Be Fit, Be Healthy, Push Hard, Work Hard

At the beginning of the year I thought to myself that I needed a motto for 2017. I thought about the things that are important to my life and the saying that have been repeated to me over and over again, like a broken record. I came up with Be Fit, Be Healthy, Push Hard, Work Hard. Being fit is important to me. It is not about being skinny. It is about being strong and in good shape. Of course I like to feel good in my clothes too. My trainer continues to coach me in exercise and healthy eating. The best ultimate fitness gift I can give myself is to get active and make healthy food choices. This can be hard sometimes but we have to push ourselves even when we do not feel like doing something. When I have a day like this, I have to say “Tanya, stand up and be somebody”! When we work hard, good things start to happen!

Be inspired,



You will often hear me talk about the people in my life. My family and my friends who have helped me on my life path. The important people who have taken the time to show me that I can accomplish many things. The people who have made sure I understand that I am capable  and  never put a ‘dis’ before the ability.

Growing up in my house meant that when I accomplished something, big or small, it was celebrated. But it also meant that if I was having a bad day or couldn’t quite figure something out, I was not allowed to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I had to keep going. This could be frustrating sometimes. Now that I am older I think I get it. I understand that by not letting me quit I was able to realize my abilities.

As an adult, I know that I am a capable woman who still wants to grow and learn. I feel grateful that I can learn and that I have people to support me in this. I wonder about the people who live in our world who might not be able to see their capabilities or maybe they don’t have anyone to support them. This makes me sad. We all need a support system. People who can show us things about ourselves. We have been given abilities and different gifts. Sometimes we just need a little help.

Be inspired,




2017 & Looking Back

A Champagne Cheers!

Have you ever been involved in something and looked back and felt proud of yourself?

In 2016 , I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of being a advocate and motivational speaker. In this role I have has so many wonderful opportunities. Traveling to new places and making new friends have been the best part of my job.

Looking towards the next 10 years, I hope I can continue to encourage people to recognize their capabilities and gifts. I want to motivate people with all abilities to be themselves by creating happy and healthy lives. Through my passion the greatest gift I can inspire is hope. We always have hope!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, encouraged me and shared your personal stories. I am so grateful that you have been apart of my life path.

Cheers to you and the future!

Be Inspired,





Humour is very important. In my life and in our house, we use humour a lot. Especially when it come to my learning.

A number of years ago my mom asked me “why don’t you look people in their eyes”. I told her that “eyes look like olives and they are disgusting”. A few weeks later we we had a big family dinner. When I sat down everyone had their head down and would not look up. I thought this was odd. Finally I asked “What’s going on?”. All at once everyone looked up and had an animal nose on. I was told that I had to look each person in their eyes. By using humour, I now have a much easier time looking people in their olives, I mean eyes!

I enjoy many different styles of humour. Slapstick and dry humour are my favourite. I am not a big fan of pranks that could hurt or embarrass someone. That is awful. Laughing at myself or at the people I love can be a pretty good fun because from time to time we all get too serious.

Our world can be stressful. I ask all of you to please take time to laugh. It is the best medicine!

Be Inspired,


Letting It Go


When I watch a movie I try to find the lesson. Many Disney movies can teach us about life. The Lion King is full of lessons to learn.

A big one for me is getting stuck on the past. Sometimes I have a hard time letting things go. I have to remind myself the past is the past. I can learn from it but need to move on. There are days that I can move past these feelings all on my own, I am a problem solver.  Then there are times where I need help. Getting how I am feeling off my chest is a good thing. My feelings then become less overwhelming. Sometimes the people I trust have ideas about how I can move forward. This is a good thing.

This year I am going to continue to be aware of when I might be getting stuck on something that is behind me. I will work on turning it around just a little bit faster and if I can’t, thats ok too.

Be Inspired,


The Next Happy

My friend Sydney and I had a wonderful discussion after I read the book “The Next Happy”. We wrote this blog together.

“Let go of the life you planned and find a new way forward”.

“The next happy is like the friend you call when your car is stuck in a ditch on a journey you never expected to take. From the moment you begin to open up, you begin to feel unstuck, and by the end you will find yourself moving forward in the right direction”.

I felt joy by reading this book. Learning is important to me. Sometimes I don’t understand all of the ideas and concepts that are in the books I read. This is ok because I have many people around me that are able to help me understand. I enjoy these discussions.

This book taught me that we can get stuck in life and sometimes we cannot get to the exact place we want to be. This can be frustrating and disappointing. Sometimes we have to have these feelings to grow. All we can do is our best.

I challenge all of you to get up everyday and be your best! Even if you have a hard day you will know in your heart you gave it your all!

Be inspired,


3 Months Into 2016…


I thought to myself on New Years Day that this is going to be am amazing year. Now here we are in March and I still feel this way. For the past three months I have been working hard at achieving my goals for 2016. One of my biggest goals is staying fit and healthy.

