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I had to share this amazing couple’s budiness and life story from one of my favourite blogs, A Pretty Penny. Hope you like it!
~Brianna

Keira Lennox

I have a big major crush on the poor porker. They moved across the country, from L.A. to a Florida town nearby, and now they’re spreading sweet sugary joy around our community with a big dose of style and substance.

Robyn and Jarrid’s story resonates with me in so many ways. Two people who are crazy about each other take a giant risk and jump head-first into a business together. They do it for the love of what they do, and not for the money. They work hard, and live in the moment; and know that with a whole lot of faith and elbow grease just about any dream is possible.

I haven’t even had their famous beignets yet, and I’m already swooning.

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Testy!

GUH.

You ever had one of those days that makes you want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head?  The kind of day that isn’t terrible, but enough bad happens to demoralize you enough to want a redo?  Yeah, I’m having one of those today.

Almost every day I wake up excited and grateful to be alive, to be a student, to drink coffee.  Today I woke up and studied, went to class and took notes, then spent another hour and a half studying, went to another class, handed in a paper I’d written yesterday, met with my group for a project, studied while eating raw vegetables, then went to class and took a quiz that I’d been studying for for two days.  I took a look at the first page and recognized none of the terms used in any question.  The same for page two, page three and page four.  Seriously, it was like one of those dreams I sometimes have about high school tests, only I had clothes on this time.  I couldn’t believe it, I was stumped on almost every question.

Thing is, I really like school.  A lot.  I like learning about psychology, I like writing papers, I like waking up to go prepare for my future career every day; it’s neato.  Not many people get to learn all day long, but I do and I enjoy every class.  mostly.  These times when I’m busting my butt to do well, while living in a different province from my husband and trying to live as balanced a life as I can will not always work out.  I may study for hours, but sometimes it’s just not enough.  With what I’m doing, I run the risk of failure: and if I do fail it’s right there in black and white on my scantron sheet, as well as recorded in some excel spreadsheet by my prof.

I knew when I went back to school that it was a risk, and I banked on me turning these few years into a long, productive, lucrative career.  The fact that I could fail made the idea all the more exciting.  Now that I think I could have failed something, even though it’s a small thing, it’s terrifying.  I came home wanting to sleep, or cry, or eat chocolate.  Anything to escape for just a few hours from my fear.  Because what if I can’t do this?  What if I’m not smart enough?  What if…?

And then it hit me: I’m going to fail along the way.  A lot.  The more I try, the more I will fail.  Like a baby learning to walk, falling down is expected.  Funny how I had the idea that now that I’m a grown-up I should never fall.  But logically, if i never fell wouldn’t that mean I’d stopped trying to walk?  What about running, skipping, jumping?  They all bring more falling.  Thinking about not trying to learn or do things I’m not sure I can do isn’t called being an adult, it’s called keeping my world small.  And if I’m going to live at all, why live small?

On second thought, I’ll risk it.  Failure is a small price to pay for learning to walk.  Winston Churchill said that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.  And right now, I think it’s true.  It’s easy to go to school on days when I have nothing to turn in and no tests to take.  It’s much harder to keep going when I’ve suffered a setback like today.  But I’m going to keep going anyway.  Thanks Winston 😉

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September Confessions

It’s been a long time, my lovely readers!  I spent the summer watching movies and staring out the window at the lawn that needed to be mowed, and guess what?  All that time spent resting totally didn’t prepare me for the CRAZY schedule I’ve got going right now.  So the ride this new school season has been fast and dirty so far, but I’m loving it.  And it’s a good thing, because I’ve got a ways to go…..a ways to go…

5. I’m really into choosing thematic music for my drives these days.  On bright sunny days I’ll go with Kings of Leon or Florence and the Machine.  Cold clear mornings call for Bon Iver and overcast days are all about Lana Del Rey.  Oh, and if I drive past road kill I put on Neil Diamond.  I’m not sure about that last one, but I think that when I’m sad Neil makes the world seem better.  Brooklyn Roads?  Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show?  Yes, Neil makes all that is wrong right again in the world.

4. I was really excited to go to the lake and see if Stella our dog could swim.  Turns out she can if we throw her in, but she totally hates it and panics like she thinks she might die.  I admit I ruined the whole experience by watching a bunch of videos of wiener dogs swimming in pools (of their own free will), making my dog look lame in comparison.  Right after vacation we saw the super dogs at the PNE, so…I now want her to jump through really tall hoops.  It’ll happen.

3. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is my new reason to feel good about myself.  Yes I watched it, don’t judge me.

2. I’m taking a volleyball class this semester because my school has this awesome rule that if you don’t have the awkward feelings you had in grade 10 gym class (loserishness, awkwardidity, and suicidalation) then you’re not really earning a degree.  In Psychology.  Which requires a volleyball and tennis class, naturally.  Anyway, my first class ended up being outside where I had to remove my shoes for the beach volleyball court, come up with a team name and cheer, and then I got hit in the face with the ball.  Right in the nose from way up high, so it was pretty hard.  It jiggled my brain and my nose went numb for awhile.  The suicidalation got pretty intense after that.

1. I took this picture at the PNE, and no one in my group was surprised.  At all.

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A Righteous Anger

I tried to ignore this feeling today, I really did.  Sometimes I get this feeling in me that I have to blog, and today I have that feeling.  I just finished my last midterm and tomorrow I’m flying to Edmonton to see my husband for the first time in almost two months.  I got my first midterm back already, and I got an A+.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I’m kicking back right now with a glass of wine and a piece of bumbleberry pie.  I am happy.  Blissed out, even.

Except.

I atend a Christian University, which if you know me, is weird.  I am a Christian, yes.  I have grown up in the Church, my family are Christians, I have attended Bible College, gone on missions trips, Been a fundraiser for a Christian non-profit organization and even had pastoral status in Canada at one point.

But.

I’ll just come out and say it.  For the most part, the Christian community embarasses me.  Ever since Bible College, I have struggled with knowing that I belong to a group of people who have done and continue to hurt people in God’s name.  I know that if I did not grow up in this group of people, I would probably not want anything to do with them or the God they say they represent.  And I also know that I am in this group called Christians because I believe I have a responsibility to be there.  I fantasize sometimes about being a free agent, but if all the sane people leave church then who would be there to give another perspective?

In art class today, the prof showed us some paintings with inverted crosses, crosses made out of money, and even a crucifix submerged in human urine.  She showed us cartoons of catholic priests that looked demonic and the last supper with rats at the table.  These images were supposed to make me angry at the artists, because they were blaspheming and insulting our God and our faith…but all I could think of was how badly we have screwed this up.  How much we have hurt people in Christ’s name.  The artists weren’t insulting God, they never met him.  They were insulting the instution of Christianity they were all too familiar with.  Throughout history, it has been people calling themselves Christians who’ve been at the forefront of opressing every minority group that exists.  God doesn’t want women to work outside the home.  God condones slavery and segregation.  God hates gays.  We have killed people who didn’t agree with us, and called it God’s will.  We have turned our backs on the needy and built up huge churches to hide in.  Seriously, we have fucked up.  And I don’t blame the world for being angry, because I’m angry.

In my next class we watched a documentary on native residential schools in Canada and the abuses that went on in them.  Horrible physical, emotional and sexual abuse perpetrated on little kids taken away from their families because they were born into the wrong culture and faith.  The schools were run by churches. 

Sometimes, God gives me a message that I have to share, and today it is this: I am sorry.  I’m sorry that we as Christians should be modeling Christ for the world, and we’re not.  Christ went into the world and he didn’t make people feel bad.  He didn’t fight people for being different, he didn’t stay in the synagogue and hang out in care groups with people who were like him, he didn’t preach hate or ostracism or the taking away of rights for anything.  He made people feel loved, and he fed them.  And the churchy guys who were all holier than though to everyone?  He shut them down.

So we have read about the pharisees in the Bible, but most Christians I meet are new versions of that.  It’s all about following the rules as they interpret them, and not about being a representative of Christ in the community he directs you to.  I’m not perfect, but my goal is not hang out with too many Christians, be friends with  all different kinds of people, and be as much like Christ as I can.  I get in trouble for living that way sometimes from Christians who think I should think like them to be Christian.  I’m sorry, I don’t.  I believe in a God who created every single one of us with love, knowing the gifts and passions inside of us.  A God who supports changes in society as they come, because he made us to change and grow individually and as a whole.  A God who made us for loving, intentional relationships both friendly and romantic in nature, and does not give a fig about sexual orientation.  A God who knows that we will ultimately be so broken that we will go out of our way to hurt each other, tell each other we can’t do what we have a need to do, and condemn one another for no other reason than we are desperately trying to save ourselves.  But this God who created you and me wants to make us whole again.  He wants us to live in love and joy and wholehearted wholeness.

