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Know thyself, fashionista

I like clothes.  A lot.  I wouldn’t say I’m a shopaholic, I would say I’m a great apreciator of the art of style.  Not fashion, that changes.  It’s fun to throw in some trendy stuff but I have a deep love of the classics.  I can’t get enough of trench coats, sheath dresses, perfect flats and pointy heels, bags that are the exact right blend of slouchy soft leather and structured sophistication, oversized pashminas, round Jackie-O Sunglasses…and the list goes on.

If I were to truly indulge myself I would be broke, all the time.  So I don’t.  I try to be a smart shopper and always know what I need in my wardrobe, how much I’ll wear a given item, and can then calculate the cost per wear and see if something a little pricey is worth it.  Often it is.  Since clothes are the first communication you will have with most people even before body language, they need to say the right thing.  I want my wardrobe to tell people that I am capable, confident, and know what works for me.  You may want to say something different…the trick is to know what you want to say and how to say it.  Wearing trendy ripped jeans and a bejewelled hoodie tells people you’re cutting edge and layed back…but if you’re a lawyer and wearing that to work, it’s not the best message.  I find most people have no idea what they’re communicating, and a little help in that area would go a long way.

Out in the world (it really doesn’t matter where), what I most often see communicated is confusion.  I would love, love, love to help clear some of that up.  Learning how to dress yourself for clarity of message is a process, but I can offer a few easy tips right now on things no woman should be confused about.

Your body type.    There are four basic types, and they apply whatever weight you are: hourglass, apple, pear, and tube.  Sometimes they’re referred to as different names, but those are the basic four.  Think of where you gain weight first, and that should tell you your type.  Hourglasses and tubes will gain evenly (so hourglasses stay curvy, tubes stay tubelike), Apples in their stomachs, Pears in their hips, butt and thighs.  Knowing what you are will help you choose clothes that play up your good parts and downplay your trouble areas.  So if you’re an apple, don’t choose a top with ruffles on it; you’re simply drawing attention to where your weight is.  Pears, don’t wear skinny jeans.  And no one should wear big tenty pieces that hide your body.  The goal is to create your ideal body with the structure and illusion of clothing, not to hide it or enhance what you don’t want to enhance.  It’s a sad fact that garments that tend to be “oh so comfortable” look like crap, because they provide no structure or lines.  Know your body type!

Your Colours.  When I was about 15, we were on a family outing at the Vancouver public library and I found a book on draping.  I took it home and poured over it for weeks.  I named myself a warm autumn (I was more tanned and had my natural hair colour then) and looked for warm colours to wear.  You don’t have to go this far, it’s a bit restrictive.  Just know which colours look best on you.  They’re the ones people tend to compliment you in that don’t make you look ill.  Remember black is not every girl’s best friend, even though we tend to think of it as being good for all skin tones.  Know your colours.

Your life: the way it is.  Of course you need to dress for what you do; if you’re a stay at home Mom who spends most of her time at soccer practice and who’s more likely to be found at the grocery store than a charity dinner, there’s no sense in stocking your closet with gowns.  Most of us have 3 or 4 primary activities to dress for.  For me it’s work, the gym, leisure time like dates with my husband, and events like weddings and charity galas.  So if I don’t have clothes for these four things always on hand, I’m not very prepared.  Know what you do and buy clothes for that.

Your Life: the way it should be.  And then there’s the life you wish you had.  Being practical all the time is incredibly dull and sad.  There’s something powerful about dressing for the more that you want in life.  It makes me shrivel up inside to hear women say “I LOVE that dress…but where would I wear it?”  They invariably walk away from the clothes, and the possibility.  Sometimes you have to buy the dress, and look for a place to wear it.  Sometimes you have to be Carie Bradshaw crazy and spend your rent on shoes.  I’m not advocating irresponsibility…or maybe I am.  Not as a way of life, but as a departure from how depressingly casual we’ve all gotten.  Have lovely events and parties disappeared from middle class life because we don’t wear the clothes anymore, or was it the other way around?  In any event, I see clothes as a way of bringing back a little magic to our lives.  Dress for the life you want instead of the life you have, and see where it takes you.  Amazing things are just waiting to happen!


