Rev up your resilience while enjoying a few laughs.
Cultivate wellness in your team with UpLift: a motivational webinar series featuring 16 entertaining modules and a slew of practical resources. Learn more.
Enjoy my latest book, “Simply Blunderful: A cancer survivor’s illustrated guide to flaming tennis balls, camping catastrophes and the many obstacles life throws our way.” Learn more.
Book me as a guest speaker for your next wellness or mental health event. Learn more.
Funny stories. Good advice. Oodles of doodles.
Chapter 13: The Sledgehammer – What a construction job taught me about using the right tools
To be honest, I thought using a butter knife to apply diaper cream was a clever solution. Unfortunately, not all our innovative workarounds proved as successful. A good example was during the summer of 1997, when Nicholas and I were part of a construction crew building a new pig barn near our home. The team […]
Chapter 14: The Cement Truck – What a misguided act of heroism taught me about good intentions
It’s easy for me to point and laugh at Nicholas and his ludicrous screw-up on the job site. However, my own track record that summer included a few memorable mistakes as well. One stands out in particular. As I mentioned, cement trucks would roll in most afternoons to fill the moulds we had assembled that […]
Chapter 15: The Valet – What a parking disaster taught me about overconfidence
Judging by how much Paul cussed me out after filling his toolbox with cement, I accepted the possibility that I might not be cut out for a career in construction. Thankfully, I had other opportunities in the area to earn an income. Located on the shores of Lake Huron, my hometown of Port Albert is […]
Chapter 16: The Growl – What a wolf in the woods taught me about knowledge and responsibility
Most of the money I earned from buttering baby butts and filling toolboxes with concrete went into my savings account. But I did set some aside to fund the many camping adventures I took with Nicholas, Jonathan and Adam. Before hiking into the nearby woods for a night or two under the stars, we’d make […]
Chapter 17: The Shortcut – What a hike through stinging nettles taught me about cutting corners
Fortunately, the threat of disembowelment from monsters in the woods did little to dampen my love of hiking and camping. Unfortunately, that meant Nicholas and I had many more opportunities to demonstrate questionable judgement in the Great Outdoors. Indeed, whoever said two heads are better than one clearly didn’t know me and my little brother. […]
Chapter 18: The Backpack – What a giant duffel bag taught me about band-aid solutions
Despite our abysmal track record with hikes, Nicholas and I somehow convinced Mom to let us attempt a way more ambitious trek the following summer. Starting in Tobermory, our plan was to hike as much of Ontario’s 900-kilometre Bruce Trail as possible over the course of three weeks. We had a map and an unearned […]
Chapter 19: The Big Freeze – What camping in a snowstorm taught me about knowing when to quit
We returned home from our disastrous hike along the Bruce Trail feeling sheepish and defeated. But sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time an outdoor adventure forced us to tap out early. Because eight months later I’d be lying on a woodpile, as cold-induced convulsions wracked my body and a large branch jabbed me in […]
Chapter 20: The Snowy Gauntlet – What an idiotic bet taught me about redefining success
Just because Nicholas and I bailed on our March break camping trip doesn’t mean we hated the cold. Far from it. We were as Canadian as moose and maple syrup, built for blizzards and booger-freezing conditions. Exhibit A: the Snowy Gauntlet. Growing up in rural southwestern Ontario was great. But country living does require you […]
Chapter 21: the Christmas Tree – What a holiday hunt taught me about overkill
After failing to complete the snowy gauntlet against our big brothers, Nicholas and I were itching for a wintery win in the Martin household. Fetching the family Christmas tree the following year offered the perfect opportunity to show how capable we were — and to give Mom a much-needed break. The holiday season wasn’t exactly […]
Chapter 22: The BB Gun – What my dad getting shot in the eye taught me about owning up to our mistakes
Sure, Nicholas and I filled the living room with a giant, muddy tree. But that pales in comparison to the trouble our dad and his brother Ted caused over the holidays when they were kids. Now, I don’t know what Christmas in the 1950s was like exactly. I’m assuming it involved things like fighting off […]
Chapter 23: The Toboggan Hill – What sledding battles taught me about approaching problems from different angles
Winters in Port Albert involved more than absurd Christmas trees and half-naked wrestling matches in the snow. They also ushered in one of my favourite times of year: toboggan season. On one occasion, I remember trudging up a hill, my cheap plastic sled dragging behind me. My four-year-old cousin Ria — yes, the same […]
Chapter 24: The Train – What a trip to the big city taught me about self-sabotage
As the years ticked by, my thirst for adventure grew — and with it the desire to see more of the great wide world. So when my oldest brother, Dan, invited me and Nicholas to spend our March break in Ottawa where he was attending university, I jumped at the opportunity. For two country bumpkins […]
“We are in a mental health crisis now that will last for years to come due to covid, and there are limited resources. So it’s wonderful to see things like this popping up!”Sarah, Therapist – Winnipeg, MB
“You took a terrible experience, turned it into art and are finding ways to use it to help others.”Chris, Social Worker – Kitchener, ON
“I love the stories. They add so much to the lessons, rather than just a list of resilience ideas.”Dr. Karen Armstrong – Timmins, ON