There will always be those who say they are with God, but he does not know them.  When you meet someone who is happy and has peace, someone who tells you that who you are is exactly who you were created to be, and that God is pleased.  Someone who inspires you to do good in the world, to stretch, to grow, and to live a life of truth-seeking, that will be the true Christian.  Don’t be fooled!  The real ones have a glow, and will never go around tearing people down.  I’m sorry the other kind has been so productive.  

 To my Christian friends, thank you for being the kind of Christians I’m proud to know.  Thank you for standing up for people who get picked on by the church and exposing yourself to rejection from the people who should love you.  Thank you for modeling Christ.  I am thinking of my friend Dylan Richards in particular, who inspires me daily to be a true follower of Christ.  Thanks D, for reminding me through your daily life what that means ❤

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How to be my Dad

10. Have things to look forward to.

Every few months, my Dad would sit down at the table with us at breakfast and ask what we were looking forward to today, this week, this month and this year.  We would take turns answering, and for me, it became a habit.  Every single day I wake up and think about what I’m looking forward to, and I talk to my husband about what we’re looking forward to.  It taught me that life is not just work and paying bills; people need fun just as much as they do the other necesities of life.  It also taguht me that when I get older and have kids, it’s important for me to dream with them.

9. Treat everyone well.

My Dad would sometimes drive us into downtown Vancouver and show us hookers.  It would usually be on the way to somewhere else, and he’d ask “Kids!  Want to see the hookers?”  We would all yell “YES!!!!!” and he would take us to the seedy part of town.  He would tell us as we lookedon from the confines of the minivan at the women dressed in tight shiny outfits standing in the rain that they were just like us, just doing a job.  He took every opportunity to show us as well as tell us that we’re not better than anyone, just maybe luckier.  And because we have more, we had a responsibility to give more.  I still think about that daily, especially when I come into contact with people who’s parents effectively taught them that they ARE more important than others.  They should have gone to see the hookers.

8. Chocolate is happy.

I’ve never seen another human equal his chocolate intake.  The bakery and Purdy’s people know him by name, and growing up he’d have a chocolate milkshake every day.  Every single freekin day.

7. Exercise is happy too.

One Easter after hiding our eggs and watching us find them, Dad had us all do 20 sit-ups on his sit-up board.  Another year he brought us all to the track and ordered us to run laps.  Weird…but the man is in shape!

6. keep a duffel bag with clothes and a toothbrush in your trunk, and in your closet. 

 I make fun of him all the time for this one, but the logic is sound I think.  If there’s an earthquake, a surprise vacation, or an impromptu date then you’re covered!

5. Throw parties, visit your friends, call your family.

My Dad is a social man.  He calls his siblings and friends just to catch up more than any man I know, and my parents have parties with their friends more than we ever did as teenagers.  They are LOUD.  When I was younger and would go to work with my Dad sometimes, we’d be driving around and he’d say “Oh!  Dave/Scott/Al/Mrs. Booling/Mr. Whoever lives near here, let’s go see him/her!” And we would.  I used to hate it, because these were not MY friends he’d be talking to for what seemed like ages and I just wanted to go home and play with mine.  Now I really appreciate it, because it tought me that people need to be invested in emotionally, and it never ends.  And that’s good, because then your friendship never ends.  My Dad has kept friends from when he was a little kid, and that’s one of the best things about him.

4. Know your neighbours.

Kind of the same as above, and I’m sure he’s channeling the little gum-boot-wearing kid he was when he goes out in his neighbourhood now with the family dog and asks fellow dogwalkers their names.  It happened just this morning!  If my parents go away on vaction and I walk their dog, people know me.  Neighbours pop in to give them gifts on the anniversary of my brother’s death.  That’s all my Dad.

3. Hug often.

I’m not a huggy person, and I have my suspicions that he isn’t either.  BUT.  My Dad thinks that human beings need to be touched and held to feel happy, and he’s right.  I don’t always like being forced to reciprocate a hug, but I always feel loved.  It’s important.

2. Know what and whom you love, and why.

My Dad asks why a lot.  It’s not that he’s questioning us, it’s that he wants to know if you know why you’re doing or choosing something.   So when my husband was asked why he married me by my father, he was a little horrified by the question at first.  But now after some time with my family, he understands the reason, and can answer it without having to think hard.  And I like that!

1.  ALWAYS EAT LUNCH

I asked my Dad on my wedding day (the first one) if he had any life-advice for me, and this is what I got.  As a little follow-up, he said “Always take breaks”.  Good advice for your first job, good advice for life.

