Self love

January 2017 I had surgery. I woke up on the table in the middle of the surgery, I reacted to the medication, I got an infection & I was In and out of the hospital, family doctors and wound care up until June 2017.

I was forced to read books because I didn’t want to just sit and watch tv, but I had to sit & rest. The books I choose to read were self help books. I was learning that I didnt love myself, that I needed to face some of my fears, what affirmations were, and so much more. I knew this was going to take alot of energy, time and self reflection. I completed the exercises in the books, I took them seriously because I started believing and I wanted it bad enough. In March I took a picture because a tree that was on the Hamilton mountain brow looked so beautiful with the blue sky. Yet when I looked at the picture closely I noticed there was a star in the tree. I felt the energy through my body and discovered within days that there was light. All my affirmations, I put out there were happening. All my ideas, things I wanted to do, things I wanted to share.

I was asked by my aunt Cathy to watch her house out in the country, at first I said no. I was then encouraged by another aunt Angie that I should face my fears. Again affirmations working. I decided I was going to face one of my biggest fears. Staying in a country house by myself due to childhood trauma when I was abducted out in the country, I’ve never put myself in this situation before. One week later out in the country I will begin sharing my continuous journey of self healing, self reflection and most of all self love by facing my fears in many ways.

While sitting at my aunts house, as apart of my healing I developed a Hamilton cafe tour where I would share my life story on a flyer to over 300 cafes. I called it Tree of Stars on tour. I printed out flyers and off I went. In the process of handing out flyers, I started having chat sessions at different locations, I had a showcase releasing my new canvas pieces that tell my story. I included music, food & auction prizes. It was a great turn out. Approximately 70 people showed up.

Apart of my cafe tour I offered a couple of cafes to have youth open Mic which I ran from May until August. I had other locations where I ran in the summer for adult open Mic where I would hand out free cupcakes for hugs. It was a great turn out as well. Giving back to the community is passion and a purpose for me.

In all of the above going on, meeting new people, sharing my story, I decided to have meet ups & peer to peer support  I created Journal nights where i suggest and guide topics, once every two weeks & currently once a month youth open Mic.

I work two fulltime jobs as a child and youth worker and as an Educational Assistant, I also have my canvas pieces that have been sold in many different cafes.

I’m also taking a course to educate myself, expand some of my Ideas for Tree of Stars.

One of the projects I funded & developed was I reached out to many female musicians to “lend a song” to help raise funds 100% to St Joesph Health Care Foundation “youth wellness centre” The album was released March 4th 2018.

Sharing my story I have had so much healing, by meeting new people and hearing their stories. I know that it’s okay not to be okay, I also know I’m enough, it’s the moments I feel like I’m in that dark hole again, I need to continue to self care and selflove. How I’m going to do this, is through trying to eat healthy, journaling, reading, yoga, hiking,creating, playing guitar, and most of all reaching out to resources when I need them.

All I know is I made it this far, and also knowing that loving yourself doesn’t come naturally it’s an ongoing process and takes work just like anything. Also learning to forgive is a daily exercise.

I wanted to write this blog as a reminder on how far I’ve come in 2017. What 2018 brings I’ll leave up to the universe. I know we can feel cold, frozen and broken on the inside, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Believe me this I know.

Reminder if anyone is interested in hearing my story Abandon Abducted Abused ADD Addict Arrested in detail…I share face to face and in presentations.


Instagram: @treeofstarsontour

Facebook Page: TREE OF STARS



The Generator

I’m Suzanne, and I own a social media company called The Generator. I started The Generator three years ago after a first career in advertising at The Hamilton Spectator. I really wanted to get into social media, because I saw it as the next frontier for marketing for local business. Initially I thought I wanted to be a social media manager for a company, and I started out that way, but it was while working out of a coworking space here in Hamilton, and being surrounded by tons of young entrepreneurs, when I realized I should start my own social media agency. Since then, the company has grown to a team of six of Hamilton’s best social media talent. I’m constantly amazed and inspired by my team. 

