Dear Priscilla,

I want to share some things with you. Beware; my words will not be filled with sunshine and roses, but with practical, real advice. Words of wisdom if you will. I want you to enjoy life and not be so serious. Take risks!  I want you to not spend so much of your time and energy worrying or harbouring negative feelings about things that may or may not end up happening, because in the end, none of it will matter.  What will matter is your kind heart, your resilience, your innate ability to see the good, the positive in things and people, even when everything and everyone around you tries to show you something different. Your annoying little sister will become one of your closest friends. You will also come to appreciate that although your parents are not perfect, they love you and will support you unconditionally. You will grow up to be a helper (of course!) and a mother. Your son will be an incredible little person who will share your personality, your quirks.  He will adore you and you him.  And through that bond, you will begin to truly appreciate yourself for the person you are.  A beautiful soul.


Dear Pat,

How are you?  Are your parents giving you a hard time?  I know that life may seem tough at times, but you will realize how good you have it when you're older.  Listen to your parents and follow their example:  work hard, be honest and fair in your dealings with others, pay your debts, treat people kindly, listen and choose your words carefully, take care of your family and don't complain.  When you are an adult you will understand and appreciate everything they did for you.


Dear Pat,

How are you?  Are your parents giving you a hard time?  I know that life may seem tough at times, but you will realize how good you have it when you're older.  Listen to your parents and follow their example:  work hard, be honest and fair in your dealings with others, pay your debts, treat people kindly, listen and choose your words carefully, take care of your family and don't complain.  When you are an adult you will understand and appreciate everything they did for you.


Dear Younger Me:

In 35 years you will be 47 years old.  40-somethings and 50-somethings to you seem ancient.  When you get there you’ll find it’s a pretty good place to be. You will move to Canada at age 20, fully intending to return to your home country of New Zealand.  However, you will end up staying in Canada.  You are a Kiwi at heart, but Canada is where you will come into your own and feel comfortable. Your life will be full of ups and downs – high points and low points.  After your two years at Raroa Intermediate School, you will attend Wellington Girl’s College and then proceed to post secondary education,  that will take place both in New Zealand and in Canada.  Learning never stops: Living life and discovering yourself will be the biggest, most challenging educational experience.One thing you will do for yourself in the future each New Year, you will choose a word for that year in order to provide you with inner strength and to maintain focus.  

In 2015 you will choose a theme:  CHOICES
This will be a big life lesson for you….you will always have a choice.  Not only from the clothes you pick out to wear each day, or what food you decide to eat, but also your emotions and how you can choose to react to situations. Perhaps this might seem obvious to you now, but it’s something you will have to learn.
When you get to 2015, please take a minute and read this:



It is kind of easy for me to think right away the type of advice I would give you for the years to come. However, I can’t help but wonder whether it would be you who could give me one piece of advice or two. Looking at you I think that my advice about being assertive and confident is redundant at the time of this picture.  You look so tranquil and at the same time so secure and ready for whatever life is going to throw at you. Seems like you had it all, but your world is about to change big time in the next few years and I just want to tell you that you will need all that assertiveness and confidence but more importantly, your self-esteem. It isn’t about what people want you to do, It is about what you want to do and you should act according to your values and principles. Listen to your mom - now I know she is the person who loves you the most, the one and only that will give you honest and disinterested advice and love. Listen to your heart, I know your dreams about the future will soon become clear. Pursue them right away. They are noble and big - don’t wait!  You will know what you want to do with your life at a very early age. Pursue your dream with no fear! Don’t wait for others’ approval and reassurance. It will save you time and disappointment. Waiting, wondering and wandering would make the difference in your life.


Dear Past Matt,

If, by some miracle, this note were to make it back through the fabric of time into your miniaturized hands, I suppose there’s one thing I’m able to tell you (without upsetting the balance of time and space). 

It’s going to be OK.

You will have your heart broken, but it will be OK.
You will have friends come and go, but it will be OK.
You will have some big financial struggles, but it will be OK.
You will question your self-worth, but it will be OK.
You will have to work to find what makes you happy, but it will be OK.
You will laugh and cry and rant and rave, and it will be OK.
You will be terrible at math, but it will be OK…I’m still terrible at math.