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Women in Comfortable Shoes

I didn’t grow up a princess, believe it or not.  My Mom was (and is) highly inteligent, incredibly gifted, and above all, hardworking.  My Dad took the adventurous, charismatic and hilarious role.  Neither of them gave too much thought to clothes, although they both had their own style and were (and still are) healthy and good-looking enough to pull off whatever they each put on.  I grew up being told to wear layers for long hikes, to take a sweater, and to always, ALWAYS wear comfortable shoes.  And I did.  I went through the birkenstocks faze when My Mom was in University and took us to the mall to get real ones because “they’re good for your arches”.  I wore doc’s boots (my Mom still wears hers occasionally), I wore Nike sports sandals to summer camp and Adidas slides with the little poky things in the bottom to youth group.  I got married in cream Payless shoes with 1.5″ heels because I knew I’d be standing all day.  I worked in cute flats, I went out in…cute flats.  I liked the look of heels, but couldn’t walk in them.  OUCH.

Then one day when I worked in downtown Vancouver  in a trendy furniture store, I saw a picture of Jennifer Aniston in jeans, a t-shirt, a pashmina and a pair of oxblood high-heeled boots.  The photo was meant to show you what to wear to Sunday brunch, and it made me want to go to Sunday brunch every day.  Or even ever.  I thought I’d never seen shoes more beautiful.  The next day, I went to Winners and the most amazing thing happened!  I saw them: the oxblood boots.  Of course they weren’t the same ones, but they were close and they fit me, and that was enough to make them perfect.  They were by Kenneth Cole.  I wore them to work the very next and do you know what happened?  Everyone but me and the manager called in sick and I had to unload a shipment of new stock by myself in the alley behind the store (People did meth there and peed behind the dumpster), standing in my new high-heeled boots.  Oh gosh.  The pain of that day will be remembered by me for the rest of forever.  I hobbled to the skytrain and home from the skytrain station swearing I would never, EVER put my feet through such torture again.

I wore the boots again, of course.  But only when I knew standing time couldn’t last for too long. The bulk of my shoe collection consisted of cute flats and runners.  Fast forward a few years to when I started my own business.  I had to represent myself and my company to customers and business people, and that meant a whole new wardrobe.  I got the suits, the button-up shirts, the cute jackets.  The shoes were a conundrum though.  I ended up finding a sale and buying 3 pairs of heels, and they were all wrong.  Pinchy, achy, just terrible.  I’m not sure how or where, but soon after that I found a pair of nine west heels that changed my life.  Just a black pair of pointy-toed nuncios, those little shoes could take me anywhere!  I could run, jump and twirl, all the while looking like a movie star from the 50’s.  I was in love.  Being 5’2″, a couple of inces of height really changed my perspective on the world…and people’s perception of me.  I have gone through hundreds of pairs of heels since then, and I know now what to look for.  I know if a toe will rub, or a heel will slip.  I can generally judge how long it will take for me to have to replace the soles.  I know the brands that are all flash, and the ones that won’t let me down.  So when I’m out shoe shopping and hear a woman talking about comfort vs. style to her daughter like I did the other day, I want to gently pull her aside and tell her.  “I know what you think, but you’re wrong.”  I’ve been on both sides, and it’s not one or the other.  The woman’s daughter was looking for work shoes, and kept rejecting all the ones her Mom pointed out on the basis that were, well, ugly.  And she wasn’t wrong.  The Mom gave her daughter a big speech about how style doesn’t matter, comfort does, and to just look at her.  She was clearly demonstrating her view by her stretchy pants and worn flip-flops.  The daughter looked away.  So did I.