I first met Jessica Compton at a coworking space where The Generator was based, called CoMotion on King. It’s a wonderful space bursting with innovative, motivated entrepreneurs. Jessica had been on a tour of cafes in Hamilton, and I was noticing all the shout outs she was giving on Instagram, because building up small businesses is what I personally love to do as well. I loved that she chose to do a cafe tour because Hamilton’s coffee shop scene is booming, and that is a direct result of this huge movement of community support for all things local. So when I saw that she was constantly visiting cafes and posting about it, it caught my attention and I commented on one of the posts. I got a private message from Jessica then asking if I’d be interested to meet for coffee and talk about what Tree of Stars was all about. I get a lot of requests to meet because I’m pretty active on social media, and I love to be able to meet people in real life after getting to know them virtually– it’s one of my favourite things about using social media, how it mirrors real life when you use it authentically. 

We agreed to meet at CoMotion on King, and we had a long chat where Jessica explained what Tree of Stars was all about. I immediately saw that this was pure passion for Jessica, that she was ready to pour out her heart for this city, to share her experiences in the hopes of helping others with mental health issues. 

I’ve really enjoyed watching Tree of Stars grow and evolve. It’s easy to see that Jessica has truly opened her heart and is accepting all ideas and creating new ways to reach out. As she adds new venues and businesses to her list of supporters, I can see the owners commenting on posts with genuine interest and helpfulness in furthering Tree of Stars. It’s wonderful to see one person’s passion inspiring others to get involved and offer what they can. I’m inspired to see Jessica’s relentless, ongoing drive to meet new people and get them involved. I know Jessica’s story and by hearing about it and seeing what she has accomplished with her life and her drive to continue to do more and more, it really does completely change one’s view of mental health. That’s been Jessica’s impact on my life and my views personally. I can only imagine the countless others whose views she has impacted as well.

Suzanne Zandbergen

The Generator

Social Media Marketing


Twitter: @TheGeneratorCa

Instagram: @TheGeneratorCa


Community Support

When I was younger I didn’t believe in myself, I always got put down by different adults in my life, that just didn’t care or have any love to give me as a toddler, child, youth, teenager and older adult. I was surrounded by individuals that always treated me different, As I mention on my flyer from the hamilton cafe tour, I was abused head to toe in many ways; mentally, physically, sexually, emotionally, and the list just goes on.

I was a dreamer and I still am. I can spend many hours looking up at the sky, searching for a quiet place, accepting the energy from trees wondering how many stars are in the sky & why there is so much water in the lakes. My pondering mind & soul appreciates the little things in life. Im like an old rock thats on display, trying to reach tree roots popping out of the ground, “I need the strength. I tend to zoom in on everything with my heart and soul, thats where I tend to dive into the universe. I’m not sure what to do with my energy most times, but I do use it to forgive others and to give back to the community that really need my positive spirits and growing impact. This world can’t be fixed but I do know it needs to be a better place where people naturally care, and don’t want anything in return. Hard to believe that there are people out there like that right. But there is…

Heres the thing, I dont have a lot of friends & that’s okay, I do have a large number of acquaintances. I’ve been told by some that I’m too much & they can’t handle Tree of Stars, the fact is that the focus is not on them anymore, question is, did these people really care? Did they mean it when they were doing a check in with me? or ask how I’m doing? I doubt it or else they wouldn’t doubt my passions. I have never asked much from anyone and if I do it’s me asking for help for someone else, and I’m super greatful in every aspects. This brings us to the next paragraph.

I do and have needed supportive people that want to help because they legit want to help not that that they will or would benefit from helping. This is where I want to give a huge shout out and thank you to many who have supported Tree of Stars and contributed in their own way.