Through everything you encounter, things will always have a way of working themselves out to be exactly the way they should. You don’t have to change who you are, or who you want to be. When the time comes, just continue being the smiling, hopeful kid you are in this picture. 


Future Matt


Dear Maria,

Turn to God and always trust in Him. He will never leave your side and will always guide you down the right path.  That intuition you will learn to eventually trust and listen to is Him and only Him.  Life is precious so continue to enjoy it day by day.  Don’t worry too much about the future because God will provide.

Never stop smiling because that is what brings joy and hope to people and the reason people are drawn to you.  It is a special gift from God.  Don’t ever let anyone try to stop your smiles because unfortunately they will but the love from God is stronger than any of them and that will triumph in the end.    

Don’t stop praying and going to Sunday mass.  This weekly ritual brings you joy and sharing it with your mother is priceless!   Family will always be there through thick and thin and they will always want the best for you so keep them first always.   Nature brings you peace and clarity so make sure to stay close to nature despite the attraction to the bright city lights.  Lights fade but never will the peace that nature brings to you.  

Continue to write in your journal.  Your letters to God will be your comfort and will teach you so much about yourself and what areas you need to heal.  As humans we tend to block events in our lives that affect us.  Through your writing you will remember and let go of where your fear comes from because God always wants you to be the BEST version of yourself!  The closer you are to God, the more you are learning what your purpose in life is.  You are a strong and loving woman that always wants the best for others.  Always fix your gaze on Him and anything is possible! 

Love Always, 


Knowledge is power, so use your resources to get as educated as possible. It brings confidence which will become your greatest attribute throughout your life - as a child and an adult.
Be considerate of others - kindness will follow once you do!

Become the voice of encouragement. It is OK to fail. Learn and move on.

Be independent. Don’t shy away from voicing your opinion. Others will react. Accept that everyone is different.

Outer beauty is what you are born with, but inner beauty is solely your own responsibility.

Control your anger. Forgive even if you can’t forget. It brings peace of mind and frees your soul.

Enjoy life. Experience everything - the good and the bad.

Live well!


I remember when our first daughter Samantha was born, I received a lot of advice on how to raise her.  This advice was wasted because I wasn't yet ready to hear and implement it.  It's for that reason that I'm going to forgo giving you wide sweeping words of wisdom and give you some more practical advice.

In Grade 2, one of your hockey gloves will go missing.  Jonathan took it.  In Grade 3, steer clear of Victor and pencils.  Get your eyes tested in Grade 4, you weren’t a weak student, you just couldn’t see the board.  Don’t write the same comment on your high-school mid-term feedback sheets, Rick will be really mad.  Do the victory lap in high-school, you need to mature.  Don’t be upset about not getting into university the first time around, it all works out.  After that, it’s all up to you.


Be who you are, not who you think others expect you to be. Act based more on how you feel, not what you think is expected of you. More often than not you will be wrong with those guesses. This might not lead to more success in life but I believe it might make the trip more interesting.

Try to stop worrying about fitting in so much. Follow your passion instead, and believe in your own logical conclusions, even when they contradict what you have been told.

Continue to hold intellectual curiosity in high esteem. Learning is never ending and possibly the most valuable skill of all. Try to get as much knowledge out of every experience that you can. Never be afraid to ask stupid questions, others often silently appreciate it anyway.

No one remembers that thing you said at that place, not even you, so don't worry about it.

Don't let the fear of failure prevent you from trying.

Finally, buy as much Apple stock as you can.


So when I was first asked to take part in the project and had to think about what I would write for my 'Note to Self' I thought I already knew. I was going to say “don't worry about things that may never happen” and “don't lose confidence in yourself.” Then I thought to myself that my younger self probably wouldn't have listened or would have shrugged like I didn't know what 'older (hopefully, wiser) me' was talking about. Haha! However, writing a note to myself in the childhood picture has been surprisingly therapeutic for me. I think that's the part of the beauty of this project. What a great opportunity! Seize the opportunities my darling!


I see you.

I know it when I see a kid who sees unicorns in the snow. I know it when I see a kid who hears music and stories in colours. And I know it when I see a kid, a person, who diminishes themselves because they want to please, they want to fit in and they're afraid of failing, because they are afraid.
Failing at what?
Afraid of what?