So here it is, women readers: You CAN have it all.  They’re doing amazing things with fashion technology nowadays, so you don’t have to wear those scrubby runners with your jeans (please don’t do that ever, unless you’re dressing up for Halloween as Jerry Seinfeld).  You can look cute and feel compfortable every day.  I have 3 examples of amazing comfortable, attractive shoes of my very own to prove it to you.  Check these out:

1) Sparkly Flats.  These babies have carried me through several trade shows, and that’s quite a feat!  The pointy toes elongate the leg line, and the sparkle…well that’s just darling 😉 By Sam Edelman.

2) Red platform flower-detail pumps.  I was complaining that I have no red shoes, so I decided to find these at Winners. (haha)  I’m glad I did!  They’re all padded inside and squishy-firm.  Like a foot massage with every step!  Very reminiscent of 40’s style.

3) Open-toed sling-back kitten heels with a ruffle.  These shoes are SO cute, I try to put outfits together to wear them!  The heels are perfect for weekend activites with lots of walking, and the shoes are fabric so they breathe.  And the best thing?  They’re by CROCS!!!  Can you believe it?!?

So there you have it.  No more do we have to choose between comfort and style.  And if I hear anyone telling you differently, I’m gonna take him or her aside…and make them read this.  Really.

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Princess Chic

There’s a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that certain women have.  You can’t define it, but it makes you look up when she enters a room.  It sells magazines.  It calls for imitations.  The new duchess of Cambridge has that thing. 

It’s not because she’s thin, it’s not because she’s pretty.  It’s not even because she’s a princess, even though that helps, making her accessible to the world.  She could have all of these things and still not have the quality that makes us want to be like her.  She has style.  And style, though much written about, spoken about emulated, is elusive to so many of us.  The good news is that clothes are a lot less hard to define, and hers follow a pattern.  Read on to learn how you can capture some of Kate’s allure by following some simple rules.

1-      Simple Lines.  Kate has an athletic build, and conventional fashion wisdom says to add curves by way of draping fabric all over the place, adding ruffles, padding, beading, unnecessary pleating…the list goes on.  Kate doesn’t use any of these, however.  She favours straight jeans, a-line and pencil skirts, wrap dresses and sheaths.  She doesn’t attempt the modern bohemian gypsy thing I’m seeing all over the place now, and doesn’t let her clothes outshine her.  Ever.  You’ll never find her in: Harem Pants


2-      Great Dresses.  Kate favours simple patterns as well as lines.  She sticks to wrap and sheath dresses in either solid colours, or simple classic patterns.  She keeps prints in proportion with her body, and her dresses are always knee length and fit her body perfectly.   Her dress embellishments of choice are lace, cuffs, and parts that tie.  You’ll never find her in: A mini balloon-bottom dress.



3-      Fitted Jackets.  They’re a staple for a reason, and a favourite part of the princess’s street style.  Kate has worn them with dresses and pants, heels and flat boots.  They have different necklines, but are always fitted, always in a basic colour.  No fuchsia for Katie! They either contrast her outfit or match it, and they always polish the ensemble perfectly.  You’ll never find her in: a Matrix coat.


4-      Simple heels.  I’m pretty sure the girl’s got LOTS of shoes.  Even so, they’re all very classic and elegant.  She’s been wearing nude round-toed platform heels recently; very this-season and very appropriate.  She also wears pointy-toed heels in different colours and even a snakeskin print.  She likes equestrian-styled flat boots for cooler months, which are perfect for London Shopping trips.  Wedge espadrilles are rounding out her summer looks.  The common thread in her shoe wardrobe is simplicity.  Her shoes always complement her outfits, never detract from them.  The heels give her a long lean look, but are never so high that walking is made difficult.  You’ll never find her in: Pink sparkly Barbie heels.