1. Crumbuns- Supporting Tree of Stars since day one. Believing in me, accepting me, having patience with me & watching my visions as they grow. Allowing me to put on a music event with Robin Benedict & all of us ending up in the Hamilton spectator together. Thank you & See you soon 🌳🌟🌏

2. Concession St BIA: Sharing their positive space with me at all their festivals from May 2017 to Sept. 2017- Your support is beyond words. Thank you so much Christine for your guidance too. See you soon.🌳🌟🌏

3. RickRackCafe- Thank you for inviting me to share your positive space from April 2017 to June 2017 allowing me to hold my chat sessions which included special guest speakers from the community and local musicans donating their time to perform in promoting mental health awareness & addictions recovery. 🌳🌟🌏

3. Lukaya Cafe- opening the doors when in need, at any given moment. The love & generosity goes beyond limits, your outreach to Tree of Stars has made a huge impact and diffeence in this world. Your soul is a shining star in so many ways. Your open mic every other Tuesday is a rock itself. The gift items for door prizes for my showcase at Sealed Art in April 2017 and our 1st Annual at Cedars Campground Aug 26, 2017. Thank you so so much it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you, See you soon.🌳🌟🌏

4. Candi Werx-Thank you for opening your positive space from May 2017-Aug 2017 allowing Tree of Stars to run their Kids Open Jam/ Kids colouring. It was such an amazing opportunity with positive vibes. See you soon. 🌳🌟🌏

5. Big Tobacco Kitchen- Huge shout out- it was only a short time that I met the owner Nic Prong. He has so much patience with me, and so much to give this world. The kind hearted individual he is, gave free coffee every other Thursday for the months of July and August at Tree of Stars events promoting mental health awareness & addictions recovery through Adult Open Jam, allowing others to feel like they were at home and to be safe. My prints are still hanging on the walls framed & displayed for sale which includes individuals to have a dinner with Jessica Compton sole founder of Tree Of Stars- The dinner is to share her story face to face and build a connection with the buyer. Nic Prong again a huge shout out as this never would have grew with out your arms open wide. Thank you to the Hamilton community as well for attending & local musicans that came out to perform. See you soon.🌳🌟🌏

6. Sealed Art- where do I begin….I met you through a good friend & local talented musican Robin Benedict. I was there for a comedy show one night & ever since I feel in love with the vibe it has to offer. The resources that you also provide are honesty & being loyal to our Hamilton and extended communities for over 30 years. So amazing to have our passions embraced by your talents. See you soon. 🌳🌟🌏

7. Copper Kettle- Thank you for sharing your space April 2017 to Aug 2017, also in donating gift cards for door prizes, having patience with me, accepting me as well in so many different ways. Your open mic on Wednesdays rock. Also I’m super excited to have my prints put up the month of January was an awesome opportunity I’m so greatful.

8. Benjamin Washington Photography- Thank You for the mini photo shoot at Sealed Art greatly appreciated. Would love to continue to work with you in the future at Tree of Stars upcoming music shows & events.


BW Portraits37

Did someone check in with you today to see if your okay? Are you feeling different than everyone else? Does it feel like nobody understands your anxieties or maybe you have triggers of your anxieties? What about the reasons why you may feel the way you do? Are you living in fear? Do you love yourself? One of my therapists over the years asked me, Have you ever felt safe? Believe me when I say, I have questioned many things about myself for many reasons. When someone has been abused head to toe, in different ways by men, woman, family members, different systems, and by themselves, there has been many times I’ve wanted to walk any railway track to find that perfect bridge to make that jump.

March 2017 I created & registered Tree Of Stars. I’m the one that carries around the bright blue framed canvas that has a picture of a tree with a star in it. Im the one that made a mapped out Hamilton cafe tour that I launched April 3rd at Crumbunsbakeshop at 8:00am. I’m the one that photography writes about some cafes and what makes them different and if they feel like home in some way. As for the places that were not so accepting I didn’t write about them due to my negative experiences. While out in the Hamilton community on this cafe tour Ive been sharing my traumatic life story through a printed out flyer that I call “The A Blog” The reason being I tried to release my story in a creative but unique way.