When you get a little older, when you learn a little more, you'll come across the paintings of a woman called Georgia O'Keeffe. What you'll see is colour. Bright, strange, interpretative, dissonant, and wonderful. What you'll keep of her is this;

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

It is okay to be scared, we all feel it at times. You are bigger and louder than that fear. Remember that and always conquer it with your colours flying. They are something to be seen. Don't be afraid.


Dear Monica,

You are stronger and more powerful than you are aware of. It takes strength to swim against the stream of sameness. Your strength lies in your acceptance of your individuality, being comfortable in your own skin and your commitment to what is important to you.

Monica, you will realize later, as a mother, that you hope your child finds the confidence and strength to be themselves and that you can give them the courage to do just that. I am proud of you and the decisions you are making; they will become central to the way you teach and how you parent as it will give you the empathy you need to do both.


Linda, you will live a very full life, full of adventure and based on your love of sewing. You will have a business which will give you the opportunity to affect the lives of lots of people, to travel and to fully realize all your talents. Don't be discouraged if you don't get good marks in high school, you are smart and will be recognized for your unique abilities. 

There will be times when you will push forward, overcoming obstacles and taking risks...go for it!
There will be times when you will pause and decide not to go ahead...walk away!

Make sure you keep swimming and spending time in nature. This will be how you handle your responsibilities and have a balanced and healthy life. 

You will be a wife and mother. Your family will fill your life with much love and be God's greatest blessing.


Dear younger self,    

Relax, slow down, and quit trying to want to grow up too fast. I invite you to lose yourself in the fantasy of childhood, be brave and adventurous; after all you are only eleven years old. Don’t allow your extreme shyness to bury you in isolation from others. Also remember making mistakes, disappointments and being hurt are part of life’s journey. These experiences are stepping stones to propel you on the road in which you will travel. And like a child’s blanket, I would encourage you to wrap yourself in the notion that the things which are meant for you will not be given to anyone else. Continue to surround yourself with people who embrace positive attributes, and stay steadfast in your faith. Cherish the ones you love, as life is short and time moves quickly.

However, you will come to the realization that happiness is not something tangible, but is a day to day process of choosing to be happy, regardless of your circumstances. You will soon grow into a strong, confident woman who takes pride in assisting individuals with special needs to achieve their goals. 


You may think that getting married, raising kids and holding a mediocre job is what life is about. When you remove yourself from familiar surroundings, stop listening to the naysayers and work totally outside your comfort zone you will find out how truly smart and powerful you are. You will see than that you have  just started to scratch the surface and your potential is limitless.  You will never be happy or satisfied unless you stand up for who you are, fight for what you believe is right and become creative , nurturing and a guiding light for others on their journey.

Laura Mi.

Look at you. So sweet and innocent. I know you are shy, unsure of yourself and worried about what the world will bring to you. Here is what I'd like to say, "believe in yourself". No need to go out and find yourself and others can not tell you who you are. You are you. Look inside yourself to see who you are and live in the moment. Because your whole world, as you know it, is about to change. Early in life you will find yourself in circumstances that most people don't have to face or feel until much later in life. Pain and loss, sorrow and grief will come to your doorstep a few times in your youth. You will be angry. You will say “life is unfair,” but life is not unfair or fair. Life just is. Things just happen. They are not because of you and you will have no control over them. You will feel scared and alone, but you are not. You are strong, you will find your way and you don't have to do it all alone. People will come into your life when you least expect it and lead you onto different paths. Some for their own good and some for yours. Trust your intuition. If it feels right, then let them in. This is not being weak, it is being strong. By opening up yourself, you will find who you are. You will experience happiness, joy and love again. It is up to you. You will realize your hardest challenges in life will help you learn and grow the most to become the person you will be. All your experiences in life are a part of you and what makes you. Get to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the better you will be able to choose the life you want and the path to follow. Go after your dreams and you will live them. Learn what you can control in your life - yourself - Your beliefs, your actions and what you do with yourself. Other people and circumstances are beyond your control.
Think of life like a ship on the sea. The sea is life and you are in the ship. There will be sunny days, there will be rough weather; there will be other ships and unknown lands to explore. You are the captain of your own ship. Open the sails, take the rudder and steer. Say to yourself "If it's to be, it's up to me".