5-      NO froufrou.  This applies to jewelry, bags, hats; the areas a lot of us tend to add, well…crap. Kate relies on quality pieces rather than accessories that tend to complicate outfits. Her outfits are complimented by accessories that work with her choices, but don’t take center stage.  Kate seems to understand that above all else; that the main event is her, not anything she has on. 

And THAT is style.

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There are certain things I assume everyone knows.  I don’t think I should have to tell anyone how to go about looking for a job or how to order lunch at a restaurant.  Because I tend to think that people know what I know, I’m always taken aback when I encounter irrefutable evidence that they clearly do not.  Dressing for special occasions happens to fall into this category.  Now let me be clear; I am not above making bad choices from time to time in the clothes department.  Anyone interested in style will invariably take chances, and taking chances ensures failure at least some of the time.  However, I do believe there is a difference between dressing appropriately and being chic.  Every person attending an occasion is expected to dress appropriately.  Period.  Having attended a wedding last weekend where guests sported shorts, golf shirts, hooker heels, and beachwear to name a few sins, I felt I needed to listify.  These are my top 10 No-No’s to wear to a wedding.  Why?  Because it’s an occasion where dressing properly shows your respect for the bride and groom, who don’t do this every day and are paying for your dinner.

10- No white.  This is more for the ladies than the gents, but a white suit on a guy is also a no-no.  Wearing white is the priviledge of the bride, and showing up to her event in her colour is just plain tacky.  My Mother told me this rule, and I think a lot of Mothers seem to have missed sharing it with their daughters.  Shame.  Conversely, black has recently become ok to wear, but it must be to-the-knee only unless it’s winter, and accessorized with bright colours like pink or blue.  No yellow, you’ll look like a bumblebee.

9- No jeans.  I know this seems obvious, but I’ve seen it.  At one event the photographer wore jeans.  She was being payed, and couldn’t be bothered to dress professionally so, at the very least, she didn’t call attention to herself.  Shameful.

8- Do not wear anything you’d wear to a club.  Unless you’re the classiest club dresser in history, anything you’d wear to make random hook-ups is inapropriate to wear to a marriage ceremony.  This includes very high heels, very short skirts, and anything with a glittery-stretchy combination thing going on.  Also anything more than a whisper of cleavage is too much.

7-Do not wear your office clothes.  Just because it’s not jeans does not make it wedding-appropriate.  Pinstripes are not for toasts and dancing, they’re for filing and typing.  Ladies: if your top has buttons going up it, keep it in the work pile.  I saw many middle-aged women at my last wedding who looked like they went in to their closets at the last minute and pulled out black pants and a button-up shirt, thinking perhaps that because they’re not jeans or workout wear, they must be fancy .  Uh uh.  Go shopping.  It’s pure laziness and disregard to show up to a wedding looking like that when someone has taken the care to invite you.  There isn’t even a budget excuse; I got my last formal dress at Value Village for $10.

6- Day dresses.  This is similar to #7, but seems a bit trickier for a lot of women.  Let me help you out: if it doubles as your beach cover up, do not wear it to a wedding.  You may think you’re thrifty or no one can tell, but you just look like the lady who has no idea what a day dress is.  A dress appropriate for a wedding will have a shape, be made of silk, satin, chiffon, organza, lace, etc.  Nice fabric.  Not t-shirt material or denim.  They will be hand-wash or dryclean only, not machine-wash.  They will have lining.  They will make you feel attractive, they will get you compliments.  Pick the right one, and you won’t regret spending the time or money for a second.

5- Sensible shoes.  Even if you’re a nurse, you’re not at work.  Sensible shoes are not called pretty for a reason.  You’re not meant to be comfortable every single second of your entire life, so stop whining and make an effort.*  Heels will make you look long and lean, and create a better silhouette for your killer dress.

*I recently purchased those little roll-up ballet flats in silver, and they matched my strappy heels perfectly.  I had the option to swap them out at the end of the night if I felt like it…and they fit right in my evening bag!

