The Spark of Dreams

“Intention is the starting point of every dream,” says Fernie mother of two, Sanne de Groot. “It is the creative power that fulfils all of our wants and our needs, whether for money, relationships, building a dream home, spiritual growth, or love.” When choices are made or actions are taken with intention, our worlds become centres of possibility.

Living a conscious life full of curiosity and gratitude for the natural world is what Sanne hopes to instill in her children. The wilderness of Fernie provides the landscape for her to take her daughters exploring. Walking among the woods is where she believes that her children learn to be free, to play, to dream. “I find it magical to watch my girls choose their own path, explore the forest, run, climb, and play amongst the trees.” The benefits of spending time outside are ten-fold in her experience, “nature has many positive effects on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Research suggests that spending time outdoors can help reduce stress, restore mental energy, increase focus and improve concentration, creativity, and happiness.”

Sanne and her family live in Montane, a subdivision created with intention. The free public trail system offers twenty kilometres of hiking and biking at one’s doorstep. The area’s vision is to live where you play. The ideal suited Sanne. Her family chose Fernie as their home to live “Mountain Life” to the fullest. Sanne believes that Fernie families are unique in their “connection to nature.” As a family, they love to bike, hike, and ski. However, Sanne’s favourite thing of all is to simply be outdoors with her kids without a goal or a destination. Nature “teaches us all that we need to learn. When we are submerged in nature, it is easy to access our childlike properties; it is easy to be playful and to feel love, joy, innocence, lightheartedness, and practice presence. When we play outside we naturally feel more grounded and present with ourselves and our surroundings.”

As a mother, she is aware that her children need time outside to be still, to practice, to learn mindfulness. The quiet in the woods is where her daughters can hear their own thoughts and concentrate. “Intention is about Focus – Focus is about conscious thought – Conscious thought is about being in your heart – being one with nature.” Sanne revealed that at times teaching her children about intention can seem like a daunting task but then she reminds herself that children are “like sponges, they will absorb the information around them at tremendous speed. Which is why it's imperative to create an exciting and challenging environment for them. The first five years will form the fundamental building blocks of their future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement in school. This is also the time when they will learn how to interact, how to respect Mother Earth and how to build and maintain social relationships. What they experience today is what they will exhibit tomorrow.”

Intention is not one thing and it is not easily defined. For Sanne and her family, it is a daily practice. Each day she puts choices into action to live a conscious, happy and beautiful Fernie life. Here are a few of her ideas for living with intention each day.

Daily practice:

• Deep breathing

• Bless our food – eat together as a family at the dining table

• Bedtime meditation (Bedtime Explorers podcast is an amazing tool for young kids to learn about intention.)

• Gratitude – during dinner talk about your day and share what you are grateful for

  • Go outdoors and explore nature for at least 30 minutes/day

Happy intentions!

Are you also a Fernie Mountain Mama? Please feel free to share your outdoor adventures, family stories and photos by writing to, or hashtag #ferniemountainmamas to encourage more parents to take their little ones outdoors and share in all the fun that Fernie has to offer.

Photo by Terry Sid Photography