2017 Top 17 Photos

The Camerons Christmas 2017

I am enjoying some wonderful family time this holiday season as 2017 winds down. I was inspired by this great idea from Chelsea Avery to review the year in pictures. There seems to be a theme of friends, family and books for me in 2017. So, here we go … in chronological order …


5/6 of Rosnau family plus Iris hiking in California desert
Photo 1 – 5/6 of the Rosnaus

Any year is a good year when it starts off with the Rosnaus in California. Always good company, good conversation, good food, good friends. This pic was taken during a hike in Rancho Mirage. Even though mama Rosnau didn’t make it into this pic, she is a beautiful, strong force that stayed in our hearts all year long. As I sit here watching the snow come down in Canada today, I am missing them AND their weather!


Hamsder and Cameron families last night at Universal Studios, California
Photo 2 – Universal Studios with the Hamsders

This was all about our daughter, Iris, but we all enjoyed spending time with this awesome unschooling family from Oregon. We met up for three days of mind-numbing, headache-inducing overstimulation fun at Universal Studios, California. Watching Iris and her friend, Larkin, experience the land of Harry Potter was truly magical, and I’m so glad we made this trip happen for them.


Lori with 50th birthday balloon
Photo 3 – Lori’s 50th

This lady is so much fun and an active part of our Sunshine Coast community. Lori has a great sense of humour. She is also humble and doesn’t like to draw much attention to herself, which is why it was the perfect idea to send her on a treasure hunt at stores all over town collecting 50 rolls of toilet paper to celebrate her birthday. It was also a 15th wedding anniversary for me and Mark, and we went out for an amazing dinner together that evening.


Sheila opening box of first shipment of books
Photo 4 – first shipment of books

It is definitely an exciting moment to have your first shipment of your first book delivered to your doorstep (even when you have messy un-showered hair). Shine Bright: Live A Supernova Life was officially published on March 24.


Powell's Book Store signage, Portland, Oregon
Photo 5 – trip to Portland, Oregon

No trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s Books. The Hamsders family took Iris camping in some sweet little cabins west of Portland. Mark and Simon and I shared a king-size bed in the funky/cool Society Hotel in downtown Portland, and we spent a couple of days filling our heads with publishing knowledge at IBPA’s Publishing University.


Sheila and Emile kayaking with sailboats on dock in background
Photo 6 – kayaking past sailing camp

Well, the seed of sailing camp was planted during our Portland trip … and then it became a reality when 2/4 of the Hamsders visited us in Gibsons for the girls to enjoy a two-week sailing camp together. Two full weeks with another family in your home could be challenging, but Emile and Larkin were the perfect house guests, creating good memories for everyone.


Simon shaking hands with Canucks GM, Jim Benning
Photo 7 – Simon interviews Canucks GM, Jim Benning

I can’t say enough good about Paula Howley’s Headstart Public Speaking for Kids program. Simon was challenged to reach for the stars by setting up an interview with someone he admires for this third-year project. He wrote an email to the Vancouver Canucks to see if he could interview their general manager, and they said yes. It took several months to secure the date. His dream came true in August, and they even brought in their film crew with an aim to post the interview on the Canucks media channel. Unfortunately, the video of the actual interview didn’t turn out, but it was a great experience for Simon, and it was fun to watch his giddy excitement leading up to the big day.


Neil and Sheila at Toastmasters 2017 International Convention
Photo 8 – awesome Toastmasters partner, Neil

This was taken at the volunteer training for the Toastmasters International Convention in Vancouver, where about 200 volunteers helped create a successful convention for 2500 attendees from around the world. It was our first international convention with Toastmasters, and the volunteer room had great energy. But I picked this photo because Neil and I worked closely together for several months in 2017. He was on both my guidance committee and action committee for a High Performance Leadership project, and we worked together to start a new club while continuing to support and attend other clubs in our Area. He has a great attitude and is passionate about learning and teaching, and I appreciate him so very much.


long line of people waiting to meet Sandra McDowell at Toastmasters convention
Photo 9 – look at that lineup!

This was so exciting! I urged my lifelong friend, Sandra McDowell, to apply to speak at the Toastmasters International Convention, then I helped her produce her fantastic book, Your Mother Was Right: 15 Unexpected Lessons About Leadership and the Brain, in time for the event. Her neuroleadership content is very relevant to Toastmasters, and her presentation was well received. I especially loved watching people continue to join this huge line for a chance to talk with her or get their book signed. That’s her in the black/white dress and heels way up by the table.


