On A Personal Note…

Sometimes these will be opinion pieces, sometimes I will share some of the personal aspects of my entrepreneurial journey.

On Being Open To The Universe

These days we talk a lot about “being open to the universe”.

Last year when I decided to put my house on the market, I decided I was going to be open to the universe. Not much changed in my life last year.

I started this year with an impulse offer to an acquaintance. It worked out. In the last six months it seems one thing has led to another and there is currently every possibility that my life will be totally different – a complete redesign – by the end of the year.

What was the difference?

I now firmly believe there is a distinct difference between saying “I am going to be open to the universe.” which has a suggestion of a future action… and just saying “Yes!” to universe.

IMG_4075I just got back from a trip to Spain, where my daughter got married, and my motto there was “Just say Yes”. I ate things I wouldn’t never normally eat, I saw things I would never normally see, I met people I would never normally meet.

(As I write this I’m thinking I need to dump that word “normal”!)

I realize now that to have the trust to say Yes! is what it means to “be open to the universe”. When you make plans to be open, you are not really fully open.

I won’t know for another week if I will be redesigning my life imminently or not, but the unfolding of the last six months has shown me the possibilities. On a go-forward basis, my choices will be different. It’s quite exciting!

Stay tuned for my recent insight on “bucket lists” – it’s not a term I completely align with, but you get the idea.




With Age Comes Wisdom!

I’m in Madrid!

According to my laptop it’s 9:00 p.m.

According to my iPhone it’s 6:00 a.m.

I arrived yesterday after 24 hours of flying and hanging out in airports. Last night was a huge reunion dinner. At this moment my body is just kinda confused.

Despite the very long day and the evening of camaraderie and sangria, I woke up at 4 a.m. local time, wide awake and feeling great.

I felt like a glass of the beautiful red Spanish wine sitting on the counter of our downtown hotel, but of course the logical person in me wondered what time the café across the street would be open for an espresso.

I lay there going through several of the relaxation tapes I have committed to memory, tried unsuccessfully to meditate myself back to sleep, the operative word in both cases is “unsuccessful”.

I’m sharing the suite with my daughter and her family so I did need to be considerate…

That is why I am curled up in a corner of a beautiful recliner sofa, dim lamp glowing over my left shoulder, laptop on my lap (imagine that!) sitting red wine.

I decided logic was indeed the best course! No point in lying abed wide awake. If I look at my laptop, a glass of wine is indeed in order. If I look at my iPhone, no one would raise an eye if I had a Mimosa – nix the Mimosa, hello wine!

With age does indeed come wisdom!!

It’s All About The Choices: One Woman’s Opinion

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By some standards I’m older than dirt!

Looking in the rear view, I guess I have lived through a number of decades.  They all have such different memories.  And lessons learned.

I remember as the 50s turned into the 60s finding out there was a whole big world out there outside my small home town.

Lesson learned:  give a child a forest and a lake, a few wild animals and a whole lot of rain and they learn to create a world of wonder and adventure that is second to none.


I remember as the 60s turned into the 70s realizing that there was an even bigger world out there with war and hate on one side and hippies and peace and love on the other.  I so wanted to go to Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury but I was still too young; and my limited tv viewing flashed dreadful black and white images of death and destruction in Viet Nam in between sing-a-longs with Tommy Hunter and Ed Sullivan.

Lesson learned:  you have choices in this world and there comes a time when you make your own, you don’t have to follow your parent’s.


I remember as the 70s turned into the 80s realizing that home could be found in the most unique places; a small town girl could flourish in a big city if she found a family – for me that family came with a job in small gay bar in Toronto, where I learned that you pretty much can live on hugs alone.

Lesson learned: new experiences can reap amazing benefits if you open your arms and your heart; the world is full of happy people and angry people, accepting people and intolerant people and that is their commonality – their happiness or their intolerance, not their politics or their gender or their income.


I remember as the 80s turned into the 90s realizing the power of being a parent and the responsibility that came with that power.  How easy it was to mold young minds but how more important it was to open them instead; how it came with no rule book and how you had to reach into the very depths of your soul to allow them to fall, or to speak out, or to step out into the world with all their innocence.

Lesson learned:  little people can teach you a lot… a lot about yourself if you’ll let them, and that they can be right to your wrong. Really!  Although my one rule still stands: as soon as you’re rude, you’re wrong.


I remember as the 90s turned into the millennium being so very aware that, no matter what, you suck up your own biases to ensure healthy children; that divorce is not just about you, it’s difficult for everyone and that children are watching and learning and remembering even through the tears.

Lesson learned:  you can recreate your life at any time, you never stop making choices for yourself, you can find your strength… and in so doing you can teach your children a few more skills for living successfully.


