here’s to new things. Here’s to Joy.

Gram once told me that I need to write my own book. I will and I’ll dedicate it to her.

the Lainie List.

when your brother comes home from school, you cuddle.
  1. What Will the Future of Work Look Like in 2019?
  2. love this for toy organization
  3. kitchen knife for kids. shaped as a dog.
  4. wonderpens. a magical stationary shop.
  5. E. Frances Paper for the cutest paper products.
  7. Craftsman Explorer stamps
  8. Hightide Tiny Container | TOOLS to LIVEBY
  9. What Is Spirituality?
  10. Style Glossary – Ultimate list of interior design styles & definitions
  11. men’s bike pants for commuting
  12. the best skin care product I’ve ever used. cleansing balm from Beautycounter.
  13. Fiver Parties. Have you ever heard of them?
  14. an app that tracks your creative and productive times during the month (based on your flo). I know someone who loves it.
  15. love Field Notes

we sang you home.

by Richard Van Camp
illustrations by Julie Flett

we sang you from a wish
we sang you from a prayer

we sang you home
and you sang back

we give you kisses
to help you grow

and songs to let you know
that you are loved

as we give you roots
you give us wings

and through you
we are born again

our everyday miracle
our everyday smile

our forever home
is inside of you

thank you for joining us
thank you for choosing us

thank you for becoming
the best of all of us

we sang you home
thank you for singing back

welcome to the world
we love you!

a reminder of how kids awaken a new us. they leave us changed and for the better.

the Lainie list

three kids who are thrilled to finally have snow for their new sleds
  1. Five exciting brands opening stores in Toronto next year
  2. trying to find fabric with mail or envelopes on it. found this so far.
  3. Sisu fabric line from Art Gallery Fabrics.
  4. watched The Green Book. didn’t know that the writer was the son of Tony Lip.
  5. ordered myself power sheets this week!
  6. What Is a Chakra?
  7. The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
  8. Before Pantone, there was Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours. Colours from nature.
  9. the cutest little toy blender set for kids.
  10. you have to notice when the universe is cheering you on.
  11. @enneagramandcoffee a fun new account on Instagram from Sarajane.
  12. my birthday cake this year.
  13. o-souji. you might have done it without knowing.
  14. the Poop Cafe in Toronto. yep, it’s actually a thing.
  15. my creative hibernation.

you have to notice when the universe is cheering you on.

I love Tina Roth Eisenberg.

She’s the founder of Tattly, Creative Mornings, and multiple other companies.

She’s creative. She thinks big picture and sees the beauty in every day things.

I just watched her DO Lecture. If you want to watch it, just click on the image above.

Here’s what stood out to me from her talk…

I’m good at extending trust to other humans… just not good at trusting my own heart. In the last few years, I’ve been coming home to myself.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a spiritual journey.

living this superhero life.

I knew in my heart of hearts that eventually I needed to give in to this flow of life. I was simply terrified of the consequences.

Crisis takes place when the old has not died and the new has still not been born. – Bertolt Brecht

My heart got through to my brain.

It’s up to me how I handle this. How I flip the situation…

I couldn’t point to the North Star.

Stupid Capricorn me, I just didn’t ask for help. I felt like I was hanging on for dear life.

Stop trying to do it on your own. Get help.

We think of our work as a community.

Companies have energy like we do. Everything filters through us.

What you nurture, grows.

If I’m not rooted, my business is not rooted.

The more connected I got to my heart, the more I worked on myself, the more energy started flowing through me…

A business is like an expression of spirit and heart.

They need to see me adding light.

Take care of your gentle hearts so you can give into the flow of life.

Pay attention to those full body yes-es.

Notice when the universe is cheering you on.

“…the two films idea of your life. There are two stories you can tell.
One that is safe and full of regret.
And one that is risky and full of pride and joy.”
(from the intro to the talk)

The DO Lectures…

It takes place on the far edge of West Wales. And, yet, it attracts some of the most progressive minds on the planet. For many who attend, and indeed, who speak, it proves to be a life-changing set of 3 days. The talks are filmed and then made available to the world for Free. They attract a global audience each day to a cowshed. It’s a network to help others reach their potential. That is why we do the do.