Sheila and Simon swimming in ocean at sunset
Photo 10 – a late summer evening swim

After a very busy summer, all I wanted was to have one swim in the ocean before the sun and warmth disappeared. This was it, and it was extra special because Simon (who doesn’t normally enjoy swimming) joined me here at Armours Beach for an evening dip. These are the memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to Mat and Lori for coordinating the effort. Mark was late to arrive because he was putting some finishing touches on over at FUSE Community Work Hub, which had been closed for a year due to a flood but is now re-opened. Yay!


Sheila with birthday cake and bouquet of flowers
Photo 11 – a birthday to remember

Birthdays aren’t something I usually get excited about, but this one was different. It was a little bit out of the ordinary to receive flowers from Mark (I love them, but he knows I would prefer to not receive cut flowers). And it was downright emotional when he pulled out his guitar and played us a song he had written for me and about our life together. I’d been waiting for that moment for twenty years. It was beautiful and worth the wait (and the flowers suddenly made sense).



beach art made from litter
Photo 12 – art from garbage

So, this happened. It was during a Forest Therapy Retreat with Haida Bolton at Ruby Lake. This is the day I finally understood why people make art from garbage. I still plan to blog about it. Post to come. Feb 24, 2018 update: You can now view that post here.


September spelled using books balanced on page edges
Photo 13 – Hoard of Books

Our daughter, Iris, started her own book review blog this year called Hoard of Books. I love her creative energy as she runs around the house with books and props to create the perfect feature photo for each new post. I don’t need a camera to picture her cozied on our couch completely engrossed in book after book in 2017.


Camerons, Haggemans and a Leslie in pjs around the breakfast table
Photo 14 – big family breakfast

We drove out to Windermere, BC to meet up for a fabulous weekend of family celebrations that combined Canadian Thanksgiving with a 55th wedding anniversary and a 75th birthday. The Harry Potter fans in this picture would say that 7 is the most magical number, but 17 in 2017 was our magic number of attendees at this family gathering. The grandparents are not pictured, but look at all the smiling faces they produced.


Mark wearing a hockey helmet and mask with bandaid on cut nose
Photo 15 – safety first!

This is my guy. It was finally determined that wearing a face mask would be a good idea—for everyone—after Mark took a hockey stick to the face in a freak accident during a parent-and-tot ice time. Trips to the store were made. Masks were bolted on. And I can rest in peace knowing that noses, eyes and teeth are now better protected. Thanks, Mark, for modelling the new look for future hockey players in our family (and for being the unfortunate one to take the fall that preceded it). It’s not quite Ryan Avery’s speedo, but it’s just as sexy.


Simon signing first sold copy of Magical Noah King and the Desert Adventure
Photo 16 – the release of Simon’s first book

This is Simon signing the first sold copy of Magical Noah King and the Desert Adventure. Simon started writing this book when he was ten years old. It was mostly finished by the time he was twelve, but it took another full year for him to produce it from there. As a parent of a homeschooled kid (at approx grades 6/7), I give this book project an A+ for effort and quality. As an editor and publisher, I have to say it was written, self-edited and produced by a kid learning in his own way. The first customer got a deal when Simon sold this book to her for $20. After this picture, he started charging $2 extra for his signature (mainly because it’s not his favourite thing to do … but also not a bad sales and marketing technique!).


gold and black Wonderwoman symbol pendant made from seed beads
Photo 17 – a “wonder”ful creation

Have I mentioned that our kids amaze me? They do! Iris attended three days of Christmas markets selling her popular wares (earrings and pendants) made from seed beads. Then she created her own pattern in order to whip up this fandom piece for her cousin’s Christmas gift. It took a few hours, turned out beautifully, and I was super impressed. It was my favourite witnessed handmade gift of the year.


And that’s my 2017 year in pictures. It was super fun to look back and recall/share moments from an epic year. Now looking forward to see what 2018 brings! I hope yours is everything you want it to be …


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  1. I loved this look at 2017 through your eyes… maybe I will get inspired and do something like this… could be next year though. Love Auntie Margie


    1. Thanks! It was fun … and a little bit exhausting to pull all the photos and narrative together. And still so many photo memories that I couldn’t fit in the post. Very worthwhile though. Love you. xo


    1. No, I was so surprised, it didn’t even occur to me to video it! Good idea though. Right now I have the words printed out and hanging on a wall where I can see them often. And every once in a while, I am lucky to hear him play it again. Mark did a fair amount of song-writing this year and even played one of his songs at an open mic night. But I’m not sure if he’s willing to be recorded yet! Happy New Year to you and your family, Tracy!


  2. this is so fabulous, sheila! i got all teary thinking about your husband whipping out his guitar and singing a song about your life together. so so special.

    2017 was quite the year for you – from the traveling, to multiple books being released in the family – too cool!

    keep doing what you’re doing, it’s very inspiring!


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