I remember as the millennium turned into the 10s realizing that life never stops giving you opportunities to reinvent yourself so you may as well go for it; how social media had suddenly become main stream and how great that was and how awful that was; how technology gave you the power to be anywhere and everywhere and it didn’t have to be the magic kingdom of ‘programmers’.  I remember what a joy it was to watch the entire globe open up and welcome my children in a way I didn’t know was possible when I was sprouting wings.  Most of all I remember the privilege of being present as my next generation came into this world and the gift that was; and how three children had all turned out so well despite their parents.

Lesson learned:  progress is only as positive or as negative as its users and their intentions; that we are now a global family and with that comes new responsibilities: kindness, tolerance, acceptance, open-mindedness, and perhaps the most important thing of all: understanding that most of the people of the world are all so wonderful in so many ways, and so alike in their dreams and aspirations… that the villains are the individuals and the vehicles they create to perpetuate their tyranny on the earth and her peoples.


Villains cross cultural barriers, they cross gender barriers and they cross political barriers.  It is not a particular race or nationality, it’s not a left-wing or a right-wing, it’s not a catholic or a muslim, it’s not a gender or a trans-gender, it’s not a young person or an old person, it’s not a wealthy person or an impoverished person; it’s a nasty person, a greedy person, a closed-minded person, a hurtful person, a power-abusing person – it’s a person who is so damaged, so fearful, they cannot find a way to reach out their hand to their neighbour at home, let alone their neighbour on another continent.

The way I see it as I look back on even the short history of the world I have lived through… is that it all comes down to Choice.  There is no going back in terms of technology  and all that we know, but we can make the Choice to use that knowledge and that technology to heal the world: heal the hungry and the thirsty, heal the hurt and sick, heal the environment.  We can make the Choice to stop the hate and destruction, stop the hurt and the anger, stop the intolerance, stop the blame and the lying, stop vilifying whole groups of people just because of their skin colour, the name of the power they honour, their income level, who they sleep with behind closed doors, who they vote for.

Perhaps that’s what I see as I look back on even the short history of the world I have lived through – we now need to be making the Choices that will ensure we, and our children and their children, have a world to live in for another millennium- a healthy, happy, trusting, trust-worthy, fed, clothed, interactive, supportive, optimistic, positive  (you get my drift?) world.

What’s your Choice?




Can You Unlearn Quickly What Took Time To Learn?

The title of this post refers to one of the biggest on-going issues I have with my online business.

blog picI was in the work force off and on for approximately 40 years. The last 20+ of that was in positions where I needed to write, file reports, document activities… and as I advanced in my chosen field I wrote Policies & Procedures, articles, training information…

I had always enjoyed writing, but I definitely refined my business “tone” and the appearance of my documents.

With my online business and this blog, I now need to write in a more conversational tone and keep my information sharing and educational pieces more casual and friendly. The last thing I want to do is sound like I’m talking at you!

Getting on top of that professional tone has been a struggle. Learning to say “I’m” instead of “I am” and “can’t” instead of “can not”… “it’s” and “you’re”…

My mentor scolds me that I am not an English teacher, I am not writing formal documents for the powers that be… and see, there you go! I did it again – “I am, I am” is allowed to be “I’m” and “I’m”.

I talk that way. When I’m talking it’s usually with a friend or a colleague, a family member… and I talk casually. But put me on a keyboard with a document open, and I’m back in Professional mode as though I’m writing Policy and Procedure for Head Office!!

I find it so frustrating!

But I shall persevere! and one day the contractions will flow off my fingers like the casual conversation I just had with my good friend and colleague who’s visiting this week!

In the meantime, I will con…. I’ll continue to proof read my writing and correct what I catch and laugh at myself that, after three proof-reads, I still missed one or two!!

oh, and I’ll hope you’ll excuse me if I sound like an English teacher from time to time!!



Do You Qualify For This Tax Credit?

Before we get into the holiday season… which leads us into the New Year and tax time, I thought it a good idea to think ahead so you could be prepared.  I’ve posted this article before, but it never gets old!!

At this time of life, many of you are caregivers for an elderly parent, or possibly even a spouse with health compromises, or perhaps your own health is no longer optimum. When I was primary caregiver for my mother, I dreaded tax season for both of us… until I took some training in tax preparation and saved us both a lot of money. I was listening to talk radio recently and discovered that a tax credit I thought was common knowledge is in fact a well-kept secret.

Here are two questions to answer before I start:

  1. Do you (or your loved one) pay taxes?
  2. Do you (or your loved one) have some impairment in physical or mental functions?

If you answered yes to both these questions, I recommend you keep on reading.