I am very lucky that I have people in my life who help me stay on track with my health. One of these special people is my trainer Janey. She can be one tough lady. She pushes me to work hard and get stronger.  It is not always serious business. We laugh a lot at the gym and talk about life. She reminds me that I am beautiful on the inside and out.

Our relationship started in 1998. I was heavy and didn’t like the way I looked. When I was really ready to do something about it my mum took action. I started working out with Janey and with her help and guidance I lost over 30 pounds. Here we are 17 years later, I have kept the weight off and I feel great about myself.

My trainer has become a very important part of my life. She has become a life coach and a wonderful friend. She is the one that showed me that life really does reward action. I am grateful everyday that she is a part of my life!

Do you have someone in you life who pushes you to be better?

Be Inspired,




I’m Back – What a Summer!

Well, it has been a long time since I have shared with all of you. I have mentioned before that I am still getting the hang of this blogging thing. Thank you for sticking with me.

It has been a busy few months. Let me get you caught up on the exciting things happening in my life…

During the long weekend in May the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s conference was held in Edmonton. My mom helped to plan the conference and get things organized here. When we arrived at the hotel to move in for the weekend my mum and Michelle could not find me in the car! Good thing I am small!

On the Thursday night I meet with my VATA friends and I helped prepare the SWAG bags that all people coming to the conference would receive. It was cool that we got to host families from all over Canada and even some of our favorite friends from the USA in our city.

Saturday was fun! I attended a session by Dr. McGuire and then I went to the film festival. I was able to see three great films that featured people born with Down syndrome. Later in the afternoon my sister and I led a Yoga class for the young adults. What an interesting experience. I got to see once again that while there are similarities between people born with Down syndrome we are all very unique too. That evening my friends and I got all dressed up and went to a Red Carpet event just for us. We walked the red carpet and had our pictures taken. We were all stars!

Sunday was Soul Sister Sunday! My sister Michelle and I presented our session called Soul Sisters. We had over 40 people come and listen to us. I gave people a lot to think about and made them laugh. Humour is the best medicine! Michelle did pretty well too. After our presentation we went for brunch with our good friends Gail and Blair from Los Angeles. Blair is like our brother. We call him “Knucklebean” or “Burger Boy”. I was sad to say good-bye to them but I knew we would be seeing each other in a few weeks in Phoenix. Sunday night we closed the conference with a big dinner and dance. There was lots of food, yummy dessert and dancing! It was a wonderful weekend!

Please stay tuned for my next blog so you can get caught up even more on my life.

Be Inspired,



Image 2Image 1Image 3


Image 4






“You don’t buy a friend, you earn a friend”. Richard Pryor

What is friendship?







My friend Sydney moved to Edmonton from a small town called Lyndhurst, in Ontario. She moved here to participate in the Ascend Leadership Project.

We first met at the Anglican Parish of Christ Church. The church hosts a Community Dinner once a month and I help by setting tables. I invited Sydney to join me, A few days later my friends from PULP came to film my promotional video. We invited Sydney to come by and be apart of it. During that day we had a great time talking, laughing and learning about each other.

Now Sydney and I see each other at least once a week. When we spend time together we like to make art, go out for tea, be active and tell each other about the important things that happened in our week. The most important part of our friendship is that we encourage each other to be the best we can be.

I believe friendship is about helping, it is about listening and it is about ensuring that your friends are appreciated for who they are.

Be Inspired,


Image 1


Education is very important to me and mine started at a young age. I was a part of the first integrated early education program at Mayfield Elementary School. At the age of 3 I would get picked up in a cab and off I would go. This program gave me my start and showed me that I was capable of learning. From there I attended Montessori where I learned to read, write, count and many other life skills. I was very lucky because I had teachers who believed in me and were patient. This type of school worked really well for me and set me up to continue my learning.

I was able to attend the same junior/senior high school as my sister. I went to regular class with an aid. Many times I asked her to sit at the back of the class…I wanted to sit with the other kids. I participated in choir and was able to go on many trips. I made a very good friend in homeroom and we are still friends to this day even though she is a busy mom. My experience was good and I was able to learn many lessons in and out of the classroom.

My mum had to open peoples eyes sometimes and ask then to take a chance on me. I think people find it hard to say “no” to her but in the end they never had to because prove their outdated perception wrong.

I know that some people with disabilities haven’t had similar experiences with education. I think that we are all individuals and that each of us should be set-up for success in all areas of our life. To parents out there…help your children have the most positive educational experience they can even if it doesn’t look the same for each child.

If it wasn’t for my family and my teachers I would not be where I am today. I am a lifelong learner…lucky for me the people in my life think I’m a great student!

Be inspired,