I have the loveliest little sister. Two lovely little sisters, actually, darlings both, but today is the 50th birthday of the youngest one, our Joan.
I trolled her Facebook friends, inviting some (besides close friends, I messaged the ones whose names I recognized or who’d commented recently on her posts) to contribute to the list I was making: 50 Things We Love About Joan.
Joan’s with her husband Gary right now, in Italy, where they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. He’s spoiling her, but she’ll never be rotten — spoil her all you like, Gary!
Happy Birthday, Joanie! We sure do love you.
Here’s the list. I sent it last night before going to bed so she’d have it this morning, as Italy is eight hours ahead of us, and she saw it as soon as she woke up.
50 Things We Love About Joan
|There are so many things about Joan that I love! I always wanted to be like Joan. I always thought she was so pretty and she was always nice to me even tho being her little cousin I’m sure I drove her nuts lol. I loved going to Yorkton with Joan and Auntie Grace. She would sing to the radio all the way there and then she would shop with me. Also she took me to my first concert – Trooper ! –Karla|
I love everything about Joan. –Cameron
I love being able to just pick up with her and visit, like it hasn’t been YEARS since we last saw each other. I love her giggle. And her ability to motivate me to push myself when we would work out together. And her love of cheese even though it kills her to eat it lol – Andrea Slugoski
Joan has always impressed me with her ability to draw and write. My first memory of Joan was in kindergarten. She drew fluffy grey kittens. It left an impression on this little girl. Even at such a young age Joan’s talent as a budding artist was evident. As we began to learn to write and the teacher asked us to write a short story. I was a total blank, terrified. But not Joan. She had a story whipped up in no time. Yes I admired my pretty smart cousin. Always fun to be around with a wide streak of “silly”. And as much fun and silliness that was had at recess, she poured all that same drive into her classes and grades at school. Donna and I visited Joan a few years ago at her home In Kelowna. I seen that same little girl who was now a blossoming artist. One of those incredible talents we rarely can say we know. She’s also this amazing mom who handles her daily struggles with simple acceptance and deep love. She’s open with us about her feelings of inadequacy and it makes us love her more. She doesn’t really realize how special she is.- Rhonda Johnson
It is hard to think of just one thing but here it goes…“One (or more than one) thing I love about Joan is her great sense of humour, what an amazing cook and hostess she is, how she just gets me and my small town ways and most importantly how beautifully she sings (especially “She Bangs”!). Inside joke but she’ll get it!-Kathryn Hilbig
For me, it’s her enthusiasm for life. I have only airbrushed with Joan and only have done it a few times, but she is so infectious . If Joan is there, you know it will be a fun day. I hope she has a beautiful birthday. Thanks for including me! Tell Joan I love her!!! –Tim Alan Scott
her smile, her honesty, her talent, her selflessness, her loving spirit…..-Paul Butvila
Hmmm. I am trying to think of a unique thing. Here are a few: 1. I love that she not only read “The Artist’s Way”, but she also tries to live it. 2. I love that her traditional restaurant outing when she comes to Saskatoon is breakfast with her kids at the Broadway Cafe. 3. I love that she loves the band City and Colour, too! 4. I love that she likes to make music. –Pat Verbeke
She has an admirable level of self-motivation. She’s humble. Incredibly generous. Goofy AF. The best kind. Empowers others. Talented. Whatever she wants to conquer, she will. –Danielle
I love her strength, artistry, sense of humour, resiliency, and she is SO darn cute!!! I love that she is from Saskatchewan like me, and that we both used to be fitness instructors… Her fitness competition video is one of my favourite memories! She was also THE best roommate when we went to Vegas a few years ago on a girls trip.. The number one thing about Joanie I love is her open-minded, unique creativity. She wrote me a song for my birthday a couple years ago and sang it while playing the guitar. No one has ever written a song for me and it was sweet, sensitive, funny, and really touched my heart! She is an amazing girl! AND!! She is a patient girl… Like I was videoing her while she was peeing when we were a bit drunk in Vegas and she let me! We had a good laugh about it! I really should find that video for the birthday party! Oh and that voice of hers! The voice of an angel, my husband Rob says, and he’s right. –Dawn Galloway Balic
The things I love about Joan are: Her smile and cheerful personality, always warm and welcoming. She is an easygoing person and was a pleasure to work with. Her artistic talent. Joan was special and I was sad when they moved to BC. –Nettie McPeek
I Love Her Face
I Love How Humble she is… as she’s Sooooo Talented at Sooooo many things and will pretty much never admit it
I Love how Patient and Kind She is
I Love How she makes special coffee to order
I Love Her Dedication, Thoughtfulness and sacrifice for her Family
I Love the Loyalty and Love She Shows to Her Friends
I Love Her Gift of Hospitality which she has shown “The Swinnerton’s” on too many occasions to Count
I Love Her Passion for Health and Fitness and also how she cheers others on to their goals in those Areas. I Love and get a Kick out of how often she checks the weather if she has anything planned outside. I Love How Crazy she Is, How much Fun She Likes to Have and How Well she can “Bust a Move.” She is Amazingly Wonderful and Beautiful inside and Outand I am Blessed beyond measure that She’s one Of My oldest and dearest Friends –Colleen Swinnerton
I can think of many things I love about Joan and some or all of these will probably be repetitive by others so I will mention several. Joan is a loyal friend who loves to laugh and have fun. We have shared so many fun times and I think all of her friends would say the same! I love that she’s a bit of a risk-taker. When she went overseas backpacking to explore and see some of the world, it sounded like it was a fantastic life experience! (Wow, I wish I had the guts to do that.)She is very accommodating, welcoming and hospitable! One of the many examples is when Dave and I were planning a trip to Kelowna, I really wanted to introduce Dave to Joan and Gary. They were going to be in Sask at the time but she insisted we could stay at their place and gave me the house code, so we did spend 2 nights there. When we were there last year, we spent a night with them — always hospitable and so fun to be around! Joan is so incredibly talented, laidback and so humble. She’s a great listener and always offers sound, caring advice. (She reminds me of your mom-.such a gem) —Brenda Belcheff
Joan has always been an excellent athlete!!. She was an excellent pitcher for our ball team! She was always reliable! When she puts her mind to something and says something, you know she will do it. I think she was also a Canadian Aerobics champ (along with CeaAnna Kerr and Erica??) and was also an aerobics instructor for years. She’s also a good runner! When she’s passionate about something, she puts everything into it and is a phenomenal artist!! I think she will be famous with her art someday..WOW! Joan is still, and always will be, one of my dearest and most treasured friends! She loves life, driven, inspiring, talented, artistic, intelligent, caring, giving, wise, thoughtful, fun, and has so many great qualities! I have known her for about 45 years and I just love her! – Donna Tomyn?