4- Gentlemen: Just becaus it has buttons does not make it a dress shirt.  It might make it a golf shirt.  Or a bowling shirt.  If you can’t be bothered wearing something with structure that doesn’t wick away sweat, you can’t play with the big boys.  So get yourself to Banana Republic or even H&M, and either make your wife proud to be with you, or look put-together enough to attract a wife.  Or husband.  Whatever floats your boat.

3- Now that you have the outfit and shoes, get a bag that works.  NOTHING ruins a pulled-together look like toting your old, scuffed-up purse with a lovely formal dress.**  You look cheap.  You can get by your entire life with 2 evening clutches: 1 in black, the other in a silver or a bronze, whichever tone you tend to wear more.  You can also get either of these items at any second-hand store at any time.  The best shape is a long envelope, and they can hold your cards and some cash, your lipstick, your cell phone and a camera.  I also fit those ballet flats in mine, pulled out flat.  These are the only items most people ever need for a day/night as a guest, and if you need more, keep it in the car.

**It looks terrible in the day too, but I’ll let that go for now.

2- Leave your watch at home.  One of my bridesmaids actually slipped her watch on just before walking down the aisle and it was in the pictures.  Gag.  Watches are functional, and while some are beautiful, so are bracelets.  There’s something wrong with keeping track of the time during a celebration, so just skip it.  For guys, a watch can actually be sexy.  Sorry if this sounds unfair, but a man in a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to show his forearms and a nice watch is incredibly sexy.  Just saying.

1- The same thing.  I’m not trying to be a snob, BUT: weddings are events where there are very many pictures taken.  With modern social media, those pictures are often seen by hundreds of people.  If you’re tagged in pictures on facebook, they’re seen by all of your friends.  Do you really want to be known as the girl in the blue dress?  One-note Nancy?  Fortunately, we tend to have advance notice of weddings, and you have time to plan your outfits.  Use that time.  If you need to get 1 or 2 dresses and make them last for several events, then buy different shoes, accessories and coats/sweaters that make them look different.  Even having your hair up at the first event and your hair down at the second changes the look.  Dressing for weddings isn’t supposed to be hard or burdensome, it’s supposed to be fun.  So scour the second-hand shops for dresses with great fabric you can alter on a dime.  Shop online.  Borrow from a friend!  Make an effort to attend special events with the attention that’s called for.  I promise, you won’t be sorry.


This black lace dress I thought couldn’t be worn to a wedding…but with a tan and a bright pink pasmina, it looks perfectly appropriate!


This dress I got at winners, and received many compliments (and several unwanted advances) when I wore it.  This is me with my brother who’s dressed quite dashingly, I have to say.


This dress was found at one of my favourite Value Villages, but it was longer and had godawful lacy sleeves with shoulder pads.  I took it to my seamstress, explained my vision, and 2 weeks and $60 later, I had a masterpiece!

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Booth 101, my latest diversion

The colours. Ohhh, the colours.
If you told me last year that I’d have an antique booth in Edmonton set up to look like a candy store, I would have told you you’re crazy. Turns out I would have been wrong.
What I’m learning is that my style is deeply influenced by my surroundings. So is yours. And really, that’s the way it should be. The awesome thing about it is that it allows you to look back and see where you were at the point where you made/wore/wrote/designed that. God must have designed the earth this way, to elicit human response, don’t you think? Anyway, last year I was all about stark, or black and white. I preferred structure and architecture over colour, and that was reflected in my interior design projects as well as my clothes. I lived in Lotus Land, a lush and layered rainforest. Now however, I live in a place that’s much less colourful than what I’m used to. People here talk up the big sky, but the problem is that when the sky is obscured (like most of this past winter) there’s nothing on the ground to look at. Here I am, missing inspiration. I didn’t realize what I was doing until it was done, but I’ve replaced my whole wardrobe with colourful, fun dresses, tops and scarves, I guess in an attempt to find equilibrium. The antique booth is my response to the boredom that comes from leaving my social life behind. And so voila, booth 101! If life is a series of seasons, this one is pretty darn interesting. So will this antique thing fly? I have no idea. But I’m having a lot of fun, and I hope it gets some kind of public response.
Oh, who am I kidding? I did it for me 🙂