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The Self-Punisher

It kind of sounds like a superhero, right?  Or at least an X-Men character.  It’s not though, because the self-punisher is me.  Right now, I am probably the most unhealthy that I’ve been in my whole adult life.  I’m heavier than I’ve been, ohhh…ever.  I have zero lung capacity.  Oh yeah, and my brain is doing a metaphorical slow-crawl out of the very depths of misery.  In the last few weeks, I wake up every morning and lie in bed for 5-35 minutes (5 minutes is a very good day) going through the list of what I have to do before I get in my car to spend a day at school, then psyching myself up to do it.  Take the dog out, try to be patient as she barks furiously at anyone who dares to walk up the street or stand in their own driveway, pick up her steaming dump in a lovely scented bag I have attached to her leash and toss it in the garbage can, feed her.  Make a protein shake, make coffee.  Shower.  Choose an outfit that will hide me, but still be relatively stylish so I recognize myself.  Clean up my room.  Make polite conversation with whoever is in the house who happens to be awake before me, even though I have no desire to speak to another person until maybe noon.  Check my school bag to make sure I have everything I need.  Text my husband.  Check my facebook. 

These things are normally no big deal, but they are right now.  I can pretend to not know why I’m having a hard time at the moment, but that’s a lot easier when I’m not around my Mother.  I was talking to her the other day about how pissed off I am about the weight I gained since last Spring, and how I can even pinpoint the time when I started binge eating: it was when I realized the new job I’d gotten in Edmonton was not going to make living in Edmonton better for me, and I realized I was trapped in a place where I had no family or friend support, married to a man I’d basically just met.  So I ate.  a lot.  And I sat around.  All day.  See, I know what I did, and I know I needed something to make me feel better.  But I’m not stupid, I know that no exercise and tons of food equals Brianna no fits her pretty clothes.  I know it.  So it makes no real sense that even though I was in a bad place emotionally, I would sabotage my life like that.

Or does it?  Enter the self-punisher.  My brilliant Mom thinks it’s pretty interesting that when my little sister is unhappy about something, she punishes everyone around her (boy does she, I’ve felt the sting on and off for years), and that when I feel bad, I punish myself.  Hmm.  So I got to this place in life where I felt like I’d figured myself out, I knew who my friends were, I knew what I wanted in life, I knew where I wanted to be and what my purpose was.  And then I met Jeff.  And WOW, that was a gift I did not expect.  I am still so grateful every day that a) he exists, and b) he wanted to be with me until forever!  When we got together, I felt like I had everything.  So I picked up and left all the stuff I’d gotten in order: my work, my friends and my family, and went to live with him.  And it was so great for awhile, like another dimension.  And then after about 6 months, it was life again and I had needs outside of him.  And no matter what I tried there, I could not fill them.  And I got sadder, and he got worried.  The woman he married became someone else, and both of us were at a loss as to what to do about it.  I started to feel like I screwed up, because no one in Edmonton reacted to me the way I was used to.  His family was so different from mine, and I felt like no matter what I did it was wrong.  The friends I met were used to the same stuff, day in day out, and I couldn’t relate.  And I felt like I was suffocating.  I knew I was failing, and someone had to be punished.  How could I justify taking chances if they didn’t pan out?  How could I be an after-divorce/death/business failure/life disaster success story if I was miserable?  It’s true that we judge ourselves more harshly than those around us, and I was making sure I suffered for this error in judgement.  I should have known what I needed, and not left everything I’d built.  Time for the punishment: have some more ice cream Brianna!

And so.  Last month at this time, I was in this.  Now I’m out, waiting for my husband to join me.  I feel terrible for leaving before he could, but I saw where our marriage was going if I didn’t feel better soon, and that terrified me.  If you’ve never been divorced, ignorance is bliss, but both he and I have experienced how quickly something can unravel when emotional needs aren’t being met.  So now I’m home.  I thought I’d feel better by now, but it’s slow going.  I’m just realizing the damage I’ve done to myself and how long it’ll take to undo.  I will undo this misery, don’t get me wrong.  But maybe I shouldn’t compound the hurt by demanding a quick recovery from myself.  My family keeps telling me to chill out, they know I’ll get better soon.  I’m in a place now where I have history, and that makes me feel a million times better just knowing that I’m not being judged anymore by that one statement or action, but by what I’m expressing tempered by who they know I am.  They know me.  They know me.

Now I can rest.