Basically using Mother’s Day as an excuse to brag about my wife

When our children were small we lived on an acreage, and Deb, my wife, created her own school, called it LOOC (Learning Out Of Curiosity). A kind of unschooling that made sense to her in view of the rich differences in kids on the one hand, and on the other, our mono-system of education.


As our kids grew, she celebrated every small milestone, and every little achievement—which of course in the scheme of life, are never little. That our kids have not only turned-out, but feel free to teach us who they are, is for me proof and vindication of their mother’s early intuition.

Deb kept learning—learned the language of the village, and was sought out by the neighbourhood. She came to teach other children. Children with unique learning abilities—for she never saw differences in abilities, and difficulties with so-called normal ways of learning, as disabilities.

And she took people in, cared for other mothers, single mothers and their children. Our house was not a sedentary house.

In the mean time she blended our families. And so before ever reading Margaret Wheatley, she learned chaos theory first hand. Learned somehow, to trust love’s process and to wait for things to unfold. 

Deb is someone who is driven to learn, and with a knack to bookmark bits of time (a motherly trait no doubt) she completed a Master’s degree in counselling with an emphasis on narrative therapy—the very human notion that we are the experts on our lives and through sharing stories with someone we trust, we can come to a self-awareness that will open up choices for our healing and flourishing.

Narrative, for her, is not merely a technique among others. Finding the truth within conversation, the importance of anecdote, the value of a timely question, earning of a right to speak through listening, all these she has embraced as a way of life.

To my reckoning, she has fathomed the depths and plumbed the limits of self-awareness. And this she freely brings to her counselling and life-coaching.

Of course a keen and accepting self-awareness brings with it a greater holistic awareness and therefore a natural questioning of prevailing systems. It happens that she has found a fuller voice in wisdom’s daughter, the feminine divine, and so has become something of a dissident. Well, it’s a path that chose her as much as a path she chose. These are not easy paths, although they are essential, not only for the one on the journey but for the community.

Like others on this road she has been misunderstood and castigated. She has gotten under skin, infuriated some, simply by standing up.

In my estimation, she has become less Christian, but more Christ-like. She has seen unhappy paradox of the Christian church. With its message of freedom, it still harbours elements of institution, hierarchical adherence, a paternal hangover. These she encountered first hand, and has learned to live beyond them.

In a continuing search she learned the Enneagram and has became an instructor in the ancient art of understanding personality types. It’s a method that gives tools and language for the foibles and sometimes the impasse of human interaction. With it she has mentored many.

And she has learned avenues for emotional freedom, a necessity in her work, and a way to unburden from those things that need releasing. This knowledge she gives away.

Over the years she has never let herself become distant to growing things. Her connection to woods and green gardens and herbs and rock and water is what nourishes her.

Today she cares for a team of people who care for the very forgotten. Those who some would like swept off the street. In this she does not remove herself, instead she learns from them, befriends and calls them by their first name.

She continues to learn out of curiosity. A mother at heart, she freely gives the best of what she receives. She has become, she is, a wise woman. Happy Mother’s Day Deb.


  1. What a wonderful tribute Stephen. Deb sounds like an amazing person. I particularly appreciate that she has “gotten under skin..simply by standing up”. Sounds like she and I would hit it off! I wish all children had an opportunity to attend a school of LOOC.

  2. You speak the truth, as always. She has been an invaluable traveling companion on the often-lonely dissident path that chose me also, and her inside-out knowledge of the Enneagram and ever-ready flashlight into the corners of all our lives has been wonderful. And yes, your kids have, as you put it, turned out–being able to speak your own truth is an excellent definition of “turning out” in my opinion, as truth with parents usually involves significant courage!

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