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Life lessons from a Doxie

The dreamboat and I got a puppy a little while ago, and she’s 12 weeks old now. She’s a miniature Daschund, a wiener dog, and I did a little research on the breed when we were deciding whether to get her or not. Apparently Mini Daschunds were bred in Germany to hunt rabbits, because they’re small enough to get down a rabbit hole. They’re diggers, they’re sniffers, and they’re great at bringing little furry things back to you. When we first brought Stella home, she was shy and sleepy. A little whiny. Now, 3 weeks later, she’s grown into a playful little puppy with a personality all her own. She’s fierce and has springy legs, which she uses to jump onto my shoulder and bite my face when I have her next to me on the couch watching Gilmore Girls. She likes to go outside and smell everything, and reminds me of a little wiener-shaped inspector Clousseau finding clues to solve a mystery; one leads to another. This morning I had her on a blanket on the couch, and she was digging frantically at it, like she knows there’s something for her if she just digs deep enough. Stella doesn’t have access to the internet, and can’t know what her breed has been used for for centuries, but nonetheless, she is becoming what she was created to be.
So I got to thinking: what about us? We’re born, we play, we work…and some of us are lucky enough to find our purpose and fulfill it during our lifetimes. We spend millions of dollars on books, self-help seminars and therapy to find out what it is we’re meant to do. When I look at my puppy, it’s glaringly apparent that she overthinks nothing. She has instincts and she follows them, simple as that. She doesn’t worry about whether it’s socially acceptable to jump high, or whether there’s a guarantee that digging in the blanket will get her exactly what she wants. She just jumps and digs. Could it possibly be that simple for us? If we could forget the rules, forget financial reward, and forget the rules our parents/teachers/peers pushed on us, what would we do? If we never worried about failure, what would we try?
I’m a slow learner I guess, and I’ve tried out a handful of careers. I think about money, about prestige, about acceptance from people I really don’t know or respect anyway. I have found lots of careers that kind of worked, and lots that didn’t work at all. I’ve been married and divorced, and married again. I’ve lived in different cities, and different provinces. In 11 days I’ll be 31 years old, and I think there’s one thing I know. Following my instincts will get me farther in relationships, in vocations, and in life. I, like Stella, was made with a purpose. And maybe I don’t have to figure out what that is, maybe I just have to BE.

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We’ve come a long way, baby!

It’s a cliche, I know.  It’s an add for cigarettes actually.  Regardless, it’s what’s been in my head the last few days.  Most of the time I feel a mixture of mild panic and acute guilt over the list of things to do at home, at work, and…other.  Most of the time whatever I get done during the day is just not good enough.  Most of the time.

Tonight Jeff came home after getting a haircut, had a shower then began to shovel the snow off the deck so that he could start the barbeque to make us the burgers he’d been planning on since lunch.  I asked what show we should watch together while eating dinner and he said “yeah, I’ve been thinking about this.  Maybe we shouldn’t watch TV after work anymore”.  Now my first thought was that if we ate dinner, then proceeded with the myriad of chores we have written on various lists around the house, we could get a lot more done.  I could continue the streak I was on all day at work, just translate it to home.  And what do they say?  Productivity is next to Godliness?  Or the Opiate of the masses?  I can never remember…

My very next thought?  SCREW.  THAT. 

First, I come home from work so that I can be home from work.  Making my home into workplace #2 does not appeal.  Second, by whose measure am I constantly finding myself lacking in productivity?  Why do I insist on self-flagellating for not ever being able to live up to my own standards?  My house is never clean enough, I’m never thin enough, I never do or see or know enough…but you want to know the truth?  At the end of the day all I really want to do is cuddle up with my husband and remember why I do what I do during the week: I work to support my life with him.  After all this, I told Jeff that even though we have a huge list of to do’s, we’ve actually accomplished a lot this year.  Maybe we should stop feeling bad about what we haven’t done and celebrate what we have done!  Maybe we should make a list of things to celebrate.  Things we’ve done this year that are a big deal.  And so, here’s the list.

