Oakley’s album is live! Zoe’s book is published!

Uncategorized Jun 04, 2024

This past Friday was quite a day for my kids.

My son, Oakley, released his debut album Auburn.

My daughter, Zoe, received a box filled with the hardcover copies of her first novel. 

I’ve been sharing the great news while I’ve been out and about and people are asking me over and over, “How did you get your kids to do that?”

Maybe you’re wondering the same thing, so I thought some reflections and a little peek behind the scenes of these accomplishments would be interesting and/or helpful.

The Setup

First off, Paul and I have always valued creativity in our home. When the kids were little, we purposefully avoided battery-operated gadgets and opted for piles of books instead. Even though Zoe and Oakley had many toys (they just seemed to multiply overnight!), they preferred to play with things like bubble wrap and boxes.

We always had music from all over the world playing and encouraged dancing, singing and make-believe.

One time, a little friend of Zoe’s came over. She picked up a toy dog and seemed to be looking for the on-switch. Bewildered when she didn’t find one, she asked Zoe, “What does this do?”

Equally mystified, Zoe answered matter-of-factly, “Anything you want!”

We’ve militantly monitored screen time and encouraged both kids to have lots of interests offline. 

Paul and I have always had high expectations for ourselves and we’ve worked at balancing that with low attachment to outcomes. We’re devoted to living extraordinary lives and it seems like that vision has rubbed off on our kids too.

We talk openly about our dreams, our lives, our visions and the day-to-day ups and downs as a family. One question we like to ask is: What was great about your day, what was meh and what sucked? We learn so much about each other that way.

Zoe’s “Novel” Journey (haha… I always like a good pun)

During the pandemic, Zoe wrote four novels. It all started when she received a writing prompt for a short story for her grade 9 English class and then we hardly saw her for weeks. She got inspired and we said, “Go for it!” (We’ve always done our best to consciously support their inspirations and interests.)

One novel turned into two and then a series of three. Wanting to encourage her, we hired a few editors and an artist to do the cover. Eventually, Zoe realized that she wanted her own art on the front, so we recently republished her book Follow Me All the Way Down under our own boutique publishing company (Quarter House Publishing). 

The storyline is about a group of kids who have supernatural gifts. One of them goes missing from the home where they live and some others escape to go find him. It’s an LGBTQ+ fantasy that demonstrates Zoe’s wildly creative imagination (picture teeth falling from the sky and a monstrous rat-goat-chicken). 

From there, she kept getting inspired with new ideas and subsequently wrote a standalone book. It’s a modernized version of the epic poem The Iliad called The Highschooliad. After we get the series out, that one’s up next. 

On May 31st, she received the box with her first book inside and it was so exciting! That box represents moving through a lot of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, fear of being judged and all the other things that go along with putting yourself out there. 

Of course, we’re oh so proud of her!

Oakley’s Music

On the very same day, unplanned but seemingly divinely aligned, Oakley’s debut album was released. 

The night before, he had won sportsmanship awards for his volleyball and badminton teams and then Grade 10 Male Athlete of the Year, so he was already flying pretty high. A few hours later, his 5 original song EP appeared on Spotify and iTunes (and maybe even other places we haven’t figured out yet). 

Oakley’s album represents years of work. He seems to get downloads of songs, both the lyrics and the music, and then he works on them for weeks, refining, changing and eventually settling on the basic structure.

He does a lot of busking at local Farmers’ Markets on the weekends so he gets to practice his music there (and get paid for it at the same time - what an ideal situation!). Adults often approach me and ask, “Are you his mom?” I figure then can see my glowing adoration and proud heart. They often have tears in their eyes because Oakley’s music is so profound and heartfelt. 

Over the past year, Oakley worked with a local music producer so that he would have professionally mixed and produced songs. 

The process was uplifting, frustrating, expansive, excruciating and everything in between. Like Zoe (and probably most other artists and creative types), many fears needed to be overcome. Paul and I got to practice our patience and parenting abilities often. Sometimes we were graceful and sometimes we were not. 

All of us persevered, though, and - ta-dah! - there are now tangible results that represent so much love, support, belief and growth. Hooray!

Before wrapping this celebration up, one other thing is popping in to share with you. 

Sibling Rivalry

When Oakley was born, I naively thought - oh good - we have one of each gender. That means they won’t get jealous of each other like two sisters or two brothers would. 

Hahahaha. I was very wrong. 

Here’s how we approach that one. We’ve explained to our kids that when something good happens for one of them, it happens for all of us. We’re a family unit and a team, so we celebrate each other and know that good for one means good for all.

They still get jealous of each other and sometimes feel inferior (because humans tend to be like that) but, from my perspective, this outlook has been helpful. We’ve also had them get gifts for each other when they’ve been on the receiving end of great abundance, so that has helped too. 

For instance, when Zoe had her role on Black Summer on Netflix, she bought Oakley a guitar with some of her earnings. When Oakley had a run of successes that resulted in income, he got Zoe gifts as well. 

We wanted them to get the idea that when good fortune finds you, it feels great to share it. 

So, as you can tell, I’m a proud mama. The victories feel like a family effort so I’m claiming a small part of the success. Well, maybe a big part… it was a lot of work!

Of course, I have to share links - being the mom and all. 

Zoe’s Book: Follow Me All the Way Down

Here’s Zoe’s book on Barnes and Noble

And here’s Zoe’s book on Indigo-Chapters (with the old cover)

And here’s Zoe’s book on Amazon.ca

And Amazon.com

It’s on all sorts of other sites as well, so if you don’t like these ones, just search the title with Zoe’s name and you’ll get options; so many options.

Oakley’s Album: Auburn

Auburn on Spotify

Auburn on iTunes

Between the two of them, I think that covers every possible platform…

Thanks for reading and sharing the joy!

With exhilarating love and spacious courage,


>Creator of Courageous Self-Care

>basking in the glory of the lilacs that are currently in full bloom

>thrilled to have added two small cedar trees, some ferns and begonias to our garden this past weekend

My friend and colleague, Tara Sheahan, is up to some major stuff. She has the vision and is taking action to repopulate the bison on a vast stretch of land in Colorado. 
You can learn all about it on this podcast episode of Virgin, Beauty, B.tch (created by another amazing friend of mine, Christopher Kennedy).

Click here to listen (go to the May 19 episode)

If you feel inspired to support Tara in her efforts, click here to donate to her GoFundMe campaign. 

By watching the brief campaign video, you'll get to see the land and the vision for yourself. 


Obviously, I’m sharing one of Oakley’s new releases!

And I’m not going in order. (I’m such a rebel.) 

Today’s song used to be called Rome so that’s what I always request when Oakley’s performing. For the longest time, he wouldn’t oblige. I would ask, plead and beg (I even made signs that said Rome to hold up while he was busking) and he would just ignore me, playing every other song he knew instead.

(Because… what does your mom know when you’re a teenage boy?)

I request it every time because it’s awesome. I love it and it’s so fun to sing along to, once you get familiar with it. 

Now it’s called That’s What They Say so if you ever come across Oakley, he’ll play it if you request it. He only seems to say no to me. Probably because he’s 15. 

Listen to That’s What They Say on iTunes

Listen to That’s What They Say on Spotify