Can I just say simple things like her generosity; her laugh; and how absolutely non-judgmental she is? And how absolutely easy she always is to talk to? Or do you want something really specific, like how when I was young I wanted to be like her so much that I betcha I spent a week pushing the tip of my nose up so I would have the same little bump on the end! –Cara
She truly is amazing and an inspiration Isn’t it nifty? Joanie’s turning fifty!! I could give you 50 reasons that I love Joanie, but I’ll limit it to my top 5! Joan is an amazingly talented artist and yet she is so humble. She is a goof and has a funny snort and can easily laugh at herself . She is kind and her door is always open to family and friends. She is an inspiration to me to pursue my artistic passions. She is incredibly fit and inspires me to keep up my fitness too…I wonder if she perfects a forearm handstand by the time she is 50. Finally, she is such an amazing Momma bear and loves her kids fiercely…and her Leo and Piper…well maybe not so much at times! She truly is amazing and an inspiration.-Shelley Empey
I could name quite a few things I love about Joan but will give you the one I love best. That would be her true, never faltering friendship. I worked with Joan and from the moment we connected I could sense how genuine and kind she was. I always knew I could count on Joan no matter what. Oh, one more thing. She has a hell of a sense of humour too! Happy Birthday Joan! Love, Hugs and Best Wishes from Howard Fisher xox
1. Joan is the Gold medal Gary didn’t win in sport. 2. In one word ( Diamond) 3. A great sister in law. 4. A great friend. – Bobby McEwan
I haven’t known Joan for a lot of years but I have had great fun in the times we have shared. Your sis is one spunky, fun chick! She is so easy to hang with and we had a great time together in New York when we celebrated Colleen’s 50th. She blows me away with her gift of art, she is amazing! Such talent with her singing and guitar playing too! Well rounded girl, I admire her commitment to fitness also and to boot she is beautiful. She is kind and caring and such a good momma! I appreciate her hospitality, always sharing their home when friends come to visit. So as you can tell I think Joan is one pretty awesome woman and I’m happy to wish her a happy 50th! May this year be full of so much love and blessing. –Laurel Schultz
Gosh, where do I start? Her smile, she’s so easy to talk to, her style (love her entire wardrobe!), her talent, her modest confidence (I love how she can just pick up a guitar and sing yet be so humble with her gift), the fact that we share the same values when it comes to raising kids….What an amazing woman she is! –Lynn Dexter Bogert
The thing I love about Joan is that she is always so calm and relaxed and takes the best out of the world around her! She is quiet and calm and super strong.-Shauna Gardiner
I love that Joan has continued to explore her creativity and share her talents. She is an example that if you are passionate about an activity , it should be explored and nurtured because you never know how deep your talent really runs. –Leanne
There are so many things to love about Joan, her sense of humor, her fun-loving nature, her artistic flair, she’s just an enjoyable person to be around.-Wendy Sigmund
Fifty isn’t a long enough list for things I love about Joan. One big one is her artistic talent. It’s so amazing I can hardly believe it. She’s really good. –Dad
#1. Joan is generous. She has a heapin’ helpin’ of Grandpa Bensonitis!
#2. Who doesn’t love their baby sister? I can’t remember a time when she ever annoyed me, and she’s always been willing to lend a hand when needed. I trust that she will always be that helping hand, that willing ear, the shoulder to cry on. -Karen
When I trolled your Facebook friends to invite people to contribute to this list, I knew it would be difficult for them to come up with just one thing. As proud as I am of you, I’ve enjoyed reading these and none of them surprised me. You ARE a wonderful person! And I’m glad to learn that so many others see it too.
I was nine when you were born and you were a sweet cream puff right from the beginning. You’re the kind of sister everyone wishes they had. Aside from being smart and competent, so I never worry about you, you always make me feel loved and liked. I admire your decency and energy, your clowny nature, the respect and kindness with which you treat people, and your obvious love and care not only for Gary and your kids but for the rest of us in your family too. So many more things to love about you! Just plain everything!
We’re damn lucky to have you.
Welcome to the Old Crone Club, kiddo.