1) We got married.  It didn’t take a lot of planning, but it did take some.  And it was lovely and romantic, whimsical and just perfect.  BFD.

2) We renovated.  We didn’t do the whole house, but we did a lot of it.  And it was hard.  AND there was minimal swearing, all done by me.

3) I moved here.  With all my stuff in a trailer pulled by a truck Jeff drove.  Not even a year ago.

4) I got a new job.  Then a temporary job.  Then a serious job, with travel involved.  All since last June.  The job thing alone is exhausting.

5) I bought a new car (new to me), and insured it in a province where insurance seems infinitely complicated.  The thing about this, I wanted one big thing to stay the same when I’d changed everything else in my life; I wanted my little  Mazda.  No such luck.

6)We met and got to know new in-laws.  It’s very strange having in-laws and then getting a divorce and getting new ones.  It’s been so worth it getting to know them, for both of us, but it takes a lot of work.

7) We have been on so many dates.  Maybe that doesn’t seem like an acomplishment, but with all that’s been going on, trust me it is.

8) I think the biggest thing Jeff and I have accomplished this past year is us.  I never knew a relationship could feel so much like home.  So the nights when we come home excited to eat dinner together and watch Gilmore Girls or Star Trek, we’re just solidifying our us-ness.  It’s not a waste of time, it’s how we like to spend it together.  AND it makes our sectional purchase make total sense.

Bring on TNG!

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Dear God,


I want too much.  And it seems like everything I want conflicts with the other stuff I want.  I know I’m selfish, self-involved, and choose more often than not to turn away from the people I could be helping.  I know you’ve given me a lot.  And I even know that instead of feeling grateful, instead of feeling privileged and loved just a little more than others, I’m meant to feel a burden for them.  I’m not above struggle; I was just born with more so that I could share.  I was not given more to keep it and appreciate it, I was given more to give it away.

And even though I realize all of this, I still choose time and time again to ignore it.  I choose to worry about silly things like fashion and comfort while people who aren’t so different from me worry about clean water and food to feed their families.  I choose this over and over because it’s too hard.  I look at all the hurt people are feeling, all that’s wrong with the world and know I can’t change it all myself and I give up before I even try.  And this thing I do, taking it all on myself and feeling overwhelmed and not even trying, it’s the most shameful thing of all.  I do it because I don’t trust you.

Since you are God, and you made me and the world and everything in it, and you know everything and don’t answer to me or anyone else, there is no reason to not trust you, except that I know better than you.  Well, since I know every time I read the news that I can’t fix it, who else is there to trust?  You know it’s bad, you see the pain down here every day.  And you need me to trust you and do my teeny tiny little part.  So how about this?  How about I stop making excuses to not?  How about every single day that I wake up, I ask you to give me the strength to do my teeny tiny little part?  How about I don’t worry so much about me, but focus on listening for direction from you?  How about I let go of my silly worries and know that every time I have fallen you’ve picked me up, and when I’ve started walking again  I’ve become that little bit stronger?  How about I rest in the knowledge that you’ve caught me?  And how about I show this to people by catching them, because you’ve given me the strength?

God, help me to live in what I know, and not die slowly in what I fear.


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Wasting Time (Also a Dave Matthews Band song)

You know what I never hear anymore?  Nothing.  No seriously.  When you ask someone what they’ve been up to, it’s always “Oh!  I’ve been soooooo busy!!!”  Usually they’ll go on to tell you about work, kids sports and activities, and various groups, clubs and organizations they’re involved in.  All this like they’re the only ones who have no time.  The sad thing is, most everyone is like this now.