The A blog is: Abandon Abducted Abused ADD Addict Arrested .

I’m hoping to reach out to the universe, That’s alot right? But heres the thing I was told by someone that I met before the cafetour that I need to pick my target of audience. Thats not who I am or what I’m about. I refuse to limit any my sharing. I dont have a filter so it’s fair to say there is some coverage of my life story that may not suit certain age groups once I get into detail about my story. Not sure when that will be.

Everyone I have met and still meeting always end up asking me, what are your goals with Tree of Stars? Long term what do you want to do? I never really have moments where I think about it. What I do know Is I share my story as peer support which is a passion for me in a natural way. I Also know this we cant fix the world but we can know that making a difference is changing the world.

Who am I in small simple words, Im passionate about being real, and true in my own unique creative way.

In this writing I don’t want to focus on where I have come from, and what has happened. I would rather share more about what happened on January 3rd, 2017 which has brought me where I am today.

I had a hernia surgery in which I woke up on the surgery table, I was crying from being in so much pain and fear of an unknown place & procedure. Apparently I reacted to the medication and it happens to a certain percentage of patients. Five days later I returned to my sisters place who was taking care of me. There was a moment I seriously thought I was going to die. It was taking me 45 minutes to get out of bed. I could barely walk to the bathroom and when I did I looked in the mirror, I was fading to nothing. I wasnt eating and I was in severe pain. Ive never experienced anything so painful as this before. I was shaking for days, I couldn’t get warm in anyway. I ended getting my sister to drop me off at the hopsital at the emergency. I was admitted right away and was tested for everything. The results came back I had fat tissue build up and an inflamed diaphram I was given more medication and puffers. I proceeded to think I was never going to recover. In the meantime I was reading self help books and continued writing in my journal. I was doing a follow up with my doctor and he explained that I need to go back to the hospital because I had an infection. I went back to the hospital & was opened up again, and then started would care which was 8 weeks. In the first 4 weeks, I had started to think I was recovering and had a tare in my wound area and was given another 4 weeks.

This whole process of healing physically from this surgery turned out to be positives, in giving me time to myself for the first time in my life. I was reading books that were inspiring me to love myself, to believe that I’m enough, and that Im going to be okay. In the weeks I read up to 6 books. I started writing more about a year ago when I started teaching myself to play guitar, but at this time my journal was full. I was letting go and forgiving, I was settling myself into peace. With all of this going on, I was waking up everyday feeling positive energy.

I was going to crumbunsbakeshop as a way to get out, read, write, and to meet up with family, friends and coworkers. I asked the owners John and Joanne if I could create an event with music as a way to help get them more known. They agreed, so thats what I did. I created an event inviting local musicians Robin Benedict, Holly Smith and Nettish Smith to come play some music for an hour. Sure enough the event I created had been a great success and it was a full house. Prior to the event I was encouraged by a local musician to throw an email to Graham Rockington from the Hamilton Spectator to let him know what I was doing in sharing the event and the story of Crumbunsbakeshop. That’s exactly what I did. When I emailed the spectator, Which Ive never done before, I was super excited to share the story behind crumbunsbakeshop and why they are so different. Go check the shop out on Concession St in Hamilton as I additionally gifted the newspaper clipping and framed it for them.

You can see I live for many passions to help others, promoting events, developing projects, being creative, living in the moment, photography, music, and so much more.

If your curious as to why I do what I do, your in the right place to get the answers your looking for.

Everyone has a story and a struggle. I have been sharing mine in sections of my life. Through friends, family, musicians, coworkers and anyone that would be willing to listen. I want to share to make an impact on someone’s life.  I want to thank you so much for reading this it means alot. Feel free to contact me on social media.


INSTAGRAM: @treeofstarsontour