The Canadian government (Canada Revenue Agency) allows a tax credit for any individual who has a prolonged/permanent impairment in one or more specific areas. This impairment must be acknowledged by a medical practitioner and you are responsible for any fees that practitioner levies. Instead of rewriting the qualifications here, I am giving you the link to the Disability Tax Credit Certificate: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t2201/t2201-12e.pdf

The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) was implemented in 1988 as a non-refundable tax credit. “Non-refundable” means that it can reduce a person’s taxable income to zero, but if the application of the credit results in a negative tax owing, no refund is issued. The good news for you, if you are a caregiver, is that any amount of the disability tax credit not needed by the person with the disability to reduce their taxes payable to zero can be transferred to a “supporting person”. A supporting person may be able to claim all or part of their dependent’s disability amount if the person with a disability was resident in Canada at any time during the tax year and was dependent on the supporting person for some or all of the basic necessities of life (food, shelter, or clothing).

If you are just finding out about this tax credit now and you think you or your loved one should have qualified for the DTC several years ago, you can in fact claim for the credit for up to 10 years into the past. You do this by filing an adjustment on prior tax assessments. The form you need for this can be found at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t1-adj/t1-adj-12e.pdf

It is important to note that it takes time to have your physician sign off on the tax credit certificate, and then have it reviewed and approved by Revenue Canada. You cannot move forward without your letter of approval from Canada Revenue. So start the ball moving now. Once you have your letter of approval, you can file adjustments on each of the tax years that were made applicable on the certificate, to a maximum of ten years.

The other tax detail that apparently many people do not understand is how many items are covered as medical expenses. For caregivers adapting a home to accommodate a loved one, the adaptations, and the expense of same can by huge! (voice of experience here!) The link for that information is: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4064/rc4064-12e.pdf

If you are at all confused by the paperwork, either phone Canada Revenue’s help-line at 1-800-267-6999 or drop by a tax specialist and get some help.

p.s. Apparently there are reports of eligible people not wanting to have the certificate completed as it means they are admitting they have difficulties and their pride is getting in the way. Depending on how much tax they pay, this credit can be worth thousands of dollars each year. This money could go quite far in making their life easier and some of their activities more independent. Stick with your assertion that it is an important step.


The Joys Of A Home-Based Business, Pt. 1

There are many advantages to having a home based business.

In this video I explain one of the very best reasons I have!!! and if this teachers’ strike continues, I may get to do this again in September!

It really is Win / Win in my book!!


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What your life would look like if you were own Boss! What would be top on your list of benefits?



Don’t Let The Real You Gather Dust

Sometimes in our lives, things get busy, or “stuff” just happens… we sort of lose track of different aspects.

This hit home for me this week as I decided to do a major clean-up of my fun rides. I have allowed circumstances to dictate certain parts of my life that I loved! I didn’t realize how much I missed the Agnes who loved her fun rides!


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Learn from my mistake!



What Are Your Retirement Dreams?

My posts this week have been pretty depressing.

I sort of apologize but I sort of don’t – it’s information you need, and you need to know it before you get too close to retirement.

I want to end the week with something lighter.  This is a fun video I made some time ago about my retirement dreams.


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I hope you enjoy it, and I especially hope you leave a message below and tell me a little about your retirement dreams.



A Feather In My Cap!

A few months ago, I decided I was ready to enter a fairly serious blog-site competition on-line. Called the Top50 MLM Blog Competition, it has attracted the cream of the proverbial crop in the 5 years since its inception.

I was a little hesitant, with it being my first year, as I rarely promote any MLM on my website. If you decide to work with me though, it’s one of the business models I endorse.

This year a number of industry leaders were nominated by the organizers so I knew my competition would be fierce. I could do nothing except be me, however, so I applied.

The competition ended in December and it has been quite the wait, wondering about the placements of the almost 200 contestants. Fast forward to earlier this week and I was blown away by the results!

My blog, THIS blog, placed 19th! not only in the top half of the pack, but also ahead of some pretty serious bloggers in this on-line space.

Excited doesn’t quite do justice to the elation I felt when I saw my placement.

Developing an on-line business is work. But I love this space so much that I can honestly say it has never occurred to me that I wouldn’t succeed.

It’s a “feather in my cap” to receive this sort of endorsement though, in an international competition; it reinforces my WHY and turbo-charges all the work I am doing behind the scenes.

So! stay tuned, Readers, the next few months will see some pretty big developments here at agnesknowles dot ca. I spend next weekend ‘in camera’ with my most influential mentor and she has promised me workload and critique that only a determined entrepreneur will survive!

Haha, ok, I made up that last part… but she is a task-master – just one of the reasons I love her!

Anyways, you now have an explanation about the badge to the right of this post. It’ll be staying there for a while… I’m pretty proud of it!


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