In reality, we all get the same amount of time.  It’s a valuable currency every human being gets when he or she is born.  No one can check the balance, but there is one.  And one day, it will certainly run out.  But until it does, you as a human being have the luxury of deciding exactly how it gets spent.  Yes, we all have to work to live.  But how and where is up to you.  We all have to sleep, we all have to eat.  These things do take some of our time, yes.  But aside from that, we get a lot of choice.  What I see around me is an entire culture choosing to spend our time sprinting.  Running from thing to thing with no time to just be.  We all talk about needing vacations, but what about needing lives?  Needing to leave your home to be able to relax is incredibly unhealthy and weird.  And what about work?  Do we need to work this much?  For what?  For new cars and homes and furniture and clothes?  So we work like mad to get these things, or even just pay our bills if we’ve committed to living above our means, we exhaust ourselves, and then need to pay for vacations to relax?  Are we all retarded???

Just once, I’d like to hear from someone “Yeah, I’m not too busy lately.  I decided to start working 6 hour days so I could get some reading in.  I’m really into Sartre right now.  Yep, I love to sit in the living room of my small but comfortable apartment just reading Sartre.  And because it’s so small, I can easily afford the mortgage payments and cleaning takes no time at all, so that gives me even more time!  I use that to take long walks to contemplate God and the state of the world while being close to nature.  I have to say, I love my life!”

Have you ever heard anyone say anything close to that???  I haven’t.  And even if this person were to exist, he or she would be considered a loser.  For what, you ask?  For enjoying life instead of being suffocated by it.  For living below his or her means.  These things are shamefully referred to as laziness and lack of ambition.  In North America, where we are still close to our puritan roots, enjoying life and not taking it too seriously are sins.  It’s amusing to note that our European neighbours, who do take the time to enjoy life, and are scoffed at by us for being lazy, have still gotten so much done.  It’s…what do you call it?  Having a life so you have energy for life?   Light bulb moment!

Posted in Uncategorized

In or Out?

I have moved far away from stuff.  I live in a little town just outside of Edmonton called Devon.  There’s no Starbucks, the only clothing store is Fields, and to get anywhere else is 20+ minutes down a bumpy, although paved, road.  It may not be considered off the beaten path for some, but to me it’s the country.  Suffice to say, it’s one of life’s little jokes that I now reside here.  It’s ok, I can take a joke 😉

The attitudes I’m coming across here shouldn’t surprise me, but they do.  I expected to find people living in the country because they love the sprawling beauty all around them, because they like to hear birds more than the sound of traffic, because they prefer a simpler life.  I’m sure many do live here because of that.  Then there’s the other faction who lives out here because they don’t want to live near other people.  They think people suck, and when you get more of them together they suck harder.  Ok, I get this…kinda.  I wonder if any of these people have considered the fact that they’re people.  Seriously.  How can you be a self-hating human being?  I’m getting really tired of hearing “I don’t like people”.  I know there are bad people, I know bad things happen…and I also know that if all the people who see the problems we have  move away, then we have a much bigger problem.  I’ve always thought that if you see a disconnect  and it affects your world, then you’re there for a reason. “ Evil prospers when good men do nothing” was repeated a lot by my Mother  growing up.  So you don’t like how things are going?  Do something about it.  No running away allowed. 

The same applies for church.  Yes, Christians suck.  We’re a people group that takes self-righteous to the next level.  We should be modeling something better, but we don’t most of the time.  Because we’re people: we’re scared, we’re sad, we’re broken too.  The answer is not to leave church because of us, it’s to stay and contribute.  It’s to add your presence and your view to the mix, to be an example of something better.  If you want the world around you to be better, stay in it and add your two cents.  I know a lot of us have come to believe that removing ourselves from church, from communities, even from friend groups we don’t agree with is the right thing to do.  I’m here to tell you it absolutely is not.

 You earn the right to disagree with me when you do something about it.